25 Best Banff Hikes with Kids

Author: Celine Brewer

Last Updated:

Banff National Park might just be the perfect outdoor playground for active families. With so many things to do in Banff with kids, you’ll have trouble fitting it all in. If your Banff itinerary allows it, we recommend adding in some of these best Banff hikes with kids.

We’ve been hiking with kids in Banff and the surrounding area since our kids were infants. We’ve experienced it all from hiking with an 8 week old, hiking with toddlers to hiking with school aged children.

Not only that, but we’ve also been hiking around the world with our two kids. We know a thing or two about finding kid friendly hikes in Banff and everywhere we go.

Reaching summit of Tunnel Mountain Banff hike with kids

We don’t tell you that to brag, but so you’ll know that this list comes from a local family with extensive knowledge on hiking with kids. We’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out which hikes our kids will love and which ones they won’t.

hiking Johnson Lake with kids is a fun family activity in Banff, Canada

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How do we Choose the Best Banff Hikes for Kids?

Our kids are 5 and 7 years old and they are pretty good little hikers. They can hike a fair distance, but extra long hikes really aren’t their favorite.

hiking Upper Stoney Lookout - kid friendly hikes in Banff

What they love are shorter hikes with something of interest. That “something of interest” can be one of many things:

  • Bridges to cross
  • Benches to stop at
  • A creek or lake to throw rocks into
  • A hike that ends at a beach they can play at
  • Rocks to climb
  • Boardwalks
  • Plenty of bugs, mushrooms or anything else similar
  • Spotting wildlife in Banff

Each of these kid friendly Banff hikes was chosen because it has an interesting component for kids.

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Kid Friendly Hikes in Banff

Climbing logs on Sundance Canyon hike in Banff

You’ll find many of these best Banff day hikes with kids are also in our list of the 15 Best Easy Banff Hikes. While these best hiking trails in Banff with kids truly are easy and are good for anyone, we also share what makes them especially good Banff hikes for families.

1. Johnston Canyon

Empty Raised walking platforms along Johnston Canyon Hike

Distance: 5.0 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 120 m

Trailhead: Johnston Canyon Trailhead Location

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love the elevated platforms that wind through Johnston Canyon. They’ll also love venturing into the cave at the Lower Falls and being sprayed by the waterfall.

Johnston Canyon always shows up on our Banff hiking lists because it’s one of the best Banff area hikes with kids that we love to do over and over again. It never gets old and our kids love it too. It’s also one of the best free things to do in Banff.

This one doesn’t really feel like a hike because most of it is on elevated walkways and there’s very little elevation gain. The safe elevated walkways at Johnston Canyon are the most fun part of this easy Banff hike with kids. They hover above the rushing water and provide walkers a unique vantage point to one of Banff’s most beautiful locations.

Families can hike to the Lower Falls at Johnston Canyon which is only 2.4 km out and back. To complete the hike to the Upper Falls, the total hiking distance of Johnston Canyon is 5.0 km out and back. There are no steep parts to the Lower Falls and only a few short steep parts to the Upper Falls.

For those who are extra ambitious, you can hike to the Ink Pots via Johnston Canyon for a total of 11.4 km return.

Johnston Canyon Waterfalls

Johnston Canyon can get quite crowded so we always recommend going as early as possible.

A visit to Johnston Canyon can sometimes be a little tricky with occasional road closures on the Bow Valley Parkway scenic drive. Visit our full Johnston Canyon hike blog post for all the details.

Roam transit can also get you to Johnston Canyon. If taking transit is part of your plan, please check the Roam Route #9 Bus to Johnston Canyon – Schedule and Route before heading out to make sure there haven’t been any changes.

2. Hoodoos Trail

Hoodoos in Banff - hiking in banff area

Distance: 10 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 305 m

Trailhead: Surprise Corner Viewpoint

What kids will love about this hike: The section down by the Bow River will be fun for kids as will the Hoodoo Viewpoint where they can read all about these impressive spires.

While the distance of the Banff Hoodoos Trail is longer than most other Banff hikes for families in this list, it’s still a fun hike for kids. The Hoodoo Trail starts at Surprise Corner, where you get an incredible view of the iconic Banff Springs Hotel.

This easy hiking trail in Banff then meanders through the forest offering views of the Bow River and Mount Rundle. A short climb puts you up on the ridge along Tunnel Mountain Road. You’ll love the views over the valley!

If you don’t have the time to hike to see the Hoodoos, there is a parking lot right near the Hoodoos Viewpoint on Tunnel Mountain Road.

Read More

Check out our list of the best family-friendly hotels in Banff.

3. Two Jack Lake

Two Jack Lake trail - visiting banff in winter

Distance: 3.2 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 184 m

Trailhead: Two Jack Lake Day Use

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love a picnic on the shores of Two Jack Lake before or after this short hike.

Two Jack Lake is one of the Banff short hikes with kids that offers stunning lake views. Start at the parking lot and walk along the lake shore. This path will take you along the wooded lakeshore, past the Two Jack Lakeside campground and to the outflow canal.

Two Jack Lake - short hike in Banff with kids

We recommend staying on the trail nearest to the shores of Two Jack Lake.

4. Marsh Loop

Marsh Loop - short Banff hike

Distance: 2.8 km loop

Elevation Gain: n/a

Trailhead: Cave and Basin National Historic Site

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love spotting wildlife on this trail.

The Marsh Loop is an easy kid friendly hike in Banff that leaves right from the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Start by following the paved trail to the Sundance Canyon for approximately 0.7 km, then turn to the right.

You’ll be off the paved trail and on a dirt path for the next 1.5 km. At the end of the marsh (which is on your right), you’ll walk along a dike until you reach the Cave and Basin parking lot.

Marsh Loop in Banff for biking or hiking with kids

The Marsh Loop is a fun way to end a hike-and-bike to Sundance Canyon with kids. Not only that but this trail also has some impressive mountain views.   

Wildflowers along Marsh Loop in Banff National Park

5. Sundance Canyon

Climbing steps at Sundance Canyon - Banff area hikes with kids

Distance: 3.7 km on paved path PLUS 1.6 km loop

Elevation Gain: 150 m

Trailhead: Cave and Basin National Historic Site

What kids will love about this hike: Combine this hike with a bike ride on the first 3.7 km section on the paved path. Kids will love this bike ride in Banff. The hiking trail through canyon also has some fun climbing at the start that kids will love.

The Sundance Canyon can be reached along the paved trail from the Cave and Basin. It’s 3.7 km one way from the trailhead to the start of the Sundance Canyon. There are some impressive mountain views as you bike along the Bow River. Once at the Sundance Canyon, there’s a place to lock up bikes before completing the 1.6 km loop on foot.

Crossing Bridge along Sundance Canyon Trail in Banff with kids

Though Sundance Canyon is a short Banff hike, there are some challenging spots climbing in the canyon where younger kids will need some help.

biking on Marsh Loop in Banff with kids

The entire excursion can be done by walking, but it makes for an excellent bike ride in Banff with kids. On the way back, you can go off the paved trail by finishing along the Marsh Loop.

6. Fenland Loop Trail

easy hike in Banff with kids - Fenland Loop trail

Distance: 2.1 km loop

Elevation Gain: n/a

Trailhead: Fenland Trail Parking

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love running over the bridges and stopping along the creek to play.

The walk along the 2.1 km Fenland Trail loop is a nice escape from the busy Town of Banff. It’s an easy, kid friendly Banff hike through the wooded marshland along the banks of the Forty Mile Creek. This easy hiking trail in the Town of Banff can be accessed right off Mt. Norquay Road.

Playing near creek along Fenland Trail - Best easy Banff Hikes with kids

There’s also a Banff town sign nearby, which is a perfect spot for a family picture. From there you can also connect up to the Bow River Trail which is a paved path that will take you to Central Park (0.9 km) or further to Surprise Corner (1.4 km).

visiting Vermilion Lakes in Banff with kids

Alternatively, you can access Vermilion Lakes Drive from the Fenland loop and extend your walk past the stunning Vermilion Lakes.

7. Cascade Ponds

Cascade Ponds in Banff National Park

Distance: 1.5 km loop

Elevation Gain: n/a

Trailhead: Cascade Ponds Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love Cascade Ponds. It’s the perfect place to stop in Banff for kids where they can enjoy playing near the water, running over the bridges, and having a picnic.

With plenty of parking, restrooms and a family friendly hike in Banff, Cascade Ponds might be the perfect picnic spot in Banff. Cascade Ponds lies at the base of Cascade Mountain, so the mountain views are exceptional. Complete with fire pits, picnic tables, Cascade Ponds is the ideal spot to have a relaxing day.

Crossing bridge at Cascade Ponds in Banff National Park with Kids

The kid friendly Banff hike is a 1.5km loop over footbridges and between the ponds.

Biking Legacy Trail in Banff with Kids

Cascade Ponds is reached along Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive and it also makes a good starting point for biking the Legacy Trail with kids.

8. Johnson Lake

Johnson Lake hike - best Banff hikes with kids

Distance: 3.0 km loop

Elevation Gain: 70 m

Trailhead: Johnson Lake Day Use

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love the beach, picnic area and the hike, which is short and fun along the lake.

Hiking around Johnson Lake is one of the best hikes in Banff National Park with kids. You can make a visit to Johnson Lake a full day activity with a picnic, playing at the beach and stand up paddle boarding in Banff National Park.

The kid-friendly hike around Johnson Lake is one of our favorites. Park for free at Johnson Lake

The Johnson Lake hike can be done as a loop around the lake, with a portion along a forested trail. Alternatively, you can hike out to the end and turn back for nice views almost the entire time. There is also the option to hike up along the ridge or lower down closer to the lake.

9. Tunnel Mountain

Hiking Tunnel Mountain in Banff with kids

Distance: 4.6 km out and back

Elevation Gain: 266 m

Trailhead: The Tunnel Mountain trailhead is located on the eastern edge of the Banff Townsite.

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will be excited to summit their first mountain!

Tunnel Mountain (also known as Sleeping Buffalo) is a popular hike in Banff for tourists and locals alike.

Tunnel Mountain is a great family hike in Banff, especially if you are looking to accomplish that first summit! The Tunnel Mountain trail is the easiest hike to a mountain summit in Banff National Park. It’s just challenging enough for kids that they’ll feel like they’ve climbed a mountain. Meanwhile, you’ll appreciate the views!

Reaching summit of Tunnel Mountain Banff hike with kids

The Tunnel Mountain hike is a gradual uphill trail, so there is some moderate effort involved. You will be rewarded with excellent views of the Banff Townsite, the iconic Banff Springs Hotel and the surrounding mountain landscape of Banff National Park.

10. Stewart Canyon

Hiking with kids in Banff National Park - Stewart Canyon Hike

Distance: 7.6 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 277 m

Trailhead: Lake Minnewanka parking lot

What kids will love about this hike: With Lake Minnewanka at the start, a high bridge to cross and ending at a fun rocky creek, kids will enjoy hiking Stewart Canyon.

The Stewart Canyon trail itself is through a lush, deep forest which runs parallel to the Stewart Canyon. Kids will love the opportunity to hike through the forest, as there are new discoveries and adventures around every corner. To keep this trail beautiful for everyone, please make sure they don’t pick flowers, walk off the trail, etc.

Banff National Park Hikes - Stewart Canyon Trail

One of the things which makes the Stewart Canyon hike so beautiful is the elevated views of the Cascade River down below in the canyon. There’s plenty of room to safely walk on the trail without issue, but be aware there are no safety rails to protect against falling into the canyon. Always keep kids close when hiking in Banff and especially in an area like this with dangerous drop offs.

11. Lower Bankhead Ghost Town

Banff hiking trails with kids - Lower Bankhead Ghost Town

Distance: 1.1 km loop

Elevation Gain: 35 m

Trailhead: Lower Bankhead Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love exploring the ruins of this old coal mining town.

Another of the best Lake Minnewanka hiking trails for kids is the Lower Bankhead Ghost Town. Bankhead was a coal mining town near Banff in the early 1900’s. The remnants of this old mining town are still there and an interpretive trail will tell the story as you complete the 1.1 km loop.

Lower Bankhead - must do hikes in Banff with kids

This is one of the best hiking trails in Banff with kids that will keep them engaged. Kids will be excited to explore the ruins of the Bankhead Ghost Town.

12. Sunshine Meadows

Distance: 3.3 km loop

Elevation Gain: n/a

Trailhead: Sunshine Village

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love the gondola ride to Sunshine Village, followed by a ride on the Standish Quad chairlift. If you time it right, kids will love the wildflowers growing along the trail. They’ll also love the viewing decks and that this trail is mostly downhill.

Sunshine Meadows hiking is home to some of the most incredible mountain scenery within Banff National Park. We are still blown away by the scenery hiking at Sunshine Meadows. We’d consider this one of the best Banff hikes with kids.

This spectacular Banff hike is located within the Sunshine Village ski resort. To get there, you’ll need to buy lift tickets for the enjoyable & scenic 4.3km gondola ride to the ski resort. Once at the top, you take the Standish Express Quad chairlift to the beginning of the easy downhill hike back to the upper gondola building.

best banff hikes with kids - Sunshine Meadows

There are several hiking trails to choose from within Sunshine Meadows. The easiest scenic route at Sunshine Meadows with kids is Trail 2 (Standish Viewing Deck Loop) to Trail 3 (Rock Isle Junction) to Trail 1 (Rock Isle Road). This kid friendly hike in Banff is almost all downhill!!

13. Healy Creek

Bridge across Healy Creek Trail in Banff National Park

Distance: 16 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 413 m

Trailhead: Healy Creek Trailhead on Sunshine Village access road

What kids will love about this hike: Kids love to stop at creek and throw rocks in.

We aren’t suggesting hiking the full 16 km with kids, unless they are up for this distance. This is an easy Banff hike with kids where you can hike as far as you feel like it then turn around. It’s a nice wide hike, making it easy for families to hike together.

Healy Creek - Kid friendly hike in Banff National Park

The Healy Creek hike can also be done one way from the Cave and Basin National Historic Site in Banff to the Sunshine Village Access Road. For anyone up to the challenge, you can access Sundance Canyon from this direction as well.

This is a multi-use trail, so you can expect to run into horses and bikes along the trail as well.

14. Consolation Lakes

Lunch at Consolation Lakes - best Banff hiking trails with kids

Distance: 5.8 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 65 m

Trailhead: Moraine Lake Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: With any luck, kids will get to spot a hoary marmot in the rocks. Kids will also enjoy playing on the large boulders at the end of the hike.

One of the best hikes in Moraine Lake, this kid-friendly hike is a great alternative if you want to avoid the massive crowds swarming for pictures of Moraine Lake.

The beginning of this hike has a bit of an uphill climb through a rock pile at the base of majestic Tower of Babel. You may need to step over an uneven rock or two in this section, but most people shouldn’t struggle with this. After this initial climb, the Consolation Lakes trail is reasonably level, with only minor hills to contend with.

Sign at Consolation Lakes trailhead - easy Banff hike with kids

The Consolation Lakes hike leads hikers through a dense mountain forest and ends at very scenic spot along the shores of Babel Creek. Hikers who wish to reach the shoreline of the Consolation Lakes will need to do some minor scrambling for approximately 100 m over some medium-sized boulders. The boulders are a good spot to see a rare marmot – please keep them stay wild by not feeding them.

Seeing marmot at Consolation Lakes Hike - best Banff Day hikes with kids

If you don’t wish to navigate the rocks, don’t worry – there are lots of spots to stop along the spot where Consolation Lake flows into Babel Creek. The views of the Consolation Lakes and its surrounding mountains are pretty special.

Parks Canada has closed the Moraine Lake Road to private vehicles. To visit Moraine Lake in 2024, plan ahead by booking a shuttle so you aren’t disappointed.

Read more on how to get to Moraine Lake. We highly recommend booking a Moraine Lake shuttle to make your visit easy and stress-free.

Read More

Visiting during larch season? Don’t miss these amazing Larch Hikes with Kids!

15. Moraine Lake Rockpile

Distance: 0.8 km

Elevation Gain: 10 m

Trailhead: Moraine Lake Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: Kids love to climb, even if it’s steps.

The short hike to the Moraine Lake Rockpile Viewpoint is an easy climb. Maybe it’s just ours, but our kids love to climb steps.

Moraine Lake Rockpile with kids

You can expect the Rockpile area to busy as the views of Moraine Lake are exceptional. This is where you can expect to find all the sunrise photographers early in the morning.

16. Moraine Lake Shoreline

hiking at Moraine Lake with kids in Banff National Park

Distance: 3.0 km out & back

Elevation Gain: n/a

Trailhead: Moraine Lake

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will enjoy looking for waterfalls as the hiking trail follows a forested trail along the shores of Moraine Lake.

It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place than Lake Louise, but Moraine Lake just might be the most scenic spot in Banff National Park. Just a short drive from Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is close enough that you can visit both in one day and decide for yourself.

The easy Moraine Lake hike begins to the left of the Moraine Lake Lodge and follows the tree-lined western shoreline of Moraine Lake. As you enjoy this easy hiking trail in Banff with kids, views of the incredibly blue Moraine Lake and its surrounding massive mountains will appear through the trees.

Moraine Lake Shoreline - Banff hikes for families

You’ll experience the sheer magnitude of Banff’s Rocky Mountains on this hike as the mountains hugging Moraine Lake are even taller than those wrapped around Lake Louise. With such an intimate amphitheater, you’ll feel humbled by their size.

17. Lake Louise Shoreline

The Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail is one of the best easy hikes in Banff National PArk

Distance: 4 km out & back

Elevation Gain: n/a

Trailhead: Lake Louise Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: Even kids can appreciate the beauty of Lake Louise!

No trip to Banff National Park is complete without a visit to Lake Louise. You will be in awe as you stand in front of the Chateau Lake Louise hotel looking out at the turquoise-blue waters of Lake Louise surrounded by many jagged 2,500m peaks.

One of the must-do hikes in Banff with kids, is this very enjoyable walk along the northern shore of Lake Louise. The Lake Louise Lakeshore trail is as flat as you can get in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, with virtually no noticeable elevation gain to contend with. There are no trees to obscure the views of beautiful Lake Louise and its surrounding mountain peaks.

If your kids are a little older and capable hikers, you can continue hiking beyond the end of Lake Louise to the Plain of Six Glaciers hike, which we feel is one of the very best hikes in Lake Louise.

Read more on how to get to Lake Louise. We highly recommend booking a Lake Louise shuttle to make your visit easy and stress-free.

18. Lake Agnes Tea House Hike

Distance: 6.8 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 385 m elevation gain

Trailhead: Lake Louise Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: This hike is a little more challenging, but with two lakes to stop at, stairs to climb and a waterfall, there’s plenty to keep kids interested.

The Lake Louise Lakeshore trail is stunning, there’s no doubt about that, but if your family is up for more of a challenge you can’t beat the Lake Agnes Tea House hike. Starting at Lake Louise, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for photo ops along the shore. From there you’ll start a consistent climb up a well groomed trail.

Kids may not enjoy the uphill climb, but there’s enough to distract them along the way plus plenty of rocks and logs to stop at for a break. The first lake you reach is Mirror Lake with the Big Beehive behind. It’s well worth a stop for a snack to take in the scenery.

mirror lake lake louise hike to tea house

From Mirror Lake, it’s not much further to Lake Agnes. Our kids love stairs, so finishing with a view of the waterfall followed by a long set of stairs before reaching this Lake Louise tea house kept them going even as they were getting tired. They also enjoyed seeing the horses tied up here from the people who took a ride up to the tea house.

Eating lunch with Lake Agnes teahouse in background

At the Lake Agnes tea house, plan for a stop for lunch or a snack. The rocks along the lake are the perfect place to relax before heading back down.

19. Fairview Lookout

two kids enjoy the views from the Lake Louise Fairview Lookout.
Our kids really enjoy the short hike to the Fairview Lookout.

Distance: 2 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 100 m

Trailhead: Lake Louise Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will love looking down at the Chateau Lake Louise, especially if you visit there first and they can see where they were.

We recommend making a full day of your family visit to Lake Louise. While the views of Lake Louise are impressive right from the start, we recommend walking the 4 km Lake Louise Shoreline trail first.

Then it’s time to see Lake Louise and the Chateau Lake Louise from a different perspective by climbing up to the Fairview Lookout trail. The Fairview Lookout is a steep climb but it’s only 1 km each way on an out-and-back trail. Once you arrive at the Lake Louise shoreline from the parking lot, the trail leaves from the left (while looking at the lake).

Canoe rentals on the vibrant waters in front of the Chateau Lake Louise.

20. Stoney Lookout Loop

View from Upper Stoney

Distance: 4.6 km loop

Elevation Gain: 275 m

Trailhead: Mount Norquay Ski Area

What kids will love about this hike: Kids will feel accomplished summiting this one!

The Stoney Lookout hike can be a challenging hike for kids as it’s a steady uphill hike, but it’s a short one. As long as you take some breaks, kids can easily manage it. The forest is full of mushrooms and fun things to explore.

Mushroom in forest along trail to Upper Stoney Lookout in Banff

There’s only a small viewpoint at the top of Upper Stoney Loop offering views of Cascade Mountain and the valley, but it’s impressive on a clear day and it feels like an accomplishment! Though this isn’t technically a mountain, but instead a promontory, to kids it’s still like summiting a mountain. From the top it’s almost all downhill for the rest of the hike!

Hiking in Banff National Park with kids

The Upper Stoney trail is also a mountain biking trail, so just watch for bikes.

The trail begins immediately to the left after making a right turn into the main Norquay parking lot. For a fun family experience after the hike, take a ride up the Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift and enjoy lunch at the Cliffhouse Bistro!

21. C-Level Cirque

Banff Hikes with Kids - C-Level Cirque

Distance: 7.8 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 455 m

Trailhead: Upper Bankhead Picnic Area

What kids will love about this hike: Seeing remnants of Bankhead C-Level buildings, spotting critters and having lunch on a giant boulder.

The C-Level Cirque hike one of the more challenging kid-friendly hikes in this list, both in distance and elevation gain. Our kids were 5 & 7 years old when they first hiked it and were easily able to manage it.

Building along C Level Cirque - Banff hiking trail

C-Level Cirque is named after both the C-Level Operation buildings left over from the Bankhead coal mining town and the bowl left over from a glacier (the “cirque” at the end of the hike).

It’s a steady climb up to that point, where most hikers stop and enjoy lunch in the sun. This is a fun time for kids to spot squirrels, hoary marmots and pikas in the surrounding rocks.

wildlife in Banff NP - Pika

Though the C-Level Cirque hiking trail continues past the rockpile, we chose to end the hike here. The 7.8 km distance is up to this point and where we recommend stopping for lunch before heading back down.

22. Sulphur Mountain Lookout

Sulphur Mountain Lookout with kids

Distance: 1 km out & back

Elevation Gain: n/a

Trailhead: Banff Gondola to Summit of Sulphur Mountain

What kids will love about this hike: A gondola ride and boardwalks? This one will be a winner!

Taking the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain is one of the most popular things to do in Banff. After an enjoyable 8-minute gondola ride to the top, you’ll be treated to incredible views of the Banff townsite and the surrounding majesty of Banff National Park in all directions.

After enjoying the state-of-the-art summit building and interpretive centre at the top of the Banff Gondola, you can take a short walk along the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk trail. This elevated wooden trail follows a ridgeline along the top of Sulphur Mountain, offering views in all directions. There are some stairs along the way, but there are plenty of benches to stop, rest and enjoys the view if required.

In addition to the spectacular views, you’ll be rewarded with a visit to a National Historic Site of Canada at the end of the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk Trail. The Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station was a station for scientists to study cosmic rays and space particles until 1978. To be honest, there’s not much to see here, but it’s still a fun end to one of the best Banff hikes with kids.

If your kids are up for a difficult challenge, you can hike up Sulphur Mountain (5 km each way).

23. Copper Lake and Smith Lake

Smith Lake in Banff National Park

Distance: 4.6 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 280 m

Trailhead: Twin Lakes Trailhead

What kids will love about this hike: Not only is it a short, easy hike but there are two lakes for kids to play at. Kids love throwing rocks into lakes!

Kids will enjoy the easy, short hike to two Banff lakes. From the parking lot, take the first trail to Copper Lake. This is a flat, easy trail that is easy to follow. It’s a great starting point for the hike. While it won’t be the most enjoyable hike due to the traffic noise, it’s worth a short visit while you are here. The lake itself is still quite beautiful.

The total distance for Copper Lake is 1.4 km out and back. Once back at the trail marker sign, stay straight to reach the Smith Lake trail. The Smith Lake hiking trail has more incline and is more covered in roots, but it’s still easy.

After approximately 1.5 km, you’ll reach a ridge looking down onto the beautiful green-colored Smith Lake. There’s a short but steep trail that will take you down to the shores of the lake. Enjoy this Banff lake without the crowds!

24. Peyto Lake Viewpoint

an 8-year old boy enjoys views of Peyto Lake after an easy kid-friendly hike to the viewpoint.

Distance: 0.7 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 80 m

Trailhead: Bow Summit Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: Who wouldn’t be excited to see the impressive Peyto Lake!

Many of the lakes within Banff National Park have incredible turquoise colored water. The lake which has the most incredible water color in Banff is Peyto Lake.

Visitors to Peyto Lakes can enjoy a short, easy walk on a paved path to an elevated viewpoint. From here you’ll get one of the most scenic vistas in all of Banff National Park.

Peyto Lake is the furthest of our easy Banff hikes with kids away from the Town of Banff. It’s a 35-minute drive past Lake Louise, but it is on the way to the Athabasca Glacier. If you are visiting the Athabasca Glacier, Peyto Lake is an excellent place to stop and stretch your legs on this short hike in Banff.

25. Bow Summit Trail

An 8-year old boy has fun while on a family hike to Bow Summit in Banff National Park.

Distance: 6.8 km out & back

Elevation Gain: 290 m

Trailhead: Bow Summit Parking Lot

What kids will love about this hike: The opportunity to go on a real Banff hike beyond the Peyto Lake Viewpoint.

The vast majority of visitors to Peyto Lake walk on the paved trail to the elevated viewpoint and then return to the parking lot. But those in the know continue beyond the lookout to the Bow Summit Trail.

Unlike the paved trail to the Peyto Lake lookout, this is a real hiking trail with lots of rocks for the kids to climb on. The Bow Summit Trail is a short, reasonably easy uphill hike to another viewpoint – this time of the Bow Glacier and Bow Lake.

As a bonus, there’s a lesser known viewpoint of Peyto Lake on the way back.

the kids from the TravelBanffCanada.com family enjoy a different view of Peyto Lake from the Bow Summit Trail.

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For more information about this kid-friendly hike, including the location of the alternate Peyto Lake viewpoint, check out our post on the Bow Summit Trail.

Tips for Hiking with Kids in Banff National Park

1. Make sure the whole family is wildlife smart.

  • Never approach wildlife for a picture and always keep a safe distance.
  • Travel in a group and make a lot of noise.
  • Keep kids nearby while hiking in Banff.
  • Bring bear spray and know how to use it. If you don’t own bear spray, rent or purchase bear spray in Banff.
Bear in Banff National Park

Wildlife Safety

When hiking in Banff National Park, you are responsible for your own safety. Before hitting the hiking trails we highly recommend you read our 10 Essential Banff Hiking Tips for information about bear safety, trail conditions, wildlife warnings and possible closures.

2. Choose hikes within your kids abilities.

  • There are different levels of hikes in Banff for kids. Choose ones your kids will enjoy the most.
  • Know when to turn back. It’s better to turn back than to do something you aren’t knowledgeable or prepared for.

3. Be prepared, especially when hiking with kids.

  • Have a backup plan for your phone in case the battery dies. A portable charger is perfect for this.
  • Know that many areas don’t have cell service, so you can’t depend on it to call for help if you need it.
  • Use an app like AllTrails to download trail maps before starting a new hike in Banff.

A recent App of the Year winner, AllTrails is also one of the best apps for visiting Banff! Enjoy map downloads and many more premium features with a 7-day free trial of AllTrails+!

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AllTrails is just one of the apps we use in the Canadian Rockies. See the rest of our favorite apps for a visit to Banff National Park.

4. Pack hiking essentials for the day.

  • The weather can change quickly in the mountains. Always pack warm layers for everyone if heading out on a long hike.
  • Bring plenty of water and hiking snacks with you.  
  • Don’t forget the bear spray and carry it in an easy to reach place, like a holster.
hiking with a Baby in Banff National Park

5. Have the right hiking gear.

  • While expensive gear isn’t necessary, having the right gear can make all the difference.
  • Proper hiking footwear makes a big difference on harder and longer hikes.
  • Have a good backpack to carry all your warm layers
  • Don’t forget sun hats and sunscreen.
  • Bring a baby carrier or a toddler carrier. Little legs can get tired and you’ll be able to see much more. Our preference was always for using a hiking backpack carrier.

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Looking for kid friendly hikes in Banff? Look no further! We have 22 of the BEST Banff day hikes with kids! These are all Banff hikes for families that kids will enjoy!
Celine Brewer - Travel Banff Canada

Celine Brewer, a local Canmore resident, is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada. She has a passion for being out in the mountains any time of year. In the summer, you'll often find her hiking or mountain biking. In the winter, she enjoys cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking the most.

As much as she loves the mountains, she also loves travel! When she's not playing outdoors at home, she's either traveling the world with her husband and two kids or working on their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.