Hiking
Hiking
1 of 3
Marko Stavric Photography/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 1.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Though Banff is perhaps best known for its stellar slopes (it's considered one of the world's best ski destinations), its hiking trails are just as impressive – and free to access. No matter which trail you choose to tackle (there are a variety of options for all skill levels), you'll likely stumble upon indigo-tinted waters, fields of wildflowers and stunning alpine vistas.

Aside from Sunshine Meadows (found in Sunshine Village), travelers also recommend the Parker Ridge Trail, which you'll find in the Icefields Parkway Area of the national park. Though visitors do warn that the climb up this trail can be steep, they also gush about the views of the Saskatchewan Glacier seen at the peak.

Another must-visit spot for recent travelers: Tunnel Mountain. This peak, which the First Nations people refer to as the "Sleeping Buffalo," offers 360-degree views of Banff Town, the Bow River and the westward mountains, such as Mount Bourgeau. You'll find the trailhead on St. Julien Road near The Banff Centre.

Though it's located about 9 miles north of town, Lake Minnewanka is often described by visitors as the highlight of their trip to Banff National Park. You'll have to drive to reach the glacial lake, but once you get here, you can hike or picnic along its shores as you take in breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains that surround it.

If you feel more comfortable following a guide, the Banff & Lake Louise Tourism office recommends several companies on its website. For more information on the area's trails, including their distance, elevations and starting locations, visit the Parks Canada website. Keep in mind: Prime hiking season runs from July through mid-September. Even in June, there is an avalanche risk at some passes. Access to the trails is free.

See all Hotels in Banff »

More Best Things To Do in Banff

Sunshine Village
Banff Gondola
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 14
#1 Sunshine Village

Located miles 11 miles west of Banff Town, Sunshine Village offers 12 lifts, more than 3,300 skiable acres and a peak elevation of 7,200 feet. And thanks to its location straddling the Continental Divide, Sunshine sees more snow than its neighbors, meaning the ski season here is long – typically from early November to late May. The powdery terrain beckons skiers of all levels (another point of praise from recent travelers), and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge offers a great setting for dinner and drinks after a day on the slopes. 

Read more
Steven Olmstead Photography/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Banff »

Explore More of Banff

Recommended

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019