Top three reasons to hike through Banff and the Canadian Rockies
Experience the “best-of” of Banff’s numerous well-maintained hikes
Explore and learn about the local flora and fauna right from the trail
Hike along stunning mountains, lakes, glaciers, and other majestic scenery
The town of Banff, set within a national park of the same name at the very heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, lives and breathes hiking. When the snow melts in late June, outdoor adventurers all over the world rush to over 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) of well-maintained trails to get their fill of Canada’s addictive nature. From the icy winds on the glaciers to the calming sunsets along the numerous scenic lakes and rivers in the Banff National Park, no one leaves Banff disappointed. Anyone who’s ever hiked these wild and winding trails will tell you that there’s a reason why Banff is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada. Find out more about hiking in the Canadian Rockies from Greg Hill, ACMG ski guide extraordinaire, and soon-to-be assistant rock climbing guide.
June through August
Calgary, AB, is just over 1.5 hours away from Banff
Beginner to advanced
Book This Adventure
Hiking Week Around Banff in the Canadian Rockies
Discover and enjoy an abundance of breathtaking adventures on this six-day guided hiking trip through the Banff National Park. Learn about the indigenous nature and culture of the Canadian Rockies. Let your guide take you on some of the best trails this area has to offer — spend your days making friendships with other hikers in the group, and explore the splendid Canadian landscape!
Day 1: National Park
After meeting with your guides in Banff, you’ll spend the day exploring one of Canada’s national parks. You can either go to Banff NP for a warm-up hike to Johnston Canyon, an incredible marvel carved by thousands of years of water erosion, or spend the day trekking through the Stanley Glacier in Kootenay NP. Settle in and explore the small town of Banff uniquely situated within Alberta’s portion of the Rocky Mountains.
Day 2: Cory Pass to Edith Pass
As you’re traversing the Corry Pass to Edith Pass, your guide will share some interesting facts about the geology and wildlife of this part of Canada. During the 9-mile (15-kilometer) hike, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Alberta’s landscapes: as you ascend up and over Cory Pass, enjoy the views of Gargoyle Valley, and then pass under the flanks of Mt. Louis, part of the Sawbacks. Travel back to Banff for a warm meal and some R&R.
Day 3: Plain of Six Glaciers — Victoria Glacier — Lake Louise Alpine Center
Visit the Plain of the Six Glaciers at Lake Louise and hike the 9-mile (15-kilometer) moderate trail along the lake with stunning glacier views. You will have the opportunity to hike right up to the Victoria glacier, an amazing place surrounded by rock walls and glaciers descending from the high peaks. Spend the night at the Lake Louise Alpine Center and relax with your group.
Day 4: Helen Lake
After a hearty breakfast, head up the Icefields Parkway towards Bow Lake and the Wapta Icefields. Spend the day hiking up to Helen Lake—one of the premier hikes in Banff NP. Once you return to Banff, enjoy one of the many great restaurants that the town has to offer.
Day 5: Sentinel Pass and Wenkchemna Pass
In order to get to some of the best scenery in Banff NP, today’s hike will be to Sentinel Pass, where you can admire the tranquil lake encircled by high peaks. You might traverse the Wenkchemna Pass near Lake Louise.
Day 6: Short Hikes — Return to Calgary
On your last day you can do one of the shorter hikes, perhaps a trip to Lake O’Hara if possible. Prepare for your trip back home and enjoy your last moments in this amazing area!
Meet your guide
Alpine Air Adventures
If your looking for an adventure in the wilds of Alberta and need a professional guide service, look no further. My recent mountaineering trip to Banff was a moving experience thanks to Alpine Air guides Jeff and Jess. Their experience, easy-going personalities, and knowledge of the region made this trip memorable and safe- not to mention some tasty food along the way as well. You will learn, and you will do more than you thought you could. Outstanding guide service. Outstanding guides. Beautiful country. I highly recommend Alpine Air.
The small but dedicated team at Alpine Air Adventures is eager to make sure you get the adventure you are seeking. There are several guiding companies in the area and I reached out to them all when planning my trip to Banff. AAA was responsive, answered all my questions, and provided additional details to help pick my route, and they were also among the most affordable. As a small shop, they can keep their costs down while their service remains high. My guide listened to what I wanted, used his local knowledge and expertise to pick out a climb that ticked all my boxes, then took me on an adventure that I won’t soon forget.
Get complete checklist for hiking and camping equipment.
Things to know
Covid measures in the Banff area
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Banff area, please refer to the official Alberta COVID-19 travel requirements.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- 6 days of hiking through the Banff area
- Daily transportation from your hotel to the hiking areas
- Permit and entrance fees
What’s not included:
- Transportation to and from Banff
- Accommodations (must be in Banff)
- Meals and snacks
- Guide gratuities — optional
How fit do I need to be?
The best thing about hiking in the Canadian Rockies is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six hours with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full-day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
- Hiking poles
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
- Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
- Warm clothing
- Spare clothes for layering
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For this hiking adventure in Banff, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 8:1.
- It takes a minimum of 2 people for this tour to operate.
- The cost does not decrease as the group grows.
Hiking in the Canadian Rockies can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Deposits and cancellation policy
A 25% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 1 month (30 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.
- If Client cancels the Booking any time prior to three weeks (21 days) in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a refund minus the deposit, which is non-refundable.
- After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
Your guides reserve the right to modify or cancel the trip due to insufficient enrollment, unfavorable weather conditions, or other reasons. In the unlikely event they have to cancel the trip, clients will be notified as soon as possible.
If you want to cancel your trip, you can go on another one offered by the guide if it’s available—you can transfer to another course or program date with an administrative fee.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Banff National Park, most people fly into Calgary International Airport. Once you’re there, you have a 1.5-hour drive to Banff. You can either rent a car or take a shuttle service.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.