Banff National Park

Horseback Riding  
Horses were first used in the Banff area by first nations people for trading and hunting, then by Europeans exploring routes through the mountains

Horse travel is permitted throughout most of the park, although there are a few trails and areas where horse use is prohibited to reduce impact on delicate resources and specially constructed hiking trails.

  • See Where to Ride and Maps sections with day rides and overnight trips possible 
  • Maximum stay at any grazing site: 3 consecutive nights (Only one night’s stay is permitted at Siffleur River Special Preservation Area)
  • Maximum group size: 10 riders with 2 animals per rider. Please take fewer pack animals if possible
  • Check for current trail information, closures and restrictions before your trip
  • Horses must be prepared for encounters with backpackers, cyclists, river crossings and trained for hobbles
  • Obtain a 1:50,000 Topographic map of the area
  • Make sure you have obtained and are carrying the required permits
Please note that the Park Visitor Centre Information staff will be unable to give riders horse specific advice and are unlikely to have current information on the more remote horse trails.

Grazing Areas and Campsites

  • Cook and sleep in separate areas
  • Camp at least 70 metres away from streams and lakeshores
  • Pack out all garbage, unused food and horse feed

    Where to Ride

    Ya Ha Tinda Ranch

    Bryant, Brewster, Spray Watersheds
    Cascade, Dormer, Johnston, Mystic, Panther Watersheds
    Baker Creek, Red Deer Watersheds, Divide Creek
    Peters Creek, Clearwater River
    Pipestone, Siffleur Watersheds
    North Saskatchewan Watershed

    If you are travelling with a GPS, Zone 11 NADS 83 GPS points are listed in the grazing description. Eastings are listed first, followed by the northings

    Bryant, Brewster, Spray Watersheds

    1. Birdwood (Upper Spray) - Opening Date June 15th UTM 610633 5627704
      This is a shared camp with hikers. Camping is at Us15 campground, with grazing in the meadow adjacent to the campground.
    2. Tall Timbers - Opening Date July 1st UTM 601511 5641919
      Camping and grazing in the meadows, 2 km northwest of the Bryant Creek patrol cabin, on the west side of the trail. Please do not camp in Br17 campground, which is just a few hundred meters to the northwest. Riders should be aware of the seasonal restrictions in the Allenby area and horse restrictions in adjacent Assiniboine Provincial Park. 
    3. Brewster Creek Halfway - Opening Date July 1st UTM 599137 5649417
      Camping and grazing in the wet meadows and slide paths below Allenby Pass and adjacent to Halfway lodge. No use of private concessionaires’ horse facilities without permission. Riders should be aware of the seasonal restrictions in the Allenby area and horse restrictions in adjacent Assiniboine Provincial Park. 
    4. Brewster Creek - Opening Date July 1st UTM 595263 5659164
      This is a shared camp with hikers. Camping is at Bw10 campground near the Fatigue junction, with grazing in the meadows upstream of the campground, above the junction of Fatigue Creek. No use of private concessionaires’ horse facilities. Riders should be aware of the seasonal restrictions in the Allenby area and horse restrictions in adjacent Assiniboine Provincial Park. 

      Cascade, Dormer, Johnston, Mystic, Panther Watersheds

    5. Cascade Road/Stoney Creek - Opening Date June 15th UTM 597356 5690155
      This is a shared camp with hikers adjacent to an old fire road. Camping is at Cr 15 campground with grazing on the northeast side of the Cascade Road/Stoney Creek junction. Grazing is relatively sparse and not suitable for large parties. 
    6. Cascade Road/Elk Trap - Opening Date June 15th UTM 594544 5693404
      Camping and grazing in the meadows around the elk trap, approx. 4 km up from Stoney Creek on the east side of the old fire road. Good grazing; suitable for a larger party. 
    7. Flint’s Park - Opening Date July 1st UTM 585109 5695591
      Camping and grazing in the small meadow 1.5 km west of Flint’s Park patrol cabin, between the trail and the Cascade River. The meadow can be hard to see from the trail. This site has limited grazing and camping, suitable for smaller parties only. 
    8. Upper Flint’s Park - Opening Date July 1st UTM 582110 5694154
      Camping and grazing in the meadow just to the east of Cr37 campground, on the south side of the trail, between the trail and the Cascade River. The best camping is in an elevated area in the trees. 
    9. Sawback Slide Path - Opening Date July 1st UTM 586640 5690561
      This is a shared camp with hikers. Camping is at FM29 campground, with grazing in the slide paths on the north side of the creek. 
    10. Mystic Lake - Opening Date July 1st UTM 587202 5682126
      This is a shared camp with hikers. Camping is at Ml22campground with grazing in the slide path above the campground. 
    11. Elk Pass - Opening Date July 1st UTM 595325 5682033
      This is a shared camp with hikers. Camping is at Ek13 campground with grazing in the large meadow below the campground. Good grazing but limited camping. 
    12. Dormer Meadow - Opening Date July 1st UTM 600168 5704339
      Camping and grazing in a series of boggy meadows, 1 km north of Dormer Pass. The best camping is on the north side of the creek. Good grazing; suitable for a larger party. 
    13. Lower Dormer - Opening Date July 1st UTM 598637 5712555
      Camping and grazing in meadows approximately .5 km upstream of the trail junction to the Panther River. The best campsite exists across from the Dormer/Panther junction on the east side of the river, although a recent burn limits the amount of shelter available. Good grazing; suitable for a larger party.
    14. Lower Panther - Opening Date July 1st UTM 593482 5715867
      Camping and grazing in the extensive meadows, beginning at the West Elkhorn Summit shortcut, extending 2.5 km downstream from this junction. Suggested camping is on the southeast side of the river at an old trail ride camp, ½ way between the west and east Elkhorn Summit trails. No camping or grazing is permitted within 1 km of the ecologically sensitive sulphur springs. Good grazing, suitable for a larger party 
    15. Upper Panther - Opening Date July 1st UTM 587234 5710275
      Camping and grazing in the large meadow system, 1km upstream of the Cascade Trail/Panther River junction, to the west of Windy patrol cabin and above the falls, on the north side of the river. An alternative campsite is available at the old cabin site just west of Windy cabin, but grazing is limited in the immediate vicinity. Use of the fenced Parks Canada pasture to the east of Windy cabin is not permitted. Good grazing is available in the upper site; suitable for a larger party. 
    16. Upper Johnston Creek - Opening Date July 1st UTM 573675 5693404
      Camping is located 1km south of Jo29 campground, with grazing in the adjacent meadows. Please do not camp in Jo29. Good grazing, suitable for a larger party.

      Baker Creek, Red Deer Watersheds, Divide Creek

    17. Baker Creek - Opening Date July 1st UTM 568426 5703745
      Camping and grazing in a small shrub land meadow, 1.5 km north of Wildflower Creek, adjacent to the trail.
    18. Tyrrell Creek - Opening Date June 15th UTM 584484 5725271
      Camping and grazing in the large meadows on either side of the trail, just west of the Tyrrell Creek trail junction. Good grazing, suitable for a larger party.
    19. Scotch Camp - Opening Date June 15th UTM 581298 5724365
      There are several sites in this area with most camping and grazing in large meadows on the south side of the Red Deer River, southeast of the fenced Parks Canada pasture. Use of the fenced Parks Canada pasture is not permitted. Good grazing and camping, suitable for a larger party.
    20. McConnell Creek - Opening Date June 15th UTM 576268 5723990
      Camping and grazing in a grassy shrub land meadow adjacent to the trail, at the junction of McConnell Creek and the Red Deer River.
    21. Horseshoe Lake (Skeleton Lake) - Opening Date June 15th UTM 573456 5719335
      Camping and grazing along the south shore of the Red Deer River, adjacent to the Horseshoe Lake access trail. Due to the wet and boggy areas near the lakeshore, no camping or grazing is permitted within 1 km of the lake.
    22. Sandhills - Opening Date June 15th UTM 573081 5715836
      Camping and grazing adjacent to the trail, on the northeast edge of a large meadow, located approximately 3 km upstream or to the west of Sandhills cabin.
    23. Douglas Lake - Opening Date July 1st UTM 574175 5709150
      Camp is available in a small clearing at the south end of Douglas Lake. Grazing is in an adjacent large wet meadow. Good grazing but the camping is suitable only for a smaller party.
    24. Drummond Creek - Opening Date July 1st UTM 569270 5712337
      Camping and grazing in the large grassy shrub land meadow where the Drummond Creek crosses the trail. The best camp site is just west of the trail.
    25. Lower Red Deer Lakes - Opening Date July 1st UTM 567801 5711118
      Camping and grazing in several small meadows along the Red Deer River, just east of the fenced Parks Canada pasture at Red Deer Lakes. Use of the fenced Parks Canada pasture is not permitted. Suitable only for a small party with limited grazing.
    26. Divide Creek - Opening Date July 1st UTM 574175 5731613
      Camping and grazing immediately south of Divide Pass and to the north and west of Divide cabin, in a large shrub land meadow. Good grazing and camping, suitable for a larger party.

      Peters Creek, Clearwater River

    27. Indianhead Meadows - Opening Date June 15th UTM 570270 5744647
      Camping and grazing in two large shrub land meadows at the confluence of Peters Creek and the Clearwater River, just to the west and slightly upstream of Peters Creek. Good grazing and camping, suitable for a larger party.
    28. Malloch Creek Flats - Opening Date June 15th UTM 565396 5742735
      Camping and grazing in the large shrub land meadow provides excellent grazing with good campsites on either side of the trail. Good grazing and camping, suitable for a larger party.
    29. Trident Lake - Opening Date June 15th UTM 561272 5738829
      Camping and grazing in several small grassy meadows, a few hundred meters north of Trident Lake.
    30. Lower Clearwater Lakes - Opening Date June 15th UTM 559273 5737392
      Camping and grazing in a grassy meadow at the east end of Clearwater Lakes, below the drift fence on the southwest side of the trail.
    31. Upper Clearwater Lakes - Opening Date June 15th UTM 558585 5736455
      Camping and grazing in the large grassy meadow located approximately 2 km upstream from Clearwater Lakes, upstream of the drift fence on the northwest side of the trail. No camping or grazing is permitted within 1 km of the Clearwater patrol cabin.

      Pipestone, Siffleur Watersheds

    32. Devon Lakes - Opening Date July 1st UTM 555211 5731675
      Camping and grazing in a large shrub meadow approximately 3 km downstream from Devon Lakes on the south side of the trail. Limited grazing available.
    33. Point Camp Meadows - Opening Date June 15th UTM 556148 5707307
      Camping and grazing adjacent to the Pipestone River, 2 km south of the junction of the Pipestone River and Little Pipestone Creek. Please avoid using the area adjacent to the private concessionaires’ horse camp, located 4km south of this junction.
    34. Molar Creek Meadow - Opening Date July 1st UTM 55555 5715742
      This is a shared camp with hikers. Camping is at Mo16 campground. Grazing is located in a wet shrub land meadow adjacent to Molar Creek, approximately 3 km above the Molar Creek, Pipestone River junction. Suitable only for a small party with limited grazing.
    35. Lower Singing Meadows - Opening Date July 1st UTM 560147 5717492
      Camping and grazing in a large meadow located approximately 3 km upstream from Little Pipe patrol cabin. Good grazing and camping, suitable for a larger party.
    36. Upper Singing Meadows - Opening Date July 1st UTM 558554 5722240
      Camping and grazing in a large meadow adjacent to a tumbling waterfall, located near the junction to Fish Lakes.
    37. Upper Pipestone River - Opening Date July 15th UTM 555399 5724708
      This grazing area is located in an area of high quality grizzly bear habitat and has been closed. Camping and/or grazing in this area is no longer permitted.
    38. Siffleur River - Opening Date July 1st UTM 543746 5736049
      Camping and grazing, in a small meadow located halfway between Pipestone Pass and Dolomite Creek, near the Siffleur River. This is a special preservation zone where camping and grazing is permitted for only one night. Camping is only permitted within 200 meters of the site, which is marked by a campground signpost and an outhouse.
    39. Isabella Lake - Opening Date July 1st UTM 539590 5737767
      The best camping is to the south of Isabella Lake, just outside of the Isabella patrol cabin fence. Limited grazing is available in the shrub land meadows and slide paths to the south of the camping area

      North Saskatchewan Watershed

    40. Howse River - Opening Date June 15th UTM 515066 5744453
      Camping and grazing in the small grassy meadows, below Lagoon Lake, at the old cabin site. Please note that the entire Howse River trail is in poor condition and subject to frequent blowdown. Travel is often better on the river flats, as long as the water levels are lower. Requests for chainsaw permits to enable trail travel will be considered on a case by case basis. Please contact 250 347 9361 for further information.
    41. Glacier Lake - Opening Date June 15th UTM 506350 5751513
      Camping and grazing at the west end of Glacier Lake in the large meadow to the west of Gl9 campground. Please do not camp in Gl9 campground.
    42. Watchman Lake - Opening Date July 1st UTM 483293 5767228
      Camping and grazing is available in the grassy areas on both the north and west side of the lake. Camping space is limited; suitable for a small party. Please note that the Watchman Lake trail is infrequently cleared and subject to blowdown. Requests for chainsaw permits to enable trail travel will be considered on a case by case basis. Please contact 250 347 9361 for further information.
    43. Sunset Pass - Opening Date July 15th UTM 506974 5771008
      This is a shared camp with hikers. Camping is at No5 campground. Grazing is available in the large meadow adjacent to the campground.