Hoodoos Trail

Around Banff
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Hoodoos Trail

Distance: 6.2mi
Elevation: 1,001ft
Time: 2.5-3.5h

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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!

Hoodoos Trail Map

Getting there

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.

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When to do


Backcountry Campsites


Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back

Hoodoos Trail
Elevation Graph

Hoodoos Trail Description

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

  • 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.



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