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5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta
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Now that hiking season is fully upon us, it’s time to start finding our outdoor inspiration. So, we wanted to share the top 5 best hikes, near Banff, with you!

Whether you’re going for the exercise, memories or moments, these 5 hikes are sure to get you amped for the outdoors. 

Before we dive into the good stuff, we also wanted to remind you about safety. Be prepared, do your research, let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and understand the conditions.

Spring can be peak avalanche season! Check out Avalanche Canada for the latest conditions and to start planning your trip accordingly. You can also find other great safety advocates on our safety page– use them as your resources.

And now, here are the 5 best hikes: Banff, Alberta!


Lady walking in forest to Cascade Amphitheatre. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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Cascade Amphitheatre

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 5 hours

Round-Trip: 12.5km

Elevation Gain: 640m

Dog-Friendly: Yes, on-leash

This trail is moderately trafficked, and best done June-August. Why? Because you’ll be able to see the wild-flowers in full bloom! If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to catch the mountain goats on the slopes above you.

Enter the trail at Mt. Norquay, behind the Mystic Chairlift. When you begin this hike, be prepared for a long trek through the forest. Conversation with friends will help this by!

Eventually you will come to a creek. Here, you will follow the trail to the right until it branches off. Again, turn right. Follow the switchbacks to the Cascade Amphitheatre!


Yervana Insight:

Consider going on an Edible Plant Walk with Yervana Local, Julie Walker, before this hike! She can help you identify plants in the area and then you can practice what you learned while you journey to the Cascade Amphitheatre.


When you finally enter the Amphitheatre, be prepared for an amazing view! You will also be able to see the route to the Cascade Mountain Summit.

Don’t attempt this route unless you are experienced at scrambling! This is not an easy route.

Spend the rest of your time enjoying the meadows before you head back down.

Man walking across rock debris field at the Cascade Amphitheatre. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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Big Beehive

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 4 hours

Round-Trip: 10.3km

Elevation Gain: 520m

Dog-Friendly: Yes, on-leash

Are you looking for a beautiful view of Lake Louise? Yes? Then this is the hike for you!

Start this hike early in the morning as it can become busy quick. The trail head begins on the shoreline of Lake Louise, past the Fairmont Chateau. The trail is well-maintained and easy to find. Once you reach Mirror Lake, you will follow the signs for Lake Agnes Teahouse.

If you decide to hang out at the Teahouse (during seasonal hours), make sure you bring cash. They don’t accept card.

After a breather at this magnificent spot, continue on to Big Beehive. The trail is well-marked, and eventually you will end up at an epic viewpoint. There is a small shelter built that you can spend some time at while enjoying the view.

If you have time in the day, also consider checking out Little Beehive.

Big Beehive has a lot to offer! Make sure you check it out.

Picture Of The Big Beehive Reflected In Lake. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta
Picture Of The Big Beehive Reflected In Lake. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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Woman Sitting In Big Beehive Shelter. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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Picture Of The Big Beehive Reflected In Lake. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, AlbertaWoman Sitting In Big Beehive Shelter. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

Bourgeau Lake/Harvey Pass

Difficulty: Hard

Time: 6-7 hours

Round-Trip: 20km

Elevation Gain: ~1,100m

Dog-Friendly: Yes, on-leash

This stunning hike will take you to an alpine lake above the Bow Valley! From creeks, waterfalls and lakes, to rocks, roots and grass, this hike seems to have it all.

After entering the trail through the gates, you’ll begin your day with a series of long switchbacks through the forest. This section follows Wolverine Creek, and you’ll catch glimpses of it on your way up!

When the trail opens up, you’ll be welcomed with a stunning viewpoint and a waterfall. Take a breather here because the hike steepens after this. Eventually you will discover Bourgeau Lake.

A stunning spot to explore, eat your lunch, and hang out for a bit. Many people decide to end the day here- turning around to head back to the parking lot.

But if you’re craving an extra burn, continue past the Lake towards Harvey Pass. The trail narrows and steepens here (you’ll also partake in some scrambling). But the views and lakes you’ll see at the Pass make this strain well worth it!

Lady standing in Harvey Pass. Part of the Lake Bourgeau hike. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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Sentinel Pass

Difficulty: Hard

Time: 6 Hours

Round-Trip: 12kms

Elevation Gain: 792m

Dog-Friendly: Yes, on-leash

A staple hike in the fall, Sentinel Pass is also stunning in the spring and summer!

This hike winds it way through Larch Valley (the color change in fall is spectacular), ending in Sentinel Pass.

Starting at Moraine Lake, we advise getting there before 6am to ensure a parking spot. But you can also consider getting a paid shuttle from Lake Louise Village and the Lake Louise Overflow Parking Lot.

The trail meanders around the left side of Moraine Lake, but quickly turns into a steady, strenuous incline. The entire hike will expose you to beautiful views- meadows, lakes, and valleys.

We promise, the work to get there is worth it! And you will be happy to know the way back is mostly downhill.

Man With Climbing Gear, Overlooking Sentinel Pass. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta
Man With Climbing Gear, Overlooking Sentinel Pass. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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Woman Overlooking Sentinel Pass. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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Man With Climbing Gear, Overlooking Sentinel Pass. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, AlbertaWoman Overlooking Sentinel Pass. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

Plain of the Six Glaciers

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 6 hours

Round-Trip: 14km

Elevation Gain: 420m

Dog-Friendly: Yes, on-leash

Another teahouse!

You’ll start this excursion on the right side of Lake Louise. Pass the signs to Lake Agnes Teahouse, and continue your peaceful walk until you branch off the lake. You will begin your incline here!

Take your time here and take in the climbers and viewpoints you pass as the forest begins to thin.

Once you arrive at the teahouse, enjoy your well-deserved break! If you bring cash, you will be able to treat yourself with tea, coffee, scones, soup and sandwiches. Many people turn around after this point. But consider continuing on to the Abbots Pass Viewpoint- only 1.5km further.

The trail narrows for this portion of the hike, so you will need to decide if this is in your abilities. The trail ends at the side of a scree slope where you can view glaciers and the Pass separating BC and AB.

Turn around after enjoying the viewpoint, as attempting to access Abbots Pass from here is extremely dangerous.

You can take the same way back to get to the starting point. But, if you’re feeling really adventurous, consider the longer route (an extra 4.4km and 485m elevation gain) which will take you to Lake Agnes teahouse in the same day.

You can find more information on the Highline Trail here.

People Walking Along Narrow Trail. Plain Of The 6 Glaciers. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta
People Walking Along Narrow Trail. Plain Of The 6 Glaciers. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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People Standing In The Plain Of The 6 Glaciers. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

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People Walking Along Narrow Trail. Plain Of The 6 Glaciers. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, AlbertaPeople Standing In The Plain Of The 6 Glaciers. 5 Best Hikes: Banff, Alberta

We hope these 5 best hikes: Banff, Alberta, helped you find some inspiration. Nothing beats the feeling of getting outdoors and finding your work-life balance again. But having the ability to get outside is an awesome privilege!

Let’s work together to stay safe on the trails (follow the Consider Adventure Smart’s Three T’s: Trip Planning, Training, and Taking the Essentials), practice Leave No Trace principles, and keep our Earth thriving for generations to come.

Book your Adventure below and we’ll see you on the trails!


We hope you get a chance to check out these 5 hikes sometime this summer. Let us know how awesome you thought they were by sending us a message on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter! And if you’re looking for a buddy to go with, more knowledge, or a new activity, message a Yervana Local for their insight.


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