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    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 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

    Showing 1 to 20 of 45
      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
      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
      Open details for Fryatt Valley Backpacking Trail

      Fryatt Valley Backpacking Trail

      Hard
      36.8 km
      652 m
      2-4days

      Fryatt Valley is a 36.8 km out-and-back route that takes backpackers through an incredible and diverse alpine landscape. It is one of Jasper’s crown jewels and offers three camping options and an alpine hut. Groups of all abilities can customize this trip to meet their needs, making this an excellent trip for all.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Turbine Canyon

      Turbine Canyon

      Very Hard
      48.1 km
      2,313 m
      3-5 days

      The backpack to Turbine Canyon and Three Isle Lake leads you through two alpine passes, canyons, glaciers, and alpine lakes. This classic Kananaskis trip offers a bit of everything for an avid Rockies backpacker.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.7
      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 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 Lake Minnewanka

      Lake Minnewanka

      Moderate
      24.6 km
      700 m
      2-3 days

      This is a Banff backpacking classic, a perfect trip to head out Friday after work and come back Sunday. Enjoy the stunning views over Lake Minnewanka while you stroll along the shore. If you plan on a 3-day trip, then head up to Aylmer Pass or Aylmer Lookout on the 2nd day before coming back on the 3rd day.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.5
      Technical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Egypt Lake

      Egypt Lake

      Moderate
      25.0 km
      1,164 m
      2-4 days

      The backpacking trip to Egypt Lake takes you through the beautiful Healy pass and then down to some stunning scenery by Egypt Lake. In early summer this is a carpet of wildflowers that will amaze you. In autumn the larches turn golden and provide some of our favourite views in the Rockies.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      10.0
      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 Baker Lake and the Skoki Region

      Baker Lake and the Skoki Region

      Hard
      33.1 km
      1,450 m
      3-4 days

      Behind the Lake Louise ski hill is one of the best backpacking destinations in Banff National Park. Scenic Baker Lake sits at the heart of the world-famous Skoki region and makes for a wonderful backpacking trip. Alpine passes, lakes, and loads of scrambling opportunities make it a bucket list backcountry trekking destination.

      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
      Advanced (Diamond)
      Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
      Open details for Glacier Lake Backpacking Trail

      Glacier Lake Backpacking Trail

      Easy
      17.0 km
      210 m
      2 days

      A backpacking trip to Glacier Lake is a great early-season objective as well as being popular with novice and intermediate backpackers. Visit one of Banff’s largest lakes on this pretty backpacking route, which can also be squeezed into a long day hike. Located on the Icefields Parkway near Saskatchewan River Crossing.

      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
      Easy (Circle)
      Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
      Open details for Sawback Backpacking Trail

      Sawback Backpacking Trail

      Very Hard
      71.3 km
      2,122 m
      3-6 days

      The Sawback Trail is a popular multi-day trip in Banff National Park. It has endless variations and itinerary options, which makes it excellent for those searching for a unique experience in the backcountry! This trail becomes fully booked every summer through the Parks Canada online booking system. Many sites are only equipped with five tent pads, which makes it difficult to get a spot. Luckily, there are many different options, and if you plan ahead, you’re in for the trip of a lifetime. Climb mountain passes, relax at alpine lakes, and travel through wildflower meadows and diverse forests on this bucket list trail.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Weary Creek

      Weary Creek

      Very Hard
      36.0 km
      2,738 m
      3-4 days

      A backpacking trip to Weary Creek Gap and Carnarvon Lake offers a truly wild experience in the Canadian Rockies. This is a very challenging trip, so you should be experienced in route finding and random camping. There are no official campsites in the area, so you are free to random camp where you see fit! This trip offers plenty of opportunity for scrambling, wildflower viewing, and overall sightseeing.

      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 Sunset Pass to Pinto Lake Backpacking Trail

      Sunset Pass to Pinto Lake Backpacking Trail

      Hard
      29.5 km
      1,659 m
      2-3 days

      The backpacking route over Sunset Pass to Pinto Lake is for the adventurous backpacker. If you are tired of overcrowded campsites and the headache of booking, this is a great next step. Backpackers in the White Goat Wilderness receive no amenities and are required to follow leave-no-trace policies on their own. This is a beautiful remote portion of Alberta’s backcountry.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail

      Giant Steps and Paradise Valley Backpacking Trail

      Hard
      20.6 km
      753 m
      2 days

      This is an excellent trail for an overnight and can be modified to be made a bit more difficult. The Paradise Valley is a lesser-frequented area near Moraine Lake that offers stunning natural features such as Lake Annette and the Giant Steps. Bookings for this must be made by phone or at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews

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