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Canadian Rockies Trail Guide

Best Banff National Park spring hikes

The best Banff National Park spring hikes start in June, which has always been the start of our hiking season—the time when trails start opening up above the valley bottoms. But this year is well advanced as we enter the month. Thanks to dry, warm conditions and low snowpack in the southern sections of the range, we’re already hiking dry, snowfree trails that are usually just emerging from winter’s grasp.

Here are some samples of longer day hikes and overnights in Banff National Park that are clear and dry as we head into the last three weeks of spring:

Aylmer Lookout

This 9.5-km hike is to a 2040m viewpoint overlooking Lake Minnewanka. Do it as a long day hike, a bike-and-hike, or stay at Lm8 campground and trek up from there. Lm8 will be closed after July 15 due to seasonal bear activity along Lake Minnewanka, so take advantage of this early-season bonus.


Shadow Lake, Banff National Park

Early season at Shadow Lake, Banff National Park

Shadow Lake

14.0 km one-way. Another long day trip or overnight. You’ll likely encounter muddy trail after you leave the track of the old Redearth Fire Road at km 10.5, but no snow.


Castle Lookout

A shorter 3.8 km climb to the site of the old fire lookout that overlooked the Bow Valley and Vermilion Pass. Some friends hiked this six weeks ago, but they had to wade through a bit of snow. But it has always been a reliable, dry trip by early June.


Glacier Lake

9.2 km to the campground at the east end of the lake. The trail is in great shape for this popular early-season backpack.


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