Discover the Wilderness: The Top 10 Hikes in Banff National Park for Nature Enthusiasts

Ankita M Bose
Ankita M Bose Travel
8 Min Read

One of Canada’s oldest national parks, Banff National Park, is a go-to summer destination. 

The best hikes in Banff  National Park attract a lot of hikers and tourists during the summer, accompanied by stunning mountain peaks, glaciers, blueish green lakes, white and grey glaciers, and a wide array of wildlife.

1. 10 Best Hikes in Banff

Hiking Parker Ridge in Banff with My Dog

Almost all the hikes in Banff National Park are positioned in and around the area of Icefields Parkway as well as Louise Lake.

Some popular and beautiful hiking trails in Banff National Parks are listed below.

1.1. Parker Ridge

One of the best sunrise hikes in Banff is the Parker Ridge. The hike is a round trip of almost 5.5 km and is comparatively a well-trodden and easy Banff hiking trail.

The stunning and picturesque views of the Saskatchewan Glacier pouring into a pool are to die for. Additionally, you can also enjoy the stunning views of Mount Andromeda, Cirrus, and Athabasca.

1.2. Wilcox Pass

The 8 km Wilcox Pass hike is located along the Icefields Parkway and is not for the faint-hearted.

But the outstanding and gorgeous views of Snow Dome Mountain, Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier, and Snow Dome Glacier are worth the premier Wilcox hike.

Wilcox Pass Hike 360 View

During the hike, you also spot the bighorn sheep and mountain goats, thus making it one of the most beautiful hikes in Banff.

1.3. Plain of Six Glaciers

One of the stunning and best hikes in Banff, Plain of Six Glaciers, is an unplanned hike by the hikers who start the trek from the Shoreline Trail.

Located at the corner end of Lake Louise, with an almost 14 km trail, it gives you the best and most amazing views of the glaciers.

You can also treat yourself to warm drinks, freshly baked items, and chocolates at the iconic Six Glaciers tea house.

1.4. Bow Glacier Falls

If hiking to the Bow Glacier Falls, get ready with your camera to take photos of the stunning Banff waterfall. The hike is pretty de-stressing and relaxing and is unquestionably one of the best hikes in Banff.

In addition, if you are driving along the Icefields Parkway, you can spend some time around Bow Lake.

Moreover, you can also view the amazing and powerful Bow River Waterfall if you look towards the glacier down Bow Lake, and trust me, it won’t be disappointing.

1.5. Healy Pass

This 18 km trail, starting at the Sunshine Village, rewards you with spectacular views of colorful wildflowers and open green spaces.

Additionally, you can experience the breathtaking views of Egypt Lake, Mt. Assiniboine, Mt. Brett, Mt. Pharaoh, The Monarch, and Mount Bourgeau, and thus, it is one of the best hikes in Banff.

If you are hiking during the wet weather, wear good ankle boots, as the forest and the trail can be muddy and slippery.

1.6. The Inkpots and Johnston Canyon

This is considered one of the family-friendly and best hikes in Banff, where you have to hike on a metal walkway, with a round trip of almost 2.5 km.

The hike is moderate, and the sound of the burbling waterfalls will impress you. The summer hike is an experience of a lifetime, and during winter, the frozen waterfall of Johnston Canyon looks magical and mystic.

It is recommended to continue hiking to the Inkpots and admire the beautiful five mineral natural springs bubbling and surrounded by the mountains on a plain of meadows.

1.7. Cory Pass

Cory Pass is one of the most challenging hikes in Banff, and one needs to be strong and fit to hike it. Nevertheless, this hike comes on the list of best hikes in Banff.

Edith Mountain looks beautiful and offers promising views, making the difficult hike worthwhile. It is a 13 km hike and takes almost 5 to 7 hours to complete this demanding hike. 

1.8. Sentinel Pass and Larch Valley

A magical wonderland located to the right of Moraine Lake is covered with pretty lakes, Tamarack trees, and rock towers named sentinels. The hiking trail starts from Moraine Lake and is quiet.

Once you reach an open area, the stunning view starts from here. Admire the splendid Minnestimma Lake and sit by the lake to relax and breathe nature.

You get to see the trail to Sentinel Pass, Ten Peaks, and Paradise Valley, and the views are mesmerizing, making it one of the best hikes in Banff.

Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail from Moraine Lake

Additionally, before returning, you can also hike the Larch Valley. The best time to hike the Larch valley is during autumn when the larch trees change to gold from green.  

1.9. Lake Annette and Paradise Valley

This is considered one of the best hikes in Banff because the hike is usually less crowded and comparatively easier than other hikes.

The view is stunning, with cliffs surrounding Annette Lake, towering mountains of Mount Temple, and glaciers hanging. 

The hike to the pristine lake from Paradise Creek is almost 12 kilometers, whereas the distance can take up to 20 kilometers if you want to visit Paradise Valley.

If extra adventurous, walk from Lake Annette for about an hour to see the Giant’s Steps waterfalls.

1.10. Helen Lake

The Helen Lake hike offers the most beautiful and spectacular scenery of the lake, Bow Falls, and Crowfoot Glacier from the ridge. The hike is neither difficult nor easy, covering a round trip distance of almost 12 kilometers.

On top of Helen Lake is Cirque Peak, which will take another hour to climb.

CIRQUE PEAK HIKE via Helen Lake Trail | Best Banff Hike!

The gorgeous 360-degree views of Mount Hector and Helen Lake are worth the hike. The best part of this hike is that there is a never-ending line of picturesque views.

2. Takeaway

Explore and experience the beauty of the best hikes in Banff National Park, and you will want to come back again. Be respectful and keep the hiking trails clean, as this national park is well-kept and preserves its wide range of flora and fauna.

Make sure you are physically fit and healthy to complete the hiking trail. But, in the end, the stunning and jaw-dropping views make all the hikers happy and considerate.

Last Updated on by Narayani Bhardwaj

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