Best scrambling trails in Banff, the Canadian Rockies, Alberta
Scenery from Mount Bourgeau scramble in Banff National Park

Scrambles in Banff National Park

Region in Alberta, Canada
Banff trail map

With big mountains and stunning mountain lakes, scrambling in Banff National Park is an exquisite experience. We’ve compiled the 10 best scrambles in Banff National Park, that will lead you through stunning passes and beautiful valleys. Stay on the lookout for game as you explore the best Banff National Park.

THE TOP 10 SCRAMBLES IN BANFF NATIONAL PARK

Banff National Park, nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is a wonderful base for outdoor activity with many great scrambles throughout the park.  Our Top 10 Scrambles range from introductory experiences through to moderately-challenging, all-day adventures.  Remember that scrambles aren’t hikes, and most of the calls for rescue come from people who set out on a scramble without knowing what they are getting into. Scrambling requires a head for heights, the use of your hands and often climbing moves. If you haven’t done this before, take a course to learn technique and be safe before trying this on your own.

Here are the 10 Best scrambles in Banff National Park

  1. Mount Bourgeau (14.9mi, 5020ft, 7-10h): The scramble up Mount Bourgeau gives way to a commanding view of the Bow Valley near Banff. The trip takes you by scenic Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass on the way to the summit, which means you’ll still have an amazing day even if you abort your summit bid.
  2. Observation Peak (5.0mi, 3773ft, 5-7h): There is good reason it’s called Observation Peak! The scramble up Observation Peak gives a bird’s eye view of turquoise Peyto Lake and Bow Lake at the base of glaciated giants on the continental divide.
  3. Helena Ridge (15.2mi, 5249ft, 6-9h): Scrambling to the summit of Helena Ridge offers the best view of the amazing Castle Mountain Plateau. Along the way you’ll see scenic lakes, fossils, and lovely old-growth forest that will keep you entertained on the approach.
  4. Paget Peak (6.1mi, 3166ft, 5-7h): Scrambling Paget Peak offers a spectacular view of the glaciated peaks of the Great Divide and a fantastic aerial view of turquoise Sherbrooke Lake. An old fire lookout en route offers a wonderful place for a sheltered snack and serves as a nice backup plan should the weather turn.
  5. Cascade Mountain (11.8mi, 5085ft, 6-10h): Scrambling up Cascade Mountain is a must-do scramble for anyone in the Canadian Rockies. Towering over the Bow Valley, the iconic Cascade Mountain provides a spectacular view of Lake Minnewanka, the Banff Town site, and hundreds of surrounding peaks.
  6. Bow Peak (8.2mi, 3117ft, 6-9h): The scramble up Bow Peak takes you on an adventurous river crossing and an incredibly scenic forest walk to an isolated alpine pas. Giving way to incredible views of peaks and the icefields, the Bow Peak scramble is a classic Canadian Rockies adventure.
  7. Little Hector (5.3mi, 4101ft, 5-8h): Scrambling up Mount Hector gives way to a commanding and up-close view of Hector glacier from the summit of Little Hector. The lookout provides a scenic punch to the glacial lakes, mountains, and icefields surrounding the peak.
  8. Mount Richardson (13.5mi, 4429ft, 6-9h): Scrambling Mount Richardson calls for an ascension of the highest peak in the world-famous Skoki region. Go in late September and you’ll see striking yellow larches dotting the approach and mountain ridges, making this a particularly colorful scramble.
  9. The Onion (12.4mi, 3199ft, 6-9h): The scramble up to The Onion brings you incredibly close to the Wapta Icefield. It is a very rewarding day out that has everything including tarns, glaciers, and great rock formations.
  10. Panorama Ridge (6.1mi, 3150ft, 5-7h): This challenging scramble has incredible views combined with a very challenging ascent over moving scree. Some people rate this much higher, however the challenging ascent does hamper an otherwise brilliant scramble.
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The best Scrambles in Banff National Park

Devil't Thumb

01. Devil’s Thumb
Difficulty

7.4mi 2,897ft 3-4h

When choosing to scramble up the Devil’s Thumb, you’ll pass by famous landmarks on your… Read More

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Niblock-and-Whyte-view-of-mountain-peaks-from-Lake-Agnes

02. Mount Niblock and Whyte
Difficulty

10.0mi 4,879ft 8-10h

Completing the Mount Niblock and Mount Whyte circuit in Lake Louise requires a lot of… Read More

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Mount Temple

03. Mount Temple
Difficulty

9.4mi 5,597ft 7-12h

This challenging scramble begins at the famous Moraine Lake and ascends one of the tallest… Read More

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Tower of Babel

04. Tower of Babel
Difficulty

1.8mi 1,699ft 3-4h

The Tower of Babel Scramble is a technical route that requires hands-on movements, helmets, and… Read More

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Mt Cory Scramble

05. Mount Cory
Difficulty

5.7mi 4,701ft 4-6h

Scrambling to the summit of Mount Cory is reserved for experienced hikers and scramblers. This… Read More

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Mount Bell scramble

06. Mount Bell
Difficulty

11.1mi 5,469ft 8-10h

Mount Bell is one of Banff National Park’s big scrambles, and it can be approached… Read More

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Mount Redoubt

07. Mount Redoubt
Difficulty

10.4mi 4,147ft 6-8h

The scramble to the summit of Mount Redoubt takes hikers through the incredible Skoki area,… Read More

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Caldron Peak

08. Caldron Peak
Difficulty

12.6mi 5,328ft 8-10h

Caldron Peak is a scramble that requires a lot of effort. There are creek crossings,… Read More

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Mount Rundle

09. Mount Rundle
Difficulty

9.4mi 5,702ft 8-10h

Locals stare at Mount Rundle day in and day out, enough to acquire a personal… Read More

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Mount Edith

10. Mount Edith
Difficulty

7.8mi 4,449ft 5-6h

Mount Edith scramble begins with the unsuspecting Cory Pass hike before branching off to the… Read More

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Yes, there are more than 10

Banff National Park is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 Scrambles. So here is a list of bonus Scrambles in Banff National Park that you should take a look at as well

Eiffel Peak Trail

11. Eiffel Peak
Difficulty

7.0mi 4,167ft 6-8h

Eiffel Peak isn’t frequented by many who make their way to Moraine Lake. It is… Read More

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Scenery from Mount Bourgeau scramble in Banff National Park

12. Mount Bourgeau
Difficulty

13.9mi 4,731ft 7-10h

The scramble up Mount Bourgeau gives way to a commanding view of the Bow Valley… Read More

User Rating

8.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from Observation Peak scramble in Banff National Park

13. Observation Peak
Difficulty

5.1mi 3,501ft 5-7h

Aptly named, the scramble up Observation Peak gives a bird’s eye view of turquoise Peyto… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Views of Helena Ridge scramble in Banff National Park

14. Helena Ridge
Difficulty

14.5mi 5,899ft 6-9h

Scrambling the summit of Helena Ridge offers the best view of the amazing Castle Mountain… Read More

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10Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from Paget Peak scramble in Banff National Park

15. Paget Peak
Difficulty

6.1mi 3,166ft 5-7h

Scrambling Paget Peak offers a spectacular view of the glaciated peaks of the Great Divide… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from Cascade Mountain scramble in Banff National Park

16. Cascade Mountain
Difficulty

11.8mi 5,085ft 6-10h

Scrambling up Cascade Mountain is a classic scramble in the Canadian Rockies. Towering over the… Read More

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9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from Bow Peak scramble in Banff National Park

17. Bow Peak
Difficulty

8.2mi 3,117ft 6-9h

The scramble up Bow Peak takes you on an adventurous river crossing with an incredibly… Read More

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9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from Little Hector scramble in Banff National Park

18. Little Hector
Difficulty

5.3mi 4,101ft 5-8h

Scrambling up Mount Hector gives way to a commanding and up-close view of Hector glacier… Read More

User Rating

9.5Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from Mount Richardson scramble in Banff National Park

19. Mount Richardson
Difficulty

13.5mi 4,429ft 6-9h

Scrambling Mount Richardson is a joy and takes you to the highest peak in the… Read More

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Scenery from the Onion scramble in Banff National Park

20. The Onion
Difficulty

12.2mi 2,756ft 6-9h

The scramble up to the Onion brings you incredibly close to the Wapta Icefield which… Read More

User Rating

8.7Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty
Scenery from Panorama Ridge scramble in Banff National Park

21. Panorama Ridge
Difficulty

6.1mi 3,150ft 5-7h

The challenging scramble up Panorama Ridge has incredible views combined with a very challenging ascent… Read More

User Rating

9Overall Rating Technical Difficulty Physical Difficulty

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