Western Canada: 6 Beautiful Hikes to Do in Banff

With its legendary landscapes and 1,600 km of trails, Banff National Park in Alberta is a dream for all types of hikers.

We’ve put together a few suggestions for those planning their first trip to the heart of the rocky peaks, glaciers, wildflowers and turquoise lakes of the Rockies.

6 must-see hiking trails to explore in Banff National Park:

1. Lake Agnes

According to Parks Canada, the climb to Lake Agnes is the most refined way to experience the Rockies. The path leads to the photogenic tea room on Lake Agnès, nestled in the hollow of the mountains for nearly 120 years. Those who don’t fancy an Earl Gray by the water can extend the excursion by climbing Mount Big Beehive, which rises to 2,270m. They will then enjoy a unique view of Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel (allow an extra 3.2 km).

  • Level: moderate
  • Length: 3.4 km (one way)
  • Elevation gain: 385 m
  • Duration: 2h30 to 3h (round trip)
  • Area: Lake Louise

2. Parker Range

Located not far from Jasper National Park, the popular Parker Ridge Trail is made up of a series of switchbacks and is known for its “postcard” views of the Saskatchewan Glacier and the river of the same name. A short, easy hike, with a big payoff.

  • Level: easy
  • Length: 2.7 km (one way)
  • Elevation gain: 250 m
  • Duration: 2h30 (round trip)
  • Sector: Promenade des glaciers

3. Amphitheater-Cascade Trail

Almost everyone has seen a photo of Cascade Mountain before: it’s the 2,948m tall Colossus that can be seen northeast from Banff’s Main Street. The Amphitheater-Cascade trail climbs the sides of the mountain to a hanging valley covered with wild flowers during the summer. Depending on the time of year, seasoned climbers can continue their ascent to the top; is intended for them.

  • Level: moderate
  • Length: 7.7 km (one way)
  • Elevation gain: 640 m / Elevation loss: 150 m
  • Duration: 6h (round trip)
  • Area: Banff

4. Plain of Six Glaciers

Easy to access, this trail near Lake Louise allows you to discover a spectacular series of peaks and glaciers, as well as an alpine-style tea room (open seasonally). Along the way, enjoy views of Mount Lefroy, Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier. An additional 3 km round trip takes you up to the Abbot Pass viewpoint, where you can see of the same name.

  • Level: moderate
  • Length: 5.3 km (one way)
  • Elevation gain: 365 m
  • Duration: 4h (round trip)
  • Area: Lake Louise

5. Sentinel Pass

Particularly recommended during the color season, this steep trail leads to two beautiful valleys in Banff National Park: Paradise Valley and Larch Valley, famous for its golden larches in fall. The trail, steep and classified as difficult, starts near the Moraine Lake road, which can also be seen during the ascent. An effort that pays off.

  • Level: difficult
  • Length: 5.8 km (one way)
  • Elevation gain: 725 m
  • Duration: 4h30 to 5h30 (round trip)
  • Area: Lake Louise

6. Sommet-du-Mont-Tunnel trail

This short, switchback trail, which leads to the low top of Tunnel Mountain, is within walking distance of downtown Banff, making it quite a busy route. But that doesn’t detract from the views it offers of the Bow Valley, Mount Rundle, and the village of Banff itself.

  • Level: moderate
  • Length: 2.4 km (one way)
  • Elevation gain: 260 m
  • Duration: 2 hours (round trip)
  • Area: Banff

To know

  • These trails are frequented. It is advisable to leave early to avoid crowds or crowded parking lots.
  • Banff National Park normally receives over 3 million visitors per year. It goes without saying that you have to pick up your waste and follow.
  • There are (splendid) trails for all levels. Choose according to your abilities; it is a wild territory.
  • The conditions on the trails vary depending on the season and the weather, as does the appearance of mountain lakes, which sometimes “thaw” late in the summer. Before planning a hike, it is recommended that you consult the reports on the condition of the trails as well as the bulletins on seasonal closures and restrictions (presence of grizzly bears, hunting season, avalanche risks, etc.).
  • All this info is here:

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