Surprise Corner Hike

This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Easy
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.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
3.0 km
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.
60 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Surprise Corner

Surprise Corner is a viewpoint that can be reached by foot easily from downtown Banff! The trail connects the Bow River trail system to one of the most popular viewpoints in town. Surprise Corner is a stunning scenic stop while visiting Banff National Park.

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Route Description for Surprise Corner Hike

From downtown Banff, head south on Banff Avenue towards the Bow River Bridge. Take a left before crossing the bridge and join the Bow River Trail system. Continue on this multi-use path beyond the pedestrian bridge, where you will be able to follow the same trail to Surprise Corner.

This trail is equipped with various benches at viewpoints over the river, so take your time and enjoy the scenery. Expect togain 60 m elevation from town to Surprise Corner viewpoint. You will reach the namesake corner at an abrupt turn on Buffalo Street that leads to Tunnel Mountain and the Banff Centre for The Arts. A pedestrian crossing on the road will take you to a set of wooden stairs and a raised viewing platform. From here, you can see the surprise that the corner has to offer:postcard-like views of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel amidst the grandeur of the Canadian Rockies.

You may return to town from Surprise Corner or link up with another trail such as Tunnel Mountain or Hoodoos Trail.

Getting to the Surprise Corner Hike Trailhead

To get to Surprise Corner by foot, start in downtown Banff. You will join the Bow River Trail, and the best way to do this is to start on Banff Avenue and head south until you reach the Bow River Bridge. Instead of crossing the bridge, turn left between the bridge and the Legion, where you will connect with a multi-use trail system. Continue on this trail, and you will come to the Banff pedestrian bridge within roughly 50 m. Rather than crossing the bridge, stay on this side and follow the trail ahead. This will take you directly to Surprise Corner.

Route Information

  • When to do


  • Backcountry Campsites


  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Surprise Corner Hike Elevation Graph

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