15 Best Day Hikes in Alberta – Experience the Great Outdoors in 2023

Are you planning to explore the stunning natural beauty of Alberta? Here, we’ve shortlisted the 15 best day hikes in Alberta that you should definitely explore if you are a true outdoor enthusiast.

First time hiking in the Canadian Mountains in Alberta? You’re in for a treat because these mountains rival their southern American siblings in majesty and grandeur, with only a portion of the foot traffic.

The majority of Mountain West cities have inexpensive, quick flights to Calgary, and from there, you can drive to some of the best hikes in the world. 

A haven for outdoor enthusiasts is the Canadian province of Alberta. The popularity of places like Jasper, Lake Louise, Waterton, and Banff is due in large part to their beauty. 

Alberta is among the top locations for your future vacation because of its large mountains, gorgeous emerald-colored lakes, numerous glaciers, forests, game, and clean air.

If you’re not sure where to begin, here, we are going to mention the 15 breathtaking best day hikes in Alberta that are worth exploring.

Best Day Hikes in Alberta

Let’s start with our list of the best day hikes in Alberta –

1. Crypt Lake

Crypt Lake trail

This 11-mile journey was named Canada’s Best Hike in 1981 and one of “National Geographic’s Most Thrilling Trails” in 2014.

When you embark on this incredible full-day adventure, which begins on a boat, takes you past a number of waterfalls, through a natural tunnel, and up an exposed section of chain trail to an immaculate alpine lake where you can cross the border from Canada into the United States, you will undoubtedly agree.

The route demands that trekkers hold on to cliff faces, ascend a visible ladder, and pass through a narrow natural tunnel.

There are plenty of scenic vistas along the road, including lakes, waterfalls, and soaring mountains in the distance.

A turquoise blue lake, ideal for a chilly plunge on a hot day, awaits hikers at the trail’s end.

  • Location: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada.
  • Length: 17 kilometers

2. Mount Yamnuska

Mount Yamnuska

Kananaskis Country, which is situated to the west of Calgary, is home to some breathtaking beauty.

Few paths capture the drama of this convergence of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains like Yamnuska (officially known as Mount John Laurie). 

Rock climbers and jammers of all levels can find routes on Yamnuska’s mountain, which climbs at what appears to be a 90-degree angle.

Hikers can take pleasure in a largely uncomplicated path to the top and a thrilling and quick scree ski back towards the trailhead.

  • Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • Length: 9.4 kilometers

3. Tent Ridge Trail

Tent Ridge

The Tent Ridge Trail, which is close to the entrance town of Canmore, provides a sweeping sawtooth ridge panorama of jagged, rocky mountains and deep, glacier valleys teeming with raging rivers and unearthly blue lakes.

The plains and grasslands are only a recollection of your travels here, in Kanasakas’ interior. 

Around 0.3 miles, the trail begins to incline gradually but steadily before turning sharply to the south.

Even though the woods are rather deep here, you can still make out some breathtaking mountain peaks that peek through gaps in the canopy.

  • Location: Alberta, Canada
  • Length: 10.1 kilometers

4. Plain of Six Glaciers

Plain of Six Glaciers hike

Near the community of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail in Banff National Park is a well-liked tourist attraction.

The region offers a variety of summertime activities, including hiking, horseback riding, sightseeing, and rock climbing.

It is cross-country skiing in the winter. An alpine teahouse and amazing vistas of six glaciers are at the top of the difficult trekking expedition known as the Plain of Six Glaciers Route. 

  • Location: Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Length: 14.6 kilometers

5. Sunshine Meadows

Sunshine Meadows

The Sunny Meadows trek is the simplest route to enter the Canadian Rockies’ alpine region. 

One can ride the chairlift to the Sunshine Ski town from the trail’s starting point at the Sunshine Ski hill’s base and then hike from there.

Visit Sunshine Meadows if you want to see the breathtaking landscape in Banff National Park but would rather keep your hiking boots on stable ground. 

With picture-perfect alpine meadows, lakes, and towering peaks in each and every direction, this ski area transforms into an amazing hiking location.

The Continental Divide is crossed by a 7.4-mile loop trail into British Columbia, where enormous woods of larch tree branches put on a spectacular fall foliage display.

  • Location: Banff National Park, Alberta
  • Length: 5 kilometers

6. Sulphur Skyline Trail

Sulphur Skyline

The Sulphur Skyline Trail, a favorite of both locals and visitors, is a fantastic climb that can be performed in a few hours with a soak in the springs at the bottom!

Your lungs will be put to the test, but when you reach the top, the views will be worth every breath! 

Although it is a rather challenging climb to the summit of a peak and back, most individuals can complete it.

The Sulphur Skyline spans 4.4 km and is relatively steep considering its elevation of 685 meters (although there are higher peaks).

There are bends and some minor level stretches, but brace yourself for the rest being uphill!

  • Location: Improvement District No. 12, AB T0E 0E0, Canada
  • Length: 4.4 kilometers

7. Alder Trail

Alder Trail

In Bragg Creek Provincial Park, there is a brief lollipop loop known as the Alder Trail. There are signs along this interpretive walk that explain the local fauna and flora.

The track is simple to follow and suitable for all skill levels. The route is around 800 meters long, but the best way to get to it is in the parking structure. 

From the parking, a short trail leads 400 meters to the start of the loop, which forms a lollipop. In which the access trek crosses a road, hikers might be inclined to park there, but this is not advised.

  • Location: Alberta, Canada
  • Length: 3.3 kilometers

8. Rae Glacier Hike

Rae Glacier Hike

Discover this 8.0-km out-and-back path in the Alberta region close to Kananaskis Improvement. 

It takes on average three hours and ten minutes to accomplish this course, which is regarded as being moderately difficult. 

The walk is most enjoyable from July through October. 

You can reach the easternmost glaciers in the Canadian Rockies on this trip, which passes by the stunning Elbow Lake.

The hike still offers breathtaking views of the spiny hills and mountains classic of the Highwood region, even though little of the Rae Glacier itself is still visible.

  • Location: Kananaskis Improvement, Alberta.
  • Length: 8 kilometers

9. The Pocaterra Cirque

The Pocaterra Cirque

A stunning family-friendly climb at Highwood Pass called Pocaterra Cirque goes to a high meadow with mountain vistas, a sizable larch forest, and a picturesque pond.

The tallest paved road in Canada is Highwood Pass, where it may snow at any time of year. Bring good hiking boots and plenty of warm clothing, as the routes are frequently muddy. 

This climb, like all the others in Highwood Pass, is closed from December 1 to June 15 in order to conserve wildlife.

When the larch trees turn golden in the Rockies in late September, Pocaterra Cirque is one of the greatest places in Canada to see them. 

  • Location: Kananaskis Improvement, Alberta.
  • Length: 6.9 kilometers

10. Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park

Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park

The Alberta Parks system includes a little-known hidden gem called Dry Island Buffalo Jump. 

The Park provides spectacular nice sights of the Red Deer river basin and is close to Trochu, Alberta.

The region is home to over 150 different bird species, from warblers to turkey vultures, making it a favored site for nature lovers and bird watchers. 

Paddlers who want to explore the plains from the sea can do so thanks to the hand boat launch. 

Take note of the delicate plants that thrive along the unofficial pathways that wind through coulees and natural grasslands while you hike.

  • Location: Hwy 585, Elnora, AB T0M 0Y0, Canada
  • Length: 16 kilometers

11. Red Rock Canyon Loop

Red Rock Canyon Loop

To view the levels of actual development that make up the unique canyon, follow this short trail around it.

This short loop leads you all around lower Red Rock Canyon and begins at the informative displays at the footbridge next to the parking area. 

In order to preserve this fragile ecology, please keep on the approved trail as this area can get popular in the summer.

Appreciate the geology lesson this stroll gives while keeping an eye out for fauna that also uses this trail. This stunning rock is more than a billion years old in some places!

  • Location: AB-5, Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0, Canada
  • Length: 0.6 kilometers 

12. West Elk Pass

West Elk Pass

The Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada, is the starting point of the moderate hiking and backpacking Elk Pass Trail, which ends at Elk Lakes Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. 

The Trans Canada Trail includes the Elk Pass Trail, which travels through two provinces. 

Experiencing the Elk Pass Trail can be done while hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing, and wild camping.

  • Location: Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
  • Length: 5.6 kilometers

13. Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass

Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass

Even when not in the larch season, the Larch Valley hike near Moraine Lake is among the most breathtaking in Banff National Park.

The Larch Valley trek ascends from Moraine Lake’s shoreline to a sizable larch forest. 

The Minnestimma Lakes marks the conclusion of the Larch Valley journey for many people, however, if you always have the time and stamina, the Sentinel Pass trail is a very enjoyable and gratifying addition to the Larch Valley hike.

  • Location: Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Length: 11.1 kilometers 

14. Bow Summit Lookout

Bow Summit Lookout

Discover the 6.8-kilometer out-and-back trail that is close to Lake Louise, Alberta often regarded as a path of intermediate difficulty.

You’re likely to run into other individuals while exploring because this is a popular spot for birding, walking, and snowshoeing. 

This is a great opportunity to get a bird’s-eye view of glaciers, lakes, rivers, and peaks without having to go on an extended tour.

The entire family will love using this close-to-the-car trail to get some exercise along Icefields Parkway.

  • Location: Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Length: 6.8-kilometers

15. Grassi Lakes

Grassi Lakes

Beautiful scenery and fauna may be seen along the Grassi Lakes Trail, which is part of a significant wildlife corridor.

For the preservation of the natural habitat, wildlife, and hikers, access in this area is occasionally limited to the paths that have been specifically designated. 

Always stay on approved trails, and heed any signage that occasionally may direct people away from this safe route.

The Canadian Rocky Mountains are home to many bear sightings, hence it is recommended that every hiker should definitely carry bear spray.

  • Location: Kananaskis Country, Alberta. 
  • Length: 1.9 kilometers

Conclusion – Best Day Hikes in Alberta

It should come as no surprise that people in this western region like hiking in Alberta, which has some of the greatest breathtakingly magnificent natural surroundings in the entire country.

With its many lakes, the stunning Rocky Mountains, and a really rural environment in many regions, Alberta is an outdoorsy kind of country.

The 15 best day hikes in Alberta listed above are a must-do if you reside in Alberta or find yourself there this summer.


FAQs – Best Day Hikes in Alberta

1. What are the best day hikes in Alberta?

Nose Hill Park, Buller Pass, Lake Agnes Tea House, Ha Ling Peak, and Prairie Mountain are the best day hikes in Alberta.

2. What are the hardest hikes in Alberta?

Alder Trail, Aylmer Pass, Wilcox Pass, Jasper National Park, Sentinel Pass, and Nigel Pass are the hardest hikes in Alberta.

3. What are the best places to visit in Alberta?

Banff, Medicine Lake, Calgary, Waterton Lakes National Park, and Jasper National Park are the best places to visit in Alberta.

4. What are the best places to visit in Alberta for couples?

Calgary, Waterton Lakes National Park, and Drumheller are the best places to visit in Alberta for couples.

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