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Hoodoo Lookout Point Banff, AB@maschofy

Banff & Area Trails

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A mecca of hiking is available right from the town of Banff.

From the steep slopes of Sulphur Mountain, the intricate passageways of Johnston Canyon, or the high alpine pastures of Harvey Pass, the magnificent trails around Banff are inexhaustible.

Tunnel Mountain

  • Distance: 4.8 km return
  • Elevation Gain: 260 m
  • Time Required: 1 - 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Located 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 Mount Bourgeau. The trail starts somewhat steeply and then takes you into a series of switchbacks leading to the summit.

@alixlinaker

Sulphur Mountain

  • Distance: 11 km return
  • Elevation Gain: 655 m
  • Time Required: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Banff 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.

Sunshine Meadows

  • Distance: 8 km return
  • Elevation Gain: 185 m
  • Time Required: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Sunshine Village

Rated the number 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 8 km loop extension from Rock Isle Lake to Grizzly and Laryx Lakes offers great views of the surrounding peaks including Mount Assiniboine, the "Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies." The Sunshine Village gondola and Standish sightseeing lift run Friday- Sunday and on all long weekends in the summer. Shuttle busses are available on all other days.

Johnston Canyon

  • Distance: 4.8 km return
  • Elevation Gain: 120 m
  • Time Required: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Johnston 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 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.

Cascade Amphitheatre

  • Distance: 15.4 km return
  • Elevation Gain: 640 m
  • Time Required: 4 - 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Mount Norquay ski area

This hike begins at the Mount 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.

Cory Pass - Mount Edith Circuit

  • Distance: 13 km return
  • Elevation Gain: 915 m
  • Time Required: 5 - 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Trailhead: The Fireside Picnic Area

Cory Pass is known as one of the most spectacular and rewarding hikes in Banff. The sheer south face of Mount 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 Mount Edith, or return the way you came.

Bourgeau Lake & Harvey Pass

Distance: 14.4 km return
Elevation Gain: 725 m
Time Required: 5 - 6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead: South side of the Trans-Canada Highway, 13 km west of the Mount 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 Mount Assiniboine, "The Matterhorn of the Rockies"