Create an account

Start your adventure today.

    0

    Already a member? Login

    Panorama on Lake Louise to Bow Summit and Back road biking route in Banff National Park

    Scrambles in Banff National Park

    Region in Alberta, Canada

    Scrambling in Banff

    Scrambling in Banff is an exquisite experience, providing views of big mountains and stunning mountain lakes. 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 that the national park has to offer on an exhilarating adventure scrambling in Banff.

    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 (24.0 km, 1,530 m, 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 (8.0 km, 1,150 m, 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 (24.5 km, 1,600 m, 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 (9.8 km, 965 m, 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 (19.0 km, 1,550 m, 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 (13.2 km, 950 m, 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 (8.6 km, 1,250 m, 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 (21.8 km, 1,350 m, 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 (20.0 km, 975 m, 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 (9.8 km, 960 m, 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.

    Other Activities in Banff National Park

    Scrambling in Banff is a great activity for thrill seekers visiting the Rockies, but there are plenty of other things to do in Banff National Park that can be experienced year-round. From hiking and backpacking to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, the below list of activities in Banff National Park should provide you with endless adventure opportunities:

    -Hiking
    -Mountain Biking
    -Cycling
    -Backpacking
    -Snowshoeing

    Banff National Park Tours

    Many people want to experience the beauty of Banff but either don't know where to begin planning or simply can't be bothered. Try booking one of these amazing tours in Banff National Park if you want to leave the planning to the professionals and focus on the life changing journey ahead:

    -Wildlife Tours in Banff National Park
    -Hiking Tours in Banff National Park
    -Family Tours in Banff National Park
    -Bike Tours in Banff National Park

    Get the 10Adventures App

    Looking to experience the wilderness of Banff National Park on your own? The 10Adventures trail app is a great resource that will keep you safe and sound while out on the trails. If you want to safely and easily navigate the trails offline, while also tracking the stats of your hike, bike, or snowshoeing adventure then make sure to download the 10Adventures app before setting out on your next adventure!

    Download the 10Adventures App

    View Scrambles in Banff National Park on Map

    View Map

    Best Scrambles in Banff National Park

    Showing 1 to 20 of 21
      Open details for Devil’s Thumb

      Devil’s Thumb

      Hard
      11.9 km
      883 m
      3-4h

      When choosing to scramble up the Devil’s Thumb, you’ll pass by famous landmarks on your way. When you reach the Big Beehive junction, you’ll leave the crowds behind, taking the less travelled route to new heights. Enjoy solitude and views of both Lake Louise and Lake Agnes from high above. The Devil’s Thumb is known to cast a thumb-like shadow below, so aim for perfect conditions to catch this phenomenon.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Niblock and Whyte

      Mount Niblock and Whyte

      Very Hard
      16.1 km
      1,487 m
      8-10h

      Completing the Mount Niblock and Mount Whyte circuit in Lake Louise requires a lot of effort and concern for safety, but it is an exciting adventure that takes scramblers beyond the usual Lake Louise experience. This trail will surely require a reward when accomplished!

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Temple

      Mount Temple

      Very Hard
      15.1 km
      1,706 m
      7-12h

      This challenging scramble begins at the famous Moraine Lake and ascends one of the tallest peaks in the Canadian Rockies. You’ll need to be prepared and know the route well before attempting Mount Temple, as you’ll find yourself slogging up scree, scrambling rock bands, and possibly coming in close range of cornices. It sounds intimidating, but the effort is rewarded! The trail gains elevation from Moraine Lake through Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass—two remarkable hikes—before becoming more technical towards the summit. You’ll surmount a great deal of elevation gain, leaving you feeling like you’re on top of the world. Glaciers, lakes, and surrounding peaks come into view, leaving those who take on this challenge feeling extremely rewarded.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Tower of Babel

      Tower of Babel

      Very Hard
      2.9 km
      518 m
      3-4h

      The Tower of Babel Scramble is a technical route that requires hands-on movements, helmets, and a good sense of where you are going. It is an incredibly rewarding scramble and a great way to take things to the next level. The top is a large plateau and the perfect place to take in views of Moraine Lake away from the crowds.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Cory

      Mount Cory

      Very Hard
      9.2 km
      1,433 m
      4-6h

      Scrambling to the summit of Mount Cory is reserved for experienced hikers and scramblers. This steep trail is a grind from the start, taking hikers from the valley floor to the peak of Mount Cory. This scramble is exhilarating and provides incredible high alpine views without a long approach. If you are ready to use all fours, this scramble is for you.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Bell

      Mount Bell

      Very Hard
      17.9 km
      1,667 m
      8-10h

      Mount Bell is one of Banff National Park’s big scrambles, and it can be approached from two sides. Tackling this scramble from Boom Lake Trail is a great way to get to the peak! Boom Lake Trail is an easy way to get you to the base of impressive Mount Bell, which makes the exit a lot more enjoyable.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Redoubt

      Mount Redoubt

      Very Hard
      16.7 km
      1,264 m
      6-8h

      The scramble to the summit of Mount Redoubt takes hikers through the incredible Skoki area, which is popular for backpackers and horseback riders. You will begin on the less busy side of the Bow Valley at the Lake Louise Ski Resort and follow flowing creeks up Boulder Pass before reaching views of Ptarmigan Lake and Redoubt Lake from Mount Redoubt.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Caldron Peak

      Caldron Peak

      Very Hard
      20.3 km
      1,624 m
      8-10h

      Caldron Peak is a scramble that requires a lot of effort. There are creek crossings, glaciers, multiple alpine lakes, and scree slopes that feel like you are walking backwards. Expect continually changing views and incredible landmarks to reward you the entire way! Glacial lakes cascade into each other between waterfalls and icefields along this beautiful trail.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Rundle

      Mount Rundle

      Very Hard
      15.1 km
      1,738 m
      8-10h

      Locals stare at Mount Rundle day in and day out, enough to acquire a personal relationship with the impressive feature. Its stark angle, and swirling weather are enough to push hikers to the top. It is one of those peaks that calls hikers to its summit. It begins with switchbacks through the forest and becomes more technical as it rises with dangerous slab and frustrating scree all the way to the top. The summit rises high above the town of Banff, giving expansive views of the ranges surrounding it.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Edith

      Mount Edith

      Very Hard
      12.6 km
      1,356 m
      5-6h

      Mount Edith scramble begins with the unsuspecting Cory Pass hike before branching off to the right to begin gaining Mount Edith. There is a north and south route that each have their own great features. Mount Edith is a gripping adventure for those who are ready to take on something more technical.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      10.0
      Technical Difficulty
      Advanced (Diamond)
      Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Advanced (Diamond)
      Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
      Open details for Eiffel Peak

      Eiffel Peak

      Very Hard
      11.3 km
      1,270 m
      6-8h

      Eiffel Peak isn’t frequented by many who make their way to Moraine Lake. It is a difficult scramble with less popularity than Mount Temple. Hikers will see Moraine Lake and Larch Valley before heading off on their own to Eiffel Peak. Lots of elevation and some technical features keep the crowds away, so you will be sure to find solitude atop this peak.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for Mount Bourgeau

      Mount Bourgeau

      Hard
      22.4 km
      1,442 m
      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 en route to the summit, which means you’ll still have an amazing day even if you abort your summit bid.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.5
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Advanced (Diamond)
      Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
      Open details for Observation Peak

      Observation Peak

      Hard
      8.2 km
      1,067 m
      5-7h

      Aptly named, 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. Observation Peak is a stunning scramble on the Icefields Parkway.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.0
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Open details for Helena Ridge

      Helena Ridge

      Very Hard
      23.3 km
      1,798 m
      6-9h

      Scrambling the summit of Helena Ridge offers the best view of the amazing Castle Mountain Plateau. Scenic lakes, fossils, and lovely old-growth forest will keep you entertained on the approach. This is an incredible scramble.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      10.0
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Expert (Double Diamond)
      Suitable only for experts looking for a challenging adventure.
      Open details for Paget Peak

      Paget Peak

      Moderate
      9.8 km
      965 m
      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 bad.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.0
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Open details for Cascade Mountain

      Cascade Mountain

      Very Hard
      19.0 km
      1,550 m
      6-10h

      Scrambling up Cascade Mountain is a classic scramble 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. Avoid this route if there is still snow, or conditions are wet or foggy, at which point the route becomes very dangerous.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.0
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Expert (Double Diamond)
      Suitable only for experts looking for a challenging adventure.
      Open details for Bow Peak

      Bow Peak

      Hard
      13.2 km
      950 m
      6-9h

      The scramble up Bow Peak takes you on an adventurous river crossing with an incredibly scenic forest walk to an isolated alpine pass. Giving way to incredible views of peaks and the icefields, The Bow Peak scramble is a classic Canadian Rockies adventure!

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.0
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Advanced (Diamond)
      Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
      Open details for Little Hector

      Little Hector

      Very Hard
      8.6 km
      1,250 m
      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 view provides a scenic punch to the glacial lakes, mountains, and icefields surrounding the peak.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      9.5
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Expert (Double Diamond)
      Suitable only for experts looking for a challenging adventure.
      Open details for Mount Richardson

      Mount Richardson

      Very Hard
      21.8 km
      1,350 m
      6-9h

      Scrambling Mount Richardson is a joy and takes you to 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, makes this a particularly colorful scramble. This is a long day from the Lake Louise trailhead and could be done from the Hidden Lake Backcountry Campground.

      User Ratings
      No Reviews
      Open details for The Onion

      The Onion

      Hard
      19.7 km
      840 m
      6-9h

      The scramble up to the Onion brings you incredibly close to the Wapta Icefield which is (the source of Calgary’s drinking water! Scrambling the Onion is a very rewarding day out that has everything including tarns, glaciers, and great rock formations! Add on a stop at pretty Iceberg Lake for a great day in the Canadian Rockies.

      User Ratings
      Overall Rating
      8.7
      Technical Difficulty
      Intermediate (Square)
      Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
      Physical Difficulty
      Advanced (Diamond)
      Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.

      Other Activities in Banff National Park

      Essential Tools for Any Adventure

      Find a hotel in some of the most beautiful locations on earth.

      Book your own car to have complete freedom on your next adventure.

      Gear-up for your next adventure.

      This page may include affiliate links. We may get a small commission for the purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you.
      We only recommend tools we personally think are great.

      Detailed Route Guides
      Real GPS Coordinates
      Reliable Trail Reports
      Experienced-Based Travel Tips
      GPS App
      Extensive Travel Guides

      Get travel inspiration and discounts

      Join our weekly travel newsletter