Hiking trails in Alberta

Backpacking trails in Alberta

Province in Canada

The Canadian Province of Alberta is an outdoor-lovers paradise. World famous destinations like Jasper, Lake Louise, Waterton and Banff draw the crowds, and for good reason – they’re beautiful. Big mountains, stunning emerald coloured lakes, abundant glaciers, forests, game and fresh air make Alberta one of the best places for your upcoming holiday.

With most of the accessible Rocky Mountains in Alberta protected by national and provincial parks, a holiday in Alberta is special. There are big mountains, stunning emerald coloured lakes, glaciers, forests and fresh air. Alberta has some of the best, untouched wilderness on earth, and the ideal way to explore this wonderful province is on foot, ski or bike.

In winter, there are downhill ski areas, most famous are the ski resorts Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Winter is not just about downhill skiing, there is also abundant xc-ski trails and exhilarating backcountry skiing options. Winter is also low season, and a trip to Alberta in winter means great hotel rates.

Summer sees Alberta’s national parks fill up with eager outdoor explorers. Luckily there is just so much nature that you only notice the crowds in a few places, the rest of the Canadian Rockies stay peaceful and tranquil. While hiking is the most popular summer activity, you can also climb, bike, canoe and kayak.

After a hard day outdoors, one of the best parts of Alberta are the great mountain towns. Full of everything from campsites to 5-star hotels, these towns allow you to enjoy some civilization, which means great coffee, good food and fun bars!

If you don't want to plan your own backpacking trip, check out these Alberta Tours and specific Alberta Hiking Tours for an incredible outdoor adventure! Already know where you want to visit? You can also find tours that go to Banff National Park or Jasper National Park.

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Backpacking regions in Alberta

Best Backpacking trails in Alberta

Open details for Skyline

Skyline

Moderate
40.9 km
1,500 m
2-3 days

Being Jasper's highest backpacking trail, The Skyline is a great way to experience what the Canadian Rockies have to offer. Over 20.0 kms of this trail are above treeline, and the majestic views continue into what seems like unreachable distances. For those new to the sterile beauty of the crumbling rocky mountains, three days spent on this trail will serve as an excellent introduction to backpacking in the Canadian Rockies, and definitely leave you wanting more!

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.3
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Maligne Pass and Replica Peak

Maligne Pass and Replica Peak

Moderate
38.7 km
1,758 m
2-3 days

Maligne Pass is a wonderful alpine pass in a rarely-visited area of Jasper National Park. Maligne Pass is one of the largest alpine passes in the Rockies, dotted with tarns and wildflowers and surrounded by some of the largest peaks in the Rockies.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Tonquin Valley

Tonquin Valley

Hard
42.2 km
966 m
2-3 days

The Tonquin Valley is a backpacking paradise. The prize of the trip is the Ramparts, a series of 10 castellated peaks atop a 1,000 m wall of limestone, reflected in the connected Amethyst Lakes. It is also one of the few remaining areas where it is still common to see the shy and elusive mountain caribou, an endangered species.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
9.8
Technical Difficulty
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking

Berg Lake Trail – Backpacking

Moderate
56.6 km
910 m
3-5 days

Yes, Berg Lake isn't in Jasper, or Alberta, but it's often associated with trips to Jasper, so we included it. The Berg Lake Trail is renowned as one of Canada's best, and it would be hard to find someone who disagrees. You'll pass through lush valleys, impressive waterfalls, and rocky slopes to reach the aptly-named Berg Lake, below the towering Mount Robson. The views of the Berg Glacier toeing off into the lake are unforgettable, and the day hikes from here will take you to icefields, caves, and stunning viewpoints.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Cairn Pass

Cairn Pass

Very Hard
62.3 km
1,984 m
3-5 days

Cairn Pass is one of the most isolated passes in the Canadian Rockies, and we list this route for people that just want to get away from it all. You’re more likely to encounter bears than people on this route. Alpine meadows, the Medicine Tent River, and alpine lakes make up the variable scenery along this trip.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Expert (Double Diamond)
Suitable only for experts looking for a challenging adventure.
Open details for Nigel, Cataract and Cline Pass

Nigel, Cataract and Cline Pass

Hard
37.2 km
1,315 m
2-3 days

The trip to Nigel, Cataract and Cline Pass covers vast meadows, uniquely-coloured rock, glacial streams, and the glaciers of Cataract Pass, making it a truly unique backpacking destination. This trip takes you into the White Goat Wilderness Area, and you will be random backcountry camping, a unique opportunity for backpackers in the Canadian Rockies.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Open details for Sunshine to Assiniboine

Sunshine to Assiniboine

Hard
54.0 km
1,555 m
3-5 days

Hiking from Sunshine Ski resort to Assiniboine Provincial Park is a bucket list trek. This backpack is incredible, and the scenery in Assiniboine is absolutely jaw-dropping. Hike from Sunshine Ski resort past wonderful Rock Isle Lake, over Citadel Pass and then down to Assiniboine Park. Once at Assiniboine make Lake Magog your base and explore this exquisite location. Hike out via Wonder Pass and Bryan Creek to the Mount Shark trailhead.

User Ratings
Overall Rating
10.0
Technical Difficulty
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Physical Difficulty
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Open details for Saturday Night Lake Loop Backpacking Trail

Saturday Night Lake Loop Backpacking Trail

Moderate
23.8 km
816 m
2 days

The Saturday Night Lake Loop is accessible from the town of Jasper and a great trip for beginners and families. This relatively easy backpacking circuit can be done in two or three days. The route gains elevation to High Lakes in the centre of the loop and descends again back to the trailhead.

User Ratings
No Reviews
Open details for Jacques Lake Backpacking Trail

Jacques Lake Backpacking Trail

Moderate
24.0 km
207 m
2 days

Backpacking to Jacques Lake is a great way to find solitude without a lengthy mission. It is a short and easy hike to the campsite. The trail gains very little elevation before reaching Jacques Lake Campground, which rests next to the lake itself. Watch for Moose as they are known to frequent the area around dusk.

User Ratings
No Reviews
Open details for Fiddle River Backpacking Trail

Fiddle River Backpacking Trail

Hard
38.6 km
1,085 m
3-4 days

The Fiddle River trail starts outside of Jasper National Park in the Whitehorse Wilderness Area. This rough wilderness route is the perfect adventure for those looking to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in nature. The trail follows an incredible valley and leads hikers over high passes before descending to the popular Miette Hot Springs.

User Ratings
No Reviews

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