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Hiking trails

Toronto, Canada
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242 posts
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Hiking trails

Hi,

Just wanted to get an idea of how busy the Canadian Rockies hiking trails are 2nd week of September? We are travelling as a pair and wanted to avoid any run ins with bears :) We are not avid hikers so would be choosing the relatively flat, easy climbs. Any tips of the most popular trails near Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper would be appreciated.

Also when driving the Icefield Parkway is there a MAP given out with the popular scenic stops on route? Wanted to make sure we don't miss anything :)

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Canmore
Canmore
Kananaskis Country, Canada
Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
6 replies to this topic
Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Lake Louise
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1. Re: Hiking trails

Hi Monia,

Sunshine Village have a number of beautiful hiking trails - and you get some good sightseeing done from the lifts as well. In terms of the most popular routes around Banff, I would say that Tunnel Mountain, The Fenlands Trail and Sulphur Mountain are very popular. Tunnel Mountain is a few hour return journey with a great view at the top. It is 4.3 km (2.7 miles) round-trip, with 300m elevation. Sulphur mountain is a little more challenging; 5.5 km, 655 m elevation gain (2.5 – 3 hrs). The Fenlands Trail is a lovely walk through forest and is very close to town. It is a 2 km loop, no elevation gain (35 – 45 mins.) I would recommend taking the turn off to the Vermillion lakes road (around half way round) and check out the first Vermillion Lake.

Along the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise there is a stunning hike at Johnston Canyon. From the Johnston Canyon resort to the upper falls it is a 2.7km hike. At Lake Louise there is a path along the lake, or the most popular hike is up to the Lake Agnes Tea-house. This trail is 7.9km and has an elevation gain of 576m. At the Lake Louise Gondola there are some interesting guided hikes.

The Icefield Parkway is an incredible drive which has many different stop offs and viewpoints along the way. Everything is clearly signposted from the road. There is a good Icefields Parkway map, which can be found in one of the Visitor Centres in Banff or Lake Louise. I would say that Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, the Brewster Columbia Icefield Adventure, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls are not to be missed!

Hope this has helped!

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Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Hiking trails

YES! Lots of good info here. Thank You.

Calgary, Canada
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for Canadian Rockies
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3. Re: Hiking trails

It will be plenty busy.

Fenland is pretty, but it's not the first choice of trails I recommend to visitors, as it has little in the way of views. It's a pleasant, flat trail right around the townsite.

Sulphur Mountain is a more challenging hike, and again not one I necessarily recommend. Much of it is in the trees, so it's not a lot of "bang for your buck". Better to take the gondola up and hike to the summit from the gondola station. Save your energy and knee cartilage for other hikes.

Johnston Canyon and up to the Ink Pots is great. Marble Canyon in Kootenay NP is really nice - excellent views down into the canyon from the trail. On the parkway, Wilcox Pass is beautiful as is Parker's Ridge, though you'll have to see how the weather plays out before making plans.

Around Canmore, Grassi Lakes (when it reopens) is a great walk/hike. Also Grotto Canyon and the walk along the Bow River. For more challenge part of EEOR or Ha Ling.

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Jasper, Canada
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4. Re: Hiking trails

Bear in mind that BanffLakeLouise is a paid staff member of the Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau, which is the tourism marketing organization for the area, and their job is to market the area's paid attractions, including the hiking at Sunshine Village, the gondolas, and the Brewster tours, all of whom are members of their organization. These are all fun experiences and give you wonderful views, but they are also quite pricey and although they are marketed as "must do's", many would argue that they are not. Pick and choose which, if any, you want to do. There are plenty of hikes you can do for stellar views, and other scenic places and viewpoints, that don't require spending a dime (well, maybe gas money, to drive there).

BLL has also included many free park attractions, so kudos for that.

+1 to ksneds advice about the Sulphur Mountain hike - which as mentioned is mostly in the trees. It is quite a grunt, with substantial elevation gain, and doesn't fit your desire for "flat, easy climbs".

You can also access the Parks Canada Icefields Parkway map on the national park websites (you can even download a pdf copy), which also have a lot of good information about trails. www.pc.gc.ca/banff www.pc.gc.ca/jasper The Town of Banff website also has some good trail information on it. www.banff.ca

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Toronto, Canada
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36 reviews
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5. Re: Hiking trails

Thank you krp329 for all your advice ... I will def research all your suggestions :)

Calgary, Canada
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for Calgary
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6. Re: Hiking trails

I'm a fan of the Fenland Trail because it's often good for birding and wildlife watching, and it is pretty flat. If there are interpretive brochures at the trailhead, grab one and read it as you go, as that adds a lot to the experience. However, there are definitely no views.

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Fenland Trail
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156 Reviews
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