7 Best Banff Hikes

7 Best Banff Hikes

One of the best things to do in Banff is explore the many hiking trails inside the national park. From shorter forest walks to full day hiking in the Canadian Rockies, here are our top 7 best Banff hikes.

7: Boom Lake

This hike is perfect for all ages and fitness levels. A gentle nature walk through forest to one of Banff’s lakes – the beautiful Boom Lake. You will be back in the car in as little as 3 hours which is great for an afternoon adventure or may give you the chance to explore other attractions in the area such as Marble Canyon or Stanley Glacier.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 3-4 hours return

6: Grassi Lakes, Canmore

Technically just outside the Banff National Park in the neighbouring town of Canmore, this trail takes you up stone stairs, past a waterfall and along the shore of two small lakes. This is a favourite hangout for local rock climbers so make sure you pack a lunch if you want to see some great athletes do their thing in a stunning location.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 2 hours return
Hot Tip: If you happen to enjoy frisbee golf, check out the three courses in Canmore at the Three Sisters, Nordic Centre and Palliser Road.

Grassi Lakes is one of the best hikes in Banff National Park.

5: Rockbound Lake

A small but steady incline through forest before opening up to a truly spectacular lake surrounded by rocky cliffs. The hike itself is enjoyable for all ages but the final destination is why Rockbound Lake has made no.5 on our list of best Banff hikes. If you have the energy and up for a tougher challenge then you should consider making the scramble up a scree slope on the south side of the lake to the summit of Helena Ridge.

Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 5-6 hours return
Hot Tip: Take the scenic route along the Bow Valley Parkway and look out for the distinctive Castle Mountain towering above from the highway.

4: Cascade Mountain

A full day hike up Banff’s signature mountain. For experienced hikers used to significant elevation gains, route finding and scrambling up loose scree.

Difficulty: Hard
Time: 9-11 hours return
Hot Tip: Bring route information for Cascade Mountain on the hike!

Cascade Mountain is a true contender for one of the best Banff hikes.

3: Tunnel Mountain

A short but exhilarating hiking trail up Banff’s smallest mountain. Steep corners or switchbacks will get your heart pumping, but the view of the town from the top makes it all worthwhile and a worthy contender for one of the best Banff hikes.

Difficulty: Easy… well, as easy as it can be to walk up a mountain!
Time: 1-2 hours return
Hot Tip: Once you’re at the top, look out for a smaller back trail which will take you to an equally beautiful but less busy lookout point.

Tunnel Mountain is one of the best Banff hikes.

2: Larch Valley / Sentinel Pass, Moraine Lake

The Moraine Lake area contains many of the best hikes in Banff National Park. Explore a huge valley at the top of the hiking trail surrounded by trickling streams, larch trees and snow capped peaks. Continue along Larch Valley to ascend up Sentinel Pass for an extra challenge – we promise it’s much less intimidating than it looks!

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Time: 4-6 hours return
Hot Tip: If you’re visiting Banff in autumn, this hike is a must! See the leaves of the larch trees turn gold and make the valley come alight.

Sentinel Pass is one of the best Banff hikes.


1: The Big Beehive, Lake Louise

One of the most stunning hikes in Lake Louise and easily one of the best hikes in Banff National Park! Walk along the shores of three lakes, including Lake Louise, past a tea house (yes, a tea house halfway up a mountain!) before the final ascent to the “Big Beehive”.

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Time: 5-6 hours return

Big Bee Hive and Devil's thumb is one of the best Banff hikes.

HOT TIP: If you’re feeling adventurous, look for the Devil’s Thumb hike at the top of the Big Beehive trail. Phenomenal birds eye views of Lake Louise and Lake Agnes side by side.

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