Mount Rundle Summit Trail is a 13.4 kilometer moderately 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 and nature trips and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
13.4 km
ELEVATION GAIN
1,620 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

A long difficult trip through the trees to the dragons back spine and on your way up to the very best views of the Banff Valley. Parks Canada provides a detailed route description in Climber's Guide to Mount Rundle. Pick one up at the Banff information center and review the tips, recommendations and gear lists. You can also refer to Alan Kane's ?Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies?

15 days ago

This hike is no joke and would go on most Top 10 lifetime hikes (certainly on mine). It’s incredible and the views compensate for the steep scramble on the last third (which takes hours to get up and down). Very intense and should not be taken lightly. Going down can be a bit more daunting than going up.

I recommend bringing gloves for the scramble as you will be on all fours for some of it. Start early since it will take all day (I was on trail for about 8 to 9 hours). I love hiking with my dog but would never take my dog on this trail (at least up the scramble).

hiking
29 days ago

Completed Nov. 12-18, mild winter conditions.

Epic trail for advanced hikers. (See bottom to skip details and for conclusion)

Easy to get to, park at bow falls parking lot and walk past the golf course and head right to start. The beginning 1/3 of the hike is very easy, trail is obvious and easy to follow. Moderate incline.

The next third spices things up, trail starts to go up and down before hitting the switchback portion. Once at the switchbacks the intensity increases and the incline gets much greater, but the views get better!

Then you hit the last third and this is where things get seriously real. Once you go through the gully and onto the dragonback, the trail gets extremely intense. Gets difficult to follow the trail (especially with snow on the ground), but all you’re really doing is scrambling up so it’s not a big deal. Lookout for the yellow markers on the trees.

At this point, be prepared to be on all fours for the last 1.5hrs as you get closer to the top. This is a real scramble and NOT good for the faint of heart. As you reach the peak the incline nears practically vertical. You are on loose rock and footing is tough. Every 10 steps you’ll need a break. The peak will appear close, but it’s a tough and draining couple hundred meters.

Conclusion: Epic hike, epic views. Don’t go with your fam for a casual sightseeing hike, or if you’re not confident in your abilities. This is a hike for those who want to conquer. Plan for a 6-8 hour round trip in the winter. Hiking Boots mandatory, spikes are a good idea. Pack for wind/cold at the top. Bring lots of food. Have a blast, it’s a hell of a hike.

1 month ago

Went to do a sunrise hike Oct25 th and the trail is closed due to blasting. :(

hiking
3 months ago

The view!!!

3 months ago

Terrible terrible mountain to hike. I wouldn't have gone there if I had known that hiking would turned into climbing. I'm so glad that I am still alive.

hiking
3 months ago

My husband and I hiked to the summit July 20th, a day 1/2 after arriving in Banff. We did a little warm up hike (with out 7 and 9 year old, and my parents, the day before to the Lake Agnes tea house at Lake Louise). We left the kids with their grandparents for a day of fun adventures so we could tackle this hike on our own. It was a great physical and mental challenge. The first part of the trail was easy going, all of the tree roots make nice steps. Once we made it through the tree line the wind picked up a lot and we could see rain off in the distance in what felt like all directions. All the talking, laughing, and joking we were doing stopped, the hike got real! The wind and ominous weather in the distance made the dragons back more mentally challenging than I anticipated. I was scared and wanted to turn around so many times but my legs just kept pushing forward. The folks we passed on their way down were friendly and encouraging. When we finally reached the summit we only had about 10 minutes to spend there because of the rain moving our way. I did not want to navigate the scree while it was raining. The views were incredible and I think the low clouds with patches of blue sky added even more beauty to the amazing mountains. Riding the scree down was fun the few times I was able to do it correctly. The rest of the time I was falling and riding down on my rear which made for some pretty awesome cuts and bruises. As it turned out the rain never made it in our way. Once we made it back to the nice tree path my legs had turned to jello. All those nice root steps we had on the way up turned into tripping hazards on the way down since I felt like I had lost control of my legs. There was absolutely nothing graceful about the hike down for me! The last 20 minutes of the hike we were just swarmed with mosquitos and despite being on fairly even ground I once again looked crazy with arms and legs flying in every direction trying to keep the bugs away. It was for sure a total body workout for the day. The hike was awesome and I’d totally do it again!

hiking
3 months ago

I guess it could be an awesome hike. Wasn't that rewarding because of widespread smoke. Couldn't see the other mountains. Try to pick a smoke free day. Get the scramblers guide for Mt. Rundle at the visitor center in town for free.

3 months ago

Awesome trail, made it about 50m from the summit, had to turn around due to weather but incredible views.

3 months ago

Amazing trail. Did it on a sunny July 11th. Very pleasant climb through a pine forest, followed by increasingly steep portions. The dragon's spine bears its name well: it's hard, but the surrounding views will give you all the motivation you could ever need. The summit has epic views 360 degrees, and a sheer cliff which is as beautiful as it is impressive. Very much recommended!

hiking
3 months ago

This was a back-to-back for me, after hiking Corey Pass the previous day, it was a tough hike up and down, and I imagine would be with fresh legs too, but worth it for the view at the top. The first part is a long, steady grade, basically an approach to the second part, which is where the real hike begins. Be prepared for leg burning/deep breathing steepness all the way up to the summit from there. The scramble after the trees was a challenge but sticking to solid sections of rock was helpful and riding the smaller loose rock on the way down was fun.

3 months ago

It was super steep all the way up to the top, most of the part were uphill, loose rocks, hard to find the trail and very dangerous because it was super slippery and i got slippered many times! I won’t ever ever come back here again!

hiking
4 months ago

Parking for this hike is best near the Bow Falls. There is another lot slightly closer to the trailhead, however it is reserved for a rafting company.
The path is very clear and is marked with signs and ribbons.
The first three-quarters of this hike was nice and quick. It was all in the trees, not too inclined, a couple of switchbacks. This part took my friend and I about an hour and a half to complete... then the real hike began.
Towards the last 2km of the hike, it started to get quite steep. However, since we hadn’t broken the tree line yet, the roots of the trees provided nice footing.
Once we emerged from the trees, you can see the summit and the dragonback ridge. From there, you only have about 1-1.5km of the hike left. It is quite steep and the loose rock does not make it easier to climb, but persevere! Getting to the top feels amazing.
It took us about 3h to get to the top and 2h to get down. Getting down the dragonback was definitely a little scary. The rock is loose but not small enough to “ride” down, so you have to take your time and find your footing.
All in all, cool hike! If you’re looking for a challenge, here it is!

4 months ago

So.... after reading lots of reviews. I think people just right about anything on here to look good.

I’m a 37yr old men. I play hockey all year long same as volleyball. I had trouble climbing it at my 5th hike this year.

The first half was my fav part of the trail. The second half was harder and the last 3rd was crazy, slippery, loose rocks, hard to find the trail. I was ready to give up 3 times and for motivation by a few other hikers.

My suggestions;
Bring more water then you need. 3-5L of water.
It’s ok to crawl up on the dangerous portion.
Never give up. If you finish it.... the view is worth it.
Start the hike between 6-8am. It took me 5 hrs to climb to the summit but I took 45min of breaks. You know because I didn’t train and I’m out of shape. Lol
Be nice to others. Ask them if the need more water, snacks or a little encouragement. It’s teamwork to climb this difficult trail.

Going down took 3.5hrs but I was taking baby steps because I buster my two toes. They looked purple when I removed my shoe.

Happy hike everyone.
Bobby.
July 27th 2018.

Oh... don’t do 16km of hiking the day before. Rest for a day before doing this trail. I didn’t. 30km hike in two days is too much for this guy.

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked this trail 2 years ago in mid July. A nasty storm blew in some hail which made it a harder hike than it already is. I suggest turning around if you see a storm rolling in. This Dragons back section is very slick when wet and can make for a very treacherous decent if you get caught up there in a storm. Unfortunately we didn't get to enjoy the views it offers, but it was a helluva workout overall haha. Atleast I enjoyed a pilsner at the top

4 months ago

Hiked July 13, 2018

This is an iconic mountain that should be a bucket list hike. The first 1/3 or the hike is groovy - a nice walk in the woods or a great warmup. Once you hit the gully, shit gets real. Real gains, real fast up the root staircase. When you get out of the tree line to the exposed scramble, the rocks get very loose, and it gets steep - 45* angle for 800m of gain over 2k push to the top. Extremely windy and cold at the top and not much shelter. The downhill over this exposed section is also challenging as the scree is very large and sharp. Took us about 6hr return.
*Local tip - go to Waldhaus for a Banff Springs Lager and nachos and enjoy looking up at the summit while you drink your celebratory beer

hiking
5 months ago

It was hard and very dangerous. It was moust extreme thing i had ever done. But the view was very good.

5 months ago

Rundle 26th of June. The conditions weren't the best with snowfall and a lot of wind, but still well worth it. I was by myself so took me 7,5 hrs return. The start is a steady incline trough forest, followed by a dozen switchback. After this you're getting yourself trough the trees to get out of the tree line by a very steep but fun way up trough stairs of roots. All that way is well marked with ribbons and signs. Above the tree line you can see your top but still another 1,5 hrs to go but just look around you, see the views and you will find the energy. The top is amazing and a bit scary, when you actually look over the edge with the hundreds meters deep cliff below. But that is also really cool!
The way down is pretty hard with finding footing but ones back at the tree line it's oke. I really enjoyed this hike. Hard but so rewarding. Physically, mentally and the peak ofcourse.

5 months ago

Climbed on 6/17/18. At that time, there was plenty of snow on what is called “dragons back”- but also plenty of melt. Easily the most physically demanding day hike I’ve done. Felt at some points I was resting every 2-3 steps. The top was a bit sketch, especially because of the snow/ice. Beautiful views (duh) and a rewarding challenge.

hiking
5 months ago

We REALLY didn’t know what we were getting into when we went on this hike. It was recommended to us by our hotel staff because of the awesome views. Unfortunately the hike was uphill with what felt like greater than 45 degree incline the whole way. So it was strenuous to say the least. Second, we basically almost made it to the top and then would have to scale the mountain which was EXTREMELY steep! This is certainly not a hike for beginners or even moderate hikers. Thought it was pretty advanced. And the end will test your fear of heights. Still, Banff / Alberta is so pretty I’ll give this four stars. Just know what you’re getting into and if that’s your thing, then you’ll be good!

5 months ago

Awesome trailrun/hike up Mt Rundle. Great views above treelike, even better on top! But you have to work for it to enjoy the views from top ;-)
BTW: went up on June 13 in very good conditions.

hiking
6 months ago

Completed this hike/scramble on June 2, 2018. The first portion of the hike is just your typical slog through the forest, but once above the treeline, things begin to get really fun. Still quite a bit of snow, but other than getting soaked socks, I was able to posthole my way through it. The tricky part was avoiding the ice near the summit, as it was very clear and very slippery. It may not be a bad idea to bring crampons still. But once at the summit, the view is guaranteed to be amazing!

hiking
7 months ago

I completed this with a friend on the 6th May. It took us 9 hours in total, 5.5 to the summit, and 3.5 down. Both of us are reasonably fit, but not really the fastest hikers. I was wearing micro spikes as traction aids, and took an axe with me (just in case). The views at the top are some of the best in the area, as people say. But, its a long uphill grind to the top, and there's still a goodly amount of snow in the trees and on the slope. Once you quit the treeline and start ascending for the summit, its a painful and difficult process (with the shale,scree and partially melting snow working together to knock you off), but just go slow, and take care where you step and you can make it. The same for going down, just watch where you put your feet and take it slow.

hiking
7 months ago

Last couple hours was a struggle, but very rewarding at the summit.

hiking
7 months ago

// June 2017
Rundle is an absolute bear. I’ve hiked all over Yosemite, but nothing prepares you for scrambling up that last mile of scree at a near 45 degree angle. Always check the weather before you start out, and carry a jacket and raincoat even if the forecast looks clear. The weather can change up there in a matter of minutes, and I wouldn’t want to be caught up in a storm on the summit. Also be sure not to follow the gullies up the mountain, as people have died when they wander off the trail. Make no mistake, this hike will test you. But if you do make it to the top you will be greeted by one of the best views in the world. It’s absolutely worth it, and definitely the best hike I’ve ever done.

8 months ago

hard going. But beautiful in late summer.

hiking
8 months ago

I’ll repeat, not for the faint of heart, but persevere and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of Banff anyone can witness! The trail starts out as a steady climb and once you get past the canyon it all goes up (literally) from there. Now that you’re warmed up the scenic winding trek through the tree line takes you up to the base of the dragons back where the views become more and more spectacular (don’t wonder too far left or right...) If you can make it this far buckle down and finish it, the feet pass away quickly and before you know it you’ll be at the summit.

hiking
10 months ago

knee high snow but worth it

hiking
Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Sep 2nd // Was surprised to see as many people as I did, most difficult hike I've done. Very long and strenuous up and down, we spent 10 hours. The hike itself is mostly just a gruesome grind, not for the faint of heart. However the heights and views once reaching the summit were incredible! Also incredibly windy.

hiking
Monday, August 14, 2017

Great hike, but very difficult. Made it within 1,500ft of the summit and had to turn back. I live at sea level and flew in two days prior to this hike. I would suggest hiking elsewhere if you are not acclimated to the altitude. 3,000ft elevation gain in the last mile is not for the faint of heart. This is as gnarly as it gets without helmets or ropes. This peak is easy to underestimate.

hiking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Incredible views from the summit . Very difficult climb up and down. Definitely one too tick off the bucket list.

Load More