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You Can Hike 365 Days A Year In Banff National Park

Published Date
Mar 29, 2018
Mountain Institute

Banff and Lake Louise are year-round destinations that have diverse and ample hiking options regardless of the season. Winter, spring, summer, and autumn hiking are found high and low in Banff National Park, and here we will give you the know-how and locations to see the best of our hiking options in all months of the year.

Winter hiking

Although additional gear may be needed, the reward is worth it. Nature’s silent season is accompanied by deep powder, snow-glistened trees, frozen waterfalls, and deserted areas.

Trail options: Whether it’s with ice cleats at the Johnston Canyon ice walk or snowshoeing at Sunshine Meadows, winter hiking in Banff and Lake Louise is a largely undiscovered activity with lots to offer. For more information, check out Your Guide To Winter Hiking.

Spring hiking

Taking advantage of the lower valley bottoms in the spring will allow you to find snowless trails, flowers blooming, and ample opportunities to spot wildlife. This is a unique time of year where snow capped peaks fill the skies and colourful valley bottoms come alive with the turning of the season.

Trail options: The Sundance Canyon trail to Sundance Falls is an excellent paved hiking trail that ends at the spring meltwater gushing down Sundance Falls. Walk across the network of bridges to the top of the trail and go around sunset for an excellent west-facing viewpoint. Another great option for hiking in spring is the Hoodoo Trail on Tunnel Mountain. Known for its dramatic views of the Fairmont Banff Springs, Mount Rundle, and the Bow Valley, this is another low lying trail ready early in the season. For a shorter jaunt, explore the shores of Vermilion Lakes near the Banff townsite. For more inspiration, check out 10 Early Season Hikes in Banff National Park.

Vermillion LakesVermillion LakesVermillion Lakes

Summer hiking

Banff and Lake Louise are both areas well-known for ample summer hiking, and for good reason. Glaciers, pristine lakes, blooming flora and fauna, and wildlife viewing opportunities are found in countless areas throughout Banff National Park.

Trail options: Off the beaten path hiking trails can be found for a solitude summer experience; a few trails include the Lake Minnewanka lakeside trail, Bow River Loop in Lake Louise, and the famous tea house hike in Lake Louise to Lake Agnes, which should be accessed early morning to avoid crowds. Summer is primetime for a number of classic hikes in Banff National Park. For some inspiration, check out 9 Bucket List Hikes In Banff and Lake Louise.

Lake Agnes, Banff National ParkLake Agnes, Banff National ParkLake Agnes, Banff National Park

Fall hiking

The fall season is short, but very sweet and colourful in Banff and Lake Louise. The larch trees turn a golden brown before their needles drop while the leaves of other trees also change and the mountains truly come alive. While the animals are getting ready to hibernate, this is a great time to get out and experience the best of what the Rocky Mountains have to offer before the snow falls.

Trail options: Although a short season, notable fall hikes include the Skoki Loop, Sunshine Meadows, and Taylor Lake. Check out our trip report - Backpacking Banff: A Fall Trip On The Skoki Loop.

Baker Lake Approach, Banff National Park Baker Lake Approach, Banff National Park Baker Lake Approach, Banff National Park
Jonny Bierman

Jonny Bierman

Jonny is an Albertan who grew up skiing Banff’s slopes before globetrotting and studying on Vancouver Island. He now lives in Banff and enjoys all things outdoors and adventure.