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Hiking in Banff National Park

Little Rock...
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Hiking in Banff National Park

My husband and I will be staying for a week in Banff the first full week in July. We are in our late 20's, pretty good shape, and some hiking experience. We are looking to hike each day, and with there being so many different hikes, we were hoping for someone to help us narrow it done. What were your must do hikes? We are open for anything. Also-we have rented a car so we will have access to many places. And is it worth booking a day trip to Lake O'Hara?

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1. Re: Hiking in Banff National Park

You are too late to book a day trip to Lake O'Hara - those tickets went onsale April 20 and sold out within less than an hour. There's always a very small chance of same day cancellations, but you have to arrive very early and then have a Plan B if (most likely) there are no last minute cancellations.

As to hiking -- to narrow it down, we need some idea of your ability. What kinds of distance/time and elevation gain would you be looking for in a hike? You'll probably want to start with something less taxing, as coming from Little Rock, you'll probably feel the elevation a bit here.

Are you also going to Jasper or is your whole trip based out of Banff?

I'd probably want to dedicate a day to Lake Louise - you can do a loop of the teahouses which can be as long or as short as you need. And a day around Moraine Lake, though if the group of four restrictions are in place, you may need to pair up with other hikers.

If you aren't headed to Jasper, then allow at least one day, if not more, on the Icefields Parkway. Wilcox Pass would be a very long day, but doable. Otherwise, perhaps hike up towards Molar Meadows or to Bow Glacier Falls.

At least a day for Yoho NP - hike the Iceline Trail if you're quite fit, and/or explore the other trails around Takkakw Falls. Hike around and up beyond Emerald Lake.

Little Rock...
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2. Re: Hiking in Banff National Park

We are devoting an entire day to the Icefields Parkway. And I have scheduled to do Lake Louise and Lake Moraine early in the mornings on two different days. I am looking specifically at two different hikes to fill in our week. We are very interested in Sarrail Ridge/Rawson Lake and East End of Rundle for hiking, but having a hard time choosing between the two. We will be staying in Banff the entire week.

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3. Re: Hiking in Banff National Park

Both are nice hikes, but quite different locations and type of hikes.

Rawson Lake/Sarrail Ridge are above Upper Kananskis Ridge, in K-Country - would be a fair drive from Banff. Rawson Lake is quite pretty, but above the lake, the hike gets to be almost a scramble, with hiking poles suggested. You can always go to Rawson Lake and as far to/on the ridge as you feel comfortable. There are other hikes in the area you could add to the day including Hidden Lake and the trail around Upper Kananaskis Lake.

EEOR is a very popular hike, and is just outside of Canmore, so easier access and closer to Banff. It's usually called a hike, but the final summit block, per se, is actually a hands on scramble with some fairly steep & loose scree. Plenty of people do the full peak, but you need to be comfortable with some exposure & travel on loose scree and space out from other groups to avoid issues with rockfall on the steep section (some people do wear helmets). It's also quite common for people to skip that last section and just enjoy the view from what I refer to as the meadows.

Other hikes which might not be so hands on would Mt. Allen - a long ridge in K-Country with nice views. Lady Mac is fun - you can go to the old teahouse platform, continue to the false summit, or if you are comfortable with exposure, traverse the narrow ridge to the true summit.

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4. Re: Hiking in Banff National Park

Agree with Ksneds on Rawson. Although it is a favourite of mine ...

Depending on your abilities, consider Eohippus Lake from Sunshine Villsge Parking lot.

Also Borgeau Lake. Then if you are feeling energetic, up to Harvey Gap and to the top of Borgeau mountain. Stunning vistas.

Closer to Canmore, but not as far as Rawson, consider Headwall Lakes. New favourite for me.

Edited: 03 May 2018, 11:25
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