Top 7 Hiking And Trekking Spots In Banff, Canada

hiking in banff
| 4 min read

Want to be on top of the world? Start your adventure in the resort town of Banff, Canada and ascend to heights like never before. This destination in Alberta gives you the chance to see the world from a different angle. From easy walks to intense hikes, Banff has you covered. The country is home to many different mountains that offer a variety of trails you can conquer! Besides the feeling of satisfaction after reaching the summit, you are also rewarded with breathtaking views. Scan the horizon and take in wondrous sights after attempting one of these top hiking and trekking spots in Banff, Canada.

1. Tunnel Mountain Trail

Tunnel mountain
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mokozza used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Originally named Sleeping Buffalo Mountain, it was later renamed Tunnel Mountain Trail due to a proposed but never actualised plan of blasting a hole through the mountain for trains passing through. This is a wonderful spot for a hike as it has well-graded switchbacks that allow people to ascend the mountain with relative ease. Despite being the smallest mountain in Banff, it definitely offers a picturesque view of the valley. The trails take up to 2 to 3 hours and covers a distance of 4.7 km (2.3 mi) round trip, with an elevation gain of 300 m (984 ft). En route the summit, you will reach a meadow and also catch a glimpse of Mount Rundle.

Tunnel Mountain Trail

Address: 224 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB T1L 1A1

Website: Tunnel Mountain Trail

2. Cascade Ponds

Cascade Ponds - Banff - panoramio (1)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jack Borno used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cascade Ponds is easily accessible. The 2.8-km-long (1.8-mi) trail is perfect for a simple hike. Be at total peace as you enjoy the cool breeze and admire the tranquil ponds in front of you. You can see the magnificent mountains towering over it reflected on the water. There is really no better place to be to enjoy scenic nature views in Banff. Moreover, there are waterfalls in the vicinity, up on the side of Cascade Mountain, so be sure to catch that so you can wrap up the adventure with views of the falls.

Cascade Ponds

Address: Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive, 110 Bear St, Banff, AB T1L 1A1, Canada

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

3. Banff Commonwealth Walkway Trail Head

If you consider a trail with a side of history and heritage interesting, Banff Commonwealth Walkway Trail Head is worth heading down to. Consisting of four trail walks, the trails feature bronze plaques dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her 90th birthday. The four different trails give visitors the leeway to decide which trail to embark on: Tunnel Mountains, Vermillion Lakes, Sundance Canyon, or Spray River. Your choice will determine which scenic views will greet you. This allows visitors to have a “choose your own adventure” kind of experience while immersing themselves in Banff’s natural beauty.

Banff Commonwealth Walkway Trail Head

Address: Banff, AB, Canada

Website: Banff Commonwealth Walkway Trail Head

4. Banff Upper Hot Spring

Banff Upper Hot Springs
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vigorous action used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Looking for something less physically demanding but still want to sweat it out? Here at Banff Upper Hot Springs, there is a mixture of 5 different minerals heated geothermally, with water bubbling up from 3 km (1.86 mi) deep into the earth’s crust. The water that reaches the surface of the hot springs likely has not seen any sunlight for the past hundred years! Hike the trail up the highest hot spring in Canada and have a soak in the pool to instantly feel rejuvenated. It is approximately 4 km (2.4 mi) from the centre of town. If you come during winter, you will be able to witness the beautiful sight of snow falling on the peaks of the neighbouring mountains. If you come during the other seasons, watching the sunset while soaking in a hot spring is also highly recommended.

Banff Upper Hot Spring

Address: 1 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1KU, Canada

Website: Banff Upper Hot Spring

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 10am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 11pm

5. Mount Rundle Trailhead

Calling all adventure seekers! Be ready to scale great heights here at Mount Rundle, one of the most popular areas to go hiking. With a summit scaling 2,949 m (9,675 ft) above sea level, your hike will gain an elevation of about 1,577 m (5,173 ft) where you will cover about 11 km (6.7 mi) round trip. Come and give it a shot if you love a challenge, as this path proves to be strenuous due to its steep incline. The trail is not paved so there also might be a few road hazards around. Fret not - as long as you are healthy and heed to safety guidelines, you will have loads of fun! Get ready to ascend great heights and catch some spectacular views.

Mount Rundle Trailhead

Address: Mount Rundle Rte, Banff, AB T1L 1K2, Canada

Website: Mount Rundle Trailhead

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

6. Marsh Loop Trailhead

Taking approximately 45 minutes, Marsh Loop Trailhead is a relaxing adventure as it is a 2.3 km (1.42 mi) loop that can easily be covered on foot. The unique marsh habitat adjacent to Bow River allows visitors to have a good chance to spot many different species of birds and also catch sight of Mt. Norquay. This trail is suitable for families with young kids, as they can learn about and be fascinated by the range of wildlife in the area.

Marsh Loop Trailhead

Address: 224 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB T1L 1A1

Website: Marsh Loop Trailhead

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

7. Johnston Canyon Trail

Unique shape near the creek
Source: Photo by user daveynin used under CC BY 2.0

Johnston Canyon is undisputedly the busiest hiking trail in Canada. By afternoon, the trail tends to be bustling with hikers anticipating the sights that will greet them during and after the hike. This trail might be a slightly more tedious path, but it will all be worth it when you reach the waterfalls that people clamour to see. There are many vantage points offering great views of Lower and Upper Falls. In addition, another 3-km (1.86-mi) walk will bring you to Ink Pots, where there are seven cold mineral springs for you to enjoy after a long hike.

Johnston Canyon Trail

Address: Banff National Park Of Canada, Improvement District No. 9, AB T0L, Canada

Up and beyond

It’s not every day that you get to hike up a mountain, so seize this golden opportunity if you are in Canada and give it your best shot! Put yourself up to the challenge and climb heights that few cities can offer. Enjoy the satisfaction of conquering a summit after a long hike in Banff, Canada.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Explorer by day, writer by night. In my waking hours I roam both the city streets and the rural areas in search of new thrills, every nook and cranny of this world a wonder waiting to be...Read more

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