The Best Hiking Trails in Banff National Park
Hiking 101: Banff Edition
Clear blue skies, rising vast peaks, and dense brush are just a few of the things that draw millions of visitors to Banff year after year. Canada's oldest national park, located in the heart of Alberta's Rocky Mountains, is among North America's most jaw-dropping natural beauties. But when exploring a place as large and vast as Banff, it can be confusing or downright intimidating to find things to do. Luckily, your friends at Duluth Pack have you covered. Let's take a look at some of the best hikes to tackle during your stay at Banff. So, grab that Wanderer Pack, load up some snacks, and get ready for some of the best views you will ever experience.
- Cory Pass- MT. Edith Circuit
Our number one on the list, Cory Pass is a challenging hike and may test your leg strength, but you will be rewarded with one of the most postcard-worthy views in all of Banff. The hike itself is about 8 miles in all and takes almost 5-6 hours, so pack a solid lunch to enjoy at the top. Of course, if you aren't interested in a somewhat challenging hike, this may not be for you, but if you're up for a little adventure, this hike will leave you speechless. As you progress on this hike, you will be met with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and geography and if you're lucky, you may even spot some wildlife! For more experienced hikers or anyone up for a challenge, this hike will be right up your alley.
- Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass
While the Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass hike may be a slightly less challenging hike than Cory Pass, don't be fooled, this hike is full of amazing views that will blow you away. This hike takes you through a dense forest of spruce and lodgepole trees as you make your way to the shores of Bourgeau Lake. For many, this is a trip unto itself, but the real magic happens on the way to Harvey Pass. As you elevate up the pass, you will have awe-inspiring views of the lake from above as well as a breathtaking view of the massive cliff face of Mt. Assiniboine. Once you have made it to the top of the pass, be sure to get that camera out and enjoy the views of Mt. Assiniboine and a view of Healy Creek. This hike is roughly 12.6 miles in total, taking roughly 6-8 hours to complete. While the hike is less challenging than Cory Pass, the elevation is something to consider, and if simple easy hikes are your thing, this isn't for you. But, for those who like to push themselves, this is one of the best hikes in Banff.
- Cascade Amphitheatre
Among the most popular hikes in Banff, the views from the Amphitheater itself are spectacular. Much of this hike will be spent in the trees as you embark on your journey to the Amphitheatre. After you beat out the forest and make your way to the Cascade Amphitheatre meadows, get that camera out because you will be rewarded with an astonishing view of Cascade Mountain and the surrounding wilderness. This hike is a less challenging hike that still offers some staggering views of the Canadian Rockies and beautiful geography in Banff while taking roughly 3-5 hours to complete. This hike is a moderate trek that can be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike, offering something for everyone.
- Big Beehive
If you've seen pictures of Banff, chances are you've seen pictures of Lake Louise, the gorgeous turquoise blue lake surrounded by forest and mountains. Well, if views of this lake are what you're after, look no further than Big Beehive Trail. This 6.5-mile trail will take you from Lake Agnes and up into the Rockies, leading you to a sheer cliff with a breathtaking view over the top of Lake Louise and the thick underbrush. The trail is a little steep at times, but it's relatively short and ultimately it offers some of the most iconic views in the park. Be sure to bring your outdoor pack handcrafted by Duluth Pack and pack a lunch to enjoy at the top for a meal with a view, oh, and don't forget that camera!
- Moraine Lake Shoreline/Rockpile
The shortest and simplest hike on the list, clocking in at 1.6 miles and with very little elevation gain, this trail is a good choice for all hikers to enjoy. While the trail isn't difficult, the views and pictures that can come from it are nothing short of striking. Along the route, you will make your way to the shores of crystal blue Moraine Lake, and as if that alone isn't beautiful enough, will look out over the imminent peaks or the Canadian Rockies. Moraine Lake Trail encompasses what Banff is all about; vast mountains, dense thick forest, and crystal clear blue lakes in the center of it all. If you're looking for a quick hike that won't take all day but will amaze you, look no further than the Moraine Lake Trail.
So, there you have it, five phenomenal hikes to try out the next time you visit Banff National Park. As always with outdoor trips, research where you're going, let someone know where you will be, stay safe, and of course, pick up your outdoor gear from Duluth Pack to rock during your trip and pack everything you need! Stay safe and happy travels from your friends here at Duluth Pack.
Happy hiking, friends!