Visiting Banff National Park and want to find the BEST hikes? If you are planning a trip to Banff get ready for world-class, jaw-dropping beauty everywhere you look! Our little family decided it was finally time to make our dream Canada trip happen, and Banff was top of the list. After all, the Canadian Rockies are hard to beat when it comes to views! We were able to jam-pack quite a few hikes into every place we stopped and these nine trails are absolutely worth checking out! Before you go be sure to check fees and regulations at parks.canada.ca.
To start us off, Peyto Lake is an easy 1.5 mile loop with absolutely breathtaking views. It’s kid friendly and dogs are allowed on leash, so a great option for kick off Banff with the whole family! It’s an absolute must-see in Banff, and is located off of the famous Icefields Parkway, which is often a destination itself as it’s touted as the “Most Beautiful Road in the World”.
TUNNEL MOUNTAIN HOODOOS LOOKOUT
Next we have the Tunnel Mountain Hoodoos Lookout hike which is an easy 2.6 miles out and back. Keep an eye out for elk and take in some gorgeous mountain views with teal-blue glacier rivers. This trail is also very kid friendly and allows dogs on leash as well!
One of my all-time favorite attractions to hike to are waterfalls and with the AllTrails+ app it was so easy to narrow down our searches to hikes that took us to some gorgeous ones! Head to the AllTrails+ website and be sure to use code “BRADEE” to snag a free month! AllTrails+ will help you plan every detail of your hike, from searching trails in your desired area, to customizing features (like waterfalls, lakes , etc), difficulty level, length, and more. You can also download the map to ensure you stay on route. Without further ado, let’s go over three of my favorite waterfall hikes in Banff!
Johnston Canyon Upper Falls is a popular 3.3 mile out and back that is well-worth the stop. To avoid crowds, I recommend going before 10am and after about 5pm for an evening hike. But if you end up there mid-day, it’s still worth experiencing even if there are quite a few others there enjoying the view with you. If you don’t have a ton of time, or are traveling with littles, the Lower Canyon is a great option and only a 1.5 mile hike to another beautiful waterfall. If you have MORE time, you can hike beyond the Upper Falls to the Ink Pots.
Silverton Falls is an easy 1 mile out-and-back trail where you’ll see gorgeous mountain views and the waterfall itself is beautiful. It’s also a bit of a hidden gem, as it’s less known and not as frequently visited as some of The best times to visit this trail are May through September and it is dog and family friendly.
BOW GLACIER FALLS
Bow Glacier Falls is a family friendly moderate 5.5-mile out-and-back. This is a very popular area for hiking, snowshoeing, and running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. You will encounter some pretty strenuous steps, so if you are not physically able to take on large ascents/descents, you may skip this one.
Now let’s talk about one of the more popular trailhead areas and sites to see in Banff NP – Lake Louise. Although it gets a bit crowded, it’s still absolutely worth checking out. There are four specific hikes/summits that I recommend checking out.
LITTLE + BIG BEEHIVES
First on the list is Little Beehive which is a 5.7 moderate out and back hike with stunning views of Lake Louise. If you feel like it, you can continue further up for more of a challenge to Big Beehive. You will nearly pass Lake Agnes Teahouse, so it makes sense to do them both in the same hike if possible! If you visit during July/August and are up for a summit, you can also continue higher to Mount St. Piran for an on-top-of-the-world experience overlooking Banff and Lake Louise.
Lake Agnes Teahouse is a moderate 4.6 mile out and back that takes you to the cutest lakeside cabin in the mountains offering up tea, pastries, and snacks. Be sure to bring a form of payment if you wish to get anything from the teahouse! You will get waterfall views, lake views, and a decent workout. This is a very iconic Banff hike that I recommend to anyone who visits.
PLAIN OF SIX GLACIERS
Plain of Six Glaciers is a moderate to hard 9 mile out and back trail that hosts another cute teahouse! Be sure to bring a form of payment if you plan on getting snacks or beverages. This trail has it all – insane views, waterfalls, glacial blue water, glaciers, wildflowers (depending on season), and of course a beautiful walk along Lake Louise. Pro-tip: you can also hit up both tea houses (Lake Agnes AND Plain of Six Glaciers on the same trail). When you get to Mirror Lake on route to Lake Agnes, you will see a sign to cut through to Plain of Six Glaciers trail. Just prepare for a big hiking day!
FAIRVIEW MOUNTAIN SUMMIT
Fairview Mountain Summit is a 6 mile out and back leg burner that is worth it if you’re up for the challenge! If you’re looking for a less popular hike with spectacular views of the area, this is the one for you. There is a bit of scrambling at the top and this view can only be attempted in July and August, weather permitting.
While there are endless opportunities for hiking in Banff, these hikes are some that cover some of my favorite places I’ve seen so far. They’ll be sure to leave your travels to this gorgeous part of Canada feeling fulfilled and awe-inspired! If you are looking for a way to prepare for the trails before your trip check out my Free Week Of Workouts! You’ll definitely want to come prepared for the physical challenge of hiking in the Canadian Rockies!
Happy + Healthy Trails,