Are you looking for easy hikes in Banff? You came to the right place.

Canada’s oldest national park, with its pictorial scenery and jagged mountains, is a hiker’s paradise. Avid hikers can do multi-day trips but you don’t need to be an expert hiker or grind yourself to the top to enjoy the splendid nature of the area. There are several hiking trails designated for easy hikes in Banff national park

Here’s a list of easy Banff hikes to help you come up with the perfect travel ideas in the gorgeous national park. There hikes are perfect for people of all fitness levels.

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Best time to go hiking in Banff National Park

Hiking in Banff national park is a popular pastime for Canadians and tourists alike.

There are times when the park gets over-crowded, and then there are times when the trails are just not suited for a hike.

The best way to dodge the trouble is to visit Banff during the shoulder season:

June through August and December through March

This the time when the weather is warm and welcoming. The hotel and Airbnb prices are also reasonable at this time of year.

If you are looking for an overview of the best Airbnbs in Banff, click here.

You can also visit the park in the colder season.

Snow turns the park into a winter wonderland with some of the best hiking trails overlooking frozen waterfalls and spectacular winter canyons.

The Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park
The Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park

How we made our selection of easy Banff hikes?

Our selection is based on the distance of the trail, elevation gain, distance from Banff, and hikers’ reviews.

Sometimes a trail can be officially marked as moderate even though hiking it may feel like a walk in the park.

Therefore, we not only mention the official ratings of the hike but we also include what previous hikers thought of the trail. This way this travel blog is experience-based and more reliable.

To make it easy to find your next hike we sorted the list below on hiking distance.

In a hurry, these are the best hikes in Banff national park

Best short hikes in Banff

This short and easy hike in Banff takes you to the ghost town of bankhead
Old mine carts in the ghost town of Bankhead

Bankside or Bankhead Trail

  • Distance: 1.1 km loop
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 35 minutes
  • Elevation gain: 35 m
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Winds through the old townsite of Bankhead; features wildflowers
  • Distance from Banff: Around 7 km

Short description of the trail

This loop hike impresses with its beautiful wildflowers and the ghost town of Bankhead, which was once bigger than Banff itself. As you pass by, you observe the abandoned buildings and mining carts.

It has information boards, giving the same feel like an outdoor museum.

With its minimal elevation, the trail acts more like a scrolling path, meaning this short Banff hike is perfect for families with kids.

You can also bring dogs but they must be kept on a leash.

Insider tip: Since the trail winds through the wilderness, there may be many mosquitoes around. Bring bug spray and lotions along.

How to reach the starting point of Bankside Trail

This easy Banff hike is located around 7 km from Banff.

You’ll find the Lower Bankhead area and the Bankside Trail along the Lake Minnewanka Loop.

It takes a short, 12 minutes drive to reach the hiking trail.

Where to start the Bankside Trail Hike

The trailhead for the Bankside Hike is to the far right of the fence near the entrance of the parking lot.

It can be tough to find if you are not particularly looking for it.

If the lower bankhead parking lot is full you can continue to the upper bankhead parking lot that is just up the road.

What people are saying about this trail

The trail is underrated. It offers gorgeous views of the old town, the old church, and the surrounding scenery. Bug and bear spray recommended.

Conclusion

Great short trail suitable for anyone.

Silverton Falls

  • Distance: 1.6 km ( 0.8 km one way )
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: 87 to 106 m
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Highlights: You get to see a lesser-visited staircase waterfall, beautiful views of Silverton creek, a deep-forested valley and the mountain range in the background
  • Distance from Banff: 33 km

Short description of the trail

Silverton Falls is another one of the easy Banff hikes replete with waterfalls and is perfect for hikers of any skill level.

The trail is lesser-visited, and particularly great if you are looking to get away from the crowd.

It takes you through the forest along flat terrain and then climbs the rest of the way to a small viewpoint overlooking a two-tiered waterfall.

Insider tip: Beware of the false trails en route!

How to reach the starting point of the trail

The trail is tucked a 33 km drive from the Town of Banff. It is a short drive drive from Johnston Canyon and the two can conveniently be combined.

Where to start the Silverton Falls hike

The trail begins at the Rockbound Lake trail head parking lot.

From there follow the Rockbound trail until you reach the signposted fork, which tells you to turn right. Follow the path till you reach a three- or four-way fork, depending on whether you consider the false trails here.

Take the ascending path to reach the Silverton Falls.

What people are saying about this trail

The hiking trail is a hidden gem for all nature lovers. The two-part hike is easy with a little adventure awaiting in the second portion. Rewards with stunning views.

Conclusion

Easy and straightforward, this hike is perfect for families with kids.

Fenland Trail

  • Distance: 2.1 km loop
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 40 minutes
  • Elevation gain: there is no elevation rise
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Chances to see wildlife such as elk


Short description of the trail

The Fenland Trail is located right next to the town of Banff. It winds through a white spruce forest and follows the banks of Forty Mile Creek.

This trail is quick and easy and offers plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife.

You can make your hike longer by continuing over to Lake Vermillion along the Vermillion Lakes Dr. or you can start and end your hike in Banff if you follow the trail along Echo creek and the Bow river.

Insider tip: The can be many mosquitos at certain points in summer.  Don’t forget bug spray!

How to reach the starting point of the hike

The Fenland trail is situated approx. 1,5 km from downtown Banff.

It’s about a 20-minute walk from downtown Banff. There’s a small parking lot at the trailhead for those who rather come by car.

Additional parking is at the Fenland Banff Recreation Center from where it’s a 5-minute walk to the start of the trail.

Where to start the Fenland hike

The trail starts at the parking lot next to Mt. Norquay Road and diagonally opposite the Fenland Banff Recreation center.

The road to the parking lot is located between the level crossing and the ramp of the Trans-Canada Highway.

What people are saying about this trail

A wonderful short and pleasant family walk with the opportunity to see deer. Kids will love it!

Conclusion

This walk is also popular with locals and runners. It is not to far from downtown Banff and ideal with kids.

It’s also a good option for a short and easy hike in winter.

The Bow falls near Banff
The Bow falls are a beautiful sight and they are right next to Banff (Image Courtsy of Jack Borno)


Bow Falls Viewpoint

  • Distance: 2.4 km (1.2 km one way from the Bow Falls Bridge)
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: 66 m
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Highlights: The viewpoint overlooking the Bow Falls

Short description of the trail

This is one of the must-do hikes in Banff, and for a good reason – it is the gateway to the spectacular Bow Falls. A fantastic waterfall really close to downtown Banff.

The hike starts by winding through a forest and offers benches where hikers can sit, relax, and enjoy the surroundings. With an elevation of just 66 meters, hiking on this trail is mostly flat except for a few stairs.

The hike ends at a lookout over the pretty Bow Falls, popular for appearing in several classic Hollywood movies.

Famous movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitcham have swept over its rapids.

Insider tip: The viewpoint closes in winter.

How to reach the starting point of the hike?

The trailhead of this short hike in Banff is at the pedestrian bridge across the Bow River. It’s a short hike for downtown Banff to the bridge.

Coming by car, you can park your car at the town hall parking lot or at the Banff park museum and follow the Bow River Trail to the pedestrian bridge.

Where to start the Bows Falls Viewpoint hike

The trail begins at the south base of the pedestrian bridge, across the Bow River.

What people are saying about this trail

Pleasant diversion to reach the viewpoint. Includes easy parking and easy to hike, level path.

Conclusion

Lovely and scenic trail from downtown Banff.

Marsh Loop

  • Distance: 2.8 km loop
  • Difficulty level: easy
  • Time needed: 1 hour round trip
  • Elevation gain: minimal elevation gain
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Good hike for birding and opportunities to see wildlife such as bear and moose

Short description of the trail

Along the Bow River is a small marsh formed by the hot springs at the bottom of the Sulphur mountain. The Marsh Loop encircles this wetland and follows the bank of the river.

Sometimes it is also referred to as the Cave and Basin trail after the starting point of the hike.

The section of the trail alongside the Bow River is the prettiest section with lots of nice views and great opportunities to spot wildlife.

It also popular with horse riders and can therefor be muddy and littered with horse poop. So, watch your step but keep your eyes peeled for moose and bear!

The loop circles around a lake that houses many birds. Near the Cave and Basin center is a branch that leads closer to the lake to a platform from where you can watch the birds.

Insider tip: Bring bug spray because there are loads of mosquitos in summer.  The area is also frequented by bears so stay vigilant!

How to reach the starting point of the hike

The trail starts near the Cave and Basin National Historic site. You can follow the signs to these former hot springs.

They will take you from downtown Banff across the Bow River bridge. Here you make a right turn onto Cave Avenue.

You can park your car at the parking lot of the Cave and Basin National Historic site.

Where to start the Marsh Loop

From the parking lot walk towards the Cave and Basin National Historic site. Continue on the paved walkway passed the center until you see the trailhead kiosk.

What people are saying about this trail

Lot’s of horse poop but the best part is that we came face to face with a mom and baby Moose. It is a short and sweet trail with nice views.

Conclusion

This is an easy family-friendly walk just outside Banff.

If you want to extend your hike you could link up with the Sundance trail which leads to the Sundance canyon.

It’s a great walk suitable for all ages and it’s open all-year-round. Doing this hike in winter has the advantage that there will be less horse poo.

Stewart Canyon in Banff National Park in winter
The Sterwart Canyon in winter

Stewart Canyon

  • Distance: 6.6 km (3.3 km one way)
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: about 3 hours round trip
  • Elevation gain: approx. 250m
  • Route type: Out & back
  • Highlights: The river canyon, wildlife spotting

Short description of the trail

The Stewart Canyon hike first takes you along the shores of Lake Minnewanka.

The path starts really easy, it winds through the trees beside the lake. After about 1,5 km you reach a wooden bridge that spans the walls of the Stewart Canyon.

You now enter grizzly territory. To go past this point in berry season, which is roughly from July till September, you need to be in a group of at least 4 and carry bear spray.

Dogs aren’t allowed on the trail during berry season.

This is also where the trail gets slightly harder. There are rocks and roots on the trail so you need to watch where you step. Occasionally you may also need to climb over some fallen trees.

The trail continues to follow the cascade river for about 2km upstream. You have the possibility to see wildlife and there are nice views of the river.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

From downtown Banff, head north on Banff Ave and then continue onto Lake Minnewanka Scenic drive to reach the lake.

There is a parking lot at the Lake Minnewanka day-use area.


Where to start the Stewart Canyon hike

The trailhead is located at the Lake Minnewanka day-use Area, more specifically at the kiosk at the far end of the picnic area


What people are saying about this trail

Breathtaking views along the lake and from the bridge. The river offers lovely places for some rest before turning back. The rushing water sound makes the journey very relaxing.

Conclusion

Easy trail with only a little elevation gain. A good place for a short hike.

Johnson Lake in Banff National Park
The hike to Johnson Lake is short and easy

Johnson Lake Hike

  • Distance: 3 km
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1 hour to 1.5 hour
  • Elevation gain: 30 m
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Billy Carver’s old hermit cabin
  • Distance from Banff: 11.3 km

Short description of the trail

Johnson Lake is among the best trails in Banff for its stroll-like ease that feels convenient to beginners, kids, elderly, and those with limited physical abilities.

It also works great as an after-dinner walk on a warm day.

The trail is riddled with phenomenal views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. You can also go for a paddle or lakeside picnic on a pleasant morning.

The highlight is the abandoned hermit cabin of Billy Carver. Some hikers have reported strange sightings and it has been said that the ghost of Billy Carver continues to watch over his cabin.

Insider tip: The sandy beach can get crowded on a hot day. Arrive early to get a good spot.

How to reach the starting point of the trail

The trailhead is just 11.3 km from the Town of Banff.

It is a short 16 minutes-drive via the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive.

Where to start the Johnson Lake hike

The trail begins at the parking lot leading to a two-forked path that goes left or right. You can go either way as the trail loops around the lake. There is no significant difference whether you do the trail clockwise or counter-clockwise.

What people are saying about this trail

Despite being close to the town, the trail is quiet save a little highway noise. It is a lovely peaceful walk with modern pit and toilet facilities along the way.

Conclusion

This is a well maintained easy to follow trail with rewarding views. Great for families and seniors.

Two Jack Lake with Mt. Rundle in the backdrop
Two Jack Lake with Mt. Rundle in the backdrop

Two Jack Lake

  • Distance: 3.2 km (1.6 km one-way)
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: 184 m
  • Route type: Out & back
  • Highlights: Scenic lakeside views, campsites, aurora borealis on certain nights
  • Distance from Banff: 12 km

Short description of the trail

The Two Jack Lake trail is one of the scenic, short hikes in Banff that rewards with unobstructed views of the lake and surrounding peaks.

You can come here with family to enjoy a lakeside picnic, BBQ, swimming, fishing (with license), children can feed the ducks, and more.

There are campgrounds that boast amenities like food lockers, washrooms with hot water, flush toilets, and showers.

The trail is accessible year-round.

In summer, water activities are abundant. Come in winter, the frozen lake becomes a hub for ice skaters, and fresh snow attracts snow-shoers.

At the Two Jack Lake day-use area, you will find canoes and kayak rentals, bathrooms, free parking, and picnic areas.

How to reach the starting point of the trail

The trail is around 15 minutes drive from the town and can be reached in 40 minutes by bicycle using these directions.

It is possible to park your car at the Two Jack Lakeside Campground but it is better to continue a little further along Lake Minnewanka Scenic Dr until you reach a parking lot on your right.

The trail connects this parking lot with the campground.

Where to start the Two Jack Lake hike

The trail starts from the southern tip of this parking lot. (Near the toilets)

What people are saying about this trail

The trail leads the most beautiful lake with turquoise water. The hike to the lake is easy and tranquil. A great spot to click photos when in Banff!

Conclusion

Nice easy quick hike with gorgeous lake views. Great for families with small children.

Autumn in Sunshine Meadows
Golden foliage during autumn in the Sunshine Meadows

Sunshine Meadows

  • Distance: 1 km – 10 km
  • Difficulty level: Easy to Intermediate
  • Time needed: 1-2 hours to Full Day
  • Elevation gain: 49 m – 176 m
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Abundance of picturesque landscapes, beautiful wild flowers and a chance to spot bears
  • Distance from Banff: 16 km

Short description of the trail

In winter these meadows are covered in snow and draw many skiers. Once the snow has melted they turn into an alpine hiking paradise with beautiful lakes and chances to spot wildlife.

Hikers agree that this is one of the most photogenic landscapes in the area.

As the meadows span across a continental divide, you hike both Alberta and British Columbia.

Are you looking for the best day hikes in Banff? Sunshine meadows has everything you are looking for.

There is about 10 km of well-marked trails to enjoy ranging from easy to moderate. Moderate trails are not too hard and people of all ages should be able to complete them.

Hiking these trails you will enjoy sweeping views of patchy snow, sprawling alpine meadows, and lovely wildflowers.

One particular nice and easy hike starts at the Standish viewing deck and takes you to the Rock Isle Lake. Here you retrace and go to the Monarch viewpoint to end at the Gondola station.

If you continue up to the Grizzly-Larix Loop (+ 4.9 km), you might get to spot one of the wild beasts too.

If you can’t get enough of the beauty of this region you can stay at Sunshine Village overnight.

How to reach the starting point of the trail

Sunshine Meadows is located in the Banff Sunshine Ski Resort.

To reach the meadows you follow the Sunshine Village Acces Road. There is parking at the gondola station. If you don’t want to drive you can use the free shuttle service that operates between Sunshine Village and the town of Banff.

You then take the gondola to the meadows from where you can start your hike or if you prefer you can climb even higher with the Standish chair lift and start from there.

You do have to pay to ride the gondola, or chairlift. It is possible to book a package in advance.

If the Banff Gondola is not operating you can access the meadows by hiking the Healy Pass Trail. This will add 6 km each way to your journey.

Where to start the sunshine meadows hike

You can start your hike from the mountain gondola station or from the Standish viewing deck.

What people are saying about this trail

The hike is pretty relaxing and quiet. Summer or winter, it is one of the best trails in Banff to take. Amazing views and paths along the way!

Conclusion

Sunshine Meadows is one of Banff’s most scenic and photographic hiking regions.

Upper Falls at the Johnston Canyon
Upper Falls in the Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon

  • Distance: Lower Falls: 1.2 km one way, Upper Falls: 2.5 km one way
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 2-3 hours round trip
  • Elevation gain: Lower falls: 50m, Upper falls: 120m
  • Route type: out & back
  • Highlights: Impressive canyon and amazing waterfalls

Short description of the trail

Johnston Canyon is the most sought after destination in the Banff area. It is accessible year-round.

In summer, it is among the most crowded destinations.

In winter, visitors rush to this place to get the rare opportunity to see the waterfalls, all frozen. And it’s easy to see why. The views of the frozen falls are breathtaking.

The trail is the same in summer and winter. You can read a complete description of the trail in our 3 day Banff itinerary.

The entrance of the canyon is narrow and therefor the first km or so leads over several consecutive metal catwalks that are fixed to the limestone cliffs. This part already offers some spectacular sights of Johnston Canyon.

The trail quickly moves towards the first falls. For the best view of the falls, go trough the cave at the other side of the river.

This part of the hike will take approximately 30 minutes and is almost flat. Don’t stop here though, the upper falls are even more impressive.

As you continue hiking from the Lower Falls the trail enters the woods. You will feel that there is a round of elevation gain to the Upper Canyon Falls.

There are 2 separate viewing areas at the upper falls. Both offer amazing views.

The first is at the bottom of the falls. A short and steep climb takes you to a second platform overhanging the gorge roughly at the same height as the top of the falls.

Insider tip: This hike gets extremely crowded in summer.  Come early or after 6 PM for a more peaceful and relaxed experience.

How to reach the starting point of the trail

Johnston Canyon is situated 25 kilometers from Banff along the Bow Valley Parkway. You will reach the Canyon in 30 minutes by car.

There is ample parking space.

Where to start the Johnston Canyon hike

The trail starts at the northern end of the parking lot.

What people are saying about this trail

The Johnston Canyon is a must visit when visiting Banff. Good hike for all ages with beautiful views of the falls.

Insider tip: Due to COVID-19 the road is closed to most traffic past Castle Mountain. Unless you have a reservation at the Blackswift Bistro you will have to walk from this parking lot to Johnston canyon.  This is approximately 6 km one-way.  Bikes are allowed to pass.

Those who can show an e-mail confirmation of a reservation at the Blackswist Bistro are allowed to continue with their car.

The Hoodoos Banff Canada
The Hoodoos

Hoodoos Hiking Trail

  • Distance: 10 km loop
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 1.5 to 3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 60 m
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Spectacular views of the Bow Valley and the Hoodoos

Short description of the trail

This hike loops around Tunnel mountain. A first part meanders along the Bow river shore. After that it takes you through the town of Banff and back to the starting point along Tunnel Mountain road.

The first part is definitely the best, as you follow the river, you understand why it is among the top hikes in Banff. There are several viewpoints worth stopping for.

Apart from being easy and low in elevation gain, this path gives you a good opportunity of spotting deer and elk.

Surprise corner which is more or less half-way is an absolute highlight.

Here you can decide to continue the loop or return the way you came. Onwards from here the trail will follow the road which is way some hikers prefer to retrace.

Although unofficial, the trail is well-kept. It is primarily used for bird watching, nature trips, and leisure strolls.

At the end of it, you get to overlook the glacial remnants called Hoodoo. You can bring dogs to Hoodoo hiking but keep on a leash.

Insider tip: Bring bug spray

How to reach the starting point of the trail

Tucked away just 3.4 km from the Town of Banff, the Hoodoo Creek trail is just 6 minutes away by car.

Follow Tunnel Mountain Rd towards the Hoodoos viewpoint.

There’s a parking lot where you can leave your car.

Where to Start the Hoodoo Hike

The Hoodoo hike starts at the western tip of the parking lot at Hoodoos viewpoint.

What People Are Saying About This Trail

Easy to follow, the trail is an excellent way to spend a Sunday. It is a gentle way up and down. The viewpoint offers rare views of the hoodoo tops.

Conclusion

Relaxing hike with some great opportunities to spot wildlife.

Spray River in Banff
An easy and almost flat hike in Banff along the Spray river

Spray River Loop

  • Distance: 12 km round loop
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 3-4 hours for the whole loop
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Fun for the whole family

Short description of the trail

The Spray River loop follows the Spray River upstream for 6 km and loops back on the other side of the Spray Valley. This trail is not that popular so it’s ideal for a peaceful hike in nature.

It’s a nice break from the crowds in other areas in and around Banff in summer.

Both the east and west side trails are lengthy, but the hike is relatively easy. Along the way it offers splendid views on the river A small scenic bridge connects the trailheads.

Halfway along the trail is a picnic area.

In summer the west side of the trail is frequented by mountain bikers. In winter, part of the loop is also used as a cross-country track.

The east side of the river is less crowded and offers good firm tracks.

If 12km sounds like too much you can also only do a part of the trail and return the same way.

How to reach the starting point of the hike

Follow river avenue until you reach the Bow falls.

You can park your vehicle at the Bow Falls Day-use Area.


Where to start the Spray Loop

At first, cross the bridge. The loop begins either from the Golf Course Road at the end of the 15th hole. (the first hole on your right as you cross the bridge)

If you’re staying in the Fairmont Banff Springs you can start your hike from the park area located behind the hotel. Both the Goat Creek Trail and the old loop of Spray river will merge with the spray river trail.


What people are saying about this trail

Nice trail for easy hiking. It’s a great place to enjoy the scenery and spot wildlife.

Conclusion

Flat and easy trail which offers once in a while a beautiful view on the river. Some people found it a bit boring.

Best Hikes Near Banff

On moving on from the best hikes in Banff, here are some of the best hikes near Banff.

These are all located along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most scenic routes in the world, and they are well worth the drive.

Mistaya Canyon in Banff National Park
Mistaya Canyon, one of the best short and easy hikes along the icefields parkway

Mistaya Canyon ( Icefields Parkway)

  • Distance: 2 km (1 km each way)
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 10 to 20 minutes
  • Elevation gain: 58 m
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • Highlights: Scenic views of a deep canyon, rock formations, and multiple waterfalls
  • Distance from Banff: 130 km

Short description of the trail

Replete with pictorial landscapes and several activities, the Mistaya Canyon trail makes one of the must do hikes in Banff for photo opportunities. Nature lovers hike this trail for quietude.

The best time to take this trail is between May and September.

How to reach the starting point of the trail

The starting point of the trail is well-signed. It is 74.2 km north of Lake Louise, 55 km south of Columbia Icefield, and only 5 km south of the Saskatchewan Crossing.

There is a small parking lot.

Where to start the Mistaya Canyon hike

The hike starts at the parking lot and leads into the forests, moving up to a wooden bridge from where the deep canyon is visible.

What people are saying about this trail

The trail is peaceful and leads to an open view of the canyon. Mistaya may not be as good as Johnston but holds up well, making the walk a worthy trip.

Conclusion

A short hike, or rather walk, to some nice falls. Not as beautiful as Johnston or Maligne Canyon but well worth the uphill climb.

Peyto Lake Banff National_Park_Alberta_Canada
Peyto Lake in Banff National Park

Peyto Lake Lookout Trail (Icefields Parkway)

  • Distance: 2.6 km
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Time needed: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: 80 m
  • Route type: Loop
  • Highlights: Awe-inspiring views from the Peyto Lake Overlook
  • Distance from Banff: 99.8 km

Short description of the trail

Hike the trail to enjoy the best views of Peyto Lake. The stunning turquoise colors undoubtedly make this one of the most enchanting lakes in Canada to see.

The trail leads to two vantage points – the first one is often far too crowded to truly enjoy the view. It’s best to head to the upper viewpoint to escape the crowd.

For the best experience, visit the trail between May and October.

Dogs are allowed on a leash.

Insider tip: Due to construction the trail is closed till  Spring 2021.

 

How to reach the starting point of the trail

Peyto Lake takes 35 minutes to reach from Lake Louise, and 1 hour and 10 minutes from Banff.

Where to start the Peyto Lake Lookout hike

The trail starts at the Bow Summit parking lot.

Here you will find the signed path to the Peyto Lake viewpoint on the northwest corner of the parking lot.

What people are saying about this trail

Easy hike with beautiful lookouts, perfect to spend the sunrise and sunset hours. In the early hours, with heavy smog on certain days, the trail still feels comfortable to trek.

Conclusion

Short hike to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Banff area.

Chephren Lake in Banff National Park
A beautiful and less trafficked trail leads to Chephren lake

Chephren Lake (Icefields Parkway)

  • Distance: 7.7 km (3.85 km one way)
  • Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 241 m
  • Route type: Out and Back
  • Highlights: Picturesque lakeside with views of Howse and Chephren Peaks
  • Distance from Banff: 99.8 km

Short description of the trail

Full of rooty paths, tree-log bridges, steep descents, and sawn-log walkways, the Chephren Lake trail is one of the more adventurous of all mentioned Banff short hikes. It can be muddy at times as well.

Due to the number of rooty patches, it remains less frequented. That can be a relief in peak season. At times it can look like you have the trail to yourself.

Don’t let the mud and roots stop you from going. The views of Chephren lake are absolutely worth the effort.

You can bring dogs but must keep on a leash.

The best time to use the trail is between June and September.

How to reach the starting point of the trail

The starting point of the trail is around 1 hour and 15 minutes from Banff at the Waterfowl Lakes Campground. Exit the Icefields Parkway at the camping. Instead of taking a right at the next intersection, to enter the camping, keep going straight.

At the end of the road, near the cul-de-sac, you will find the Chephren Lake parking and trailhead.

Where to start the Chephren Lake hike

The start of the trail is behind the facilities buildings.

What people are saying about this trail

Roots and mud make the experience even more natural. The trail is amazing, but without many good spots to sit. The view of the lake is spectacular.

Conclusion

Very beautiful trail with amazing views at the end.

The view of the town of Banff from Tunnel Mountain
The view of the town of Banff from Tunnel Mountain in winter

Banff hiking tips

There’s a reason why hiking in Banff National Park is on the list of all hikers. Banff boasts over a thousand miles of maintained trails, vibrant wildlife, and pristine wilderness.

It is easy to immerse yourself in nature here. Since the park is massive, you always find tranquil pockets away from the crowd.

To make your hiking experience flawless, know the following useful Banff hiking tips.

  • If traveling during peak season, start early. Parking spots fill up pretty fast.
  • Check the trail conditions beforehand to prevent a muddy or avalanche situation.
  • Bring water to stay hydrated and sunscreen to protect yourself from the harsh UV.
  • Don’t forget bug spray in summer, certainly if your hike will take you along rivers or lakes.
  • Bear spray is a must to carry in case you meet an aggressive bear while hiking in Banff National Park.
  • Hiking becomes 100% more fun when you hit the trail wearing the most comfortable pair of hiking leggings.
  • Always carry a poncho or a rain jacket to combat unexpected weather.
  • Carry a camera to shoot the beautiful scenery around you.

Conclusion

Ringed with trails of all kinds, this national park is one of the world’s best places to go hiking.

Here, you can experience a satisfying hike even during winter.

Most hikes are close to Banff town, while the rest are an hour’s drive away.

The views and wilderness make even the short hikes in Banff exceptional.

This blog post lets you decide which ones you want to take first.

Categories: Canada