Sundance Canyon Trail

Difficulty
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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.
9.0 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.
351 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Banff-Sundance Canyon

This route leaves from the heritage Cave and Basin National Historic Site and is the ideal add-on for those seeking a hike with some cultural flair. Explore surrounding boardwalks and take in what the historic site has to offer before embarking on the calm, paved path through the valley leading to Sundance Canyon. Climb through the canyon for rushing water and smooth rock textures before returning the way you came.

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Route Description for Sundance Canyon Trail

Sundance Canyon itself is only a 2.0 km loop, but you will have to hike the 3.3 km paved path to get to the canyon. Beware that this is a shared trail, and you are likely to come across cyclists, horses, and even service vehicles. The paved path is perfect for strollers and families until you reach the canyon, where you will need to ascend into the canyon, crossing bridges between the canyon walls.

After about 2.0 km, the paved trail becomes a hill, so beware that this can be difficult for kids despite being graded nicely. There is a covered picnic area and washrooms at the top of the hill at the entrance to the canyon.

Enter the canyon where the pavement ends and cross a footbridge over the creek to your left. Climb the steps to cross another bridge above flowing water that unveils views of the Sundance Range. The next portion of this trail travels up more steps and small bridges. Eventually, you will reach a stunning viewpoint in the middle of the loop. The upper half winds through a forest, which is nice on a hot day.

This route is perfect for families, but be aware strollers are only passable until the picnic area. Take lots of time in the canyon as it is the more exciting part of the trail.

Hiking Route Highlights

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

When visiting Sundance Canyon trail, be sure to make time for the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. The Cave and Basin is known to be the origin of the Canadian National Parks system, and the historic site provides endless interpretive exhibits and often changing interactive art exhibits. You’ll be able to explore the cave that was used by Indigenous people for ceremony and later discovered by railway workers. The basin site is host to an endangered species of snail only present in Banff National Park. Boardwalks surround the historic site offering interpretive walks through the flowing hot springs that end at the Cave and Basin.

Insider Hints for Sundance Canyon Trail

  • Take your time in the canyon exploring viewpoints and bridges
  • Pack a lunch to enjoy at the covered picnic shelter
  • Watch out for bikes, horses, and service vehicles
  • Visit the Cave and Basin for a full day outing

Getting to the Sundance Canyon Trail Trailhead

To get to Sundance Canyon from the town of Banff, take Cave Avenue to the end of the road, where you will find parking for Cave and Basin. Walk from the parking area towards the historic site and continue past the building and signs for the Marsh Loop. You will see signs for Sundance Canyon; follow these.

Route Information

  • Mountain Huts

    May-October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Sundance Canyon Trail Elevation Graph

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