Alberta is one incredible province to explore in Canada. It’s the kind of place that’s filled with places to see and a shed-load of gorgeous spots, like; Banff, Jasper and cities like Edmonton and Calgary. Now, with all these incredible spots, it can be difficult to actually nail down a firm plan, especially when exploring the natural side of the province. This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best hikes in Alberta that’ll give you a good taste of the province.
Now, obviously, Alberta isn’t just about hiking, but you can partner with a fair few on top of any Alberta itinerary that is perfect for any type of hiking ability.
Now, hiking in Alberta is incredible but as with any type of hiking, safety is always key. This is especially true in the winter months when the snowfall can make for dangerous conditions. As with any hike, if you’re not experienced, always head out with a qualified instructor and/or team. There’s no point risking serious injury (or worse). Plus, no one likes a careless hiker so
Anyway, I know I’m rambling on about safety but it is so important!
With that in mind, take a look at some of the best hikes in Alberta. Have the best time exploring this beautiful Canadian province.
1.) Johnston Canyon
Johnston Canyon is one of those hikes that’s suited to most abilities and smack-bang within Banff National Park. Taking around 1-2 hours in total, it’s really easy to explore in both summer or winter; just make sure to stick to the trails.
Now, you can organise a guide (through most hotels) as we did, or head out on your own if you’re confident in map reading.
This is one of those trails that’s perfect for a morning adventure and just looks magical in the snow.
Though, I’m sure it’s equally as impressive in the summer months, too.
Just make sure to wear some ice grips or cleats if you’re heading here in winter. Those paths can be very slippy.
2.) Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon is a stunning natural landscape that’s perched within Jaspar National Park is the result of thousands of years of erosion.
This all makes for a magical landscape to explore, especially in the winter months when you can go into the canyon itself.
Now, the hike itself is pretty easy and suited to most abilities. Though, I’d never recommended going here without a guide. You will be walking on ice and water so it can be an unsteady environment to navigate.
Once in Jasper, you can easily join a walking tour (offered in lots of stores) and head out for n afternoon in the canyon. It really is special.
That being said, if you’re visiting in the summer, the only drawback is its popularity. Be sure to come early to avoid the worst of the crowds by heading here early. It really is one of the best hikes in Alberta for most abilities.
3.) Moraine Lake Shoreline
Located in Banff National Park, around 10-15km away from Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is probably the most photographed and best hikes in Alberta to explore if you want an iconic landscape. For me, it’s a stunning place to visit outside the snowy winter months.
You see, it’s totally renowned for its unusual turquoise-coloured waters, the intensity of the colouring changes throughout the year from glacial melt. Honestly, it’s mesmerising and so stunning.
Nestled in the Valley of Ten Peaks, this is a short, easy hike that takes only about an hour or two to complete, though you will want to make plenty of time to sit by the shore and take in the beauty.
4.) Cory Pass
Located in Banff National Park, this challenging 13km hike can take anywhere from five to eight hours to complete. Now, obviously, this all depends upon your pace and how much time you spend admiring the absolutely breathtaking view at the pass itself.
Though be warned, It’s certainly not an easy hike, but it is one of the best views in the entire area, complete with stunning vistas over Mount Louis.
If you leave relatively early in the morning, you can spend plenty of time taking in the gorgeous scenery and observing the wildlife, such as martens, mountain goats and even the occasional bear (so take all the necessary precautions).
For this reason and because it’s a strenuous hike, I’d only recommend this if you’re an experienced hiker and going out with a guide.
After your hike, be sure to reserve a table at Eden, located in The Rimrock Hotel for a culinary experience that is absolutely out of this world. Here, you will be treated to gourmet dishes, such as oyster ceviche and Waygu striploin while soaking in some of the most gorgeous views in the park.
5.) Lac Beauvert
This 3.5-km trail in Jasper National Park is quite easy and only takes about two hours maximum to complete. That being said, if you’re not used to long walks, you might wanna go for an easier option.
For me, this is a totally scenic stroll around the shorelines of Lac Beauvert, which is stunning. Better still, this is a particularly gorgeous hike to take around sunset, as the colours reflecting off the lake and nearby mountains are incredible.
This all said It does bear mentioning that this area is very active with wildlife, particularly elk and even bear. Be sure to walk with a partner and observe the necessary safety tips to stay safe. If in doubt, get a guide; recklessness really does cost lives.
6.) Sunwapta Falls
Sunwapta Falls is a short, easy walk just off of the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park. Now, this pair of waterfalls is a very popular destination for visitors of all ages and hiking abilities; which makes it quite busy at peak times.
At just over 18 meters tall, the waterfalls are stunning to see, especially in early spring, when the water is rushing from all the ice-melt.
It’s a great hike to do on your trip from Jasper to Banff and a great place to see.
7.) Wilcox Path
Wilcox Path is one of the best hikes in Alberta to explore when heading down Icefields Parkway and a relatively easy hike to explore whilst in the province.
Now, it’s not the hardest hike, but you will need a certain level of fitness to be confident on this hike; especially as it’s about an 8-km trek. After clearing the forest trails, you’ll eventually get to the meadows that look out over to the Athabasca Glacier. It’s honestly stunning and well worth the trip.
Now, there is a parking lot next to the start of the trail but it does fill up really fast; so, arrive early to grab a spot.
8.) Crypt Lake Trail
This moderate hike in Waterton Lakes National Park is approximately 18-km long. This all makes it a challenge for most hikers but it’s certainly one of the most rewarding, too.
Begin by taking a boat across Waterton Lake to the trailhead, where you will begin your ascent onto the trail itself. The walk is absolutely brilliant, complete with gorgeous waterfalls and Crypt Lake itself. Again, with the wildlife, you might find some grizzly bears, so make sure to always stay safe and listen to expert advice.
With that all said, it’s easily one of the best hikes in Alberta if you’re looking for a challenge. Oh yeah, and it’s very important to be aware of the boat’s schedule so you don’t miss your return trip!
9.) Plain of Six Glaciers
One of the more popular trails in Banff National Park, the Plain of Six Glaciers hike is pretty challenging.
For this reason, you need to be an experienced hiker to head on this trail that spans just under 14-km round trip.
Along the way, you’ll see some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery in this side of Alberta.
Begin by strolling along the pristine shore of Lake Louise before your climb leads you into the heart of the Mount Lefroy and Victoria Glacier area.
Be sure to make time to stop at the historic tea house located along the trail for some good conversations and a spot to rest and refuel before carrying on.
It might be strenuous, but it really is one of the best hikes in Alberta to follow if you love an adventure. The whole hike will typically take around 8-9 hours, so make sure you plan accordingly.
10.)The Sulphur Skyline
One of the most impressive hikes in all of Jasper National Park, this 8-km hike is quite steep and difficult in places. This means that it’s one of the best hikes in Alberta if you’re experienced and ready for a challenge; especially on the last 500 metres or so of the hike.
Be sure to pack plenty of water and do not be afraid to break frequently to avoid exhaustion. Honestly, it’s the worst around 80% of the way through a hike.
After you conquer the switchbacks, you will be rewarded with some totally epic views of Sulphur Ridge is spectacular. The whole hike will take around 4-6 hours and it’s best to explore on a guided hike that can be arranged in Jasper itself.
11.) The Bald Hills
Taking about 3-hours to complete the 6km route, the Bald Hills is one of the shorter but certainly still one of the best hikes in Alberta to join.
Though this pic is from the bottom of the lake, the hike has some of the best views of the Maligne and Queen Mountain range you will find anywhere in the area.
The fire road is definitely the recommended pathway, as it leads you to a lookout point just below the summit that is absolutely otherworldly in its beauty, providing a bird’s-eye view of Maligne Lake and Spirit Island below.
Now, the summit can be a little scary for those who are nervous around heights, but the views are well worth enduring a little nervousness.
This all being said, if you’re short on time, take the shorter Edith Cavell trail, instead. It’s much more manageable if you’re only in the area for a day or so.