Top reasons to hike through Banff and the Canadian Rockies
Experience a “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 would 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: Banff National Park
After meeting with your guides in Calgary, the biggest city of Alberta, travel to Banff National Park with a short introductory hike at Grotto Canyon. This hundred-year-old canyon features a waterfall, high walls, and ancient hieroglyphs along the steep rock walls and is good for all skill levels. 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 Hiking Traverse
Explore the Cory Pass to Edith Pass hiking traverse with your friendly and experienced guide, and learn something about the geology and wildlife of this part of Canada. Hike for 15 km (9 miles) and enjoy the stunning landscapes. As you ascend up and over Cory Pass, enjoy the amazing valley of the Gargoyles on the backside. Then, pass under the flanks of Mt. Louis, part of the Sawback Range and 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 15 km (9 miles) of 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 - Rampart Creek Hostel
After a hearty breakfast, leave Lake Louise and head up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper National Park. Spend your day hiking up to Helen Lake — one of the premier hikes in Banff NP. That evening you will arrive at the Rampart Creek Hostel and enjoy the relaxed living of life in the Rockies! Experience the culture of the area and relax — you’ll need to be ready for the next day.
Day 5: Jasper National Park - Mt. Wilcox
After a short drive to the North, you will enter Jasper National Park. Enjoy a must-do hike into Wilcox Meadows and reach Mt. Wilcox, proudly rising above it and offering unsurpassed, panoramic views of the high peaks and glaciers of the Columbia Icefields. Enjoy your front row seats to the amazing spectacle of rock and ice before leaving, and spend the evening back at the Rampart Creek Hostel.
Day 6: Short Hikes - Return to Calgary
Head east down the David Thompson Highway, with time for short hikes and return to Calgary. 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.
Things to know
Covid measures in Banff National Park
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, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Banff area, please refer to the official Alberta COVID-19 travel requirements website.
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
- A half or full day of hiking depending on your chosen itinerary
- Accommodation during the hike
- Transportation from your hotel/airport (if in area) to the start of the trip and back
- Permit and entrance fees
What’s not included:
- Meals and snacks
- 5% GTS
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 40L bag)
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
- Hiking poles
- Warm clothes (layering system)
- Rain gear
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Hiking essentials (sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, blister care, etc.)
- Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
- Spare clothes for layering
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- 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. Your guide will send you a detailed trip package with a comprehensive gear list upon booking.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For the group adventures, the usual client to guide ratio is 8:1. It takes a minimum of 2 people for a 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.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Banff National Park, most people fly into Calgary International Airport. Once you get to Calgary, you will meet with your guide at a predetermined location.
From there, you will travel with your guides to Banff National Park for a short introductory hike at Grotto Canyon. Once you reach Banff, you’ll head to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the hiking ability of the group.