Banff National Park

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Two Day Trips

Here are some suggested backcountry trips, but Banff National Park offers many more opportunities than those described here. It is always possible to add more days to your trip in any given area. The number of nights given is a minimum. There are several popular guidebooks, topographic and recreational maps available. Some of the books include:

  • Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, 2000 7th Edition, Patton and Robinson
  • Classic Hikes in the Canadian Rockies, 2003, Pole, G.
  • Backcountry Banff, 2001, Potter, M.
  • Randonnée pédestre dans les Rocheuses canadiennes, 2002, Thivierge, P.

Information Centre staff would be pleased to assist you on your trip selection, or direct you to other available resource materials. Interested in day hikes? Pick up a copy of Parks Canada's Day Hikes in Banff National Park .

Lake Minnewanka
8 km one way; elevation gain: nil
A popular early or late season hike or bike along the lakeshore. The trail departs from the trailhead at the Lake Minnewanka day use area and returns by the same route. During the summer, Lake Minnewanka is a popular destination for motorboats. Stay an extra night and explore Aylmer Pass or Aylmer Lookout. Seasonal closures of Lm8 campground and Aylmer Pass area during buffalo berry season. 

Mao of Lake Minnewanka area

Campsite: Lm8 Aylmer Pass Junction
Topographic map: 82 O/6
Gem Trek recreational map: Banff and Mount Assiniboine

Glacier Lake
8.9 km one way; elevation gain: 210 m
A popular early season hike that departs from a trailhead north of Saskatchewan Crossing on the Icefields Parkway and brings travellers to a campsite at one of the largest backcountry lakes in Banff National Park.

Map of Glacier Lake area

Campsite: Gl 9 Glacier Lake.
Topographic map: 82 N/15.
Gem Trek recreational map: Bow Lake Saskatchewan Crossing

Twin Lakes
8.7 km one way; elevation gain: 605 m
Twin Lakes can be reached by two trails. The first departs from the Vista Lake viewpoint on Highway 93 and continues over Arnica summit. The second begins at Altrude Creek just off the Trans Canada Highway and follows a less strenuous, and less scenic, route.

Map of Twin Lakes area

Campsite: Tw7 Twin Lakes.
Topographic maps: 82 O/4, 82 O/5.
Gem Trek recreational map: Banff and Mount Assiniboine

Elk Lake Summit
11.5 km one way; elevation gain: 610 m
Departing from the Mt. Norquay ski area, the first few km of the trail climbs through dense forest. The campsite is located in the open subalpine meadow of Elk Lake Pass, about 2km before Elk Lake. This area is frequented by commercially guided horse trips.

Map of Elk Lakes Summit area

Campsite: Ek13 Elk Lake Summit.
Topographic maps: 82 O/4, 82 O/5.
Gem Trek recreational map: Banff and Mount Assiniboine.

Mosquito Creek/Molar Pass
9.8 km one way; elevation gain: 535 m
This trail begins at the Mosquito Creek trailhead (along the Icefields Parkway). Stay at Mosquito Creek campsite as a base (approximately 6 km from trailhead) and make a side trip over Molar Pass through some of the most extensive alpine meadows in Banff National Park. Fires are not permitted.

Map of Mosquito creek area

Campsite: Mo5 Mosquito Creek.
Topographic map: 82 O/4.