Picture Perfect Hikes in Banff this winter
With breathtaking views, and panoramic mountain vistas, Banff National Park is world renowned – and for good reason. Home to some of Canada’s best spots for outdoor recreation, Banff is a goldmine of beautiful viewpoints, steep summits, and wildlife!
With over 1,600 kilometres of trails, Banff offers up some of the best hiking in the country, with something for everyone. From summit views to snowy trails, here are a few of the best picture-worthy hikes to knock off your bucket list this winter:
Please remember: There are always risks to hiking in the winter – be sure to remain safe by staying up to date on the forecast and trail conditions. Check the weather in advance, pack accordingly, and don’t forget your ice cleats! Check them out here
For up-to-date trail information, check here.
One of Banff’s most popular hikes, Tunnel Mountain is easily accessible from the town centre by vehicle, bus, or walking. Throughout the winter, the trail is both well-marked and well-used, making it easy for families and hikers with pets. From the top, find panoramic views of the town, Banff Springs & Skating Rink, and Rundle Mountain!
Length: 4.5 km (1.5-2hrs round trip)
Elevation Gain: 267 m
Not too far from Tunnel Mountain is the Hoodoos Trail – a family and pet friendly winter hike. The Hoodoos Trail is perfect for hikers looking for something easy, while still providing great views and an interesting trail. Gentle slopes and groomed trails are met with viewpoints overlooking the Bow River and Rundle Mountain. Spot the Hoodoos – rock that has eroded in unique columns – from any of the viewpoints, from the parks famous Red Chairs, or from the Bow River!
Length: 7.7 km (2 – 2.5hrs round trip)
Elevation Gain: 267 m
Don’t be fooled: the local favourite swimming hole in the warmer months is just as beautiful in the winter! Located just out of the town of Banff, Johnson Lake is a snowy paradise in the winter months. The trail loops around the entirety of the lake, with beautiful views of both Rundle and Cascade. Weaving in and out of the surrounding pine forest, this picturesque hike is accessible and well-travelled, making it perfect for the whole family.
Length: 3.2 km (1hr round trip)
Elevation Gain: 78m
Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail:
While you won’t be able to take in the turquoise waters, Lake Louise has just as much to offer in the winter months. The trail starts near Chateau Lake Louise (which is also a must-do for hot chocolate!), follows the west side of the lake, and ends at a beautiful frozen waterfall. Perfect for beginners or larger families, this trail is relatively mellow with views of the magical Chateau, as well as the surrounding mountains.
Length: 4.5 km (1 – 1.5hr round trip)
Elevation Gain: 108m
Honourable mention: Sulphur Mountain
Yes – the hike under the gondola! Perfect for getting your sweat on, Sulphur is well-used throughout the winter, and can be easily accessed from town. The trail heads up the mountain through various switchbacks and can be considered moderately steep. Located at the top is a boardwalk, walk the entirety of it for 360∞ views of the park and town of Banff!
Length: 10.9 km (4 – 5hrs round trip)
Elevation Gain: 786m