The Front Ranges
and the foothills in Banff National Park are a great introduction
to what the park has to offer. These alone will satisfy you as to
why people come from all over the world to travel through this spectacular
park.Then, turn your attention to the Main Range, along the continental
divide, where you'll find spectacular glaciers amongst the regions
highest mountains. With approximately 1,600 km of trail in the park
there is endless variety for everyone. In the most popular backcountry
areas campsites are designated, no random camping is allowed. Within
these areas, the trails are better maintained and the campsites
have more amenities such as bear poles, tables, privies, and fire
rings (where fires are permitted). There are 54 of these camping
areas in the park. In less traveled or more remote areas you'll
find that the trails are more rugged and random camping is permitted
(certain restrictions apply)..
Be aware that you'll
need good route finding skills if you venture into these remote areas.
Anyone entering the
backcountry should be very experience in the outdoors with a good knowledge
of wilderness first aid and the resources to practice it. In addition,
you must leave a detailed itinerary with someone you know or sign out
a safety registration with the parks service before you depart. The best
months for backcountry is in mid-May to mid-October. Remember that the
summer is usually warm and comfortable but weather conditions in these
mountains can change in an instant. Snow has been recorded even in July.
Anyone traveling in
the backcountry is required to obtain a wilderness pass. Permits can be
purchased at any of the park's visitor centers. The fee for the pass goes
to the maintenance of trails, bridges and campsites in the backcountry,
so consider it an investment in the park. This will ensuring access to
the backcountry for years to come.
You must pack in
your own gear with the exception of that provided. Many of the access
routes require expert skills in either climbiing, scrambling, mountaineering
and ski mountaineering. In the winter many appoaches are through avalanche
areas. Some huts are only accessibel in the summer or rarely used due
to difficult acess in the winter.Consult with the various authorities
regarding use, fees, gear and skills requirements before doing any planning.
Hut - Sleeps 30, Wood stove, sleeping pads, Colman lanterns,
utensils, Rocky Mountains, north east of St. Nicholas Creek, Wapta
Ice Field, Banff National Park - Alpine
Club of Canada
Hut - Sleeps 18, sleeping pads, Colman stoves, lanterns and some
utensils, Rocky Moutains, near the Vulture Glaciers toe -
Alpine Club of Canada
and Catherine Whyte (PEYTO) Hut - Sleeps 18, sleeping pads, Colman
stoves, lanterns and some utensils, Rocky Moutains, below Mount
Thompson Wapta Icefields, Banff National Park - Alpine
Club of Canada
Duncan Hut - Sleeps 12, sleeping pads, Colman stoves, lanterns and
some utensils, Rocky Mountains, Below Mount Daly, Banff National Park
- Alpine Club of Canada
Colgan Hut - Valley of Ten Peaks, Banff National Park - almost exclusivly
summer use - Sleeps 18, sleeping pads, Colman stoves, lanterns and some
utensils, Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park - Alpine
Club of Canada
Pass Hut - Not recommended in the winter Mt. Victoria, Yoho and
Banff National Park - Sleeps 24, sleeping pads, propane light, wood
stove Rocky Mountains, Yoho and Banff National Park - Alpine
Club of Canada
Mountain Hut - Not used in winter Castle Mountain, Banff National
Park - Sleeps 6, propane light (user supplied green Colman canister),
some utenisls, Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park - Alpine
Club of Canada
Banff National Park
has over 1,600 kilometers of trails. Even a day hike in a wilderness environment
like Banff National Park can put you at risk without the proper knowledge
of safety in the backcountry. Consult with the park staff about route
difficulties and conditions and if you don't have the skills make a point
of hiring a good guide.
A fairly difficult trail starts at Lake Louise ski area and goes to
an open alpine pass. There are spectacular views at the top of Boulder
Pass. From this pass you can travel 1.3 km to Redoubt Lake or 3 km to
Baker Lake. The length of trail is 8.8 km
This is an easy trail follows both banks of the Bow River for 7.1 km.
Both sides of the river offer excellent views of Bow Falls. Signs introduce
you to the Bow River ecosystem and some of the birds and animals that
live in it. You can access this trail easily from certain campgrounds
hostels and also from the Banff village centre.
Description: This is an easy 2 km loop trail that goes through marsh
and forest. Beaver, birds, and other wildlife might be seen. The trail
starts at the Forty Mile picnic area on the west side of Mount Norquay
Mountain Hoodoos Trail
This is a short trail with a 300 metre elevation gain that passes a
number of viewpoints. You'll see hoodoos pillars of glacial tile. There
are also great views of the Bow Valley and across to Mount Rundle. The
trail starts in the parking lot on the south side of Tunnel Mountain
Road, east of Tunnel Mountain Campground.
This is an easy 1.1 km trail starts at Lake Minnewanka loop road, 7.4
km from Banff townsite. The trail takes you through the ruins of The
Bankhead coal mine that was in business 80 years ago.
and Basin Trail
An easy 0.8 km trail that takes you past the opening in the roof of
the Cave and to a spring flowing out of the hillside. Signs explain
the geology and human history of the area. On the marsh there is a floating
boardwalk with bird blind for photographers and birdwatchers.
Johnston Canyon Trail
This trail takes you inside a canyon Along the first 1.1 km to the Lower
Falls are signs describing the effects of water in creating the canyon.
Another 1.6 km takes you to the Upper Falls with more waterfalls and
signs describing life in the canyon.
This trail has on of the best views of Moraine Lake and the Valley of
the Ten Peaks. The trail runs to the top of the rockpile and is only
0.8 km in length.
This is a short trail that takes you to Maligne or Marble Canyon. It
is 300 metre in length down an old road where you can see into a deep,
narrow canyon from the bridge spanning the Mistaya River. You must stay
well back from the unfenced edge of the canyon, especially if the rock
This trail takes you to an alpine ridge. You may see snow in the ridge
until after June. At the summit after a climb of 240 metres you'll have
mountain vistas and breathtaking views of the Saskatchewan Glacier.
The trail is 2.4 km in length.
Packing & Guest Ranches
You keep asking and
we keep looking but so far we haven't found any lama packing outfits working
in the park. If you know of any let us know. Here are a few that have
trips in other areas of the Rockies.