The Final Information to the Finest Banff Hikes (2019 Version)

The whole lot you could know to find one of the best Banff hikes in our final climbing information!
Our information to one of the best Banff hikes! Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
The Banff Nationwide Park may be essentially the most stunning place in all of Canada, and in the event you love getting outside as a lot as I do, then you definately’ll completely have to have a learn of this information to one of the best hikes in Banff!
I’ve to confess, the primary time I went to Canada I fell immediately in love. It was like nothing I had ever seen earlier than.
Mountains pierced the sky as snow glistened on prime whereas steep slopes of lush forests met with fields of wildflowers as waterfalls with an countless provide of crystal clear water cascaded previous me.
Mountaineering in Canada is changing into more and more common, much more so in Banff Nationwide Park, as it’s changing into the ‘go to’ place for these searching for a heavy dose of nature.

The Finest Banff Hikes for Each Traveller
Why is Banff the place to go for climbing and trekking you could be asking?
Banff is actually like a slice of heaven on earth…that is likely to be one of the simplest ways to explain this place as lakes of turquoise water replicate good mountains upon their floor whereas trails endlessly take you from waterfall to waterfall by way of blankets of wildflowers.
In case you like a factor known as ‘switchbacks’ then Banff is the place for you as they’re certain to check out your climbing talents.
I’ve put collectively a complete listing of hikes in Banff, and hikes round Banff Nationwide Park, starting from a easy 2-hour stroll to the extra demanding full-day treks which might be discovered throughout the park and its surrounds.
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
Finest Time to Go Mountaineering in Banff
It’s all the time good to go climbing in good situations reminiscent of blue skies and good cool breeze, however the issue with that is that trails and huts typically change into severely overcrowded.
Excessive season runs from June to August, the place you’ll be able to count on a complete lot of sunshine and heat climate.
Shoulder season is one of the best time to go climbing in Banff Nationwide Park as one can find temperatures just a few levels beneath of what you’ll expertise in the course of the excessive season.
As an added bonus lodging is barely cheaper and simpler to e-book for many locations just like the city of Banff, when you are much less more likely to see hordes of individuals on trails within the nationwide park giving, you a bit extra peace.
For individuals who love the snow and colder situations, some hikes are open all yr spherical. Off-season begins in November and ends in April.
Mountaineering in Banff Nationwide Park is one thing that may be loved all yr spherical so it’s utterly as much as you whenever you go or the way you wish to get pleasure from your time on the paths of Banff.
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka.
The Finest Day Hikes in Banff
There’s no scarcity of day hikes in Banff Nationwide Park, and you might actually spend years attempting to discover all of them.
Nonetheless I’m going to take a guess and say you in all probability don’t have years. So in that case let me slim down among the greatest Banff day hikes for you.
Bow Falls Path
Distance – Three kilometres
Begin / End – Bow River Bridge
Time – 1 to 2 hours
Problem – Simple
Bow Falls Path is quickly changing into a well-liked hike in Banff and that’s as a result of this place is simply unimaginable!
Most of Bow Falls Trails is a simple stroll alongside the calm, emerald Bow River with a backdrop of native pines and rocky peaks.
There are such a lot of photograph alternatives alongside this path; the stroll for some could take longer than the advisable 1 hour if you’re taking photographs alongside this beautiful Banff climbing path.
On the finish of the path, Bow Falls makes itself outstanding however don’t count on something too massive. Bow Falls is just 9 metres excessive however in winter, issues freeze over making it much more spectacular!
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
Brewster Glacier Skywalk
Distance – 500 metres
Begin / End – Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre
Time – 1 hour
Problem – Simple
This can be one of many hikes on this listing that’ll get your legs shaking (if you’re frightened of heights) however don’t let that put you off, the views which might be seen from alongside the Brewster Glacier Skywalk are significantly unimaginable.
The platform places you proper over the Sunwapta Valley, which provides life to beautiful lakes, forests of pines and among the most majestic mountains you will note in Canada.
If you’re pressed for time whereas in Alberta and wish to catch a glimpse of what Alberta is all about, take this stroll.
This is likely one of the straightforward hikes in Banff, and is certain to provide you a buzz whether or not it’s the shear top or the view of the mountains you will see!
Karst Spring Mountaineering Path
Distance – 9.5 kilometres
Begin / End – Mount Shark trailhead
Time – four to five hours
Problem – Simple
Simply one other a kind of hikes the place mountains and luxurious forest dominate the Canadian panorama which has typically being described as essentially the most scenic place in North America.
This is likely one of the simpler hikes close to Banff that you could strive, however generally straightforward is an efficient factor.
Karst Spring Path is stuffed with goodies reminiscent of wildflowers (Canada is stuffed with them) to countless forest trails which ends up in Karst Spring that originates from Shark Mountain the place water flows as a heat trickle.
That is a kind of hikes that may be a should in the course of the winter months as a result of magnificent ice sculptures that type to the perimeters of the path.
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake
Distance – 14.5 kilometres
Begin / End – Redearth Creek carpark to Shadow Lake Lodge
Time – Three.5 to four.5 hours
Problem – Simple
Not one of the common hikes in Banff, which means that you just get a much bigger dose of nature all to your self!
The Redearth Creek to Shadow Lake is a powerful 14.5km slog by forest trails the place glimpses of the three,311 metre Mount Ball peak out and in of the tree line as you get nearer and nearer to Shadow Lake.
What makes this hike so superior is that you do not want to do all of it in in the future as a substitute there’s the choice to remain at a real Canadian log cabin known as Shadow Lake Lodge which is a collection of cabins surrounded by beautiful forests.
After dawn, make your means again the way in which you got here. Regardless of the dearth of individuals on this path it could possibly be thought-about as top-of-the-line day hikes in Banff Nationwide Park.
Sunshine Meadows
Distance – eight kilometres return
Begin / End – Sunshine Village
Time – 2 hours
Problem – Simple
This hike undoubtedly has one of the best identify out of all of the hikes I’ve seen…wherever. Sunshine Meadows lives as much as its identify with fields of alpine wildflowers to Golden Larches reaching from the lakes proper to the alpine line in winter.
Need a simple day hike close to Banff? Sunshine Meadows is the one!
Sunshine Meadows is a hike you’ll simply wish to take your time with as there’s a fairly good likelihood you may be mesmerised by Mount Assiniboine, which a spire kind mountain is reaching a staggering Three,618 metres.
It’s just about assured that this would be the most scenic hike you’ll do in Banff Nationwide Park.
Johnston Canyon
Distance – 5 kilometres return
Begin / End – Johnston Canyon parking zone
Time – 1.5 to 2 hours
Problem – Simple
This brief hike in Banff can be utilized as an info stroll to realize data on the realm or can be utilized as an entry hike to a few of Banff’s hidden waterfalls which in winter are fairly common with ice climbers.
The Johnston Canyon hike winds its means one of the photographed locations on the planet…you understand that huge cave with a giant chunk of rock surrounded by cascading water?
Nicely in the event you don’t know what I’m speaking about then you will need to see this place for your self, its breathtaking!
Johnston Canyon is actually superb and is even higher in the course of the off peak season. In case you might solely do one hike close to Banff this might be it!
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
Wapta Icefield Hike
Distance – 13 kilometres
Begin / End – Numtijah Lodge to Peyto Lake
Time – Three days
Problem – Average
One of some hikes in Banff that may will let you truly go and stand on an icefield as nearly all of this trek consists of snow trails and ice which makes all of it extra the enjoyable!
What makes this trek much more beautiful is the shock that you just get in the direction of the half means mark.
As you ascend by beautiful forests you finally end up surrounded in an alpine zone utterly surrounded by superb mountains.
On the prime of the path is Bow Hut sitting at an altitude of two,350 metres the place you’ll be able to keep the night time or longer in the event you plan to proceed in the direction of Peyto Hut.
From Bow Hut there are just a few brief aspect treks which you’ll be able to take together with Polaris Peak which affords advantageous views of Canada’s most interesting mountains making this on of one of the best Banff climbing trails that this superb place has to supply.
In case you determine enterprise on to Peyto Glacier, you’re going to wish expertise with crampons and mountaineering tools.
If in case you have mountaineering expertise, you’ll be able to proceed onto Peyto Glacier adopted by a difficult traverse leaving you at Peyto Lake.
Parker Ridge Path
Distance – 5 kilometres
Begin / End – Parker Ridge trailhead
Time – 2 hours
Problem – Simple to average
The Parker Ridge Path though not very lengthy and demanding is a should do hike if you’re within the northern areas of Banff Nationwide Park.
Why so? The Parker Ridge Path is stuffed with switchbacks (sharp turns within the observe) that are surrounded by patches of wildflowers typically left with outdated patches of ice scattered all through.
Banff hikes don’t get a lot better than the Parker Ridge Path.
As soon as you allow the forest, you enter the upper alpine zone and make means for a ridgeline which is fascinating with the cruel surroundings that it’s.
The upper you climb the chillier it could possibly get so all the time be ready for mountain climates as they will change rapidly.
On the finish of the path, views will let you see Saskatchewan Glacier, which is an enormous 9 kilometres in size that feeds into the North Saskatchewan River.
And if you’re fortunate sufficient, the view level lets you see Castleguard Mountain and an array of smaller peaks which is sort of an attractive spot to seize beautiful sundown and dawn photographs.
Undoubtedly convey your digicam on this beautiful Banff hike.
Tunnel Mountain
Distance – four.eight kilometres
Begin / End – St. Julien Highway on the Banff Centre
Time – 1 to 2 hours
Problem – Average
A comparatively straightforward hike which can spur your curiosity in what one of the best climbing trails in Banff Nationwide Park are all about. With just a few steep climbs and switchbacks, this small hike takes you to an epic view over the city of Banff whereas producing beautiful views of Mount Bourgeau.
If you’re pondering of getting a bit nearer or wish to summit Mount Bourgeau, go for the hike that takes you to Harvey Go which is listed a bit additional down within the article.
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka
Sulphur Mountain Path
Distance – 11 kilometres return
Begin / End – Banff Higher Hotsprings Parking Lot
Time – four hours
Problem – Average
Need some beautiful views of Bow Valley? This fantastic thing about a path takes you proper to the spot however first it’s a must to tackle switchback after switchback because it weaves its means up the mountainside by forest and alpine sections to an altitude of two,451 metres.
Sulphur Mountain path is likely one of the greatest hikes in Banff Nationwide Park that provides you beautiful views all yr spherical of The Bow Valley.
As soon as you’re on the prime, you should definitely go to the Cosmic Ray Station which is a World Heritage Website adopted by a brief stroll alongside a boardwalk which explains the significance of the mountain and the person behind the Cosmic Ray Station.
In the case of Banff walks which might be first rate and exquisite, this one is a should.
Stanley Glacier Path
Distance – 10.5 kilometres
Begin / End – Stanley Glacier carpark
Time – Three hours
Problem – Average
I couldn’t assist however embrace this one when speaking about the place to hike in Banff!
A surprising Three hour hike by pristine forests resulting in Excessive Mountain trails. The Stanley Glacier Path has since recovered from horrible wild fires which occurred each in 1993 and 2003.
One of many factoring issues resulting in wildfires in Canada is local weather change. The hotter and dryer our Nationwide Parks get, the upper the prospect of wildfires.
What makes this path so distinctive is Stanley Peak itself which is principally the purpose at which you’re climbing to however to get there it’s a must to endure fairly just a few switchbacks and free rocky trails which makes all of it extra the enjoyable.
I discussed earlier how this explicit path has been affected by wildfires so there is a chance to see how these forests get well from such pure disasters.
Guidebooks say that the path is 10.5 kilometres return however there are specific sections of the path to which you’ll be able to simply preserve meandering on till you attain the tip of the glacier (at a protected distance).
The additional you go alongside the path the tougher it will get however when it will get tougher, often issues change into excitingly enjoyable! Nicely price trying out this one on the listing of greatest climbing trails close to Banff.
Cascade Amphitheatre
Distance – 15.5 kilometres return
Begin / End – Mount Norquay ski space
Time – four to six hours
Problem – Average
If you’re eager to get some stable kilometres beneath your toes, hit the path to the Cascade Amphitheatre which locations you on the coronary heart of towering limestone cliffs that are met by meadows of wildflowers.
There are just a few choices on extending the hike and if you’re the actually adventurous kind undoubtedly have a crack at Cascade Mountain which is 2,998 metres in top making this explicit path top-of-the-line day hikes in Banff.
In case you plan to move to the summit, make sure that to be properly ready as among the ridges might be fairly slim with just a few sketchy drop-offs in any other case decide to sit down again and watch the sundown round you.
Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Go
Distance – 14.5 kilometres return
Begin / End – 13 kilometres west of the Mount Norquay Interchange on Trans-Canada Freeway
Time – 5 to six hours
Problem – Average
This hike is one other alternative to view the majestic Mount Assiniboine from a complete special approach. Harvey Go is a end result of forested tracks, lush meadows of wildflowers, crystal blue lakes reminiscent of Bourgeau Lake and a good few steep sections which finally take you to Harvey Go.
Regardless of taking 5 to six hours to finish the return journey, why not set out throughout early morning for top-of-the-line sunrises from Harvey Go?
If you’re in search of a little bit of inspiration and wish to know what Banff Nationwide Park climbing seems like, there’s a man by the identify of Paul Zizka who’s assured to have you ever e-book a a technique ticket to Banff and get you out exploring Banff’s superior trails after seeing the pictures he produces.
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
The Finest Tough Mountaineering in Banff Nationwide Park
Among the beneath hikes are tougher and take for much longer.
Relying on the season you determine to aim this treks there’s all the time an choice to camp or keep in huts if out there.
I’ve listed the beneath hikes as ‘multi-day’ regardless that they’re beneath 12 hours (aside from Mount Assiniboine).
Centennial Ridge Path
Distance – 16 kilometres
Begin / End – Ribbon Creek Trailhead
Time – 10 hours
Problem – Arduous
this place provides you the sensation that you’re surrounded by a cathedral of snow coated mountains and you’ll be fairly right.
The Centennial Ridge Path is considered one of Canada’s highest ridge treks taking you over 16 kilometres of meadows full of untamed flowers to alpine environments.
Mountaineering the Centennial Ridge Path is actually going to go away you wanting extra path time beneath your toes and I don’t blame you in case you have this sense, Centennial Ridge Path is likely one of the most interesting treks you are able to do in Alberta and doubtless one of the best Banff day hike.
That is fairly a difficult hike particularly on your knees with plenty of free rock and a factor known as ‘switchbacks’ that are like sharp corners, one after one other so be careful for these! Aside from that, this hike is actually charming from begin to end and is a should do hike in Banff!
Crypt Lake Path
Distance – 17 kilometres
Begin / End – Crypt Touchdown at Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park
Time – eight hours
Problem – Average to Arduous
Fairly a troublesome observe with plenty of free rock largely contained inside pristine forests. The Crypt Lake Path at one level was thought-about as Canada’s greatest hike, which is sort of a giant deal so clearly it’s going to be top-of-the-line hikes in Banff Nationwide Park!
The Crypt Lake Path is a end result of beautiful alpine climbing a prime of comparatively low altitude mountains with countless forest trails dowsed with wild flowers, patches of outdated ice and snow to the ever flowing waterfalls.
This observe is actually a dream so spending eight hours on the path might not be sufficient!
Together with the pristine observe of the Crypt Lake Path, there are just a few additions reminiscent of a metal ladder and 30 metre tunnel which you have to to navigate in an effort to finishing the observe.
Many sections of this path are coated in free rock and scree so preserve your eyes open. A great problem when trying on the listing of Banff Nationwide Park climbing trails.
Cory Go and Mount Edith Circuit
Distance – 13 kilometres return
Begin / End – The Hearth Picnic Space
Time – 5 to six hours
Problem – Arduous
Attending to Cory Go could be a bit tough so come ready and be sure to are as much as the problem with practically 1,000 metres of elevation acquire over the course of 5 hours.
Cory Go can flip right into a scramble in some elements adopted by lengthy lengths of rocky, free tracks which makes all of it extra the enjoyable.
From Cory Go you’ll be able to select to return the identical means you got here or descend all the way down to the Mount Edith Circuit Monitor to finish your hike in Banff Nationwide Park from a special level to the place you began.
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
Mount Assiniboine
Distance – 13 kilometres return
Begin / End – Canmore
Time – 12 to 15 hours from Hind Hut
Problem – Professional
Earlier than beginning this part, please needless to say climbing Mount Assiniboine is a few critical stuff and may NOT be taken evenly, earlier expertise within the mountains in a should.
Climbing Mount Assiniboine might be finished by the Affiliation of Canadian Mountain Guides who’re certified mountain guides.
The climb begins at Hind Hut which is close to the North Ridge of the mountain which requires a collection of inauspicious ridge climbs though not technical.
The principle elements of this climb are trekking by steep gullies, mountain climbing some sections adopted by the summit ridge taking you to an altitude of three,618 metres.
It’s a troublesome one, however undoubtedly top-of-the-line hikes close to Banff in case you have the expertise to aim it!
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Jake Dyson.
Banff Mountaineering Suggestions
Mountaineering within the mountains might be considered one of my most satisfying issues to do like ever however I all the time go ready even when I plan to go on a small 5 to 10 kilometre hike.
Mountains are infamous for altering climate which at one second there might be clear skies with beautiful temperatures and the subsequent second it could possibly be snowing or you might change into inundated with thick fog and mist.
Listed below are just a few ideas to make sure your expertise within the mountains is a protected one!

Put money into an Eperb which is a small machine that in an emergency you’ll be able to activate to let emergency companies know your location.
Write a observe or textual content somebody on whereabouts you’re going with a date, time and placement.
All the time carry a ample provide of water and snacks.
Pack an emergency blanket. You understand these issues that seem like tin foil? They’re good at conserving you heat at night time when issues get chilly.

Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Jake Dyson.
Packing Checklist for Banff Hikes
From brief 1 to 2 hour hikes to in a single day to multi-day hikes, it’s all the time vital to sit down down, write a listing and focus on what you have to on your journey properly prematurely of heading out.
The beneath listing relies on climbing within the colder months and keep in mind, when climbing in mountainous and alpine areas, climate can change nearly immediately so it’s higher to be marginally over ready than to be underprepared.
Tent – generally huts might be full so a lightweight and compact tent is right
Sleeping bag and silk liner
Waterproof climbing boots
Mountaineering pants and shorts
Breathable shirts
Down jacket for chilly nights
Wind breaker jacket
Emergency blanket – tremendous compact sheet that appears like tin foil
Rain jacket
Thermals each prime and backside layers
Numerous socks – you’ll be able to by no means have sufficient when climbing
A hat for solar safety (UV is stronger the upper you’re up)
Buff for cover from the wind and solar
Mountaineering poles come in useful when hauling bigger hundreds to assist distribute weight
Digital camera gear – pack further batteries and reminiscence playing cards
Transportable energy packs together with moveable photo voltaic panel, GoalZero merchandise are one of the best
Emergency beacon – you by no means know when considered one of these will come in useful
Transportable gasoline burner with compact pots and pans
Espresso cup
Sufficient meals for the hike (I prefer to throw in just a few further meals in case the hike is prolonged)
Water – 2-Three litres should be on you always
Picture Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.
Going Past The Banff Mountaineering Trails
Banff is a mecca for critical mountaineers, alpinists and rock climbers and there’s nearly actually just a few of you studying this put up in search of the subsequent excessive journey.
All yr spherical, Banff Nationwide Park boosts superb trails to run, mountains to climb even waterfalls after they freeze over.
If you’re contemplating doing something that’s past the path itself, all the time verify with native guides earlier than heading out on an journey.
I’ve listed Three hyperlinks that are derived from Parks Canada to which relate to warnings and path situations inside Banff Nationwide Park.

That’s it for my listing of one of the best Banff hikes! In case you discovered this text helpful, or have another prime hikes in Banff you wish to add, go away a remark beneath and let me know!
Picture Credit score: Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson.

Calumn HockeyStarted travelling in 2010, up to now reaching the paths of the Higher Mustang, Nepal, scaled Mount Ollivier, New Zealand (first ascent of Sir Edmund Hillary), bought scorching chilli in my eye in Vietnam, chased by a pack of untamed monkeys in Singapore, stupidly climbed the Eiffel Tower, France in shorts and a shirt whereas it was raining and 6 levels whereas in Venice, Italy I managed to get misplaced in an effort to get discovered whereas in Central Australia my greatest associates had been camels.My ardour burns for tradition and exploration as I might say “I feel I’m fairly prepared for an additional journey”. Verify all of it our on my pictures web site and Instagram. Newest posts by Calumn Hockey (see all)

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