The Canadian Rockies are filled with massive mountain peaks, bright blue lakes, stunning glaciers and seemingly endless hikes. This blog post will go through some of my favorite day hikes in the Canadian Rockies—in both Alberta and British Columbia. Hundreds of people explore the Canadian Rockies every single day—and for good reason. The landscape is simply mind blowing and I personally feel as enthralled as I was the first time I visited.
Before you hit the road and head to these trails, I want to emphasize the Leave No Trace Principles. They are seven things we need to do as outdoor stewards in order to preserve the outdoors. I can’t stress how important it is that we take ownership of how we act while exploring. When we do our part, we will protect the beauty of the outdoors for future generations.
Note: While this blog post isn’t sponsored, there are affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you choose to purchase an item (at no additional cost to you). These funds go right back into creating content just like this. Thank you for the support!
I suggest getting on the trail early, even super early to catch sunrise, so that you avoid crowds. Also, if you can hike on weekdays, do it! To find additional information on the trails I share in this blog post, I recommend using AllTrails and offline maps to navigate the area and explore safely. All trail lengths below are roundtrip. Have fun and be safe!
If you’re looking for a good ‘bang for your buck’, this hike is for you. With little elevation gain and a short 3.85km to the lake, you’ll be rewarded with insane views with little effort. The shoreline tends to be a bit muddy, so be mindful while exploring.
Length: 7.7km | Elevation Gain: 241m | Route Type: Out and back
This hike is a great one to do in the fall season as there are larches in a big chunk of the trail (not at the top of the ridge though). That said, because of this, it will get extremely busy in Sept/Oct so I suggest going very early to get a parking spot. This trail is a point to point which means you can go up and down the ridge and then finish in a different parking lot than the one you started in. A lot of people park in one parking lot and hike up and back down the same way (and back to their car). If you happen to have a group of friends with two cars, I suggest parking one on each end so you can hike from start to finish.
Length: 11.4km | Elevation Gain: 764m | Route Type: Point to point
This spot is one of the first hikes I did in the Canadian Rockies and it blows me away each time I go back. You’ll have to get to Lake O’Hara first, then continue onto Opabin Plateau. To get to the lake, you’ll either need to book a spot on the buses that run on the road up to the lake or hike it! I have never been able to snag a spot on the bus, due to the complicated reservation system, so I always hike. It’s boring and long, but the views will make up for it.
Once up at the plateau, make sure you have time to roam around, there are so many incredible views in the area. You’ll feet will be sore after this one but your soul will be happy! Please note that for this blog post, the length and elevation gain below reflects the hike from the trailhead to the plateau and back.
Length: 30.5km | Elevation Gain: 650m | Route Type: Out and back
This hike is one of my favorite day hikes in the Canadian Rockies because of the 360 views! It’s a grind to get to the ridge and is steep in some sections but trust me when I say it’s well worth it. You’ll get to see epic views of Spray Lake and dozens of mountains layers, including Mount Assiniboine. Keep an eye out for bears—there are loads in the Kananaskis area.
Length: 10.9km | Elevation Gain: 852m | Route Type: Loop
Little Beehive via Lake Agnes Trail
Leave the massive crowds at Lake Louise behind and escape to this incredible trail that brings you to a stunning view point. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Canadian Rockies, especially in the Lake Louise area, because it’s not as busy as Lake Louise or Lake Agnes (which is close by). I’d still recommend going early to avoid the crowds at the base of the lake though so when you do see people, it’ll be when you’re hiking down.
Length: 9km | Elevation Gain: 535m | Route Type: Out and back
I’ve done Floe Lake three times now and I’d do it again in a heartbeat—which shows that it’s definitely one of my favorite hikes in the Canadian Rockies. For a good chunk of the trail, you’ll be hiking through a burnt area where there isn’t much coverage, so be sure to stay hydrated. There isn’t much elevation until the last section where it goes up steep switchbacks out of the valley. Then, you’re rewarded with a beautiful alpine lake with towering mountains all around you.
Length: 19.3km | Elevation Gain: 959m | Route Type: Out and back
If you’re looking for an easy day hike, look no further! This is another hike that starts in a very busy area, Moraine Lake, but is no where near as busy when you’re actually on the trail. I suggest driving to the parking lot very early as it fills up fast with people wanting to catch sunrise at Moraine Lake. Alternatively, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, you can take a bus in.
Length: 5.8km | Elevation Gain: 255m | Route Type: Out and back
That’s it for now, friends. I hope that you put a couple of these on your bucketlist and hike when the time is right. There is so much to explore in the Canadian Rockies—it’s exciting and a bit overwhelming all at once! Let me know your favorite hike in the area, I am always looking for new places to explore, too.