Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Banff with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
17 days ago

I’ve done hard hikes before and I would definitely call the second part of this hike hard not moderate. It seems like a never ending summit haha. I would say if you stop and enjoy yourself the hike would take 8-9 hours. We saw 4 mountain goats and lots of marmots. Definitely take lots and lots of food and be prepared the walk back seems like forever. Some people also bring swimmers and jump in the first lake. Great views and hike, but i would be prepared before doing it & also choose a very clear day so you have views of Banff and sunshine village.

This is as good as it gets!!!!
Amazing, incredible, spectacular, all of those and many more!!! The Rockies, they are really something, not too terrible!!!!

hiking
22 days ago

Absolutely amazing. I usually don’t work out much but am moderately fit, and was able to do it - the last stretch up to Harvie Pass is tough but worth it to see the hidden lakes and the views! Saw a total of 9 wild goats, and many small rodents - no bears, thankfully! The last kilometer to Lake Bourgeau is a bit tough, lots of switchbacks. All around the best hike of my life, worth every minute of the 9 hours it too!

This was my first hike. There is no camping on or near this trail. Its a day hike. Took 8 1/2 hours to the summit and back. Bring lots of food ! The last part is pretty tough. Walking on shale rock.

Well worth the long trek in. First couple hours to Bourgeau lake is mostly covered with the odd views looking back down the valley. Once past the first lake, the views through Harvey Pass and the ridge to the summit will give you more than enough motivation to keep going! One of the best hikes I’ve done in the Rockies.

hiking
1 month ago

Great backpacking hike or long day hike. You steadily gain elevation to the pass for a final push straight up. You then descend a lot of elevation to Egypt lake. The campground is beautiful, well laid out sites, well maintained washrooms and some spots are sheltered with trees. If staying overnight definitely take the time to hike up the whistling valley trail to scarab lake. There is a big waterfall you can get a view of flowing down into Egypt lake. The views are amazing and it’s absolutely worth the extra 4km.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike June 27. The first 7 km is mostly through forest but once you reach the meadows near the top it’s beautiful. It’s a long way but it isn’t too steep so it doesn’t feel very challenging at any one point. That being said I took the detour to Simpson pass adding a few extra kilometres on the way down and was quite tired by the end. Took me 5.5 hours from the parking lot to the top and back with some stops to eat along the way.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike, but lots of mosquitoes, i would 110% recommend bringing a full body bug suit if you're tackling this one.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a beautiful trail and offered plenty of access to water sources. Overnighting at Amethyst is a must if you’re doing this trail! If I were to do it again I would make a longer trip out of it by overnighting a few nights using Amethyst as a base camp and doing some exploring in the area.

backpacking
4 months ago

Did this hike as a part of 4 day backpacking trip last Aug. Could not do the full loop as we had only one car. But the trail from portal creek via Maccarib pass is absolutely stunning. Sunrise in Amethyst lake with the reflections of Ramparts on the lake.....that is a scene not to be forgotten ever.

backpacking
4 months ago

Redid this trail for second time. Used Astoria trailhead again. Went beginning of August, bugs were bad, but worth it. Nicest area we felt was at surprise point. Bugs weren’t bad, gentle breeze and a view that photos could not do justice. Would I go for a third time, no doubt about it. On the trail this time we did have a mountain lion jump out at us, it was a younger one but did it ever move fast

beautiful definitely worth the trek up... just keeping going and be patient and anyone can make it.

hiking
7 months ago

I did this hike solo in October. It made for a rather heavy pack as I had to pack for winter camping. The first campground is portal to my recollection. Be wary of the sign that tells you it’s 8kms to the campground. I am quite fit and light on my feet and it felt that me like it was more like 15. I didn’t hitch hike back, I redid the route and upon close inspection of the sign on my return, someone had actually carved in to the sign ‘more like 16’. I will be returning to do it again in July with warmer weather and intend to wear a gps watch this time. The first night I got about a foot of snow in the elevation. It was a lovely morning and although the trail was covered in snow, the route was still obvious. I did not encounter any wild life while awake, however I had a trail of prints in the snow around my tent. Not bear or cougar though! The sights are lovely and the trail is super easy (at least I thought so!) In the summertime this is known as one of the most buggy trails in Alberta so I would highly recommend that you go to Mountain hardware at the cross iron mills mall and pick up a head bug net, as they sell them for only five dollars - it will save you from going insane with all of the bugs. The trail can also be quite muddy in some spots... whatever. It’s nature!!

backpacking
11 months ago

This was my first backpacking experience and I would definitely say it was an awesome to start with. I would not have rated it as 'hard' as many sites consider it to be a beginner hike. It took us 4 hours from the gondola (Pro-tip : take the gondola to sunshine village and hike from there). Don't waste energy by carrying tons of water, buy the chlorine pellets and fill up from the river.

11 months ago

One of the most beautiful places we've backpacked. Bring clothing for heat and cold- we had snow and very hot days too. We were lucky to see Caribou 2 nights outside Amythyst campground.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Words cannot describe this trail. Spent 3 days in the valley. Hiked in to Amethyst lake. Spent the second day hiking to Erenite valley where you get up close to Alpine lakes and glaciers. The trail is "unmaintained" but seemed pretty well maintained to me. and hiked out through maccarib pass to the other trail head. Unreal experience, my only complaint is that we saw no wildlife other then a pine groesbeck, a couple spruce grouse and an osprey. Was really looking to see some large mammals but maybe next time. Seriously can't wait for my next trip to Jasper.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

the most bugs I have ever seen, also saw a momma grizzly with two cubs and another big maybe poppa grizzly at the pass about 50 feet away

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Take lots of water. It's a long steady climb to the incredibly beautiful Healy Pass (7.9km) then a steep down hill to the Egypt Lake shelter (3km). Yes, that means a 3k steep climb back out. Best for an over night at the lake or very early start/return. Tip: campsite #14 is full of large rocks. Best for small tents.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

was on the trail last year, late August. bugs weren't bad, but it snowed and we froze cutting our trip short, also as we were coming out on Astoria trail literally ran into a Grizzly, only 2 meters away. make lots of noise especially along the river, it was right beside the bridge when we came around the corner. excellent views, and fresh water would love to do it again

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Not as much wildlife as they said there was but the scenery is still beautiful! expect mosquitoes

backpacking
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beautiful hike! Some difficult portions though and the distances are misleading!

hiking
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Amazing views. One of the best hikes in Banff. It is long so make sure to bring food and water and have lots of time. Muddy in sections and snow in other areas but very manageable and safe.

backpacking
Saturday, January 28, 2017

Great hike !
I started from the Marmot road. I camped to Amethyst campground and the spot was awesome in the morning and at the sunset. I proposed to end with the Astoria valley because of the section in front of Old Horn Mountain... It's rather boring at this point if you go up !
The negative about this trail is the Portal campground section. They are many flies and mud.

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

backpacking
22 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

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