In today’s post I’m sharing a few of my favorite hikes near Calgary.
If you’re anything like me you’re already starting to miss summer. The mornings are getting cooler and the summer is setting just a little bit earlier than it was a month ago. Winters and cold and long here in Calgary, so I’m all about making sure that I get in as much outdoor time while I can before the snow and cold weather arrives. Below I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite hikes near Calgary. Interested in more hiking posts? You can find them all on my hiking page.
This is one of my favorite easier hikes near Calgary – that doesn’t mean that it’s not beautiful though! It’s pretty flat which is nice. Most of the trail is wooded, though there are a few breaks in the trees along the way where you get some pretty views. As the name implies, there’s some waterfalls at the end of the hike. You can hear them before you see them as they’re actually pretty loud.
If you only have a few hours for a hike and you want one that’s on the easier side, I would highly suggest checking out Troll Falls. The last time I did this hike I only saw two other groups of people on the trail. I had it all to myself for the most part.
Big Hill Springs Provincial Park
This is another hike that’s just outside of Calgary and closer to the city than the last three hikes on this list. It’s also on the shorter side, so if you’re short on time this is a great hike to check out. There’s definitely more elevation gain on his one than on Troll Falls though, so be aware of that. I think it’s definitely doable though if you’re active.
It follows along some water for part of it, before you start going up partway through. There are some great views once you get up to the top through the trees. It actually surprised me how high up I was because it didn’t feel like I climbed that much.
Moraine Lake is a super popular hike in Banff National Park, about an hour outside of Calgary. I’d recommend getting there early to be able to find a parking spot. The parking lot fills up really fast during the summer. It’s so popular because it’s a super gorgeous hike that’s flat. I’ve found that Moraine Lake is generally a bit less busy than Lake Louise, which is just up the road, but both are pretty popular hiking spots.
The trail hugs along the side of Moraine Lake. There’s a few small hills but nothing major. I love that you continuously get views of the lake as you get to the other end of it. It’s not just the blue lake you get to take in, it’s also the mountains surrounding the lake.
This is one of those world class hikes that I think just about everyone has seen a photo of. At one end of the lake is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. You can hike around one side of Lake Louise to the other end of the lake. There’s also several other hikes that start from Lake Louise as well. From the lakeside it feels like you’re surrounded by huge mountains. It definitely puts things into perspective about how big and steep the mountains are!
Once again, parking can be a challenge at Lake Louise, so I would suggest getting there as early as possible to increase your chances of snagging a spot. It’s worth taking some time driving around the parking lot to try to find one if you don’t get one immediately. Likewise, the paths closest to the beginning of the trail and closest to the hotel can get pretty crowded. You don’t have to hike for too far for the crowds to thin out though. Within 30 minutes or so of hiking there’s hardly any crowds.
The last hike on this list is Lower Bankhead, a former mining town. Most of the town is down in the valley that you access from some stairs, but there’s also the remains of an old church right off the parking lot. Make sure that you don’t miss it!
I took that photo from the parking lot, so you have an idea of where the town was. It’s actually more of a walk than a real hike, but I really enjoyed checking old the ghost town so I figured I would include it in this post. There’s not much left of the old buildings and equipment, but it’s still pretty cool to check it all out. There are lots of interpretive signs explaining things so you also get a good idea of the history of Bankhead.
Do you have a favorite hike near Calgary? Share it in the comments below – I’d love to hear about it!