We’ve been visiting the Bow Valley Provincial Park for many years to hike the Many Springs Interpretive Trail. This short, easy Kananaskis hike packs in a lot of fun and scenery in a short distance.
The Many Springs trail is the perfect Kananaskis hike for many different types of hikers. Many Springs has an abundance of birds and wildflowers to attract bird watchers and horticulturalists alike. Plus, it’s one of our favorite kid-friendly hikes in Kananaskis.
Many Springs Interpretive Trail – Quick Details
Trailhead: Many Springs Day Use
Distance: 1.9 km loop
Elevation: 46m elevation gain
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What You’ll Find in This Article on Many Springs Interpretive Loop:
Many Springs Hike Highlights
The Many Springs trail begins next to the large interpretive sign. The wide gravel path leads hikers through a mixed evergreen and deciduous forest.
The large trees which line the path are a fair distance away from the trail, allowing an abundance of Rocky Mountain wildflowers to grow near the trail. Hiking in mid-June is the perfect time for the Many Springs trail. We saw wild roses, Indian paintbrush, lady slipper orchids, yellow dryad, clematis and many more wildflowers.
In late spring, you’ll notice an abundance of delicate yellow lady slipper orchids. At first, you’ll be excited to see so many clusters of this exotic flower, but you’ll soon find there are so many of them along the entire length of this trail.
If you enjoy wildflowers, the Many Springs trail is a great trail to bring a guidebook and learn about the many different species of Alberta wildflowers which grow here.
As if the beautiful wildflowers weren’t enough, there are large patches of wolf willow along the trail. If you hike the Many Springs trail in late spring, the strong musky-sweet smell of the wolf willow plants will permeate the air.
For those who wish to learn more about the Many Springs area, there are a series of interpretive signs along the hiking trail telling the story of an early visitor to the area.
At 300m you reach the point where the Many Springs trail becomes a loop. The trail signs indicate that hiking traffic is one-way and goes to the right.
Along this stretch of the Many Springs trail, you’ll get your first glimpses of the spring through the trees. During breaks in the trees, you’ll enjoy views of Pigeon Peak, Wind Ridge and even Canmore’s famous Three Sisters (which look much different from this vantage point).
At 400m, the amazing Kananaskis mountain views change as Door Jamb mountain, Loder Peak and Goat Mountain appear through the short trees on the right.
At 0.6km the Many Springs trail reaches the side of the spring for the first time. You’ll hear rushing water and see signs of old beaver dams near the flowing water.
You’ll reach a bridge at the 700m mark of the Many Springs trail. The impossibly clear spring water flows under the bridge on its way to the nearby Bow River.
Again, you can see evidence of beaver activity in this area, but for how many times we’ve hiked Many Springs, we’ve never actually seen a beaver.
Our kids’ favorite part of the Many Springs trail begins at 0.8km where the trail becomes a wooden boardwalk. There’s just something about wooden boardwalks that turns any hike into a kid-friendly hike. If your kids are like ours, they will love the abundance of dragonflies zipping gracefully through the air along the boardwalk.
The mountain peak poking above the trees up ahead is Yates Mountain, home to another of our favorite Kananaskis hikes.
The spring attracts an abundance of birds. Keep an eye open for some of the common bird species seen at Many Springs including Killdeer, Rufous Hummingbird, Spotted Sandpiper and Common Snipe.
At 0.9km of the Many Springs hike the trail enters a deep forest along edge of the spring. It was along this stretch we discovered a rare Round-Leaved orchid!
You’ll encounter a spur trail on the left at the 1.2km mark of the Many Springs trail which leads to a small wooden dock on the water of the spring. If you look carefully beyond the left corner of the dock you can see where some water bubbles up from the ground into the spring. Interpretive signs on the edge of the dock teach about the springs, local flowers and even the tiny little isopods who live under the rocks.
The views from the dock on the spring are epic with excellent views of Door Jamb mountain, Loder Peak and Yamnuska across the water.
Beyond the dock, the Many Springs hike continues through additional large patches of wolf willow, which smell so good in mid-June.
After 1.6km of hiking you’ll reach the end of the loop portion of the Many Springs trail. From here, it’s another 300m along the hiking trail back to the parking lot.
Many Springs Trail Location
Alberta Parks lists the Whitefish Day Use as the trailhead for the Many Springs interpretive loop, but in fact, there is a parking lot right at the Many Springs Day Use.
Google may show this as closed, but at the time of writing (June 2021), the parking lot was open.
You can still reach the Many Springs trail from the Whitefish Day Use parking lot, just follow the Whitefish trail towards Many Springs.
Drive to Many Springs Trail, Bow Valley Provincial Park
The Many Springs parking lot isn’t big, but there’s extra parking at Whitefish Day Use (with a short 0.4km walk to the Many Springs trailhead).
Many Springs Interpretive Trail Statistics
Given this short Kananaskis hike doesn’t have much for elevation, it’s a hike that’s good for all levels.
How Long is the Many Springs Interpretive Trail?
The Many Springs hike is about as short a hike as they get. It’s only 1.9 km, with the actual loop portion being only 1.3 km.
How Hard is the Many Springs Hiking Trail?
The Many Springs hike is one of the easiest hikes in Kananaskis and the Bow Valley Provincial Park. It’s short, flat and easy but it still delivers a ton of incredible scenery.
How Long Does It Take to Hike Many Springs?
It took us an hour to hike the Many Springs loop. This included stopping for pictures and to take in the scenery on the bridge and dock.
We also gave our daughter a book on Alberta Wildflowers, which took us even more time as she looked up every flower we found on the way.
Many Springs Trail Map
It would be nearly impossible to get lost on the Many Springs hike. Once at the parking lot, it’s easy to follow the trail past the trailhead sign. It’s also well marked and includes interpretive signs along the way.
Hiking Many Springs Trail with Kids
Kids will love the Many Springs interpretive loop. Between the bride, the boardwalk and the dock, there’s something interesting all along the way. The only downside is it won’t take them much time to complete the loop.
The Many Springs trails is also a perfect Kananaskis hike for toddlers. Hiking with toddlers is all about slowing down and taking in the details. That’s exactly what should be done on the Many Springs Interpretive Trail.
Don’t let that dissuade you from hiking it, while it’s an ideal family-friendly Kananaskis hike it will still be enjoyable for everyone!
Where to Stop for Lunch or a Break
The Many Springs hike is short enough that you likely won’t need to stop mid-way for a break. But that doesn’t mean you won’t want to stop and have a snack or picnic lunch while enjoying the scenery of this beautiful lake in Banff. The easiest place to stop along the trail is at the bench on the small wooden dock.
There’s also one picnic table in the small Many Springs parking lot.
Many Springs Hiking Safety Tips
While the chances of a dangerous wildlife encounter along the Many Springs hike are low, you never know when you might encounter a bear or other dangerous animal. Be educated and prepared.
Take the time to educate yourself on Bear Safety. And please, make lots of noise as you hike to alert the bears of your presence.
Cougars also live in Kananaskis Country. Learn more about Cougar Safety.
We recommend you check the latest Many Springs Trail Report for trail conditions, wildlife warnings and possible closures before you head out.
Many Springs Trail Logistics
On-leash dogs are allowed on the Many Springs hike. Bikes are not allowed on the trail.
There are washrooms in the Many Springs day use parking lot.
What to Bring for Hiking Many Springs
Generally speaking, you don’t need a lot of hiking gear on short day hikes in Kananaskis. Check out our list of hiking essentials with the hiking gear and clothing we recommend to enjoy your hike, regardless of the variable weather and trail conditions.
Many Springs Hike Footwear Recommendation
The Many Springs trail is well groomed the entire way. Unless you are doing the Many Springs hike in winter, you won’t need any special hiking shoes for this hike.
One thing you should always bring is bear spray in an easily accessible spot, like this Scat Belt.
Many Springs Trail in Winter
While we haven’t hiked the Many Springs trail in winter, Alberta Parks does list it as a winter hiking trail. We always recommend bringing snowshoes if you are the first on the trail after a large snowfall or microspikes if the trail is icy.
Other Easy Hikes in Bow Valley Provincial Park
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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.