5 Summer Day Hikes to Explore

Summer is the busiest time in the Canadian Rockies and the Bow Valley and for good reason. Beautiful weather, abundant wildlife and stunning wildflowers. If you’re willing to leave a little earlier in the day you might just beat the crowds. Slap on some 30 SPF sunscreen and remember to bring lots of water – stay hydrated! Check out these great Summer day hikes to explore during your stay.

Local Favourite: Rockbound Lake at Castle Mountain in Banff National Park (17.9 km / Moderate)

An alpine adventure if there ever was one! Start with a steady climb through the pristine forest. After around 4 km, the trail flattens out and you will be treated to views of the impressive Eisenhower Peak and the northern face of Castle Mountain.

Rockbound Lake AllTrails

Looking down on Rockbound Lake, with Eisenhower Peak and Castle Mountain Summit in the distance! Photo: @calebhphotography

Wildflowers will likely be out in bloom if you have gone a little later in the season. There’s a false finish, with the bright green Tower Lake greeting you, but there are some tough gravel switchbacks to assail first before you reach the final destination. Dropping down a short way through some more forest, Rockbound Lake will be right there! A panoramic spot, there’s plenty to explore once you reach it. Bizarre rock formations to clamber on and scree aplenty to slide down, the lake itself has decent brown trout fishing too.

For those with the desire to, there is an option from here to summit Castle Mountain, which increases the hike to over 30 km in distance and hard in difficulty rating. It is worth just getting up onto the ridge for the views alone. The trail is not well marked after the Lake, and be prepared for high winds and frigid temperatures once you reach the more exposed sections. But as an achievement, most locals put Castle Mountain up there! You will have earned a few ice-cold beverages after this!

More Summer Day Hikes Around Canmore

Grassi Knob near Canmore (5.7 km / Hard)

Short but sweet diversion from just off of the Highline Trail, there is no better view of The Three Sisters from the ground than this spot. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool.

Grassi Knob AllTrails Link

View of Three Sisters from Grassi Knob Summit

Jura Creek Trail east of Canmore (6.9 km / Moderate)

If the temperature pushing 30C plus and the UV index is off the charts this is the place to head to? You are in the shade for most of this trail, a godsend for those fairer skinned explorers. A couple crystal clear pools are also available to cool down in.

Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park (5.1 km / Easy)

For those who do not own hiking boots, and may never wish to own hiking boots. There are nice waterfalls along the way but expect crowds. (Note – during summer 2021 this area is only accessible by shuttle bus)

Healy Pass Trail AllTrails

Healy Pass Trail, in Banff National Park

Healy Pass Trail in Banff National Park (18.3 km / Hard)

Rated as tough not for steepness or terrain, but for the steady and constant elevation gain. Not a particularly interesting hike, except for during late summer when the wildflowers bloom! The Pass straddles the border of British Colombia and Alberta too if that floats your boat.

We’ve also detailed day hikes for Spring, Fall and Winter. It is worth noting that all of these hikes require that dogs be leashed – for off leash dog park recommendations, check here.