Looking for some great family-friendly or easy hikes in Banff National Park this summer? We here at 10Adventures get asked for recommendations for family-friendly hikes all the time.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 10 family hikes in Banff National Park. These easy hikes are located throughout Banff National Park, and are perfect family-friendly hikes if you are doing a day-trip from Calgary or just staying in Banff, Lake Louise or out on the Icefields Parkway.
While Banff and the Canadian Rockies are known for spectacular views, stunning glacier fed lakes, and endless wilderness to explore, these views aren’t accessible only to backpackers and mountaineers. Indeed, one of the best things about hiking in Banff is the fact that you don’t need to expend much energy in order to take in some killer views. There are plenty of easy hikes in Banff National Park, perfect if you’re a beginner hiker, don’t have much time on your hands, or if you’re looking for a laid-back, relaxed way to visit this magnificent region. Families on holiday can also enjoy some incredible views, and these 10 family-friendly hikes in Banff National Park are easy enough, even for little legs.
Whether you’re planning a first hike with a toddler, a family expedition, or simply looking for an awesome easy hike in Banff, take a look at our top 10 list of easy and family friendly hikes in Banff National Park and enjoy exploring the Canadian Rockies!
#1: Peyto Lake Viewpoint
(1.6mi, 262ft, 0.5-1h)
The hike to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint is an easy hike on Icefields Parkway, and should be on every Rockies itinerary. This viewpoint offers one of the finest views of Peyto Lake and is an accessible family hike. While the main Peyto Lake viewpoint is crowded, make sure to visit the second one, which is often deserted. Remember to keep your kids close on the rocks by the 2nd viewpoint though. This is one of our favorite easy hikes in Banff, and a must of any Icefields Parkway itinerary.
#2: Moraine Lake Hike
(2.1mi, 125ft, 0.5-1h)
The Moraine Lake Rockpile and Lakeshore trail is a great family hike near Lake Louise. This easy hike provides one of the best views of the Canadian Rockies and the stunning Moraine Lake. This is an easy hike, best enjoyed very early or in the evening due to large crowds and limited parking. You’ll soon see why it’s so popular – the view here is spectacular, and has become an iconic image of the Canadian Rockies, even making an appearance on the Canadian $20 bill back in the 1970s! Kids will love it here, but it’s a magnificent easy hike in Banff that’s suitable for any visitor, whatever your fitness level. Make sure to take the signed path up to the Rockpile lookout, and watch your kids don’t get off trail here.
#3: Bow Lake Hike
(2.1mi, 6ft, 1-1.5h)
Anybody driving the Icefields Parkway should stop in at Bow Lake and do the incredible family-friendly hike partway around Bow Lake. Hiking along the edge of Bow Lake is a great break for families, and is so beautiful any tourist should add it to their ‘must-do’ list for Banff National Park. The path along the lakeshore is clear, level, and easy to follow, making this an excellent choice if you have young children, or are looking for a relaxing stroll. Enjoy the great views of Crowfoot Mountain across Bow Lake on this easy hike.
#4: Monarch Viewpoint Hike
(4.5mi, 574ft, 1.5-3h)
Sunshine Meadows is a simply incredible place for all tourists in Banff, but it is especially good for kids, provided they can ride a chairlift. You start with a gondola ride to the main village, from there you take the Standish Chairlift, and the hike begins. This easy hike takes you to the Standish Viewing deck, then down to Rock Isle Lake, where you double back and hike to the beautiful Monarch Viewpoint, all on well-maintained paths. There are easier hiking options at Sunshine Meadows as well. We suggest booking your gondola ticket in advance.
#5: Consolation Lakes
(3.6mi, 443ft, 1.5-3h)
The Consolation Lake trail is a favorite kid-friendly hike in Banff. This hike is located near Moraine Lake, so parking is tricky. If you get here early, consider pairing this easy hike with the Moraine Lake Rockpile and Lakeshore hike. You’ll hike past the Tower of Babel on your right, before passing through a boulder field and into the forest. There’s plenty of variety on this short, easy Banff hike, so you’ll enjoy a lovely morning in nature without completely tiring yourself out! Be aware that the last part of the hike to Consolation Lakes involves some boulder hopping, so this is not the best hike for young kids. However, if you’re looking for an easy Banff hike, it’s possible to cut out this part of the trail. We often stop before the boulder hopping ourselves.
#6: Johnston Canyon
(3.9mi, 400ft, 2-3h)
The hike to Johnston Canyon is a great, albeit busy, family-friendly hike near Banff. The trail winds through the canyon to the Lower Falls, where families with very young children turn around. You can continue on to the Upper Falls, which are more spectacular. In fact, you can even extend the hike to the Ink Pots, though that’s beyond most families. In peak season, start before 8am to avoid crowds on the trail. Be aware that this path is on metal gangways and can be slippery when wet. Also, we suggest one parent for each child so as to always be holding your child’s hand, there are a few places where a child could theoretically get through eroded areas beside the gangway. This wonderful route is one of the best easy hikes in Banff, whether you’re travelling with little ones, teenagers, or friends.
#7: Banff Bow River
(3.7mi, 230ft, 1.5-2h)
One of the best easy hikes in Banff is the classic walk along the Bow River, between the town of Banff and the Banff Springs Hotel. This is a great hike to do with kids, as the trail is easy, the scenery wonderful and you get to stop by Bow Falls along the way. This wide, shallow cascade is fairly short, but makes a very picturesque view, as the foaming river is offset perfectly by the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The trail is accessible and easy to follow, although not suitable for strollers as there are steps in some places. Leave the car at your hotel and walk to Banff Springs Hotel and back.
#8: Lake Louise Ski Hill
(1.3mi, 361ft, 1-2h)
If you have kids, taking the gondola up the Lake Louise Ski Hill is a great excursion. The gondola ride provides magnificent views, and it’s often possible to see a bear or two from the safe height of the chairlift! We like to add on a guided hike along the Trail of the Great Bear, where the whole family can learn about Grizzly Bears in Banff National Park. We suggest booking in advance as it can be quite busy. The Lake Louise ski hill is also a good place to eat when all the restaurants in Lake Louise are full! This is a wonderful easy hike for anyone looking to learn a little more about the rare wildlife and delicate ecosystem of the Canadian Rockies, and offers some epic views over Lake Louise.
#9: Lake Agnes Tea House
(4.7mi, 1158ft, 1.5-4h)
The Lake Agnes Tea House is a classic hike in Lake Louise. This kid-friendly hike is an enjoyable trip up to a charming lake with a lovely little teahouse. Rocky Mountain tea houses are a local institution, and the Lake Agnes Tea House offers some of the loveliest views you’ll find in Banff National Park. From the teahouse, there are options for what to do, such as hiking up to the Little Beehive, contouring around Lake Agnes, or simply just enjoying the picturesque scenery with a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows (for the kids, of course). Yum! It gets busy in summer, so start early if you want to eat or have a drink at the Tea House. We think this easy Banff hike is a great option for families and anyone looking for a pleasant excursion into the countryside.
#10: Johnson Lake
(1.9mi, 98ft, 0.75-1.5h)
The hike around Johnson Lake in Banff is a great, easy hike and is suitable for families – we’ve even seen strollers on the trail before! We also think this easy hike is a great way to start or end the day, and makes a great after-dinner walk in summer. Located close to Banff, this is a nice hike without a long drive. It’s also one of the few Rocky Mountain trails that is still accessible in winter, although you may want to bring microspikes if there is a lot of ice and snow. This is one of the best easy, year-round trails in Banff National Park.