Five major trails branch off the Bow Valley Parkway, while there are two outstanding options along Hwy-1.

Bow Valley Parkway

The best short walk is the Johnston Canyon Trail (2.7km each way), 25km from Banff, an incredibly engineered path to a series of spray-veiled waterfalls. The Lower Falls are 1.1km, the Upper Falls 2.7km from the trailhead on the Parkway. From the Upper Falls you can continue on to the seven cold-water springs of the Ink Pots, which emerge in pretty open meadows, to make a total distance of 5.8km (215m ascent; 4hr return).

Another short possibility is the Castle Crags Trail (3.7km each way; 520m ascent from the signed turn-off 5km west of Castle Junction). Short but steep, and above the tree-line, this walk offers superb views across the Bow Valley and the mountains beyond. Allow ninety minutes one-way to take account of the stiff climb.

The best day-hike is to Rockbound Lake (8.4km each way), a steepish climb to 2210m with wild lakeland scenery at the end; allow at least two and a half hours one-way, due to the 760m ascent. Another fifteen minutes’ walk beyond Rockbound and Tower lakes at the end of the trail lies the beautiful Silverton waterfall. The other Parkway trails – Baker Creek (20.3km) and Pulsatilla Pass (17.1km) – serve to link backcountry hikers with the dense network of paths in the Slate Range northeast of Lake Louise.

Highway 1

The trek to Bourgeau Lake (7.5km one way) is considered by many to be among the top five day-hikes in Banff; it starts from a parking area 10km west of Banff – allow two and a half to three hours for the 725m ascent. The second is the long day-hike to Shadow Lake (14.3km each way), where the lakeside campground (at 1840m), in an impressive subalpine basin, gives access to assorted onward trails; the main trail starts from the Redearth Creek parking area 20km west of Banff – allow four hours for the 440m ascent.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Canada features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Ottawa: top things to do in the capital of Canada

Ottawa: top things to do in the capital of Canada

Move over Toronto and Montréal: there's a quiet revolution happening in Ottawa. Not so long ago, the city was lambasted as the dullest place in Canada, dubbed …

14 Aug 2018 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
Road trip Canada: 5 of the best routes

Road trip Canada: 5 of the best routes

Rugged and vast, Canada is a road-tripper's dream. Driving gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace – pull over and take in the scenery along the w…

09 Mar 2018 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
Why Halifax is Canada’s friendliest city

Why Halifax is Canada’s friendliest city

Canadians are a friendly bunch; in fact according to Twitter analysis (so it must be true) Canucks are the nicest people in the world. And Canada’s friendlies…

05 Mar 2018 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs