I spend a lot of time hiking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park. Here are some of my favorite hikes from recent years. All are a beginner to intermediate level and easily done as a day trip from Calgary:
Sentinel Pass Trail & Valley of the Ten Peaks (13km)
One of the most phenomenal hikes in the Lake Louise region, the hike starts at Moraine Lake and steadily climbs into a wildflower filled valley, surrounded by snow capped peaks. There is an exposed area right at the end of the hike, where it steadily climbs a shale switch back, but those who make it up will be rewarded with epic views of both sides of the pass.
Rock Isle/Grizzly/Larix Lakes (8.5km)
Located on Sunshine Ski Resort, this hike can be accessed via a summer bus to the ski base. There are numerous short hikes available with some spectacular views. Rock Isle, in particular, opens to a mountain valley view. If you wait to do this hike in the fall, it’s a great place to see the spectacular larch trees in full yellow and orange hues.
Johnston Canyon Trail to the Ink Pots (12km)
This hike starts as a populated family friendly walk up a paved pathway, which winds through the canyon past several sets of waterfalls. The lower falls are an easy 1.1km walk, and the second set of falls are 2.7km in but this is only a small part of the hike. For those who continue past the strollers and families, the path continues another 3km up to the Ink Pots, a series of small green and blue ponds in the Johnston Valley. The Ink Pots themselves aren’t the highlight, but the beautiful, sunny valley is worth the hike.