5 Best Hikes in Banff National Park

Banff offers world-class hiking opportunities.
Banff offers world-class hiking opportunities.

5. Tunnel Mountain

Tunnel Mountain can be seen here in the foreground.

The Tunnel Mountain has an elevation of approximately 5,551 feet and is located in the Bow River Valley in Alberta, Canada. Tunnel Mountain is almost entirely surrounded by the grounds of Banff Springs Hotel and the town of Banff. Indigenous people known as the Stoney initially named the mountain 'Sleeping Buffalo' because when viewed from the east and north it resembles a sleeping buffalo. Tunnel Mountain has become a favorite place for hiking due to its location. The mountain top offers an incredible view of the surrounding wilderness, the Bow Valley, and the town site.

4. Lake Agnes Tea House

Lake Agnes, adjacent to the Lake Agnes Tea House.

Located on the eastern shores of Lake Agnes in Alberta, Lake Agnes Tea House is a tiny rustic tea house with an elevation of 7,005 feet. Lake Agnes Tea House was originally constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1901 to shelter hikers. However, the tea house started serving tea in 1905. Over the years, the tea house has been upgraded to accommodate more people due to increased demand. Lake Agnes Tea House offers more than 100 different types of teas and has been called Canada's oldest tea house. Supplies to the tea house have to be transported manually by the employees or air dropped from helicopters due to its remote location.

3. Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon.

Johnston Canyon is a large canyon that was formed through the process of erosion over many years. Johnston Creek is a tributary of the Bow River that cuts through limestone rocks to form walls of the canyon together with pools, tunnels, and waterfalls. Johnston Canyon features a favorite hiking trail leading up to a meadow located within the Johnston Valley. A popular activity during winter is ice climbing on the frozen waterfalls. There is also a tourist lodge found near the mouth of Johnston Creek.

2. Plain of Six Glaciers

Lake Louise as seen from the Plain of Six Glaciers hike.

The Plain of Six Glaciers is among the classic hikes found in Banff National Park. The Trail Hikes start at Chateau Lake Louise through the lakeshore and ascends to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House which was built in 1924 by Swiss guides. The hike features a fantastic view of the glaciers, mountains, and of Lake Louise.

1. Sulphur Mountain

Gondolas traveling up Sulphur Mountain.

Sulphur Mountain looks over the beautiful town of Banff. George Dawson had previously referred to the landform as Terrace Mountain in 1886, but in 1916, the landform was named Sulphur Mountain due to the hot springs located on its lower slopes. Sulphur Mountain has been of great scientific importance since 1903 when a meteorological observatory establishment was constructed on top of Sansone Peak. The Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station was built in the winter of 1956/1957 by the National Research Council for the study of cosmic rays. However, this facility was closed in 1978, and in 1981 the establishment was removed. The hot springs found on the lower slopes of the mountain are home to the endangered Banff Springs snail and the Banff longnose dace which is now extinct.


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