The Ultimate Guide to Easy Hikes in Banff: Perfect for First-Timers

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Are you looking to explore the breathtaking beauty of Banff National Park? Whether you’re a first-time hiker or a seasoned trekker looking for an easier adventure, this ultimate guide to easy hikes in Banff will tell you everything you need to know.

sunshine meadows one of the easy hikes in Banff National Park

We’ve laid out some of the best and most rewarding day hikes in Banff with detailed descriptions, photos and trail information – so you can relax knowing that no matter your level of expertise, there’s a perfect hike for you in the Canadian Rockies!

From Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail to the hike to the Johnston Canyon waterfalls, we have you covered with our comprehensive list of the 23 best easy hikes in Banff. They will lead you to the park’s majestic mountain vistas, turquoise alpine lakes and towering pine forests.

Not only do we feature short hikes in Banff for you to enjoy, but we also address frequently asked questions, such as what to pack for your trip, the optimal times to explore the great outdoors, and how to prepare for your hiking adventure in this beautiful national park.

First time visiting Banff? These Maine travel resources will make your trip planning a breeze: 
eSIM: Knowroaming and Airalo both have affordable Canada data plans.
VPN: Boost your privacy and internet security with NordVPN.
Car rental: Discover Cars is great at finding and comparing the best car rental deals.
Flights: Find the most competitive price through Expedia!
Hotels: Expedia usually has the best rates (plus, members earn additional rewards!). We also recommend comparing prices on Tripadvisor. Scroll down to the hotel section for our top picks around the area.
Food: Enjoy the best culinary experience using our Banff food guide.
Visiting in winter? Steal our 1-day Banff winter itinerary!
Hiking in Jasper? Here are the top easy hikes in Jasper you’ve gotta try!

Table of Contents: Easy Hikes in Banff
→ Can you hike in Banff?
→ Is it safe to hike in Banff?
→ How we made our selection of easy Banff hikes
→ Top 23 easy hikes in Banff
→ Map of the best hikes in Banff
→ Best time to go hiking in Banff
→ Banff hiking tips
→ What to pack for hiking in Banff
→ Where to stay in Banff

Can you hike in Banff?

Yes, you absolutely can hike in Banff—that’s probably why you stumbled upon this post, right?

Banff and Lake Louise’s world-renowned mountainscapes offer adventure enthusiasts world-class hiking trails to explore.

There are over 1,600 km (1,000 miles) of routes to choose from, with many of the park’s most famous hikes accessible from the Town of Banff and the village of Lake Louise!

woman walking on mountain trail by the lake, best hikes in banff for beginners

Is it safe to hike in Banff?

Yes, hiking in Banff can be safe if you’re cautious. The wilderness is not without danger. Even short trips from the Town of Banff can lead to serious consequences.

banff peyto lake hiking in summer

Here are some tips to help keep you safe and prepared in your outdoor exploration:

  • Check the weather forecast before heading out. But keep in mind due to rapid changes in mountain weather, always prepare for the unexpected, as snow can occur even in summer. Dressing in layers and packing extra food and warm clothing are musts.
  • Carefully review trail descriptions and maps before embarking on a hike. Always choose a trail suitable for the least experienced member in your group.
  • We highly recommend downloading the AllTrails app to navigate the Banff hiking trails like a pro. The app not only provides trail descriptions, maps, photos and reviews to help you prepare and decide which trails to explore, but also allows you to download maps before your hike to ensure you don’t get lost, even without cell service. 
  • Some trails can have snow lingering till late summer. The snow-covered tracks make route finding a challenge, and travel through deep snow or ice can be quite unsafe. To avoid undue risk, check trail conditions before heading out
  • Trails above tree line (2,000 m / 6,561 ft) are susceptible to avalanches throughout the year, especially if you’re visiting Banff in winter from November to June. Snow on steep slopes can slide without warning. Always check the Avalanche Bulletin for the latest conditions before venturing out.
  • Always check for warnings and closures before leaving.
  • Bring your own water. Drinking untreated surface water can be dangerous and lead to health issues.
  • Carry a first aid kit.
  • Avoid wearing earbuds or headphones. Be mindful of your surroundings and stay alert at all times.
  • Always let someone you trust know where you’re headed, when you’ll be back, and who they should contact if you don’t return.
  • Ticks carrying Lyme disease may be present in the park. After hiking, it’s crucial you check yourself and your furry friend for ticks.
grizzly bear in banff national park

And let’s not forget – Banff National Park is home to wildlife including elk, wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and black bears. You might have an encounter with the wildlife anywhere in the park, even on paved trails or roads. 

To stay safe, follow these tips while hiking in Banff:

  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Bear spray is available at the Banff visitor centres and retail outlets in Banff and Lake Louise.
  • Make noise while hiking to alert animals of your presence.
  • If you’re bringing your dogs, keep them on leash at all times.
  • If you see wildlife: keep a safe distance of at least 30 m (98 ft) for elk and deer and 100 m (328 ft) for bears, wolves, cougars and coyotes. Never approach wildlife for a photo op.

Notes: During Spring hikes, be extra vigilant if you happen to come across a bear. Ensure you do not unintentionally come between a protective mama bear and her cubs!

How we made our selection of easy Banff hikes

Banff and Lake Louise boast hundreds of hiking trails, and given such abundance, how do we narrow down to the 23 best easy hikes in Banff to feature in this article? 

Well, we consider a few selection criteria. 

We prioritize the trails that are easily accessible and not too challenging to locate.

We also ensure that the trail can be completed within a day, although most of them are relatively short and can be covered in under half a day.

But that’s not all. We go a step further by featuring easy hiking trails in Banff that offer stunning vistas or a chance to admire the wildlife (from a safe distance, of course) to give you a memorable experience.

Top 23 easy hikes in Banff

Lace up your hiking boots, grab your water bottle, and get ready to explore some of the best hikes in Banff!

With stunning views of glacial lakes, cascading waterfalls, and soaring mountain peaks, Banff National Park truly is a hiker’s paradise. 

From the serene Johnston Canyon to the picturesque Lake Minnewanka, each of these 23 easy Banff hikes offers its own unique beauty and adventure. 

Are you ready? Let’s explore the wonders of Banff National Park together and hit the trails!

 ⛰️Johnson Lake

▻ Distance: 3 km / 1.8 mi loop
▻ Type: loop
▻ Duration: 45 min~1 hr
▻ Elevation: 30 m / ~100 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round; bring microspikes if it is snowy or icy
▻ Trailhead: Johnson Lake day-use area
Click here for trail map

Johnson Lake loop trail is one of the easy hikes in Banff with captivating sunset views. The trail encircles Johnson Lake, with the breathtaking Mount Rundle towering in the background.

johnson lake loop trail one of the best hikes in banff

⛰️Two Jack Lake

▻ Distance: 1.6 km / 1 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 30 min~1 hr one way
▻ Elevation: 184 m / 603 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: park your car at the Two-Jack day-use area. The trail starts from the southern tip of the parking lot (near the toilet).
Click here for trail map

Looking to explore Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive? One highlight to add to your itinerary is the Two Jack Lake trail – one of the short hikes in Banff with unobstructed views of the picturesque lake and surrounding peaks. 

Don’t forget to pack a picnic or a BBQ to enjoy a lakeside meal. For some aquatic fun, try your hand at fishing (with a license), take a dip, or rent a kayak/paddleboard for a peaceful day on the water.

two jake lake a popular easy Banff hiking trail

⛰️Bankhead (Bankside) Historical Loop

▻ Distance: 1.1 km / 0.68 mi
▻ Type: Loop
▻ Elevation: 35 m / 115 ft
▻ Duration: ~35 min
▻ Accessibility: June through October
▻ Trailhead: at the far-right of the fence, located near the entrance of the parking lot at Lower Bankhead. This area sits along the Lake Minnewanka Loop
Click here for trail map

This scenic loop hike boasts stunning wildflowers and weaves through the remnants of the ghost town Bankhead, a coal mining hub in the early 1900s.

bankhead historical loop banff hiking trails

Follow the interpretive trail to explore abandoned buildings and mining carts. The trail’s informational plaques give it a museum-like feel, making it an enriching and educational experience.

With barely any elevation gain, this relaxing stroll feels more like a Banff walking trail.

⛰️Stewart Canyon

▻ Distance: 3.3 km / 2 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 1.5 hrs one way
▻ Elevation: 250 m / 820 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: Lake Minnewanka day-use area – look for the kiosk at the far end of the picnic area
Click here for trail map 

The Stewart Canyon hike kicks off on the shores of beautiful Lake Minnewanka! After an easy start, the trail takes you to a wooden bridge over the Stewart Canyon. 

stewart canyon easy banff hikes

Bear in mind, this is grizzly territory, requiring at least 4 hikers in a group carrying bear spray during berry season (July-September)! 

The trail gets a bit trickier at the canyon with rocks, roots, and occasional fallen trees, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Following the cascade river for around 2 km (1.24 mi) provides ample opportunities to spot wildlife and take in scenic river views!

⛰️Tunnel Mountain Hoodoos Trail

▻ Distance: 10 km / 6.2 mi loop
▻ Type: loop
▻ Duration: 2.5~3.5 hrs
▻ Elevation: 316 m / 1,036 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: Surprise Corner parking lot
Click here for trail map

This Tunnel Mountain hike starts from the Surprise Corner parking lot, where you can take in the views of the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Let the dirt path lead you to the shores of the Bow River where you might catch a glimpse of the magnificent Mount Rundle. 

tunnel mountain hoodoos trail banff hikes for beginners

Eventually, you’ll reach a bench atop Tunnel Mountain after climbing some stairs.

From there, you’ll have several viewpoints of the hoodoo–unique rock formations that you will be surprised to find outside a desert! Keep an eye out for interpretive exhibits about the formation of these gargoyle-esque hoodoos.

⛰️Cascade Falls

▻ Distance: 0.65 km / 0.4 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 30 min one way
▻ Elevation: 144 m / 473 ft
▻ Accessibility: May through October
▻ Trailhead: Banff Airfield Parking
Click here for trail map

Immerse yourself in the power of nature with one of the best hikes in Banff – a journey to the breathtaking Cascade Falls! Standing right next to the 300 m (384 ft) high waterfall will leave you feeling absolutely exhilarated! 

Bear in mind that while the hike is short, there is a steep incline. Watch out for loose shale rock as you navigate your way up the mountain.

cascade falls must-do hikes in banff

⛰️Bow Falls Viewpoint

▻ Distance: 1.2 km / 0.75 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 30 min one way
▻ Elevation: 66 m / 216 ft
▻ Accessibility: year round
▻ Trailhead: in the Town of Banff, right at the south base of the pedestrian bridge that stretches across the Bow River
Click here for trail map 

The trail is mostly flat, but there are sections with wooden stairs to climb up and down.

Despite its busyness and popularity, the trail doesn’t disappoint. It leads to a platform where you can get prime views of the Bow Falls – a sight that’s impeccable in any season! 

It is one of the easy hiking trails in Banff that are conveniently within walking distance of the town centre. 

bow falls viewpoint near fairmont banff springs hotel

⛰️Spray River Loop

▻ Distance: 12 km / 7.5 mile loop
▻ Type: loop
▻ Duration: 3.5 to 5 hrs
▻ Elevation: minimal
▻ Accessibility: March through October
▻ Trailhead: park at the Bow Falls day-use Area and begin your loop either from the Golf Course Road, located at the end of the 15th hole on your right as you cross the bridge, or from the parking area behind the Fairmont Banff Springs (if you’re staying there).
Click here for trail map

Experience the beauty of the Spray River on one of the top-rated Banff walking trails!

You’ll stumble upon some breathtaking clearings along the way, offering stunning views that you won’t forget. And the crystal-clear, blue waters of the river will remain in sight throughout the hike!

spray river loop easy hikes in banff

⛰️Fenland Trail

▻ Distance: 2.1 km / 1.25 mi loop
▻ Type: Loop
▻ Duration: 40 min
▻ Elevation: none
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: at the parking lot next to Mt. Norquay Road, diagonally opposite the Fenland Banff Recreation centre.
Click here for trail map

One of the best short hikes in Banff town offering great opportunities to spot elk and other wildlife! It also offers splendid views of the Canadian Rockies through the trees lining the path. 

If you’re in the mood for a slightly longer easy hike, you can keep going on the flat trail leading to Vermillion Lakes.

fenland trail easy hikes in banff

⛰️Marsh Loop

▻ Distance: 2.8 km / 1.74 mi loop
▻ Type: loop
▻ Duration: 1 hr
▻ Elevation: minimal
▻ Accessibility: June through October
▻ Trailhead: follow the paved walkway near the Cave and Basin National Historic Site and keep walking till you spot the trailhead kiosk.
Click here for trail map

The prettiest part of the trail runs along the Bow River, offering scenic views and opportunities to spot wildlife. Keep a lookout for moose and bear! 

Due to its popularity with horse riders, the trail may be muddy and scattered with poop, so watch out! 

marsh loop easy hikes in banff

⛰️Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk

▻ Distance: 1 km / 0.6 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 30 min one way
▻ Elevation: 35 m / 115 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round; bring microspikes in winter as it will be icy
▻ Trailhead: Banff Gondola upper terminal (a ticket for the gondola ride is needed)
Click here for trail map

The boardwalk tops our list of favourite easy hikes in Banff. 

Beginning at the upper terminal of Sulphur Mountain Gondola, the trail winds up to Sanson’s Peak, boasting breathtaking views of the surrounding area as you follow the ridge walks along the north side of Sulphur Mountain. 

At the summit, you’ll be greeted by the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station, a National Historic Site of Canada.

What to do in Banff in fall - Canadian Rockies road trip

⛰️Sunshine Meadows

▻ Distance: 1 to 10 km / 0.6 to 6.2 mi loop
▻ Type: loop
▻ Duration: 1 to 2 hrs to a full day
▻ Elevation: 49 to 176 m / 160 to 577 ft
▻ Accessibility: June through September
▻ Trailhead: ride the gondola at Banff Sunshine Ski Resort to the Village to begin your hike. Alternatively, keep going and hop on the Standish Chairlift for an even higher starting point.
Click here for trail map

The sunshine meadows hike boasts an expansive network of 10 km (6.2 mi) of well-marked trails, varying in difficulty from easy to moderate.

It is easy to lose yourself in the captivating views of sprawling alpine meadows and charming wildflowers, as you explore the three distinct alpine lakes: Rock Isle Lake, Larix Lake, and Grizzly Lake.

If you’re short on time, head straight to Rock Isle Lake. This picturesque lake can be accessed from the Standish viewing deck and is close to Sunshine Village.

sunshine meadows one of the easy hikes in Banff National Park

⛰️Johnston Canyon

▻ Distance: Lower Falls: 1.2 km / 0.75 mi one way, Upper Falls: 2.5 km / 1.5 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 1~1.5 hrs one way
▻ Elevation: Lower falls: 50m / 164 ft, Upper falls: 120m / 394 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round: summer is more crowded, in winter it becomes an ice walk to frozen waterfalls
▻ Trailhead: northern end of Johnston Canyon parking lot
Click here for trail map

In the summertime, Johnston Canyon is a popular destination that attracts large crowds in Banff. But when the winter season rolls around, visitors get a unique opportunity to witness the waterfalls frozen in time. And it’s not hard to understand why it is so popular even in the cold. The sight of the icy falls is nothing short of magnificent. 

johnston canyon banff national park in winter

You can take on a hike that leads to either the lower or upper falls, and if you’re up for a challenge, you can continue the adventurous trek all the way to the ink pots (for an extra 3km / 1.8 mi)!

Notes: During May, June, and September, the 17 km (10.5 mi) section of Bow Valley Parkway from Banff to Johnston Canyon is closed to motorized traffic and exclusively reserved for cycling. 

If you’re planning to visit during these months, we recommend joining a tour, biking, or driving from Lake Louise to reach this beautiful destination.

⛰️Silverton Falls

▻ Distance: 0.8 km / 0.5 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 30 mins one way
▻ Elevation: 87 to 106 m / 282 to 348 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: Rockbound Lake trailhead parking lot
Click here for trail map

Silverton Falls is hands down one of the most beautiful and easy hikes in Banff. 

Complete with stunning waterfalls, this trail is perfect for hikers of any skill level and is often overlooked, making it a great spot if you want to escape the crowds. 

The trail is relatively flat at first as it guides you through the peaceful forest but then amps up the excitement by taking you to a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking a two-tiered waterfall!

silverton falls easy hikes in banff

⛰️Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail

▻ Distance: 400 m / 0.25 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 20 min one way
▻ Elevation: 30 m / 98 ft
▻ Accessibility: June through October
▻ Trailhead: cross the bridge at the lower end of the Moraine Lake parking lot
Click here for trail map

The Moraine Lake trail leads you up steep rock-built stairs, but trust us, the view from the top of the Rockpile is absolutely breathtaking. The Valley of the Ten Peaks towers over the stunning Moraine Lake, making it one of the most awe-inspiring mountain views you’ll ever see.

Fun fact: This is the spot where the photo on the back of one of the older Canadian twenty-dollar bills was taken. Don’t forget your camera, because there are numerous viewpoints at the top for capturing amazing photos!

Many people pair this hike with the Lakeshore Trail (2.9 km / 1.8 mi return) or Consolation Lakes Trail (6 km / 3.7 mi return).

Note: During summertime, Moraine Lake becomes extremely crowded. Given the limited parking, we highly recommend using public transportation to visit the area.

What to do in Banff in fall - Canadian Rockies road trip

⛰️Lake Louise Shoreline Trail

▻ Distance: 2.25 km / 1.4 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 35 min one way
▻ Elevation: Minimal
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: starts in front of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel
Click here for trail map

Take a leisurely stroll on this flat, easy walking trail along the shore of Lake Louise, basking in the beautiful scenery of water and mountain peaks. 

You can go as far as the back of the lake, where the Victoria Glacier deposits rock silt, contributing to the lake’s renowned emerald hue. And don’t miss the picture-perfect view of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the backdrop!

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Summer

Feeling adventurous? Make your way up the short hill to the world-renowned back-of-the-lake climbing area, a favourite spot for avid rock climbers!

⛰️The Fairview Lookout Trail

▻ Distance: 1.2 km / 0.75 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 30 min one way
▻ Elevation: 165 m / 540 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise Parking Area
Click here for trail map

The Fairview Lookout trail offers stunning views of Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel! While there are a few areas of grade to climb along the way, this short hiking trail is a better option than the popular Lake Agnes Teahouse or Plain of Six Glaciers trail.

And the real bonus? You get to marvel at a fantastic view that you won’t find on the teahouse trail because the trees block the way! 

Fairview Lookout Trail Lake Louise Summer

⛰️Hector Lake (Icefields Parkway)

▻ Distance: 2.5 km / 1.55 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 45 min one way
▻ Elevation: 100 m / 328 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: Hector Lake Pull Off. Look for a tiny wooden sign that says, “Hector Lake Hike”
Click here for trail map

Hector Lake is a hidden gem nestled at the border of Banff and Yoho National Park! Surrounded by the stunning Waputik Range and peaceful surroundings, it offers a tranquil retreat with pristine mountain views.

hector lake easy hikes in banff

Unlike the popular tourist spots, the trailhead is often overlooked, which means you can bask in the serene beauty without the crowds. The end of the trail has a campsite and several canoes available for use.

Make sure to bring water shoes or sandals to cross the river. The rocks can be slippery, but it’s definitely worth the adventure! Don’t forget to keep your valuables in your backpack as the current can get pretty strong!

⛰️Peyto Lake Lookout Trail (Icefields Parkway)

▻ Distance: 2.6 km / 1.6 mi loop
▻ Type: loop
▻ Duration: 45 min~1 hr
▻ Elevation: 80 m / 262 ft
▻ Accessibility: May through October
▻ Trailhead: Bow Summit parking lot
Click here for trail map

The hike to the enchanting Peyto Lake should be on every Canadian Rockies itinerary. This Peyto Lake hike offers one of the finest views of the vibrant blue glacier lake. 

While the main viewpoint is spectacular, it is a hotspot for crowds. For a quieter moment, make a visit to the upper viewpoint, which is often deserted.

What to do in Banff in fall - Canadian Rockies road trip

⛰️Chephren Lake (Icefields Parkway)

▻ Distance: 3.9 km / 2.42 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 1.5 hr one way
▻ Elevation: 241 m / 790 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round; the parking areas are closed in winter so you will have to hike a little further
▻ Trailhead: Mistaya River footbridge at the rear of Waterfowl Lakes Campground
Click here for trail map

The Chephren Lake hike offers a chance to experience breathtaking meadows, magnificent views of Mt Chephren and Howse Peak, and maybe even a chance to spot some wildlife if approached carefully!

Be prepared for a bit of a challenge as the trail can be muddy and dotted with exposed roots, but it’s worth the effort!

chephren lake easy hikes in banff

⛰️Mistaya Canyon (Icefields Parkway)

▻ Distance: 1.8 km / 1.1 mi
▻ Type: loop
▻ Duration: 40 min
▻ Elevation: 79 m / 259 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round; bring microspikes in winter as it will be icy
▻ Trailhead: the Mistaya Canyon parking lot, on the west side of the Icefields Parkway, precisely 5.2 km south of the David Thompson Highway junction
Click here for trail map

Mistaya Canyon is an awe-inspiring natural wonder that must be seen to be believed! This short hike in Banff promises a magnificent view of rushing water, stunning falls, and remarkable rock formations. 

The breathtaking scenery surrounding the area also provides plenty of photo opportunities – no filter needed!

Don’t forget to cross the bridge and walk along the river for even more views of the incredible canyon.

mistaya canyon easy hikes in banff

⛰️Panther Falls (Icefields Parkway)

▻ Distance: 0.65 km / 0.4 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 15 min one way
▻ Elevation: 75 m / 246 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round
▻ Trailhead: Panther Falls parking lot, located after a major landmark called “the big bend”
Click here for trail map

Experience the majesty of nature on this short trail to the impressive 66 m (216 ft) waterfall. You’ll have the opportunity to stand at the water’s edge and immerse yourself in the invigorating sounds of rushing water.

panther falls easy hikes in banff

⛰️Toe of the Athabasca Glacier (Icefields Parkway)

▻ Distance: 0.7 km / 0.43 mi one way
▻ Type: out and back
▻ Duration: 15 min one way
▻ Elevation: 61 m / 200 ft
▻ Accessibility: year-round; visitor centre is closed and tours are not running in winter
▻ Trailhead: Toe of the Athabasca Glacier parking lot
Click here for trail map

No Canadian Rockies road trip is complete without a visit to the Athabasca Glacier, especially if you’re extending your Banff adventure to Jasper National Park

This magnificent glacier, one of Canada’s most renowned frozen wonders, is easily accessible for hikers of all levels. 

toe of the athabasca glacier easy hikes in banff

While exploring the hike, you’ll come across place markers showing the drastic effect humans have had on the environment and how the glacier has receded over the years. A sight both beautiful and humbling, this is an experience to be cherished.

For the unforgettable experience of walking on a glacier, we recommend booking an Athabasca Glacier Icewalk with a local guide. You’ll have more time to take in the sights and sounds of this natural wonder, all while feeling secure knowing you’re in the hands of an expert.

What to do in Jasper in fall - Canadian Rockies road trip

Map of the best hikes in Banff

To get a clear picture of where these trails are located, simply utilize the Google Maps below. All the easy hikes in Banff that were discussed earlier have been conveniently mapped out for you.

Best time to go hiking in Banff National Park

banff and lake louise hiking guide

Wondering when to hit up the easy hiking trails in Banff? Some trails are accessible year-round, but the prime hiking season in Banff National Park is from July through mid-September. 

Until late June, many routes are still snow-bound and may be subject to avalanche hazard. Trails at this time are muddier, making hiking on lower elevations and drier, south-facing slopes around the Town of Banff more favourable. 

But by mid-July, most alpine passes are snow-free, creating perfect conditions for hitting the trails!

Banff hiking tips

hiking trails in banff national park

To enhance your hiking experience in Banff and Lake Louise, here are some valuable tips we’d love to share. We might have mentioned some earlier, but we’re reiterating them because they’re crucial.

So, if you’re looking to take a Banff hiking adventure, remember these tips:

  • Expect crowds during the peak season (July through September). Consider starting early to secure a parking spot before they run out.
  • Save time and avoid queues at the entrance of the park by purchasing your park pass in advance (buy them online, then print and display on the dash)
  • Always check trail conditions before you start
  • Bring bug spray and bear spray
  • Bring your own water
  • Be prepared for sudden changes in temperature – dress in layers. And don’t forget your rain jacket, just in case of a surprise shower
  • Leave no trace behind — pack out all trash with you
  • Leave what you find — it is the law. Natural and cultural resources, like rocks, fossils, artifacts, and wildflowers, deserve to be preserved. Even horns, antlers, and nests are protected
  • Stay on the trails — this keeps you safe, prevents damage to vegetation, and minimizes the risks of unexpected animal encounters
  • Never feed the animals, even small ones like squirrels! Not only is it illegal, it also conditions them to come to humans for food

What to pack for hiking in Banff

When hiking in the mountains, functionality is key. Be sure to pack these essentials for your upcoming Banff trip:

Where to stay in Banff National Park

You can find a wide range of accommodations in Banff National Park to suit all travel preferences. To help you sift through the options, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to stay in Banff and Lake Louise.

🏨 If proximity to town is at the top of your list, look no further than Mount Royal Hotel. Situated in the heart of Banff Avenue, this Banff hotel is surrounded by the most amazing restaurants, top-notch shops, and a lively nightlife. 

🏨 For those who prefer modern decor, Peaks Hotel & Suites in Banff Town is an excellent choice. Despite being located in the heart of town, it offers a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle.

🏨 For those who desire luxurious pampering and a taste of royalty, Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Lake Louise are a perfect match. These magnificent, century-old hotels offer all the amenities one could ever dream of, while the attentive and personalized service ensures a truly indulgent mountain getaway.

🏨 If you’re looking for a rustic cabin-style lodging experience, Buffalo Mountain Lodge is the answer. Nestled on the slopes of Tunnel Mountain, this secluded lodge is a tranquil getaway. The rooms exude a charming rustic-chic vibe, and each is fitted with its own wood-burning fireplace, perfect for cozying up to during chilly evenings!

There’s an abundance of things to do in Banff all year round! Hiking never fails to captivate, no matter the season.

We’re thrilled to guide you in finding the ideal easy hike in Banff through this article. Share your thoughts below and let us know which one you’re excited to try on your Banff & Lake Louise road trip!

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