There are several trails and pathways around the town of Banff that are suitable for casual strolls at anytime of year, including the winter. Many of them are conveniently located within a few minutes walk of the downtown hotels.
There can be snow present or icy conditions in the late fall and early spring as well as in the winter. Check the trail reports before venturing out. The Banff Trail Conditions are available online or stop in at the park visitor center located at 224 Banff Avenue.
The location of most of the trails mentioned below can be found on this Town Of Banff trail map.
The Fenland Loop
A short 2km loop at the edge of town that’s perfect for a walk in all seasons. The trail goes through an old forest and along Forty Mile Creek. It’s suitable for young children as it’s quite flat. The trail head is accessed from the bridge near the Fenland picnic area. The parking lot is off Mount Norquay Road.
Bow River Trail
A flat winter friendly trail that’s usually cleared of snow. It’s just a stone’s throw from downtown. Access it from Central Park at the corner of Buffalo Street and Bow Avenue. It runs along the riverside offering scenic views. The Fenland Trail can easily be added onto this walk. From Central Park it’s just a 1 km walk along the Bow River to reach the Fenland trail head. The other direction from Central Park leads to the Surprise Corner viewpoint. It’s 1.4 km’s with a slight 20 meter elevation gain. Or you can cross the bridge and head to the Bow Falls Trail.
The trail starts at the south end of the Bow River bridge and continues paralleling the river for 1.2 kms to the Bow Falls parking lot. Once you have viewed the falls near the parking lot walk along the road to the Banff Springs golf course for more scenic views and chances to see wildlife.
Banff Springs And Golf Course
There’s several flat walking trails near the area of the Banff Springs hotel and the golf course. They offer beautiful mountain views and you might even see some wildlife. These elk were grazing near the hotel.
At the back of the Cave and Basin historic site follow the trail downhill to the right and towards the river. The trail loops around the Cave and Basin Marsh and returns to the parking lot for a total of 2.3km’s. The marsh is fed by the runoff of the warm springs so it has some open water year round. Birds can often been seen in the marsh area during the winter.
Sundance Trail To Sundance Canyon
A wide trail that was once a road, it’s a flat surface ideal for pulling children in sleds. It starts behind the Cave and Basin historic site. A total of 6.4 km’s round trip. Make sure to stay off the set cross country ski tracks in the winter. Going into the canyon is not recommended in the winter due to slippery conditions and stairs.
Tunnel Mountain Hoodoos
There’s a parking lot on the south side of Tunnel Mountain Road, east of Tunnel Mountain campground. Take the 1.6 km path past a number of viewpoints to see the hoodoo formations and a view of the Bow Valley and Mount Rundle.
Located at the south end of Banff Avenue across the bridge. The gardens share 12 acres of land with the parks historic administration office. Flowers start to be in bloom in June through the summer and early fall. It’s a pleasant place to go for a walk even if there is snow present. See our post on Escape The Crowds Of Banff Avenue In Cascade Gardens.