Rules & regulations
Before going on an overnight horse trip in the park, you must purchase the following:
- Grazing Permit. (Available only at the Banff Visitor Centre)
- Wilderness Pass. (Available at all park Visitor Centres)
- Park Entrance Pass. (Available at all park Visitor Centres, gateway kiosks or online)
Fees for permits go towards the cost of park operations. Permits must be produced upon request from a Park Warden.
See the Banff National Park Fees page for permit costs.
Private horse groups may reserve trips up to three months in advance on a first come, first-served basis. There is a fee for making a reservation. Space will be confirmed and a permit issued upon receipt of payment. Permits can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed directly to you.
The following information is required for your permit:
- Number of horses and riders
- Number of days you wish to stay at each grazing site
- Vehicle license plate number
- Your annual wilderness pass # (if you have one)
Trip cancellations received more than 7 days in advance will receive a full refund, minus the reservation fee.
A Parks Canada fishing permit is required. Permits are available at all mountain parks Visitor Centres.
Avoid grazing on wet and fragile areas such as marshes and alpine meadows
- Keep horses single file to prevent trail braiding
- Avoid skirting around puddles or obstacles which leads to trail widening, loss of plant cover and increased soil erosion.
- Remove deadfall blocking the trail with an axe or a Swede saw so that new trails aren't created.
- DO NOT nail items to trees or build structures.
- At rest stops, keep horses well off the trail away from water sources
- Hobbles are preferred to tying up horses overnight.
- If you must tie your horses up overnight, stretch a rope between two trees (high line) well away from the campground area.
- Scatter manure at rest stops and highlines
- Travel lightly. Advances in lightweight equipment make it easier on you, your horses and the environment, and fewer horses may be required to pack your gear.
- Use of feed bags ensures less spillage and less attractant for bears.
- We recommend you do not take stallions on your trip, since you will be meeting other horse parties on the trail.
- Where no bear poles exist for hanging food and feed, hang your food at least four metres above the ground and 1.3 metres from each tree trunk to reduce attractiveness to bears. (Bring two 20 M lengths of rope with you.)
- When camping in shared horse/hiker campgrounds, please camp in perimeter sites to prevent horses passing through the campgrounds.
- The carrying and or use of chainsaws is restricted to persons who have chainsaw permits. Trails where permits may be issued are listed within the grazing area description
- Horse drawn vehicles use is prohibited in Banff National Park's backcountry
- The carrying or transport of firearms is prohibited in Banff National Park's backcountry
- Dogs must be kept on leash at all times. We recommend leaving your dog at home.
- Use of park facilities such as backcountry cabins, corrals and pastures is not permitted.