A Complete Guide for hiking in and around Banff, everything you need to know to choose and plan from more than a hundred marked trails in the national park, things I had to figure out when arriving in this hiking paradise. The best trails around Banff town, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake for different experience and fitness levels, accommodation and transport in Banff National Park.
Banff National Park is an incredible place for hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers, it boasts some of the most beautiful hiking routes in the world and can be enjoyed by everybody from novices to hiking experts. Located in the jaw dropping Rocky Mountains with routes exploring mountainous terrain, glaciers and spectacular alpine forests, this is Canada’s oldest national park encompassing 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi).
When planning your hikes in the park the location of the routes, difficulty and transport are the most important considerations
Location of Hiking Trails in Banff National Park
When hiking in Banff National Park you must pick from over 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) of maintained trails, there are maps and reviews available for the most popular routes and we give some information on our favorite trails here. It is important to note that the majority of the trails are easily accessible from 2 different towns, both located inside the national park, the Town of Banff and the village of Lake Louise 57 km apart by road. There are plenty of transport options between the two towns. The Regional Service between Banff and Lake Louise provides a quick and convenient way to travel, in season buses run 5 times per day, the transfer takes about 50 minutes for $CAD6 one way and Wifi is even available on the bus.
I spent about a week in each of the towns, doing as many hikes as possible in the area. This way I spent as little time as possible on transport, explored plenty of hiking routes and I got to experience both town.
Hiking around Banff town and Lake Louise
When I started planning to hike in the area I was not sure if it would be better to stay in Banff or Lake Louise.
Lake Louise is a small village, accommodation, restaurants and transport options are limited. The village only has one hostel type accommodation and a couple of hotels, in season booking early is essential, especially if you are on a tight budget. There is one supermarket that is quite expensive. If you are coming to Banff National Park for hiking, Lake Louise is the place to be, for good reason often called “the hiking capital of Canada”. There are plenty of amazing trails with spectacular views for all abilities and interests starting at Lake Louise (the lake) and Moraine Lake. Lake Louise is located 4km from the town Lake Louise and Moraine Lake is 11.50km from town. Hikes vary from easy hikes around the beautiful lakes to strenuous hikes climbing more than 1000m to spectacular peaks and passes. From May 17 to October 14, Parks Canada offer shuttles to the Lake Louise lake shore every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Shuttles to Moraine Lake depart from Lake Louise lake shore every 20 minutes to Moraine Lake from 8:40 am to 4:20 pm. Shuttle costs $6
Banff Town is also surrounded by plenty of easy accessible hikes ranging from low elevation strolls on boardwalks next to the river and through forests to more strenuous full day hikes through beautiful alpine passes in the Rocky Mountains. There are plenty of easy hikes that start inside the town and you can also combine several trails.
There are more difficult and high elevation hikes available around Lake Louise and Moraine Lake than around Banff town. If you are a more experienced hiker and you want to spend a couple of days doing more challenging hikes I would recommend staying at Lake Louise.
Best Time to Visit Banff National Park for Hiking
The peak hiking season in Banff National Park is from July through mid-September. The weather is great this time of the year, but it is also very crowdy and prices of accommodation and airfare is the highest.
Shoulder season – Spring time there is still a lot of snow around and most Alpine trails are not really accessible. Even in end of June, many passes are still covered in snow at times and can be subject to an avalanche hazard. In June trails tend to be muddier at higher elevations and the best hiking is at lower elevations.
Around the Town of Banff there are many low elevation trails available which tend to be drier. Most trails are at higher elevation at Lake Louise, but the Lake Louise lake shore trail is first to open up for hiking until the snow melts up higher. By the middle of July, most alpine passes are snow-free.
Shoulder season – Fall September and early October is a great time in Banff with less crowds, there is still good access to most of the hiking trails and many attractions are still open.
The daytime temperatures are cooler but are great for hiking.
Autumn colors is spectacular and the highlight of hiking in fall in Banff National Park is the magical yellow colors of the larch and aspen leaves in mid to late September. Hiking in the area end of September, early October was great and I walked a lot of trails around Banff and Lake Louise. There was a lot of snow in Sentinel pass and the trail to Larch valley was icy and slippery, the yellow colors from the Alpine Larch all through the Larch Valley was spectacular, it was great hiking in fall, I would recommend you pack ice cleats, the frozen trails were very slippery at some places.
Hikes around Banff Town
The Town of Banff, surrounded by rippling rivers, snow capped peaks, alpine meadows, and glacially-carved cirques is a popular destination with hikers. There are plenty of low-elevation strolls along boardwalks starting in town itself leading into the surrounding wilderness. The town is also surrounded by more strenuous full-day outings for more experienced hikers to explore the snow capped encircling mountains.
Easy Walks from Banff town
There are plenty of easy, flat trails around town, you can plan a route or just start following signs and connect several of these trails.
The Marsh Loop
Distance – 2.8km. Easy, flat walk starting at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Trail encircles a wetland filled from hot springs flowing out of the lower slopes of Sulphur Mountain. For a short walk take the 1.1 km Lower Boardwalk instead of marshland and bubbling thermal waters.
Distance – 9km Another walking trail starting at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Beautiful panoramic views of the mountains across the Bow River. Easy, steady climb away from the river, the paved section ends and a moderately difficult trail loops through a water-filled canyon.
9km total – 3.7km to the start of the Canyon loop and the same way back (3.7km), 1.6km moderate loop with 155m elevation gain. About 3 hours walking. You can reach the trail head from downtown Banff on roam route 4 it is a 2km walk (30 min. walk) from town if you want to extend the walk.
Spray Loop Trail
Distance 12km The Spray Loop trail is an easy flat trail running next to the beautiful turquoise Spray river. If you do the whole loop it is a long trail that takes 3 hours plus. The trail head is just outside town next to the Banff Springs Hotel. The trail can be hiked all year round and is popular with cyclists in summer and for cross country skiing and snow shoeing in winter.
Distance 10km The trail starts at the Surprise Corner trail head on the edge of town. Easy hike next to the Bow river from Banff town.
The trail has some nice view points of the Rocky mountains and Bow river. I walked a 10 km loop, walking from Surprise Corner on the trail following the river and when turning around I walked back through the forest following bike trails with names like ‘Return of the Jedi’, there are no real views and I would recommend following the same trail next to the Bow river back. Hoodoos are large rock needles or towers formed by erosion in the valley.
Johnston Canyon is a beautiful hike that is easily accessible and is one of the most popular destinations in Banff National Park. A very touristy spot, it is possible to walk in this amazing canyon due to walk ways attached to the canyon wall allowing you to walk over the crystal clear turquoise water running down the canyon. It is a very easy family walk, but can be icy, covered in snow and very slippery in winter. It is strongly recommended to strap ice cleats to your boots at the start of the hike in these conditions.
The trail is divided into the Lower Falls, Upper Falls, and the Ink Pots. The Lower and Upper Falls are both very easy hikes, as the trail is quite wide and even with only moderately uphill sections, the hike to The Ink Pots is a moderate hike.
The trail to the Lower Falls 2.5 km return taking 1 hour, it is easy and flat, initially a forest trail followed by catwalks besides Johnston Creek and up into the canyon. There is a nice natural cave giving you a great view of the waterfall, you might have to stand in line a while to get a turn to go in.
The trail to the Upper Falls is a 5 km return, it is a little steeper, climbing through the forest and out of the lower canyon. It takes around two hours with an elevation gain of 120 metres. The trail goes to the base of the waterfall and you might get a bit wet, continue another 5 minutes for a view from the top.
The trail to the Ink Pots is of moderate difficulty, it is 11.50 km with an elevation gain of 330 m. The ink pots are a collection of pools filled with crystal clear, bright turquoise water. Following the waterfall the trail is quite steep, climbing out of the canyon and levels of towards the ink pots.
To get to Johnston Canyon take the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A), which branches off of the TransCanada Highway. The Roam public transport bus service to Johnston Canyon from Banff is available between May 17 and September 15
Moderate Walks from Banff town
Distance 12 km return to Sanson Peak. Sulphur Mountain, named for the two sulphurous hot springs found on its lower slopes, offers a nice hike to the summit at 2,281 metres (7,486 feet). You can also take the gondola up and down or just one way. My summit time – 1 hour 31 minutes
The trail head is next to the Banff Hot Springs at an elevation of 1,580 M (5,200 ft) and can be reached by public transport taking the Roam Route #1 bus. It is a steep 5.5 km hike up switch backs to the top of the Gondola and another 500m to Sanson peak climbing 750m in altitude . In season the trail is probably busy, but walking up early October I only saw two other hikers. At the top it was crazy busy with coffee shops, restaurants, souvenir shops and hundreds of people that used the gondola. It was great to get a cup of Starbucks coffee before going on with my hike. The views from the top of the surrounding mountains is nice.
Gondola return price CAD$64 ($58 advanced rate) or you can buy a one way ticket for $32. At the time of writing the Gondola is free after 19:00, so you can walk up at 17:00, have a coffee and take the gondola down for free.
I walked over Sulphur mountain, combining the trail with walking to Sundance Canyon and the Marsh loop for a total hike of 18 km taking 4h 25min.
Distance 4.8 km return hike from the trail head. The return hike takes 1.5 to 2 hours. Tunnel mountain is Banff’s smallest peak to summit, moderate switchbacks lead up the mountain. The mountain is also known as ‘Sleeping Buffalo’, since that is what it resembles. From summit there is nice views of the surrounding Spray and Bow river valleys. The trail can be hiked all year round, but ice cleats are recommended in winter when the trail can be frozen and very slippery. At the summit there are two red Parks Canada chairs, that is great for a break and makes nice photos sitting looking at the great view.
The trail head is easy to reach from town by public transport, take Roam route #1 to the trail head. Walking to the trail head from town takes about 15 minutes each way.
Distance 12.5 km out and back trail. Strenuous climb with 675 m elevation gain over the 6 km. Hiking time 4 to 6 hours. Nice trail, very popular and busy in summer. Most of the hike is though forest surrounded by trees, but great views when reaching the amphitheater.
The trailhead is at the kiosk at the Mount Norquay ski area parking lot
The trail head can be reached from town by public transport, take Roam route #1 or #3 to nearby.
Difficult Walks from Banff town
Sulphur Mountain – Sundance Canyon – Marsh loop
Distance 18 km For a great full day hike I combined Sulphur mountain with two other trails. After hiking to the top of Sulphur Mountain I had a coffee and walked down the other side. There were another hiker or two on the way up, hundreds of people that took the gondola at the top, but on the way down I did not see anybody and had the whole mountain to myself, only seeing hikers again on the Sundance canyon trail.
Combining the Sulphur mountain trail from the trail head to the gondola with walking to Sundance Canyon and the Marsh loop for a total hike of 18 km taking 5h 20min (3h 34min moving time), Max elevation
2,289 m, Elevation gain 807m
Aylmer Pass and Aylmer Lookout
Distance 23.5km / 27km / 30 km This is a long day hike ending in spectacular views.
The trail head is at Lake Minnewanka day use area and can be reached by public transport from Banff town by taking Roam route 6.
At 10km the road splits to the Pass and the lookout, at 23.5km the total distance from the trailhead to the Aylmer Lookout is a bit shorter than the 27 km to Aylmer Pass. Strong hikers can walk to both in one day for a total distance of 30km. Some hikers do camp at Aylmer Pass Junction Campground hiking to both viewpoints over 2 days.
From the Lookout see amazing views of Lake Minnewanka, Mount Inglismaldie, Mount Girouard, Mount Aylmer, Mount Rundle massif and the Bow Valley near Banff.
Aylmer Pass offers great views of wide meadow, wildflowers and the Palliser mountain range.
Grizzly warnings are common in this part of the park, carry bear spray and don’t hike alone.
Hikes around Lake Louise
Lake Louise is a beautiful turquoise, glacier-fed lake surrounded by high peaks with plenty of hiking trails winding up the mountains for spectacular views. The lake is the trail head where all the surrounding hikes start. The lake is located 4km from the town Lake Louise and is easy to reach by Canada National Parks shuttle as mentioned before.
Hikes from Lake Louise range from easy walks around the lake to challenging long hikes at altitude.
I walked the 4km to the lake every morning with a takeaway coffee, it takes about 50 minutes and I took the shuttle back after hiking.
Easy Walks from Lake Louise
Lake Louise Lakeshore
This is an easy, flat, short hike next to the lake, done as part of longer hikes. Walking next to the lake is beautiful, this hike is accessible in winter when the higher elevation trails are not possible to hike. Nice for taking photos of the lake from the lake shore. Popular with tourists arriving by bus.
4km, 1 hour round trip
Close to the big parking area from Lake Louise Boat House it is a short uphill hike to nice views of the lake. Popular with tourists arriving by bus.
2km, 45min round trip
Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail
The easy 3.5 kilometer hike is a steady incline through a lovely forest and stops at the pretty Mirror Lake before finishing at Lake Agnes Teahouse.
The Lake Agnes Teahouse trail can be combined with several trails to create hikes of various lengths and difficulties.
7 km (4.5 mi) 3.5 – 4 hour round trip, Elevation gain: 400 m (1300 ft)
Moderate Hikes from Lake Louise
Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail and Big Beehive
The Beehive is a mountain that resembles a beehive with great views of Lake Louise. There are two mountains that resembles a beehive; the Big Beehive and the Small Beehive. Walk past the teahouse, continue on the lakeshore, climb with the switchbacks (zig zags) to the Big Beehive for nice panoramic views of Lake Louise, from Lake Agnes you can also do a 2km return side trip to the Little Beehive.
10.5 km (6.5 mi) 3 to 4 hour round trip. Elevation gain: 550 m (1800 ft)
Plain of Six Glaciers
Walk next to the Lake Louise Lakeshore, follow the signs to the Plain of Six Glaciers tea house. Not too hard or steep, but a longer hike. Keep going past the tea house for about 1.5 km to reach the Abbot Pass viewpoint. The tea house is ussualy open from early July to mid-October, but can change depending on conditions. I had a good coffee in a mini- snowstorm at the tea house.
The name Plain of Six Glaciers comes from the hanging glaciers of Mount Aberdeen, Lefroy, Victoria, Lower Victoria, Lefroy glaciers and the hanging glacier on Popes Peak.
10.6 km (6.5 mi) 3 to 4 hour round trip. Elevation gain 365m.
Difficult Hikes from Lake Louise
Lake Agnes Tea house Challenge: Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail – Big Beehive – Little Beehive – Plain of Six Glaciers –
Lake Louise Lakeshore
I connected several sites in one long day of almost 20km, taking me just short of 6 hours. This is a relatively long trail with some great views including several shorter hikes, both famous tea houses are visited in this one hike as well as other well known look out points. A shorter route is possible, both tea houses can be reached by connecting them by the highline trail for a total distance of 14.6km, this is most often walked in about 5 hours. Walking to both tea houses, Beehives and back along Lake Louise Lakeshore is a long day that should take you 6 to 7 hours. There was a lot of snow on the day I hiked it, scrambling up to the Big Beehive was hard, taking a break with a cup of tea at Plain of Six Glaciers in what felt like a snow storm is definitely recommended! remember to bring some cash.
19.7km (12mi), Highest Point – 2323m, Elevation gain 885m, total time 5h53min , moving time 4h35 min – Garmin Fenix 5 GPS watch
Hikes around Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is a beautiful, turquoise, glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.
Similar to Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is the trail head to start plenty of amazing trails with spectacular views for all abilities and interests. To get here from Lake Louise town, first take a shuttle bus to Lake Louise followed by a shuttle to Moraine Lake departing every 20 minutes.
Up to 800 people hike here in season, in autumn the crowds get a little thinner.
Grizzly bears are common in the Moraine Lake area, so often these hikes require people to hike in groups of 4 or more in summer. Rules are strict, nice rangers turn smaller groups around and hefty fines can even be imposed if you do not comply.
Be careful with frozen snow and extremely slippery trails in negative temperatures. Late September this happened to me, I did a 20km hike and on the way down the Larch Valley trail it was so slippery I fell more than once and ended up doing parts with my hands on the ground! it was a very slow finish.
Easy Walks from Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake Lakeshore
An easy, flat 3km return stroll along the lake taking about 45 minutes. This hike can be done by people of all fitness levels and affords nice views of Mount Fay and Fay glacier.
Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail
This is a short 1.4 kilometer loop trail starting from the lake and is an easy stroll that can be done by anyone. The trail is very popular and can get very busy, it is best used from June until August. The short uphill pathway to the top of a large pile of rocks where you will find beautiful views of Moraine Lake. Be careful in cold weather the path can be icy and gets very slippery. It is an easy hike, but people do get injured here when it is slippery.
This is an easy flat 6km return hike winding through the forest, following a glacial stream passing through a large boulder field ending at a beautiful crystal clear lake . Follow the path up to the rockpile, don’t go all the way up the steps, continue on into the valley beyond. Bring a jacket, winding through the forest, next to the lake it is cool and the path is covered in snow until late in season, be careful the path can be slippery.
Moderate Hikes around Moraine Lake
This is a very popular hike going from Moraine Lake into the beautiful Larch forest with amazing views of the surrounding Ten Peaks.
Autumn is the best time of year to hike the Larch Valley. Late autumn the larch tree needles turn from green to lime to a brilliant golden yellow color before they fall to the ground in winter, this beautiful fall scenery makes for fantastic photos. In October the snow everywhere and golden trees and foliage was spectacular.
This is a 8.6km return hike taking about 3.5 to 4 hours. The route passes through densely forested areas giving you glimpses of Moraine Lake, at higher altitude the larch trees start to appear until you are surrounded by larch trees in the Larch Valley looking at the towering Ten Peaks. Many people finish the Larch Valley hike here at the base of Mount Temple and Mount Pinnacle at the beautiful tarn lake.
A tarn is a mountain lake, pond or pool, formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. I saw a couple of groups on guided hikes having tea and lunch here before turning back or continuing to climb Sentinel Pass.
The trail starts from the lakeshore trail that begins at the Moraine Lake Lodge, the first 2km is the same as the Larch Valley trail with some switchbacks and a gradual climb, there is a sign at the split in the road with the Larch Valley hike to the right and Eiffel Lake to the left.
After the split the trail is fairly flat, continuing through forest and followed along the edge of edge of the valley with some nice views. The trail continued along this forested ridge on mostly level terrain until the lake, I never went all the way down to the lake and I am not sure the trail continues all the way to the lake. There were nice views of the Valley of Ten Peaks.
The views of valleys filled with snow and golden Larch trees was beautiful. Walking from Moraine Lake the Eiffel Lake trail is a total of 11.5km return with a total elevation gain of 535m and takes 3 to 4 hours to complete. I walked to Eiffel Lake on my way back to Morraine Lake, after hiking to the Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass I took the turn off to Eiffel Lake to complete a 19 km hike.
Difficult Hikes around Moraine Lake
After completing the Larch Valley trail by reaching the tarn lake at the base of Mount Temple and Mount Pinnacle continue up Sentinel Pass from the lake, it’s another 2.5 km (1.55 mi) it is steep with a 200 m (656 ft) elevation gain on a switchback trail up to Sentinel Pass. The trail takes you to 2611m above sea level. When I hiked here at the end of September it was snowing heavily in the pass and I was hiking to the top of Sentinel Pass in knee deep snow. From the top of the pass there is excellent views over Paradise valley. Give yourself 4 to 5 hours to complete the 12km Sentinel Pass hike from Moraine Lake.
Climb Mount Temple
The beautiful Mt. Temple stands alone as the tallest mountain in the Lake Louise area towering above surrounding peaks at 3,544 m/ 11,627 ft above sea level. The hike to Mount Temple starts at Moraine Lake and continues past the Larch Valley and through Sentinel pass. The total hike is 15.10 km taking an average time of 8 to 10 hours with a total elevation gain of 1,789 m/ 5,869 ft. The climb to the top is more of a scramble on scree than a hike. When I attempted to do the hike there was so much snow I did not progress much further than the top of Sentinel pass. Temple Mountain can only be hiked from June to early September. Snow can usually be found closer to the summit, even in summer. Be properly prepared for this hike, carry enough water, good shoes and warm clothing, temperatures at the summit can be up to 20C lower than at the start at Lake Moraine.
Larch Valley – Sentinal Pass – Eiffel Lake – Lake Shore
This was a great full day hike. After walking to the Larch Valley I continued to Sentinal Pass, on the way back I turned of to the right at the split to Eiffel Lake. The total hike was 19 km taking just short of 6 hours.
Transport in Banff National Park
In Banff and Lake Louise most of the trail heads can be reached cheap and easy by public transport. Transport between the towns is also very efficient.
The public transport system in and around the town of Banff is called Roam. At the time of writting 2019, there are ten routes: five that operate year-round and five that operate seasonally. A one way fare is $2 and a day pass $5 Roam Bus Fares Banff National Park
- Route 1 Sulphur Mountain (gondola, hot springs, Rimrock Hotel)
- Route 2 Tunnel Mountain campground and hotels to Fairmont Banff Springs
- Route 3 Regional Route Banff to Canmore
- Route 4 Summer Route to Cave and Basin, Service along Banff Avenue to the Banff Park Museum and the Cave and Basin national historic sites. Weekend and holiday service: May 17 – June 16 Daily between June 17 and September 15
- Route 5 Canmore Local Route
- Route 6 Summer Route to Lake Minnewanka, Service between the town of Banff and Lake Minnewanka reservoir, Johnson Lake, as well as campgrounds and day-use areas on Lake Minnewanka Road. Daily between May 17 and September 15
- Route 7 Banff Centre
- Route 8S Banff to Lake Louise, Service from the town of Banff to Lake Louise lakeshore, along the Trans-Canada Highway with a stop at Lake Louise Village. Daily between May 17 and September 15
- Route 8x
- Service from the town of Banff along the Bow Valley Parkway ending at the Lake Louise lakeshore. Other stops include Johnston Canyon, Castle Mountain and Protection Mountain campgrounds. Daily between June 21 and September 3 Route 9 Johnstone Canyon Route, Service from the town of Banff along the Bow Valley Parkway to Johnston Canyon. Daily between June 21 and September 15
Public transport Lake Louise – Parks Canada offer shuttles to the Lake Louise lake shore departing every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from the Lake Louise Park and Ride the shuttle does stop in Lake Louise town. From May 17 to October 14 $4 Return
Moraine Lake Shuttle – Parks Canada daily shuttles from the Lake Louise lakeshore to Moraine Lake, departing every 20 minutes from 8:40 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with shuttles returning to the Lake Louise Park and Ride.
From May 24 to October 14
Banff to Lake Louise (Roam route 8) – Departing daily from downtown Banff and the Banff Train Station, this service travels directly to Lake Louise’s lakefront with a quick stop at Samson Mall in the village of Lake Louise. $8
Accommodation in Banff National Park
Accommodation in Lake Louise
Budget Accommodation – HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre – this is the only budget option in Lake Louise, enjoyed staying here. Nice facilities for a hostel, cafe, good wifi even a sauna! walking distance to the mall and bus pick up.
Mid Range – Mountaineer Lodge – Good rating, nice location, good value.
Treat yourself – Fairmont Château Lake Louise, stay in luxury, only accommodation located on Lake Louise (not the town, but at the lake) panoramic views of Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier, 4-star resort. Gym, fine dining, location right on the lake!
Accommodation in Banff Town
Budget Accommodation – HI-Banff Alpine Centre, another great HI hostel in Banff, I enjoyed staying here, located couple of kilometers outside town, but HI Banff provides each guest a free bus pass for the local transport system, roaming bus picks you up outside the hostel.
Samesun Banff – a well rated budget option in Banff town, located in the center easy to walk to restaurants supermarkets etc., some rooms even have fire place.
Mid Range – Riverfront Estate Bed&Breakfast, great location, new, excellent rating
Treat yourself – Moose Hotel & Suites excellent location in the center, highly rated, rooftop hot tubs with mountain views.
Fairmont Banff Springs, 5 star luxury – another Fairmont winner, styled after a Scottish Baronial castle, magical location – start the famous hike on the Bowriver at this luxurious hotel.
Packing List for Trekking around Banff
Gaiters – Waterproof Windproof Warm Shoes Cover. Gaiters are great for keeping snow and mud out of your boots!
I hiked Banff September/October and hiked in a packable down jacket over my hiking shirt.
- have good grip – sometimes you walk on muddy or rocky terrain
- fit good – you have some space to wiggle your toes
- good quality
Should you hike in boots or shoes? In winter for muddy conditions or snow boots are preferable. In dry conditions without snow the need for ankle support is a personal preference. In winter with snow I will strongly recommend that you wear boots and close them up with some gaiters. Wearing merino wool socks in waterproof hiking shoes is the way to go and I will definitely add gaiters if it is rainy. Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof or Salomon X Ultra Prime are good option for low cut shoes; durable, waterproof, comfortable, have good grip. For boot cut – KEEN Targhee II Waterproof or more budget option – Columbia Granite Ridge.are good shoes.
Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof or Salomon X Ultra Prime are good option for low cut shoes; durable, waterproof, comfortable, have good grip. For boot cut – KEEN Targhee II Waterproof or more budget option – Columbia Granite Ridge.are good shoes.
For ladies – Alya prefers a more ‘girly’ option to leather boots – shoes like KEEN Targhee II, Salomon Ellipse 2 or Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof. She has walked about 3000km in her Merrel Moab2’s ! If you’re looking for something cheaper Columbia Dakota Drifter is a good option. For ladies that prefer a boot cut Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot, is an excellent choice.
Hiking shirt – I never wear cotton, if you sweat under your jacket you will be wet and cold underneath. Alya prefers hiking in breathable, moisture wicking, quik dry long sleeve shirt. I love hiking in Columbia shirts, they do not absorb water so dry quickly and protects me from the sun if I take my jacket off. Quick dry if I get importunity to hand wash on the way.
Sport bras – they are great for hiking and outdoors, Alya says that she prefers sport bras over normal bras.
Merino wool socks – a must have especially for long hikes. In the past we didn’t pay much attention to socks – bought any random cheap socks and used to have blisters. We’ve heard a lot from other hikers about merino wool socks and finally decided to give it a go. They do work great, now we always wear them for hiking. Some advantages of merino wool socks; don’t absorb odors, protect your feet, dry quick and very durable. For even more comfortable walk check Darn Tough hiking socks they’re famous for great foot support and blister protection. Alya likes their ladies’ models; colorful and funky.
Sunglasses – bring sunglasses for hiking in the mountains with high UV protection and polarized lenses.
Pack a BUFF Multifunctional Headwear – protects your neck and face from sun burn, wind and weather. Get a funky one, mine is a South African flag, awesome for photos!
Trekking Poles – very helpful in the mud, if you don’t have a pair get a stick early on, helped us a lot. TrailBuddy Hiking Sticks, TrailBuddy Hiking Sticks very well rated, good value for money, aluminium trekking poles. Aluminium is strong and a bit heavier than carbon, my advice is save some money, go for these guys! Top of the line Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Pole, 68-140cm.