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The 6 Best Banff Walking Trails for the Whole Family

You don’t need to summit an 11,000 foot peak to get incredible views!  If the idea is a stroll with the family, a light hike, or something picnic-able the opportunities are still endless and offer some awe inspiring vistas.  In any season, here are a few of our favourites:

Bow River Loop

Located in Lake Louise and beginning by the heritage Station Restaurant, the walking trail loops the Bow River and from one side offers views of Mt. Hector, Whitehorn and Protection. When the path loops back around, you get all the Louise peaks in all their glory with the Bow River in the foreground.  This is one of the local trails that’s track set in the winter so bring your skis!

Lake Minnewanka Lakeshore Trail

Vastly under-valued, this out and back hiking trail is much more of a walk and the view along the shoreline is incredible.  It’s a fantastic picnic destination and a photographers dream in and season.

Cascade Ponds

It’s really just a few walking trails immediately outside Banff, but the ponds offer the perfect setting to take in the looming Cascade Mountain, of looking back towards Banff the more famous Mt. Rundle.  Explore the meadow, wander around the ponds, or just just relax at one of the many picnic tables. Be quick and you may be able to snag one with a fire pit!

Bow Lake Lakeshore

Often overlooked simply as a viewpoint stop, or a waypoint enroute to the falls or Bow Hut, the short hiking trail around the right side of the lake offers immediate and incredible vistas.  The more adventurous can continue on, but if it’s a walk in the wood you’re after, with a view you only dream about, there’s no reason to go further than a km or two before turning around and enjoying the grand Rocky Mountain view in the other direction!

Emerald Lake Loop

The hiking trail around Emerald Lake is flat and skiable, but often tracked well enough for just ice spikes or a pair of good winter boots.  We’ll call this a hike simply for the fact that the full loop is 5km, but really, it’s a phenomenal walking trail all along the right or west side with benches every so often for a picnic or rest spot.  Like any Rocky Mountain walk along or around a lake, the views are breathtaking.

Fenland Loop Trail

The perfect place for a slower wandering walk, this loop trail is just outside the Banff townsite, flat, and well trafficked so again just ice spikes or good winter boots for your walk in the woods!

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