Hiking

Check Parks Canada's trail conditions report before you head out on any of trails and the Important Bulletins which list any bear warnings or area closures.

The following trails are within walking distance of the Banff townsite. Download a Trails Map (PDF) or check out a detailed description of each trail below. While you're on the trails, use Walking Through Banff's Nature to learn more about the area.

Hiking

There are many great places to walk and hike in beautiful Banff National Park.  For a full listing of trails including conditions, difficulty ratings, locations and more visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/randonee-hiking/etat-sentiers-trail-conditions

It’s always important to remember that you are in a national park, and with that comes a shared responsibility to protect and preserve our park while being safe.  Some quick guidance on trail etiquette and safety includes:

  • Trip planning: make sure someone knows where you are going, when you will be back and what to do if you do not return on time. For trip planning tools visit, https://www.adventuresmart.ca/.
  • Be prepared: Whether you are going out for an hour or a few days, you should always be ready for the unexpected.  Some basic things you should always have with you in case you or someone in your group becomes lost or injured includes: 
    • Map or guidebook 
    • Water 
    • Food
    • Bear spray
    • First aid kit
    • Sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Headlamp
    • Extra waterproof and warm clothing
    • Cellphone or satellite communication device (note: cellular service is not available in many areas of the park). 
  • Be Bear Aware: the bears are awake from early spring to late fall so make sure you carry. and know how to use bear spray should you encounter one on the trails.  For more information on bear safety, visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mtn/ours-bears/securite-safety/ours-humains-bears-people. Report bear, cougar, wolf and coyote sightings and encounters to Parks Canada Dispatch when it is safe to do so: 403.762.1470.
  • Leave no trace: Make sure you always pack out what you pack in, whether on a day hike or backcountry trip. You should also make sure you stick to the designated trails to protect valued plants and habitats.  If you see an interesting stack of rocks, that’s called a cairn and is used to help people navigate, so make sure you leave in it in its place to help the next person travel safely through. For more information about how you can minimize your impacts on the trails visit, https://www.leavenotrace.ca
  • Be kind out there: In the park there are some trails that allow for mixed uses such as hiking, horseback riding and cycling.  Cyclists and hikers yield to horses and cyclists yield to hikers on most trails.  Please also remember that dogs must always be on-leash and in control in the national park. 
  • Drones are also not permitted without a permit. (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/info/permis-permit/drone).   
  • Avalanches: We live in a cold mountain climate and sometimes that means the snow remains on certain mountains until late August.  Make sure you check trail and avalanche conditions before heading out. For more information on avalanche conditions and risks in the area visit, https://avalanche.pc.gc.ca/bulletin-eng.aspx?d=TODAY&r=1

Hiking maps and guidebooks can be purchased at many local retailers in the Banff and Canmore area.  The Parks Canada Visitor’s Centre’s in Banff and Lake Louise also has brochures in print and online available for no charge for popular hiking and cycling destinations. For more information visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/brochures

Mountain Adventure Program

The Town of Banff offers many introductory Mountain Adventure Programs for Banff families and individuals of all ages. Courses include introduction to rock climbing, wilderness first aid, via ferrata, family hiking, scrambling and more! For more information including, upcoming dates and availability visit, https://banff.ca/136/Community-Classes-and-Programs