Alberta is home to many hikes throughout Canada’s legendary Rocky Mountains. Areas such as Banff, Jasper, Canmore, and Kananaskis Valley. The stunning waterfalls, sparkling blue lakes, and jaw-dropping lookout points make the climb worth every step.
A moderate hike in Jasper
Valley of Five Lakes is a 5km hike that will take you to multiple stunning lakes.
Beginning at the Icefield Parkway, this trail does include steep up and down sections between the flat stretches.
If you prefer to avoid a lot of uphill you should do this loop counterclockwise and go straight to the fifth lake. Beside the lake is a trail that follows a narrow ridge along a hillside that provides amazing views of the water and mountains.
Get to this area early if you want it to yourself! This trail is rumored to be busy, especially mid-day on a sunny afternoon.
A difficult hike in Jasper
The Roche De Miette trail is for experienced hikers with proper hiking gear. It is an 11km hike that usually takes users about 6-8 hours to complete, depending on how high you choose to climb.
Head out early on a clear day to catch the breathtaking views from the summit. Bring along lots of fluids and sunscreen. There is no shade on the second half of this hike and no access to water.
The first 4km proves to be a moderate walk through the forest. Once you reach the first peak the scramble begins. Only experienced hikers should attempt the steep ascend up the unstable rocks, it is not dog friendly. Many users choose to wear helmets to protect themselves from falling rocks from above. This is especially a good idea if you are climbing with other people!
A moderate hike in Jasper
Maligne Canyon is just a 10-minute drive from the town of Jasper, and it has a huge parking lot!
This 3.5 km hike has gentle slopes and inclines. Expect this hike to take about 1.5-2.5 hours. You should count six bridges that you cross along the way. To find the best view, after the sixth bridge walk down Seven Path and make a right into a hidden mini beach by the water.
Bonus adventure in Jasper!
These falls are located just 30 minutes south of the town of Jasper, located inside Jasper National Park. It is only a 1km walk to the falls.
The parking lot is large, but the area can be very busy. There are multiple lookout points that offer different views of the falls along the trail. There are also paths leading down between the walls of the canyon with stairs carved into rocks.
If you are driving through the Icefields Parkway you should definitely visit the falls! You can admire the eroded rock that has formed caves and rock formations from the water flowing over the soft limestone.
A moderate hike in Banff
Johnston Canyon to Ink Pots is a 12km popular trail that features a waterfall and allows leashed dogs.
In the summer months, this is one of the most popular trails in the Canadian Rockies. Parking is limited to just one lot, so arrive early if you are going between June and August. If you don’t you might get stuck on Bow Valley Parkway. Biking the first 6km up the 1A trail is also a great option many people choose to do.
The trailhead begins behind Johnston Canyon Lodge, and after 1km users should reach the first falls. Continue further past the upper falls, and reach the meadow and Ink Pots, a small mineral spring that changes color slightly depending on the time of year.
A difficult hike in Banff
Mount Rundle Summit Trail is a 15km hike in Banff National Park that should take hikers 6-9 hours to complete. This hike is best for experienced hikers as it is very steep and technical.
Users can park at Bow Falls, and after 6km of walking the ascent begins. After this point, users should cross a creek and notice yellow square markers on trees. Follow these markers through the steep forest until you emerge out of the timberline. Here users face the beginning of the Dragons Back, the steepest and toughest part. The scramble includes narrow ledges and loose rocks. Hikers must be brave, confident, and properly equipped with hiking poles, boots, lots of water, and more.
Parks Canada provides a great Climbers Guide to Mount Rundle. You can pick up one at the Banff information center.
A moderate hike in Banff
Tunnel Mountain Trail is a 4.5 km hike. It is short, but most sections are uphill and the viewpoints are fantastic.
This hike is perfect for anyone looking for a quick but satisfying workout or a family with young kids. This hike can be done by anybody. The average user can finish this hike between 1-2 hours.
A difficult hike in Bow Valley Provincial Park
Ha Ling Trail to Ha Ling Peak is a 7km hike that is rated as very difficult. The trail begins at the parking lot and users will hike up through the Canadian Rocky Mountain forest, and onto open rock.
This steep trail requires an experienced hiker with proper equipment. It can get cold and windy as you near the peak, so bring layers! Once you reach the top users are treated with spectacular views of the town of Canmore.
A moderate hike in Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
Grassi Lakes Trail is a 4.3km hike in Canmore. This is a super popular area, so if you are going on a sunny weekend get there early and beat the crowds
About 100 meters from the trailhead users will come to a fork in the trail. The right trail, Upper Grassi Lakes Trail, is best for families as it is an easier route through a dense forest. The left route is Grassi Lakes Interpretive Trail. It gradually climbs through the forest before reaching a steep section that rewards users with a waterfall and excellent views of the town of Canmore.
Grassi Lakes Interpretive Trail will be closed in the winter due to icy conditions
Bonus adventure in Banff!
Via Ferrata (Italian for iron road) is not just a hike, but an assisted climbing experience.
Climb ladders and cross suspension bridges on the cliffs above Mt Norquay, led by a highly experienced ACMG certified guide. You will be attached by a harness to the mountains steel cable pathway, allowing you to enjoy the breathtaking views without any danger.
Via Ferrata offers 6 different routes, all ranging in difficulty and length. The shortest route takes 2-2.5 hours and the longest can take up to 8 hours.