People like to hike for all kinds of reasons. It gets your legs moving and heart pumping, brings you into the fresh air and out in the mountains. For many, it’s a way to spend time connecting with nature, and for others a way of walking in the footsteps of explorers who came before. And for those who see the outdoors as their classroom, Banff National Park is one of the best places to learn while you hike.
Perhaps you’ve stopped on a hike and wondered: Who climbed that peak first? How did the mountains form? What species of wildflower is that? Or, how do mountain goats manoeuvre on those tiny ledges without falling? You’ll be happy to know that there are people who dedicate their work to answering exactly those questions. Some will even dress up as a mountain goat to explain it to you.
The next time you venture out for a hike, consider having an interpretive guide join you. Here’s why we recommend it!
- Guide books are great, but an interpretive guide is like a walking encyclopedia! Have a question? They’ll be able to field your questions along the way.
- You will see things you likely would have missed along the way, or at least see them differently. Even locals and experienced hikers will gain far more from a guided hike than they would hiking on their own.
- Many guided hikes include a delicious packed lunch (or join Joel and Nadine for Fondue with a View and you’re really in for a treat!) Food always tastes better when you’re hiking, and it's even tastier when you don’t need to prepare it yourself.
- An educational hike will turn you into a steward for the environment. The more you learn about the world around you, the more you’ll want to protect it. It's a great way to discover ways that you can give back to Banff National Park.
- Some guided hikes allow you to tackle a day or multi-day hike you may not otherwise do on your own or even with a partner. Certified guides bring the know-how to help you navigate while also learning about your surroundings.
How to Book an Interpretive or Guided Hike
A variety of companies offer interpretive and educational hikes in Banff and Lake Louise, including:
- Canadian Rockies Alpine Hiking
- Discover Banff Tours
- Great Divide Interpretation
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- The Lake Louise Summer Gondola
- White Mountain Adventures
- Yamnuska Canadian Rockies Hiking
- Banff Hiking Company
You can also contact the Interpretive Guides Association (IGA) to privately hire an Accredited Guide or find companies accredited by the IGA.
Need more info? Contact the Visitors Centres in Banff and Lake Louise.