Explore the most popular cross country skiing trails in Banff National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
27 days ago

I would recommend crampons and poles, be mindful of avalanches this time of the year as well. Expect to be breaking trail if you do the whole loop. View from Skoki Mountain is definitely worth the effort.

Beautiful up there with all the larches changing colour. Well worth carrying on past Taylor Lake!! Next time I will overnight at Taylor and explore the area (o’brien, boom and the ridge more)

2 months ago

I was with Shahram and confirm it can be done in one day though little bit difficult. One of the best hikes I've ever done and will do in the future.
Lots of water on the trail can be used if having either filter or pills.
There are few campsites for those who want to enjoy more.
On the way back I recommend to follow the route Shahram recorded as the meadow was beautiful and quite. My phone crashed so I could not complete my recordings.

hiking
2 months ago

Easy family hike, we had kids with us ages from 5-10 and they had no problem finishing the hike. The hike was very pretty with all the fall colours showing in the bushes surrounding the trail. Although there is no great view until you reach the lake. It was muddy at some points but the kids enjoyed it trying to go through the water/mud on rocks and logs.

A decently easy hike without a steep incline to it. The trail was nice and Boom Lake at the end was most definitely worth the hike at the end.

Surrounded with some huge rocks it makes for a great spot to sit down and eat lunch while taking in the scenery. There was a loon calling, fish jumping and an eagle enjoying a fish dinner while I was there, making it even more enjoyable. I would do this trail again. I even lucked out and was able to chat with some Parks volunteers who were on the trail that day.

2 months ago

Probably a 3.5. The trail is pretty mellow and would be good for lots of different fitness levels (although it’s not appropriate for strollers, wheelchairs, etc.).

The lake at the end is very pretty and the trail wasn’t too busy on a weekday mid-morning, however the scenery was pretty unremarkable until we got to the lake (which took a little while).

Did a 3 day , 2 night hike last week , was awesome ! Had some cold temps and bit windy but anything can be expected out there . Camped first night at hidden lake camp and then Merlin meadows the next . Great scenery and way too many postcard pics to be taken out there . Absolutely beautiful part of the world

Nice walk. Little smoky from the BC fires which obscured the views. Definitely want to snowshoe this trail in the winter.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Harder than it seems. Trail is very bumpy closer to the Canmore side. Probably more of a fat tire ride than just a regular mountain bike... Very calm and peaceful though.

3 months ago

Easy. Nice views.

Nice accessible hike to a great lake. Great for beginners, the trail is a bit uninteresting along the way, but the lake is worth it.

We did the full loop plus hiking to Merlin lake in about 13 hours and headed out the same day. A very long day with variety of landscapes from dense woods, gorgeous creeks, wide open meadow, water falls and five spectacular lakes and last but not least, the historic Skoki lodge, located deep in the isolated Skoki valley. Completing this full loop in a single day will definitely need a good level of body strength however, the beauty of the area makes you forget about your tiredness. Be prepared for rapid weather change at any time. Overall this was a very pleasant hike and I highly recommend it at least once.

backpacking
3 months ago

The Skoki loop is truly breathtaking and absolutely worth the somewhat demoralizing fire road slog in. Bugs are definitely a hassle - a bug jacket was a well used luxury item for me. We stayed at Baker Lake our first night, then at Merlin Meadows for the second. One thing we noticed is that there are apparently two ways through Deception Pass. We took the heavily signed route, but the one highlighted in this app is just west of the main trail and is a bit tougher to find. It is marked by some stone cairns about midway along Ptarmigan Lake for those that want to try it. We very much enjoyed the main route, which is well signed, just past the cairn-marked trail. The signed trail also seems the safer more established way, but as we did not take the highlighted route along the two lakes, I cannot speak to that particular trail.

The AllTrails app came in handy multiple times as there are many forks in the trails that lead elsewhere and are sometimes not well signed. Using my downloaded maps helped me to avoid some potential inconvenient strays from the route I intended.

Overall, we enjoyed Skoki thoroughly, with the exception of those hikers that feel it appropriate to blast their music in the backcountry, go off trail when they should not be, and decide it is ok to cook in their campsite and dump food waste in the camping area. Those inconsiderate humans were the worst part of the trip and are unfortunate constants in every backcountry experience - it would be lovely if everyone out there looked after each other and the environment so as to uplift the experience for all. Sadly that is often not the case out there. A little mindfulness of others and nature would go a long way.

Awesome trail ! Lots to see, great view of the lake. Does tend to be pretty wet and muddy at some points.

hiking
3 months ago

Great family hike that included 6 adults with varying hiking experience and 6 kids ranging from 6-12. A little muddy in some spots but quite a nice trail. The lake was amazing however there were a lot of black flies closer to the water. We settled for lunch on one of the many large boulders set further back and enjoyed the scenery. It’s a little bit of a balancing act navigating close to the water as the rocks weren’t always stable. I’d do this hike again.

Take a mountain bike on the first 10.5 km. A challenge to ride over loose stone while going uphill but worth the “express” ride down. There were 22 “foot bridges “ on the trail to Shadow Lake with longest being 205 walking strides (approx 600 feet). Lake was awesome! The lakeshore trail added 2km with little extra views. If limited with time stick to left towards Ball Pass and Whistling Pass. The trail takes you over the Readearth Creek /Shadow Lake outpour. Better views from bridge. Heard many Varied Thrush birds along the way. Their whistle like song very distinctive.

Amazing! Skoki Lodge is very well maintained. I really liked Packers Pass. Definitely worth it to wear all your camping gear with you, the elevation gain is not that bad. Nights could be cold!

mountain biking
3 months ago

Went from canmore to banff and back on mountain bikes. We are avid hikers but novice bikers. I thought this trail would be long but easy as it states. Wrong! For us beginners this trail was very HARD!!! We saw advanced bikers peddle the hills no problem and the trail from canmore to banff is certainly easier but the round trip was pretty gruelling as the way back has that slight uphill the whole time making the rocky hills that much harder. Proud to have finished it but there was nothing to see along the way.

backpacking
3 months ago

Did a 3 day backpacking trip using Baker Lake as our campsite. Overall the hike was great and we really enjoyed the scenery and difficulty level. Our day hike consisted of doing the skoki loop and it was fantastic, walking through the valleys and deception pass was incredible. Loved looking over Skoki Lakes. The ONLY thing that made this hike less enjoyable was the swarms of mosquitoes. They really put a damper on the trip borderline unbearable.

Beautiful!

hiking
4 months ago

Easy and relaxing hike. I got to the trailhead around 8:30 AM on a Saturday. I only passed two other couples on the way up and had the lake to myself for a while. On the way back I passed lots of hikers on their way to the lake and the parking lot was full when I got back to my car. I would recommend getting an early start to beat the crowds. Also, there were quite a few muddy spots along the trail that you have to deal with, but other than that the trail is in good shape.

Super easy, flat trail. About a 12km hike round trip if you turnaround at the creek/bridge. Would be perfect for trail running, biking, and snowshoeing. Not the best views of the Rockies (no clearings) and the mosquitos were pesky.

Easy hike but really nice views!

4 months ago

Quick short walk down to a beautiful spot in the river.

Nothing beats this trail in winter. Cross country skiing from Canmore to Banff, ending with beer and nachos at the fairmont Banff springs hotel.

Well worth the extra jaunt past Taylor Lake.

hiking
5 months ago

We wanted to go on June 14th, but the parking area (and I'm guessing, the trail itself) is closed

Definitely makes you go “BOOM” when you see it!! Stunning view at the end!!! Not sure what the insect is called, but it looks like a little black fly, TONS of those at the lake and around it. We hiked to a spot where there was less of them.

it was ok. decently easy. lots of trees. then opens to the lake. no other views besides when you are at the lake. saw a decent number of people. lake was pretty.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail!

Load More