Summer has officially arrived and again this year hordes of hikers will lace up the boots and hit the trails in Banff National Park. Most trekkers will stick to the classics in the neighbourhood of Lake Louise and Banff, making it sometimes difficult to find a true wilderness experience. For a healthy dose of solitude without compromising scenery, try these hikes this summer.
As always, please check on local trail conditions before heading out.
The Caldron Lake trail is perhaps the best day-hike in all of Banff National Park. This hike has so much going for it: fantastic views of Peyto Lake and the Wapta Icefield, the odd mountain goat, and an incredibly beautiful lake nestled high up in the alpine. If energy allows, continue on to the remote Delta Glacier (be properly prepared, of course). You’ll be blown away by the variety this trip has to offer. UPDATE: The bridge across the canyon en route has washed out. See comment below for additional instructions (or simply ford the creek earlier on to avoid deeper water).
Degree of difficulty: 2/5
Distance: 4 km return
Two separate short walks allow one to experience a different side of world-famous Peyto Lake and provide a new appreciation of this classic landmark. Either hike down the switchbacks from the popular lookout or wander down the lower trail that starts a few kilometres to the north on the Icefields Parkway. Both lead to two different, quiet sections of the Peyto lakeshore.
Degree of difficulty: 4/5
Distance: 12 km return
A gem of a lake that incredibly few know about, the hike to Iceberg Lake has many highlights: a walk along the magical shores of Bow Lake, a bird’s eye view of Bow Glacier Falls, an exciting walk along the crests of two moraines, and a fabulous green lake tucked in at the very edge of the Wapta Icefield, the true source of the Bow River.
Degree of difficulty: 3/5
Distance: 13 km total
Perhaps Cory Pass is not as obscure as other trails listed here, but it is still highly underrated in the Banff area. The trail is relentlessly steep, but provides great views of Mount Assiniboine and unmatched vistas of the fang-shaped Mount Louis. Wait until snow has melted later in the season so that you can complete a fine loop via the Edith Pass trail.
Degree of difficulty: 2/5
Distance: 17km return
The hike to Rockbound Lake is all about the destination, a surreal lake set in enchanting surroundings. Sit by a larch on the smooth rock slabs that lead down to the aquamarine waters and marvel at the steep backside of Castle Mountain.