Banff and Area

Trail Clasifications

 Classic Hikes  Other Hikes
Please note : Trail paths are only for graphical representation and may not be 100% correct for navigation

Trail Information



Banff National Park Biking Classics Logo

Banff National Park features some of Canada's most scenic roadways and trails, making it an exciting destination to explore on two wheels. The Biking CLASSICS featured in this guide will take you through beautiful sub-alpine forest, next to sparkling waters of glacier-fed lakes and under iconic peaks. While there are seemingly limitless options to enjoy, these rides are considered 'classics' and not to be missed. Cyclists of all kinds, from those content to pedal along scenic roads to mountain enthusiasts eager to tackle a rocky, root-laden singletrack, will surely be inspired. Go out for a quick spin or pack up your panniers for a longer tour; there's a perfect bike ride awaiting you in Canada's flagship national park.

Tunnel Mountain

Distance4.8 km return
Elevation Gain260 m
Time Required1 - 2 hours
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadLocated on St. Julien Road near The Banff Centre.

Hike up this little peak that the First Nations call the "Sleeping Buffalo" to gain rewarding views of the Town of Banff, the winding Bow River below and the mountains to the West, such as Mt. Bourgeau. The trail starts somewhat steeply but quickly relents into a series of switchbacks that get you high up in no time.
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Sulphur Mountain

Distance11 km return
Elevation Gain655 m
Time Required4 hours
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadBanff Upper Hotsprings parking lot.

This easy trail switchbacks its way up Sulphur Mountain and offers unparalleled views of the Bow Valley. Upon reaching the top, hikers can continue along the 1 km interpretive boardwalk to the Cosmic Ray Station (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Sanson Peak, where Norman Sanson used to live and take meteorological readings. If you like, save your knees and take the gondola down.
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Sunshine Meadows

Distance3.6 km return
Elevation Gain150 m
Time Required3 hours
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadSunshine Village

Rated #1 hike in Canada by Lonely Planet, Sunshine Meadows is a unique area on the Continental Divide that boasts carpets of alpine wildflowers in summer and golden larches in fall. A natural 5 km loop extension from Rock Isle Lake to Grizzly and Larix Lakes offers great views of the surrounding peaks including Mt. Assiniboine, "the Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies." Shuttle busses to Sunshine Village and guided hikes are available.
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Johnston Canyon

Distance4.8 km return
Elevation Gain120 m
Time Required1.5 hours
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadJohnston Canyon Parking Lot

This interpretive walkway follows the edge of Johnston Canyon - at times clinging to the walls of the canyon itself (handrails are included) - and leads excited hikers to the stunning, cascading waters of the Lower and Upper Falls. This hike is open in winter as well (look for ice climbers on the frozen waterfalls!), but may require the use of ice cleats, available for rental in Banff.
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Cascade Amphitheatre

Distance15.4 km return
Elevation Gain640 m
Time Required4 - 6 hours
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadMt. Norquay ski area

This hike begins at the Mt. Norquay ski area, crosses a bridge over Forty Mile Creek, then zigzags its way through dense forest to the Cascade Amphitheatre. As you emerge into the amphitheatre, impressively enclosed by limestone cliffs, keep your eyes out for wildflowers. Adventurous hikers can make a full day trip of it and, with adequate preparation, tackle the summit of Cascade Mountain.
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Cory Pass - Mt. Edith Circuit

Distance13 km return
Elevation Gain915 m
Time Required5 - 6 hours
DifficultyChallenging
TrailheadThe Fireside Picnic Area

Cory Pass is known as one of the most spectacular and rewarding hikes in Banff. The sheer south face of Mt. Louis surprises hikers as they crest the pass and offers ample reward for the hard work of getting there. Continue the circuit upon reaching the pass by descending down the other side and around Mt. Edith, or return the way you came.
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Bourgeau Lake & Harvey Pass

Distance14.4 km return
Elevation Gain725 m
Time Required5 - 6 hours
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadSouth side of the Trans-Canada Highway, 13 km west of the Mt. Norquay Interchange.

Bourgeau Lake and the Harvey Pass area above it deserve a full day's trip. The trail climbs steeply through a forest of lodgepole and spruce before opening out into meadows that lead to Bourgeau Lake. From there, continue 2.2km (310m up) past several smaller bodies of water to the lake at Harvey Pass for impressive views of Mt. Assiniboine, "The Matterhorn of the Rockies"
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Johnston Lake

Distance3 km return
Elevation Gain0 m
Time Required1 hour
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadJohnson Lake Picnic Area

Circle this lake which is nestled amongst some of the oldest Douglas fir trees in Alberta and experience the richest ecoregion in our park – the montane zone. Take in unique views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain.
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Fenland Trail

Distance2.1 km return
Elevation Gain0 m elevation
Time Required1 hour
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadFenland Trail parking lot

Travel under a canopy of old-growth spruce trees on this peaceful interpretive trail.
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Bow River / Hoodoos

Distance4.2 km one way
Elevation Gain60 m elevation gain
Time Required3 hour
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadSurprise Corner parking lot on Buffalo Street

Though it is close to the Banff townsite, you will feel like you are far away as you explore this forest and meadow trail. Keep an eye out for elk and birds of prey as you climb from the river's edge to the Hoodoos viewpoint.
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Spray River Loop

Distance11.4 km round trip
Elevation Gain65 m
Time Required3 - 4 hour
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadSpray River loop parking lot behind the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

This forested loop is popular with cyclists and horse users and offers rolling terrain on a tributary of the Bow River. To complete the loop, cross the bridge at km 7 and come back down to the Golf Course Road.
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Sundance Canyon

Distance11 km round trip
Elevation Gain145 m
Time Required3 hour
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadCave and Basin parking lot.

Take a peaceful stroll through the woods on this mostly paved trail before you reach an inviting creek and canyon.
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Silverton Falls

Distance2 km round trip
Elevation Gain60 m
Time Required1 hour
DifficultyEasy
TrailheadRockbound Lake parking lot.

Often overshadowed by Johnston Canyon, this short exploratory hike is a local secret and takes you right up to a series of elegant waterfalls.
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C-Level Cirque

Distance4.2 km one way
Elevation Gain455 m
Time Required3 hour
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadThe Upper Bankhead day-use area

Hike back in time as you walk past old coal mine shafts before reaching a dramatic basin on Cascade Mountain.
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Upper Hot Springs

Distance1.1 km one way
Elevation Gain170 m
Time Required1 hour
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadSpray River loop parking lot

Climb through a spacious lodgepole pine forest on your way for a soak at the Banff Upper Hot Springs, a ride on the Banff Gondola or for further hiking up Sulphur Mountain.
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Stoney Squaw Mountain

Distance2.1 km one way
Elevation Gain190 m
Time Required2 hour
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadMount Norquay ski area

Hike through a dense forest of pine and spruce for a unique view of Cascade Mountain and the peaks of the Fairholme Range. This trail is also popular with mountain bikers.
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Ink Pots

Distance5.4 km one way
Elevation Gain215 m
Time Required4 hour
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadJohnson Canyon parking lot

After experiencing the waterfalls along the Johnston Canyon trail, continue beyond its Upper Falls to reach a set of brilliantly coloured pools.
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Healy Pass

Distance9 km one way
Elevation Gain655 m
Time Required6 - 7 hour
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadSunshine Village parking lot.

From the far end of the Sunshine Village parking lot you will follow Healy Creek as it leads towards the continental divide. This classic hike provides expansive views, vast alpine meadows and larch trees.
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Rockbound Lake

Distance8.4 km one way
Elevation Gain760 m
Time Required6 - 7 hour
DifficultyModerate
TrailheadRockbound Lake parking lot

A long, steady climb through the woods takes you to Castle Mountain's "other side" where you will be treated to a pair of beautiful lakes you will not soon forget.
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Aylmer Lookout

Distance11.8 km one way
Elevation Gain560 m
Time Required7 - 8 hour
DifficultyDifficult
TrailheadThe Lake Minnewanka parking lot

Less strenuous than Aylmer Pass, this trail follows the shores of Lake Minnewanka on the same approach as the Aylmer Pass trail. The trail offers a panoramic view from the site of an old fire lookout and is one of the first high elevation trails to be snow free in the early summer.
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Aylmer Pass

Distance20 km one way
Elevation Gain810 m
Time Required8 - 9 hour
DifficultyDifficult
TrailheadThe Lake Minnewanka parking lot

Hike above the blue water of Lake Minnewanka before climbing high into the front ranges of the Rockies to a stunning 2285 m alpine pass. It is possible to mountain bike the first 8 km of this trail.
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