These hikes, located between the Town of Banff and Lake Louise, either start close to the Trans Canada Highway or the Bow Valley Parkway (HWY 1A). Some of the most popular in the region, these trails expose hikers to some of the best features the Rockies have to offer: stunning wildflowers, crumbling glaciers, surging canyons and iconic peaks. Each hike can be accessed as a day trip from the Banff townsite or Lake Louise, and varies in length and difficulty.
- Sunshine Meadows: Considered a premier hiking destination in the Rockies, Sunshine Meadows is a unique area on the Continental Divide that boasts carpets of alpine wildflowers in summer and golden larches in fall. Shuttle buses can take hikers up the Access Road from the base of the Sunshine Village gondola to the upper ski lodge where the trail begins. Distance: 8.6km round trip, Elevation Gain: 180 meters, Time Required: 3 hours, Difficulty: Easy
- Stanley Glacier: This easy hike takes you up to a rocky amphitheatre where an impressive icefall – the Stanley Glacier - crumbles its way down at the head of the valley. Look for flora and fauna along the way, including wildflowers, ptarmigans, pikas and marmots. In late spring you’ll be treated with waterfalls that pour over the cliffs beneath Stanley Peak. Distance: 6.4km Round Trip, Elevation Gain: 365 meters, Time Required: 3-4 hours, Difficulty: Moderate
- Johnston Canyon & Ink Pots: An interpretive walkway follows the edge of Johnston Canyon – at times clinging to the walls of the canyon itself (handrails are included!) – leads hikers to the cascading waters of the Lower and Upper Falls. Continue beyond the falls to the Ink Pots, a series of small, aqua-tinted mineral pools. This hike is open in winter as well, but may require the use of ice cleats, available for rental in Banff. Distance: 11.6km Round Trip, Elevation Gain: 215 meters, Time Requied: 3-4 Hours, Difficulty: Moderate
- Taylor Lake: The hike to Taylor Lake involvesa steady climb up switchbacks through a fairly dense forest of lodgepole pine and spruce trees, but is well worth the effort. Close to the lake’s outlet, the trail gives way to a beautiful meadow – a perfect spot to stop for lunch and enjoy the scenery. Disatnce: 12.6km Round Trip, Elevation Gain: 650 meters, Time Required: 4-5 Hours, Difficulty: Moderate