Best Hard Hikes in Banff National Park




A list of Best Hard Hikes in Banff National Park.  Two hikes in this list can be called moderate.  Check for bear activity before hiking and find out whether the hike requires group access especially near Moraine Lake trails. Download hiking guides from Parks Canada website.This list does not include Sunshine Meadow Hikes, which the Lonely Planet named as the No.1 Hike In Canada. See the link for details.

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Attractions in Banff National Park

1. Cascade Amphitheatre

How long ?

6 hour round trip with 15 km round trip with 640 m elevation gain.

Where?




Trail Head location : Day Lodge at Ski Norquay.

GPS: 51.208107,-115.599884

Cascade Amphitheatre trail head direction : Head north on Mt. Norquay road from Trans Canada Highway to the ski area. Trail kiosk sign can be seen at the entrance of the parking lot on the left.  The trail head starts past the day lodge.

How to do?

Start from the day lodge and follow the gravel road, keeping right at all road forks,  to the Forty mile Creek. At Elk lake trail junction, turn right and hike along the western part of Cascade mountain admiring the rugged mountain view to reach the start of the amphitheater. Follow the trail through meadows  to reach a tiny creek and the rewarding view of the enormous amphitheatre.

When to do ?

Late Spring to Early Fall.

2.Rockbound Lake

How long ?

7 hour round trip of 17 km with 760 m elevation gain.

Where?

Trail Head location :Rockbound Lake parking lot

GPS: 51.268668,-115.915464

Rock bound trail head direction :Turn right from Castle junction onto Bow Valley parkway. The Rockbound parking lot will be on the left. If traveling North on Bow Valley Parkway from Banff, the trailhead is on the right just before reaching the Castle junction.

How to do?

Hike along an old fire road which follows the southern slopes of Castle Mountain. Take right at the Tower lakes (7.7 km from trail head) and climb steadily to reach the ridge to view the beauty of the Lake bounded by massive rock formation.

When to do ?

Late Spring to Early Fall.

3. Eiffel Lake

How long ?




5 hours round trip of 11.2 km with 370m elevation gain. This can be called a moderate hike.

Where?

Trail Head location:  Near Moraine Lake Lodge

GPS: 51.327702,-116.183001

Eiffel trail head direction : From Lake Louise village, head southwest  to Lake Louise Drive, turn right onto Moraine Lake Rd, the Moraine Lake is about 12.2 km from the start of the Lake road. From the parking lot, hike along the shoreline and then turn right near the lodge.

How to do?

Take the trail past the lodge and climb steadily through the forest of spruce and fir till you reach a fork in the road. Turn left and follow the trail occasionally glimpsing Moraine lake back dropped by the famed Ten peaks. Amble along till you see the Eiffel Lake. In case one wants to hike to Wenkchemna Pass (a pass in the continental divide), walk for another 4 kms.

When to do ?

Late Spring to Early Fall. Seasonal group access restriction from July 12 to October 8.

‘Best’ and ‘Hard’ are subjective! Please refer official Parks Canada guide maps before venturing on!

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