Are you looking for some breath-taking views for the weekend? Banff hikes are the panacea to your problems!
Also known as the hiker’s mecca, Banff National Park is renowned for some of the most riveting hikes in the entire world. Banff hikes are a combination of striking turquoise lakes, glass-blue skies, snow-capped mountain peaks, and some jaw-dropping views.
With some of the state of the art trails, it can be incredibly perplexing when it comes to choosing these Banff hikes. Here we have the first-hand experience in this field and will provide you with all the details you need to know before visiting the Banff National Park.
You have to conclude for yourself how you want to spend your weekend getaway trip to Banff.
The trails over at Banff National Park are diverse and almost for all and sundry. Even if you are not a mountaineer or have never tried your hand at hiking, you can still find some gripping trail to try out your hand. So, put on your hiking shoes, and you will be reimbursed with some sensational and exquisite views of the world.
Here is a finalized renumerated list of all the Banff hikes you should check out when in Banff.
Best 6 Banff Hikes
1. Lake Louise
Lake Louis has multitudinous hiking trails and is probably one of the best Banff hikes (if not the one). Out of the countless Lake Louise hikes, I’ll mainly focus on Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail, Plain of 6 Glaciers & Lakeshore Walk as those are the most iconic ones.
The lake looks like liquid cotton candy from atop. If you don’t go and experience the visual evidence, you’ll probably think I’m exaggerating.
1.1. Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail
Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail has been serving tourists a mesmerizing viewpoint for a countless number of decades now. Do you want to know why this is one of the most favored Banff hikes ever? The reason lies in the rustic teahouse at the end of the trail.
This hiking trail is no doubt a bit hard, but the reward is indeed phenomenal. Lake Agnes is an isolated lake, and you can get to this point via an uphill hike through a forest beside Lake Louise.
Little and Big Beehives point around Lake Agnes provides spine-tingling views of the Lake Louise and Canadian Rockies as well.
Pack your bags, get on top of the Agnes Teahouse and sip on the heartwarming tea and other light bites, enjoying the fantastic views this marvelous place has to offer!
1.2. Plain of Six Glaciers
These are six glaciers in one hike! Are you looking for the Wow factor in a hike? Plain of Six Glaciers can provide you with that! It is a plain encircled by glaciers.
It is not entirely without any peril. But what’s beauty without a bit of risk? The path can be a bit slippery at times, so you need to be careful with that. The bonus includes a delightful teahouse at the end of your path.
Not only does it sound gorgeous, but you will also probably lose your mind at its beauty.
1.3. Lakeshore Walk
One of the easiest Banff hikes, Lakeshore Walk, is a relatively flat hike. Apart from gifting you the best sunrise views, Lakeshore Walk goes through the eastern side of Lake Louise, giving you spectacular views of turquoise-blue lake waters. Being one of the easy hikes, it draws a lot of tourists throughout the year.
2. Moraine Lake (Larch Valley)
If you opt for visiting Banff during autumn or fall, Larch Valley Trail in the splendid alpine lake of Moraine is one of the most enjoyed Banff hikes.
The iconic color changes occur during September-October. It appears beautiful beyond words. Heading uphill from Moraine Lake, you will come across an evergreen forest, which is the trail. The forest gets a new attire during fall by completely changing the color of its leaves to yellow.
You should give Sentinal Pass a try if you are one of those adventure-seeking souls. Sentinal Pass is a point lying on the border of British Columbia and Alberta. This means you can stand on the border between Banff National Park and Yoho National Park. Other than this, you can also glance over at the Twelve Peaks.
Also, in the case of Moraine and Louise, try to get there as early as possible to catch a glimpse of the best sunrise view. These lakes are relatively easy to access and even have a parking lot just beside them.
3. Johnston Canyon
Wildlife, Waterfalls, Canyon- What more do you want from a hike?
3.1 Upper and Lower Falls
Johnston Canyon is one of the easiest and scenic Banff hikes without a doubt. Following a winding path through a narrow canyon, you will find yourself surrounded by two epic turquoise lakes. The lower Falls hike is easy and is more or less a paved path.
Upper Falls hiking trail does not have a paved path but is quite easy too. There is generally a long queue at the points, so it will be accessible if you go out early. You will see a lot of chipmunks too.
3.2 Ink Pot Trail
A hidden gem, just a few miles away from Upper Falls, the Ink Pots are the epitome of the sensational beauty of nature. It is an open meadow that multi-colored pools all around it.
4. Cascade Amphitheatre.
The Cascade Amphitheatre is one of the lengthiest Banff hikes and cannot be covered in a few hours. You need to give this gorgeous spot at least a day to explore. Also, it will be better if you are an intermediate hiker as the difficulty level is moderate, and beginners tend to get easily tired.
It would help if you prepared yourself dor a full day of hiking and set out on this journey. Beginning at Mt. Norquay ski area, the trail crosses the Forty Mile Creek. After a winding zig-zag path through a very dense forest, you will be rewarded with calming views.
The amphitheater is surrounded by limestone cliffs and indeed a sight to be enjoyed. Try to reach the summit of Cascade Mountain!
5. Bourgeau Lake (Harvey Pass )
This is another one of those Banff hikes which are suitable for experienced hikers! The difficulty level is moderate and will take an entire day to cover. It is about 15 km from Banff town. Beginners can also check out their skills here but let me warn you it will be a bit tough if you aren’t used to so much of hiking.
There is a forest of Spruce and lodgepole through which the trail runs. This is a dense forest, and the trail is rather steep too. But once you pass that, the views almost make you feel like you are in paradise!
You will find yourself in the cute meadows encircling the Bourgeau Lake. If you want to go further, there is another option for you. Harvey Pass, which lies just 2.2 km away from this location, provides exceptional views of Mt. Assiniboine.
Assiniboine is also known as The Matterhorn Of Rockies!
6. Helen Lake (Dolomite Pass)
Helen Lake is one of the most spectacular Banff hikes that also gives you an immensely photogenic lunch spot. At first, you need to follow an easy hiking trail through a forest, and after a while, you will find yourself in an alpine wonderland.
If you are visiting in summer, you will find yourself engrossed in the beauty of the wildflowers blooming all around. Marmots will also give you a guest appearance if you are lucky enough!
If Helen Lake hiking trail isn’t enough adventure for you, try to extend the hike up to Dolomite Pass. The colossal charm of Katherine Lake will greet you. Mt. Assiniboine is also a bonus to this extended hike!
These are not the only Banff hikes. Trust me, covering all of them on a single trip is quite impossible, but the list provided here contains some of the best. Other than this, if you have an extra day in hand, drive up to Lake Minnewanka. Cruising, canoeing, and even hiking are allowed in the lake.
Another easy trail like Lake Minnewanka is Tunnel Mountain. Located near the town of Banff, it is not very steep and goes in a zig-zag manner. It is in incredible shape and condition, providing fantastic views of the blue electric waters of Bow River and Canmore Valley as well.
If the Banff hikes turn out to be less for you, you can always drive up to the Icefields Parkway, which is just an hour’s drive away from the town of Banff. The place is filled with heavenly sceneries and some views which are as pretty as a picture. Drive along the Bow River and find yourself enveloped by some of the most pleasing views of the entire world.
For express entry into the Banff National Park and to avoid any hassle, try to obtain the Parks Canada Pass beforehand. Click here if you want to get direct access to the Pass.
Have you ever done any of these Banff hikes? Which one is your favorite, and which one is the easiest, according to you? Let us know about your experiences!