Hoodoos Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
2.5-3.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
10.0 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
305 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

The Hoodoos Trail near Banff is an excellent choice for those with families and dogs. With minimal elevation and unrivalled views of the area, you won’t be disappointed with this easy hike. It is a great way to get some exercise and explore the area directly from town. Watch out for wildlife; you might get lucky!

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Route Description for Hoodoos Trail

The Hoodoos Trail is a fairly easy hike that doesn’t require much effort for those who consider themselves seasoned mountain climbers. It is the perfect trail for those looking for something simple that still offers great views and interesting terrain.

Starting at the Surprise Corner parking lot, you’ll want to take in views of the famous and historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The views from the trailhead will have you feeling like you have stepped back in time.

Take the dirt path from the parking lot, descending to the shores of the Bow River. Enjoy the forest as the trail winds through the woods alongside the river, offering glimpses of powerful Mount Rundle. On your left, you will see the backside of Tunnel Mountain, and if you are lucky, you’ll be able to spot some rock climbers scaling the walls above you.

Continue along the shores of the river and test the temperatures if you dare! The Bow maintains frigid temperatures all year round, so be careful. You’ll begin to gain elevation after leaving the riverside, and despite having to work a little harder, you’ll earn some new views quickly. Some well-maintained stairs will bring you up to a bench on Tunnel Mountain.

Here, there are several viewpoints and interpretive exhibits offering information about how the Hoodoos were formed. Hoodoos are rock formations that have eroded. They look like gargoyle-esque columns and something you would find in the desert, but here they are in the mountains.

Take a seat in one of the famed Parks Canada red chairs to enjoy the contrasting scenery of Mount Rundle, the Bow River, and the Hoodoos before you.

From here, return the way you came or cross the street and explore some of the tunnel bench trails. Beware, these are maze-like and easy to end up somewhere you didn’t expect.

Insider Hints for Hoodoos Trail

  • Walk from town to extend the length of this trail
  • Explore Surprise Corner before departing
  • Bring the whole family on this simple adventure
  • Watch for wildlife such as elk, deer, and bears! Be sure to take bear spray.

Getting to the Hoodoos Trail Trailhead

To get to the Hoodoos Trail trailhead, you’ll need to find your way to Surprise Corner in the Town of Banff. Take Banff Avenue towards the Bow River bridge and turn left onto Buffalo Street. Follow the road up the hill until you come to a pedestrian crosswalk where a small parking lot is on your right. Park here if you have chosen to drive. You can walk here from town, taking the Bow River trail or Buffalo Street.

Route Information

  • When to do

    May-October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Hoodoos Trail Elevation Graph

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