Banff National Park Hiking Tours

Get away from the crowds so you can fully unplug, relax your mind and mindfully tune your senses with awe into the natural wonders of Banff National Park.

Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park

Valley of the Ten Peaks reflection in the glacial lake on the Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass trail above Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.

There are more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) of hiking trails in Banff National Park’s 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles) so it can feel a little overwhelming to decide you need to see and do while you are vacationing in Banff and the Canadian Rockies.

Find the right Banff hiking tours that will help you get off the beaten track away from the tourist crowds.

Tour Banff National Park with a private hiking guide and get a customized adventure tour tailored to your personal interests and schedule.

Find out about private Banff hiking tours led by interpretive hiking guide specialized in the unique stories and ecology of the Canadian Rockies

We will help you get away from the crowds of mass tourism and enjoy mindful hiking and sightseeing that educates you about the unique ecology, wildlife and history of Banff National Park.

About Banff National Park

What is the best time to visit Banff National Park?

In high season from June to September, popular places in Banff National Park can feel overrun by mobs of tourists and tour bus groups.

We help you customize a Banff hiking tour to avoid the crowds during peak season.

Banff is also just as beautiful outside of peak season, with April, May and October also being good months to visit and go hiking in the national park.

In the winter, we can help you book a private snowshoeing or icewalk tour.

Where does the name Banff originate from?

Banff became Canada’s first national park in 1885 after 3 railway workers discovered the Cave and Basins hot springs and decided to build a small hotel there to attract tourists.

The Canadian government stepped in and created a protected reserve that eventually became what we know as Banff National Park today.

The name Banff was chosen by a number of the town’s Scottish founders who were from Banffshire, Scotland (the name in Gaelic can be translated as holy woman).

The local Stoney Nakoda peoples call the area Minhrpa meaning “Mountain Where The Water Falls” after Cascade Mountain which resembles a cascading waterfall of rock, snow and ice — along with a large waterfall on the eastern-facing rock faces.

What is the First Nations history of Banff National Park?

Over 450 indigenous archaeological sites have been discovered in Banff National Park that involve points, stone tools, spears, butchered bones, hearths, house pits and pictographs.

The oldest archeological discovery in Banff National Park was a Clovis point found along the shores of Lake Minnewanka just outside of Banff, dating to 13,000 years ago. The Stoney Nakoda refer to the lake as “Minn-waki” or “Lake of the Spirits”, a place they both respect and fear for its resident spirits.

If you’re interested in First Nations culture and history of Canada’s Rocky Mountain National Parks, please read our post on the Indigenous First Nations History Of Banff National Park.

Where are the best places in Banff for seeing wildlife?

Banff is one of the best places in the world to see large mammals in their natural habitat.

There are 56 different mammal species in Banff, including Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Lynx, Moose and Wolves.

Some of the best places to see wildlife in Banff National Park are:

  1. The Lake Minnewanka and Two Jacks Lake route
  2. The Columbia Icefields Parkway
  3. Sulphur Mountain in Banff
  4. The Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise
  5. Backcountry hiking trails away from crowds

What is the highest mountain peak in Banff National Park?

Mount Forbes is the highest peak entirely within Banff National Park at 3,612 metres (11,851 feet). You can see the summit of Mount Forbes from the Icefields Parkway at the Saskatchewan River Crossing on a clear day.

The highest peak in the Southern Canadian Rockies is Mount Assiniboine 3,618 metres (11,870 feet) and it can be seen from the Sunshine Meadows hike that is a 20-minute drive from the town of Banff.

The highest peak in the Northern Canadian Rockies is Mount Robson at 3,950 meters (12,970 feet) and it is found about an hour west of Jasper National Park where it towers over the highway leading into British Columbia.

Popular Hikes In Banff National Park

Lake Agnes Teahouse
And Plain of 6 Glaciers

A moderate hike to have tea at a picturesque lake above Lake Louise that can be combined with a longer hike to the Plains of Six Glaciers.

Moraine Lake
And Consolation Lakes

See the most photographed lake in Canada and hike away from the crowds on some of the best trails in Banff National Park along the Consolation Lakes Trail.

Larch Valley
And Sentinel Pass

Get away from the crowds of Moraine Lake and hike into Larch Valley below Sentinel Pass to see even more spectacular natural wonders.

Hector Lake And
Upper Bow River

A great place for birding, seeing wildlife and walking barefoot at the estuary of the Upper Bow River on the shores of the largest natural lake in Banff National Park.

Bow Summit
And Peyto Lake

Take a hike away from the crowds at the Peyto Lake viewpoint to the much more beautiful Bow Valley Summit that offers one of the best views in Banff National Park.

Parker Ridge And
The Columbia Icefields

Park Ridge has the best ease-to-epic view of hikes in the Canadian Rockies. It overlooks the Saskatchewan Glacier, which is the headwaters of one of the most important river systems in Canada.

Waterfowl Estuary
And Chephren Lake

The Chephren Lake trail from the spectacular estuary along Waterfowl Lake up into the highlands below Mount Chephren is a hidden gem on the Icefields Parkway.

Paradise Valley
And Giant Steps

Between Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, you have majestic Paradise Valley where you can get away from the crowds even on the busiest days of the summer.

Lake O'Hara And
The Opabin Plateau

Tucked away directly across the Continental Divide from Lake Louise in Yoho National Park is awe-inspiring Lake O’Hara, a must-see place for serious hikers.

Inquire About A Private Banff Hiking Tour

Please contact us using the form below and we will help you arrange a private hiking tour itinerary for 1-5 days during your vacation in Banff.