C Level Cirque Trail

HARD 294 reviews
#16 of 174 trails in

C Level Cirque Trail is a 9.2 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Banff, Alberta, Canada that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 9.2 km Elevation Gain: 755 m Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

snow

The upper bank parking lot is closed from November to April so you have to walk 3km to it- see waypoints for lower parking lot location. Moderate trail winding through forest and old mining buildings and mineshafts towards the eastern face of Cascade Mountain. The official trail ends just above the rockpile and lake at the base of the cirque, but many choose a steep hike/easy scramble further up to the right of the cirque where there are amazing views of Lake Minnewanka from above the treeline (see cover photo). You will not be able to see the lake unless you attempt this extra part of the hike.

hiking
rocky
23 hours ago

Great easy hike at the beginning, then it gets quite challenging at the very end. Keep pushing! The views at the high point are incredible. Definitely bring bear spray, came across a black bear on the way down.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

If your looking for a good workout, views, and lesser crowds...choose this one. A little muddy, but not bad and no bear sighting today. Good challenging inclines Go past the false summit and follow a tiny trail up to the rock face. There you’ll have the best views of Lake Minnewanka and the valley!

hiking
over grown
rocky
6 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Trail was in the trees for the first 4Km to the lookout, but there are a few spots along the way to take in the views of the bow valley. The real reward though is continuing past the lookout another 2km where you have a spectacular view of the valley that make the last half hour of effort soo worth it.

hiking
scramble
8 days ago

Fun for a workout, probably not the best view for effort ratio but an enjoyable climb if you’re looking for a bit of a sweat.

hiking
muddy
scramble
snow
11 days ago

I went late October, so towards the top there was a lot of snow and mud. We had to step through metre deep snow a lot, had some cold ankles when I got to the top. Came very unprepared (not the trail's fault i know) so it wasn't the most fun for hiking. After 5 hours of hiking the view was really nice, just extremely tough to get to. On the way down we had to just slide on our shoes through the mud because we didn't have the best footwear or bring any hiking polls. Other than the view at the very top there was only one other viewpoint (which was actually off the trail) so it is a very long hike to just get one look at the mountains.

hiking
rocky
scramble
12 days ago

Starts off with a pretty consistent and steady incline that isn’t too difficult, the hardest part is the end where you have to almost scramble to reach the peak to get the full view. Hiking shoes and poles are recommended, I was sliding and falling down everywhere coming down from the peak with just running shoes on and no poles. It took us about 3.5 hours with two breaks totalling 20 minutes. We also had a faster pace than normal going up and down on the trail. Extremely rewarding hike!

hiking
bugs
12 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

Second time. A little more difficult as I get older but I made it at least to the final climb. Interesting geology. Kind of a long uphill slog but I find most trails like that so I’m not a good judge. Round trip was roughly 4 hours. Hot and sunny, needed more water.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
12 days ago

trade shade for views if you continue past the bottom of the cirque. the latter part of the trail is braided with some loose areas and quite steep

hiking
bugs
12 days ago

Nice trail and view is beautiful. Not as busy as I thought.

hiking
13 days ago

The bottom half of this trail I would say is moderate and the second half is harder as some parts are pretty vertical with loose stone. Great views of the lake but I thought the mosquitoes were going to carry us away.

hiking
14 days ago

I did this August 3, 2019 at 8:45am. Just as a warning I got approximately 1km down the trail when my dog pointed out a pair of cougars laying in the grass just off the trail. They were very relaxed and didn't get up when I saw them so I just slowly backed away and returned to the parking lot without any issues or concerns. This hike is a nice little leg burner with a really beautiful view at the top. Lots of mosquitoes. It took approximately 3.5 hours with a lunch break. The scramble is a little loose in spots but overall it isn't too bad. Proper footwear is important!

hiking
16 days ago

Easy to park. Nice steady climb to the little pond (around 4.4k mark) toughens up through scree and then steep incline to the top. Amazing views. Definitely take good boots and poles. Saw some people really struggling to get back down the top part with sneakers! About 3 hours hiking, but take as much time as you can to take in the views, with plenty of room to find your own space for a degree of solitude.

hiking
19 days ago

Best trail we’ve done in Banff so far. Took us 5 hrs total, 8 miles; including 45 minutes at the top (in shape, short stops) Great uphill steady climb through the forest, with a great pseudo scramble to get towards the last half mile. No signs of berries nor bears! But unbelievable that no one we saw had bear spray

hiking
20 days ago

We originally showed up at 7:30am on Saturday hoping to score a parking spot and were the ONLY folks there. We’d read about recent bear sightings in the area and felt more comfortable delaying until other hikers were on the trail. We began Sunday at 9:30am when the parking lot was about 75% full. It’s a steady and relatively steep incline all the way up until the last 0.5 miles, which are VERY steep and take about 30 minutes. It took us roughly 2:15 to reach the top with a handful of stops to catch our breath, snack, or chat with other hikers. We cruised down in less than 1:30. Wonderful views from the top! We even met a family with two little girls (aged 7 and 5) that made it to the peak. So, it’s challenging but completely doable for a family!

hiking
bugs
21 days ago

Great workout, it took us 3 hours round trip at a steady pace. The first the last 1.5 kilometres to the top were the hardest, very steep thought very well rewarded when you get to the top and have an incredible view of Lake Minnewanka. The trail is well marked. We started at 10:00 am (27-July) sunny for the most part then it rained for the last hour on the way down. At 10:00am the parking lot was almost empty, we found a few families and couples on the way up and coming down was getting busy. Lots of mosquitos so be prepared.

hiking
21 days ago

The trail was a steady incline, really not too bad at all. The last section of the trail is pretty steep but so worth the views!! Amazing little lake/pond about half way up. We had rain so the trails were slippery on the way down, as long as you have good hiking boots you’ll be good.

trail running
muddy
21 days ago

fantastic outing despite rain, mud, and fairly crowded on a saturday. make sure to go all the way to the scree field about 2.4 miles from upper bank carpark. the views and exercion required are great

hiking
22 days ago

Easy incline in the beginning but toward the end it went pretty straight up and was tiring but soooo worth it

hiking
22 days ago

Great hike, took about 4.25 hours with a nice long lunch break at the top. Ended up running in to a bear about 30 yards from the parking lot near the end of the hike (around 4:30pm). We were being loud and laughing but somehow got within 5 feet of the black bear without him noticing (or us). We must have been up wind from him so he didn't smell us. Thankfully we had bear spray and were able to back away slowly. The bear was reported to the national park. DO NOT go hiking at this time of year without bear spray.

hiking
24 days ago

great hike and view!

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