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.
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.
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 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.
5 Favourite Local Canmore Summer Guided Experiences
Looking for something different to do this summer and not sure where to start? Have you ever tried a guided tour? They can be a great way to safely try something new, learn a new skill or meet people. Here are our favourite local Canmore and Banff guided summer experiences, some of which you won’t find anywhere else!
Canadian Rockies Experience
If you’d like to explore the Rockies in style, this company has everything planned out to get you the best views, food, and facts. They’ll pick you up at your door and escort you on a tour of your choosing. They can also plan personalized hikes or tours if what you’d like to do isn’t already in their repertoire. Ask one of our reservations staff for a Rockies Rentals specific discount code!
Bow Valley SUP & Surf
We spend so much time taking pictures of lakes and rivers, and don’t get out on them nearly enough (in our opinion). SUP tours are a fun way to take in the beauty of the Bow Valley from a new vantage point. You can also book lessons, or custom group trips.
Kahli April Photography
Local photographer Kahli (pronounced like, Bali) a landscape photographer originally from Australia, offers a range of exciting fun workshops for photographers. Summer workshops include CMH Heli Hiking and night photography in Banff National Park. Kahli also offer private instruction as well as mountain elopements and weddings!
OnTop Mountaineering offer Summer Day Camps for Youth in Canmore & Banff and the Bow Valley. With two groups, ages 11 – 13 and 14 – 17, this program offers youth an opportunity to learn new skills and improve their technique. Open to any skill and experience level.
If you’re not one for hiking but would LOVE to check out some of the beauty that Kananaskis has to offer, taking a trail ride with Boundary Ranch might just be for you. They have a large variety of guided tours on horseback and in conjunction with other activities, some even include meals!