Hiking in Banff National Park is an outdoor traveler’s dream. With its strange, pastel-colored glacial lakes, its year-round green pine trees, its incredible wildlife and, of course, its beautiful location in the Canadian Rockies, it’s no wonder travelers have started flocking to Banff over the past few years.
One of the best ways to experience and immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Banff is to go hiking. There are dozens of hikes around the park for travelers of all different abilities and fitness levels. To help you plan your trip to Alberta, we’ve compiled a list of the most beautiful hikes in Banff National Park, including easy, moderate, and challenging trails. If you’re looking for some of the best trails to go hiking in Banff National Park, our list might give you some ideas to start with.
Hiking in Banff National Park: The Basics
What to Bring
Hiking in Banff National Park is pretty similar to hiking anywhere. Weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so we recommend bringing lots of layers – including a waterproof shell – with you on any hike. Bears and other wildlife are common in the park, so it’s important to carry protection from these as well.
- Hiking boots
- Layers, including a waterproof shell
- Bear spray
- Mosquito repellent
- Trekking poles
- Head lamp
- Lots of snacks and water
Getting to Banff National Park
Unless you live in Alberta or British Columbia, your best bet to getting to Banff is to fly into Calgary International Airport (YYC). Some guided tours and programs may provide transportation to Banff National Park from Calgary, but the most common way to get to the national park will be driving. From Calgary, you will take the Trans-Canada Highway AB-1 going West. The trip takes just over an hour to get to the front entrance of the park.
Getting Around Banff National Park
By and large, the best way to get around the Canadian Rockies is by renting a car. There’s really no other way to get to the various campsites, landmarks, and hikes in Banff National Park. You can rent a car in the nearby cities of Calgary (~1.5 hours away) or Edmonton (~4 hours away), either at the airport or within the city centers.