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5 Best Hikes in Banff National Park

Please be sure to check out the latest trail conditions with Parks Canada before setting out on your adventures.

All hike information gathered from Meghan ward, here.

1. CORY PASS – MT. EDITH CIRCUIT
The hike to Cory Pass requires some serious leg power, but the view from the pass is one of the most spectacular and rewarding in all of Banff National Park. The sheer south face of Mt. Louis surprises hikers as they crest the pass – a great place to sit and enjoy a packed lunch. Continue the circuit upon reaching the pass by descending down the other side and around Mt. Edith (a bit easier on the legs), or return the way you came.
Distance: 13 km (8 mi.) loop
Elevation gain: 1000 m (3280 ft)
Time required: 5-6 hours
Difficulty: Challenging

2. CASCADE AMPHITHEATRE
This hike begins at the Mt. Norquay ski area, crosses a bridge over Forty Mile Creek, then zigzags its way through the dense forest to the Cascade Amphitheatre. As you emerge into the amphitheatre, impressively enclosed by limestone cliffs, keep your eyes out for wildflowers. Adventurous hikers can make a full day trip of it and, with adequate preparation, tackle the summit of Cascade Mountain.
Distance: 13.2 km (8 mi.) return trip
Elevation gain: 640 m (2099 ft)
Time required: 4-6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

3. BOURGEAU LAKE & HARVEY PASS
Bourgeau Lake and the Harvey Pass area above it deserve a full day’s trip. The trail climbs steeply through a forest of lodgepole and spruce before opening out into meadows that lead to the shores of Bourgeau Lake. From there, continue 2.2 km (310 m up) past several smaller bodies of water to the lake at Harvey Pass for impressive views of Mt. Assiniboine, “The Matterhorn of the Rockies.”
Distance: 15 km (9.3 mi.) return trip
Elevation gain: 725 m (2378 ft)
Time required: 5-6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

4. LAKE AGNES TEAHOUSE/BIG BEEHIVE
The hike to Lake Agnes in the Lake Louise area and the historic teahouse on its shores is a relatively easy hike through an old-growth forest. A beautiful waterfall flows out of Lake Agnes just below the teahouse, where you can enjoy a cup of tea and fresh piece of pie. For an added challenge, continue 1.6 km (1 mi.) around the far end of Lake Agnes and up switchbacks to the top of the Big Beehive for views of the Bow Valley and the turquoise-blue waters of Lake Louise.
Distance: 7.2 km (4.5 mi.) return trip
Elevation gain: 390 m (1279 ft)
Time required: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Easy

5. PLAIN OF SIX GLACIERS
By far one of the most accessible and scenic hikes in Banff National Park, the Plain of Six Glaciers trail offers expansive views of the impressive mountain features that surround Lake Louise, including Mt. Lefroy, Mt. Victoria, and the Victoria Glacier. After your steady hike up, enjoy your lunch at the plateau before continuing 1 km (0.6 mi.) to talus slopes that provide a view of Abbot Pass and the Abbot Pass Hut (see Bonus section below).

Distance: 13.8 km (8.6 mi.) return trip
Elevation gain: 380 m (1246 ft)
Time required: 4-6 hours
Difficulty: Easy

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