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10 Absolute EASIEST Hikes in Banff (with EPIC Views!)

10 Absolute EASIEST Hikes in Banff (with EPIC Views!)

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When you imagine hiking in Banff National Park, what do you think of? Maybe it’s enjoying a full-day trek through the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, or it might even be joining a multi-day hiking experience on one of the many amazing tours in Banff.

Dan and I have a special place in our hearts for long hikes here, but whenever we have less time on our hands and are looking for new things to do in Banff, we love trying out shorter hikes too! In fact, there are also SO many easy hikes in Banff that will have you exploring new areas, taking in epic views, and filling up your camera quicker than you can say “Banff National Park”.

From stunning lakefronts to dramatic canyons, for this blog, I’ve hand-picked 10 of my all-time favorite easy hikes in Banff – all of which I’ve walked myself (so expect plenty of insider tips). These trails are all really accessible and ideal for all types of travelers, including families with kids, solo travelers, and couples.

So, whether you’re spending one day in Banff, or planning a week full of fun excursions, let’s dive right in!

What are the BEST EASY Hikes in Banff?

1. Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk

A Banff Gondola Cabe car heads up Sulphur Mountain
Photo credit: Jewhyte Depositphotos
Walk the boardwalk to Sanson's Peak and the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station
This is without a doubt the number one thing to do in Banff!
  • Distance: 1 kilometer (0.6 miles)
  • Difficulty: Very easy
  • Elevation gain: 36 meters (118 feet)
  • Time needed: 30 to 40 minutes
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: The top of the Banff Gondola

One of my favorite things to do in Banff in summer is riding the Banff Gondola (although it’s also a blast in winter too!). In fact, riding the gondola is the number one thing I recommend whenever friends and family are visiting Banff for the first time.

While the gondola ride itself is a ton of fun, there’s also a short and easy walk up at the summit, known as the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk, which is my favorite part of the whole experience.

That being said, to reach the boardwalk you’ll need to make your way up to the top of Sulphur Mountain via the gondola. Tickets for the gondola can be purchased ahead of time, helping you to skip those queues and get to enjoying the 8-minute-long ride up to the top in no time!

Once you reach the Banff Gondola Complex at the summit, it’s easy to find the boardwalk which leads you across to the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station. The boardwalk itself isn’t very long, but does have a few shallow steps along the way (see the photo above). However, the real time-consumer on this walk isn’t the distance, but the time spent taking in all the views and grabbing photos along the way!

On the walk, you’ll have gorgeous and unspoiled panoramic views of Banff, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife off in the distance too, like elk or maybe even bears. Also, you’ll find some of the iconic Banff red chairs along the way, where you can have a seat and snap a pic or two.

You’ll find parking at the base of the Banff Gondola, which is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Banff. However, it’s worth noting that spaces can fill up really quickly during the summer and holiday seasons. If you don’t fancy chancing it, there’s also the option of taking the ROAM bus service, or you can make use of the free shuttle running between Banff town and the gondola during peak season.

Tickets for the Banff Gondola are dynamic and change depending on the demand, season, and day of the week. Adults tickets range anywhere from $59 to $72 CAD, with youth tickets (age 6-15) starting at $37 CAD and children 5 and under being free. As I’ve mentioned, this is a really popular activity, so I really recommend purchasing your tickets in advance here to avoid queues.

Note: Remember, although the boardwalk is easy to navigate, it does require good footwear, especially in winter, as it can get slippery.

2. Walk along the Bow River to Surprise Corner

Bailey at Surprise Corner viewpoint in Banff, Canada
I could sit here all day!
  • Distance: 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles)
  • Difficulty: Very easy
  • Elevation gain: Low
  • Time needed: 45 minutes
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Right in Banff town

If you’re staying in Banff, you’ll be happy to know that there are lots of easy walks that are right on your doorstep! One of our favorites has to be the trail from Bow River to Surprise Corner, which is a nice and short trail with very little elevation gain. You won’t need your car for parking here, simply set off from the Bow River and follow the easy trail towards Surprise Corner.

As the trail is mainly flat, it’s ideal for families, casual walkers, or those just looking to get out and stretch their legs.

Obviously, the Bow River has to be the star of the show on this walk – did you know that the river is actually 587 km (365 miles) long? Luckily for us, we won’t be walking the whole way, but even this small stretch is full of incredible sights!

The trail begins at the corner of Bow Ave and Wolf Street, just north of the Canoe Club. After a short walk, you’ll reach Surprise Corner, where a quick climb up the wooden stairs opens up to a viewing platform. Here, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Sulphur Mountain as well as the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

This is a great trail for those who are on a tight schedule but still want to enjoy an easy hike while out in Banff. If you want a bit more of a challenge (while still keeping it relatively easy), or simply want to keep going, then you can combine this walk with the Surprise Corner to Hoodoos trail hike (more on this later)!

So, whether you’re staying at a hotel in Banff or simply visiting for the day, then I’d highly recommend trying out the walk along the Bow River for yourself.

3. Silverton Falls

Silverton Falls, Banff
You can hear the falls from far away!
close up of Silverton Falls Banff
The falls collect in a gorgeous pool at the bottom.
  • Distance: 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 113 meters (371 feet)
  • Time needed: 45 minutes
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: On the Bow Valley Parkway, about a 30-minute drive from Banff town

Who said that you could only see epic landmarks on lengthy and challenging trails? Introducing the trail to Silverton Falls, a gorgeous but easy hiking route that’s tucked away on the Bow Valley Parkway, which itself is a scenic drive that’s well worth spending a day exploring too.

Starting at the Rockbound Lake Parking Lot, just off the main stretch of the Bow Valley Parkway, the route climbs gently upwards towards an incredible two-tiered waterfall. The parking area itself is quite small and doesn’t appear on online maps, however as you drive down the Parkway you’ll see clear signage pointing the way.

From the parking lot, there’s a wide dirt path that leads up to the waterfall. As I mentioned, it’s a pretty gradual climb up towards the falls, however there is a fairly steep section right at the end of the trail, although this is very short, and you’re instantly rewarded with views of the falls!

That being said, although the trail is quite easy, one section does navigate along a cliff with a steep drop. So, for those who aren’t so comfortable with heights, there are plenty of other easy trails in Banff to choose from.

When I first tried the trail, it was after having visited the popular Johnston Canyon (more on this later!), and I found this route to be a far quieter, more intimate experience. Especially during the summertime, when the canyon can get very busy. So, if this sounds like your kind of trail, I say go for it!

4. Two Jack Lake Trail

People enjoy water sports on Two Jack Lake in Banff as seen from the lake trail
So stunning!
A person kayaks on Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park
You’ll be tempted to jump in!
  • Distance: 4.8 kilometers (3 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 184 meters (604 feet)
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Two Jack Lake, about a 15-minute drive from Banff

Fancy a trail that’s a little longer, but is chock-full of epic views while being just a short drive from Banff? Let me introduce the Two Jack Lake Trail, an easy 2-hour walk that’s perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities.

You’ll find the trail along the scenic Lake Minnewanka drive, starting at a convenient day-use area, that’s just 10 km (6 miles) from Banff. You can also grab a ROAM bus to get here (route 6), making this a really convenient spot for those looking to see more of what Banff has to offer.

As you make your way along the shoreline of the lake, you’ll also enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Rundle, and of course, the crystal-clear waters of Two Jack Lake – one of the most beautiful lakes in Banff. Keep an eye out for wildlife too, as I’ve seen deer and elk in this area before, too! If you’re visiting in summer, you might even go for a dip in the lake – just be careful as the water is surprisingly cold despite the time of year.

When you’re halfway around the trail, you’ll come across the Two Jack Lake Lakeside campground with toilets, which is also one of my favorite places to camp in Banff! If you’re planning to try camping for yourself in Banff, there are actually two campgrounds here, Two Jack Lakeside and Two Jack Main. My favorite of the two is Lakeside – sites here start at $29 CAD per night, and it’s best to reserve in advance.

Related Read: There are also tons of super fun things to do at Moraine Lake, another of our favorite lakes in Banff!

5. Upper Stoney Lookout

Upper Stoney Lookout, Banff
This is a view to savor!
  • Distance: 4.3 kilometers (2.6 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 243 meters (797 feet)
  • Time needed: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Type of trail: Loop
  • Location: Both ends of the trail start from Mt Norquay Road, a 12-minute drive from Banff

When you think of the Rocky Mountains, easy hikes might not be the first thing that comes to mind! So, you can imagine that Dan and I were pretty surprised when we first learned about Upper Stoney Lookout, which is a popular and easy trail that’s exactly that – a scenic route near Banff with epic views of the Rockies!

Starting from the Mount Norquay Ski Resort parking lot, this trail winds its way through lush forest up and around Snow Peak. Keep an eye out for some of Banff’s wildlife along the way too, you can really see for miles on this trail, especially when you reach the clearing towards the top of the trail. Here, you can see Banff town, Sulphur Mountain, the Vermillion Lakes, as well as the Sundance Mountain Range.

Just another 200 meters (650 feet) from the clearing, and you’ll reach the Upper Stoney Lookout, an awesome viewpoint that offers some of the best views of Cascade Mountain, Mt. Inglismaldie, Mt. Girouard, Bow Valley, and the town of Canmore! For an easy walking trail, this is seriously impressive. Don’t forget to take a moment to sit down and breathe in the fresh mountain air,

When it’s time to head back, you have the choice of retracing your steps or completing the loop for some new sights along the way. If you choose the latter, the descent is easy-going with a couple of short steep sections as you head back down into the forest.

This trail is a gentle adventure that can be completed in a couple of hours, making it a fantastic choice for those looking for a walk with epic views that won’t take a half-day to complete.

6. Tunnel Mountain

view from Tunnel Mountain Trail overlooking Banff town and the Bow Valley
This hike is SO worth it.
  • Distance: 4.6 kilometers (2.9 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Elevation gain: 266 meters (872 feet)
  • Time needed: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Type of trail: Out and back
  • Location: The trailhead is located just a 3-minute drive from the center of Banff town

Don’t let the name deceive you – Tunnel Mountain isn’t technically a mountain, but rather a big hill that’s so much fun to walk! The trail begins on Tunnel Mountain Drive and heads up into the nearby forest to the east of town. Along the way, you’ll come across a few switchbacks (where the path zigzags back and forth to make the climb more gradual).

Keep an eye on the treeline as you head up, as there are several points along the way where you can spot Banff and see just how far you’ve come already! See if you can spot the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, the Bow River, and maybe even your accommodation if you’re staying in town.

As you approach the summit, the view opens up and suddenly, there are no more trees blocking your way! Take the time to pat yourself on the back and take a few photos – you’ve earned it.

This is a popular running route in summer, and if you’re traveling in winter, it’s a good idea to come equipped with shoes with crampons or microspikes for extra safety. All in all, the trail takes a maximum of 2 hours, so you could time it around lunch and be back in town to enjoy a coffee at one of the many amazing cafés in Banff!

7. Johnston Canyon

Bailey at the Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
Upper falls!
Johnston Canyon Lower waterfall in winter
Johnston Canyon Lower Falls in winter
  • Distance: 5.3 kilometers (3.3 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Elevation gain: 263 meters (863 feet)
  • Time needed: 1 to 2 hours
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: On the Bow Valley Parkway, a 30-minute drive from Banff town

There’s a good reason why Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular landmarks in Banff, especially during the summer! Located just outside of Banff on the Bow Valley Parkway, entry to the canyon is free, and you’re sure to have some amazing views of the waterfalls, no matter the time of year.

With sections of easy-to-navigate boardwalk along the Johnston Canyon trail, this walk is great for all the family – see if you can spot the seven glacial waterfalls along the way! When it comes to parking, it’s a good idea to claim your spot early in the day (especially in summer).

On the other hand, you might also consider trying a tour from Banff to Johnston Canyon. My pick is the hop-on-hop-off tour, which stops at many top landmarks in Banff and gives you the freedom to explore the places you want to.

The trail itself can actually be split into two sections if your group doesn’t fancy heading all the way to the end. The full route leads to the Upper Falls, which is around 2.5 km (1.6 miles), whereas you can also just make your way to the Lower Falls in 1.2 km (0.75 miles). In my opinion, it’s well worth pushing on to the upper falls, the entire hike is pretty easy, plus the Upper Falls area is my personal favorite!

One thing that I absolutely love about Johnston Canyon is that you get a completely different experience, whether you visit in summer or winter. In winter, the rushing waterfalls fully solidify, turning the entire area into a frozen wonderland.

While the trail does remain open during winter, I’d highly recommend joining a winter tour from Banff for a guided icewalk for the safest and most enjoyable experience. This 4-hour icewalk has a maximum of 12 guests and pairs you with an expert local guide – imagine thrilling stories about the canyon’s history, as well as warm drinks and snacks as you journey up the trail. Now that’s what I call magical! Tickets for this tour cost $101 CAD per person and can be booked online here.

Related Read: If you have the time, I highly recommend driving the Icefields Parkway, which has so many epic stops along the way. You can even go hiking on a glacier too!

8. Stewart Canyon

Views of the bridge on Stewart Canyon, Banff
Views of the bridge on Stewart Canyon, Banff
  • Distance: 6.8 kilometers (4.2 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy to the bridge and back, moderate if you hike the whole trail
  • Elevation gain: 260 meters (853 feet)
  • Time needed: 1 to 2 hours
  • Type of trail: Out and back
  • Location: Lake Minnewanka, a 20-minute drive from Banff

Now I’m not ordering this list on personal preference… buuut if I was, then the Stewart Canyon trail would be right towards the top. Kicking off from the Lake Minnewanka parking lot, just 20 minutes from Banff, this is such a fun area to bring the family for an afternoon out of town. There’s also the lake cruise, which is such a treat and a must if you want to learn more about the area while soaking up some amazing views.

The hike itself initially follows a paved path through the Lake Minnewanka day-use area, but soon transforms into a lush forest that runs right alongside the lake. Before long, you’ll arrive at a quaint wooden bridge that offers some amazing views of Stewart Canyon!

Once you arrive at the bridge, you have the option of either turning around and heading back the way you came, or continuing on further along the canyon and turning around whenever you feel like it.

Either way, make sure to keep an eye out for some of Lake Minnewanka’s incredible local wildlife – I’ve spotted deer here on the path, but be sure to check with the local rangers for any bear sightings (and bring bear spray with you for safety).

Note: If you’re visiting in winter, don’t forget to bring your skates to give ice skating on Lake Minnewanka a go!

Related Read: A cruise on Lake Minnewanka is deifnitley worth it – learn all about it in our review!

9. Cascade Ponds to Bankhead

Cascade Ponds, Banff National Park
Cascade Ponds, Banff National Park
  • Distance: 7.7 kilometers (4.7 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Elevation gain: 373 meters (1224 feet)
  • Time needed: 2.5 hours 
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Just on the outskirts of Banff town, about a 15-minute drive from the center of town

The Cascade Ponds to Bankhead trail is a really scenic route that’s full of some interesting history too! Despite being one of the longest routes on this list, the walk itself isn’t very difficult, and of course, you’re free to explore at your own rate.

The start of the trail kicks off at the Cascade Ponds, which is a lovely collection of ponds that sit right at the foot of Cascade Mountain. Make sure to bring some snacks or lunch with you too, as there are lots of picnic benches scattered around here too (perfect for relaxing before or after your hike).

As you leave the ponds behind, a large stretch of the hike takes you through the forest. While this part might not offer epic, sprawling views like Upper Stoney Lookout or Tunnel Mountain, the interesting history of Bankhead more than makes up for it.

Once a bustling mining village, Bankhead was deserted following the halt of operations in 1922, which then sealed its fate as a ghost town. Today, you can explore the eerie remnants of the town and learn all about the mining industry’s history through the information boards around the area. There’s something really cool about walking through historic spots like this – how often do you get to say you visited a real abandoned mining town?!

The Cascade Ponds to Bankhead walk is also one of our top picks for breaks during drives from Edmonton to Banff or on a road trip from Calgary to Banff. So, feel free to hop out and stretch those legs before finishing off your drive!

10. Surprise Corner to Hoodoos Viewpoint

A lady poses for a photo at the Banff Hoodoos
Can you spot the hoodoos?
  • Distance: 9 kilometers (5.6 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 340 meters (1,115 feet)
  • Time needed: 2 to 3 hours
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: The trail starts at Surprise Corner, right in Banff

Wow, we’re at the end of the list already? How time flies! The last trail on this list is the hike from Surprise Corner to the Hoodoos Viewpoint, which you may remember from earlier was the stopping point of the Bow River to Surprise Corner trail.

This trail is a super easy hike that leads you on an amazing journey to the Banff Hoodoos, which are some pretty dramatic and famous rock formations in Banff that have been molded by the wind and rain! Along the way, you’re also treated to some epic views of Mt. Rundle in the distance, so don’t forget to keep your camera handy.

Kicking off at the Surprise Corner parking lot, don’t forget to climb the stairs up to the Surprise Corner viewpoint if you haven’t already. Here, you can enjoy views of the Bow River, Sulphur Mountain, and the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel! If you look closely, you might even glimpse the Banff Gondola climbing up the mountain in the distance.

From here, it’s really easy to follow the signs for the trail into the forest, which isn’t particularly dense, so you can expect lots of views along the path.

Around half a kilometer (0.3 miles) into your hike, you’ll come across a junction with two trails. Either trail is a good choice as they converge again in another 500 meters (1,640 feet). However, having tried both, we recommend choosing the left trail as it takes you closer to the mountain’s face.

Before you reach the final stretch of the trail, there are also two more marked viewpoints along the way, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to stop off here and have a drink!

Then, at long last, you’ll make your way up to the large parking lot with the hoodoos in sight. This is the point where you high-five your fellow hikers, or yourself if you’re traveling solo! While you’re here, don’t forget to grab a photo in one of Banff’s iconic red chairs, and there are also restrooms available in case you need them before returning back to Surprise Corner.

Related Read: While in the area, consider checking out some of the best things to do in Lake Louise!

Where to Stay in Banff

Bailey poses for a photo on Banff Ave walking street
Welcome to Banff!

When it comes to deciding where to stay in Banff National Park, it’s easy to be a little overwhelmed with just how many accommodation options are on offer! There are tons of great hotels right in Banff town, but if you prefer somewhere a little outside of town, we’ve got you covered too.

Here are some of our favorite picks:

Samesun Banff Hostel – $

Traveling on a budget can be a lot of fun, carefully crafting your itinerary for the perfect budget trip! However, choosing accommodation can be tricky, as it’s a careful balance to find somewhere with lower rates but excellent service and amenities.

The Samesun Banff Hostel is our personal choice for affordable accommodation that’s not only clean, but also run by the friendliest of staff with great facilities too! Although there are no private rooms here, the dorms are well looked after, and the on-site kitchen and bar are really welcome too. If you’re looking for somewhere to meet like-minded people that’s also located in Banff town, this is the place to be.

A bed here at the Samesun Banff Hostel starts at around $59 CAD per night, but can rise to around $150 CAD during peak months. This is why it’s a great idea to book in advance to secure a better rate! I’d suggest using either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

Banff Inn – $$

If a dorm room isn’t what you’re looking for, but you’re still keeping to a budget, then my next recommendation would be the Banff Inn, which is also located right in the heart of town on Banff Ave. All of the rooms here are air-conditioned, and the hotel also has lots of other great amenities, like a hot tub, a steam room, a restaurant, and a bar.

This is one of the most popular hotels in Banff and does book up pretty quickly! Rooms here start at $199 CAD per night. To secure the best rates, it’s a good idea to book the Banff Inn well in advance.

Banff Rocky Mountain Resort – $$

For traveling families, or for those with a moderate budget, you’ll be looking for a bit more space and the facilities that come with it. The Banff Rocky Mountain Resort has its very own swimming pool, a fully-equipped gym, and all the rooms also have their own kitchenettes or full kitchens!

The hotel is located just outside of Banff town, about a 5-minute drive, so not far at all. You really get the best of both worlds here – easy access to Banff town, as well as a nice and peaceful location. There are also two and three-bedroom units on offer, which are perfect for families.

Rooms here at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort cost around $300-500 CAD per night in the high season, however I’ve also seen rooms drop as low as $155 CAD in the low season. To secure your room, don’t forget to check availability and book online here.

Fairmont Banff Springs – $$$

For the ultimate stay in Banff, it’s not a question of where you’ll be staying, but when you’ll be visiting the Fairmont Banff Springs! Designed after a Scottish Baronial castle, the Fairmont is in one of the most incredible spots on the bank of Lake Louise, with gorgeous views of the lake and the Rocky Mountains.

Inside the hotel, there are no less than 11 restaurants, as well as afternoon tea and room-service options too. What’s more, there’s also a bowling alley, a top-rated spa, a couple of pools… The list just goes on! This really is a luxury resort-like stay that’s one-of-a-kind in Banff.

If you’re visiting Banff on a honeymoon, then this should be the hotel you choose! Rooms here average around $600-700 CAD per night, but can rise significantly higher in the high season. You can check prices and room availability for the Fairmont online here.

Important info: I suggest booking a place in Banff ASAP! Using Booking.com is great too because many hotels offer free cancellation, so just lock in a place (or two) for now and make the final decision later!

Other Things to do While You’re in Banff

Which wildlife will you see?

One of the many reasons I recommend my friends and family visit Banff is because of the huge number of things to do here! Whether you love history and want to get to know more about Banff’s past, or just love to go sightseeing, there are a ton of options here for you to explore.

To help give you a better idea of what’s on offer, I’ve listed a few of my favorite activities below:

  • Go wildlife spotting – There are so many incredible animals in Banff National Park, that it’s hard to miss spotting some on your travels. You might see elk, bears, deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep… The list goes on! If you’d love to learn more, I’d highly recommend trying out a wildlife tour in Banff. I had a great time on this 3-hour wildlife tour, where our friendly guide personalized our trip to what we wanted to see.
  • Dig into Banff’s past – Perfect for when it rains in Banff, two of my favorite museums include the Buffalo Nations Museum in town, as well as the Cave and Basin Historic Site. The historic site is a special place for the Indigenous Peoples of the area and also has its own dedicated museum.
  • Visit Lake Louise – One of the most famous lakes in Banff National Park (and also in Canada!), Lake Louise is absolutely gorgeous – you can easily spend one day in Lake Louise or even longer! There are also lots of fun hikes here, as well as the iconic Fairmont Château Lake Louise, a picture-perfect hotel with stunning views of the lake.
  • Unwind at the hot springs – This is an absolute must after a long day of hiking out in nature. The Banff Upper Hot Springs have some incredible mountain views and is also one of Alberta’s best hot springs! It costs $16.50 CAD per person here for a pass, and I’d recommend going towards the end of the day when the springs are quieter.

Parks Canada Pass Quick Info

If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.

Single Daily Admission:

This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.

  • Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
  • Senior (65+) is $9.50 CAD
  • Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE

Group Daily Admission:

If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)

  • $22.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day

Parks Canada Discovery Pass

The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.

  • Adult (age 18-64) – $75.25 CAD
  • Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
  • Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 CAD

Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!

Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.

Renting a Car in Alberta

A car drives along the Icefields Parkway
The drive is mesmerizing!

If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.

Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for Reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie ith drinks on a rooftop bar in Banff, Canada
Thanks for reading!

So there you have it – 10 of Banff’s best and easiest hikes! I hope you’re able to add a few of these to your Banff itinerary, there’s no better way to enjoy Banff’s incredible natural beauty than to go out there and explore it.

Let us know in the comments which trails you’re planning to go on, and if you’ve tried any for yourself already! That being said, there really is a ton to see and do here, so here are a few more blogs I think you’d find useful on your travels:

How to Spend a Weekend in Banff!

40+ Epic Things to do in Banff in Winter

11 BEST Stops on the Drive from Revelstoke to Banff

4 BEST Whitewater Rafting Tours in Banff + Pros and Cons of Each Tour