Silverton Falls Hike – Banff National Park

Author: Dan Brewer

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The Silverton Falls hike is one of those special easy Banff hikes with an amazing payoff. After a short hike through a beautiful evergreen forest, with occasional mountain views, you’ll reach one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Banff National Park.

Silverton Falls is a towering, three-tier waterfall, which is easily reachable on this Banff hike under 2 km. This lesser known Banff waterfall is very impressive and rivals the waterfalls at the mega-popular Johnston Canyon hike just a few minutes down the road on the Bow Valley Parkway.

Silverton Falls is a 3-tiered waterfall reached via an easy hike in Banff National Park.
Silverton Falls is a beautiful 3-tiered waterfall in Banff National Park.

Silverton Falls Hike – Quick Details

Trailhead: Silverton Falls Trailhead

Distance: 2.1 km out and back

Elevation: 135 m elevation gain

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Silverton Falls Hike Highlights

The Silverton Falls trail in Banff National Park begins along the main hiking trail to Rockbound Lake. The well groomed hiking leads you into a beautiful forest with fir and pine evergreen trees. The trail is wide enough for two people to comfortably walk side by side, making it a good Banff hike for groups. 

A family hikes to a Banff waterfall along the Silverton Falls trail.
I love wide hiking trails when hiking with a group.

The first 0.3 km of the hike to Silverton Falls is a along a flat section of the Rockbound Lake trail. The junction for the Silverton Falls trail is well marked by a Parks Canada sign. Go right at the junction to continue the Silverton Falls hike. 

A green Parks Canada sign marks the trail junction for the Rockbound Lake hike and the Silverton Falls hike.
Go right at the Parks Canada sign to hike to Silverton Falls.

The hiking trail narrows somewhat once you begin the official Silverton Falls hike and the surface has more rocks and roots. The incline becomes slightly more steep, but still hardly noticeable. 

After 0.5 km of hiking you can begin to hear the water from Silverton Creek. Another 100 m later, the air becomes noticeably cooler around you, and then moments later you are standing on the shores of this beautiful Banff mountain creek. 

Silverton Creek flows through an evergreen forest on its way towards the Bow River.
Silverton Creek.

Reaching the shores of the creek marks the halfway point of the Silverton Falls hike. Take a moment to have a drink of water and take a few pictures, before continuing to the falls. 

Beyond the creek, the hiking trail takes a sharp turn away from the water to begin a short series of switchbacks. The Silverton Falls trail is steeper at this stage, but it is short and should be manageable for most hikers. 

a woman hikes towards a beautiful Banff waterfall along the Silverton Falls trail.
Celine hikes the short switchback section just before reaching the Silverton Falls.

This leg of the Silverton Falls trail leads you along the side slope of a hill. Before long it opens into a clearing where you can hear Silverton Creek rushing below. Take a moment to look up to your right for a nice view of Copper Mountain (2,795 m) across the Bow Valley. 

The trail reenters the forest for a bit before opening up again, this time affording outstanding views of Mt. Ball (3,311 m) and Storm Mountain (3,100 m – home to the beautiful Arnica Lake hike). Be careful here as there are steep drop offs with no safety railing. 

The majestic Storm Mountain as seen from the Silverton Falls hiking trail in Banff, Canada.
Storm Mountain.

Just beyond the clearing, you’ll turn a corner to reveal Silverton Falls in all her glory. I can still remember seeing Silverton Falls for the first time, I literally said ‘Wow!”. 

a young girl sits on a rock admiring the Silverton Falls after a short family hike in Banff National Park.
Our daughter admires the striking beauty of the Silverton Falls.

For such a short, easy Banff hike, the Silverton Falls are quite incredible. From a small viewing area, you’ll get a great view of the towering 3-tiered Banff waterfall. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful Banff waterfall for such little effort – Silverton Falls is a very impressive waterfall indeed. 

a long exposure image of Silverton Falls - a waterfall along the Bow Valley PArkway in Banff National Park.
Silverton Falls.

If you look down, you can see there is a fourth tier to the Silverton Falls far below. From up here, you can follow the flow of Silverton Creek as it flows into the forest below. 

If you don’t mind a bit of a rock scramble, there is another viewing area just below. We don’t recommend it unless you are comfortable climbing up and down rocks which are taller than you. But if you can, you can enjoy a good vantage point for Silverton Falls, one of the nicest waterfalls in Banff.

a father helps his daughter climb a rocky section along a hike to a Banff waterfall.
Helping my daughter climb back up the rocks at the Silverton Falls viewpoint.

Silverton Falls Trailhead

The parking lot for the Silverton Falls hike is in the Rockbound Lake parking lot, just a few seconds south of Castle Junction on the Bow Valley Parkway scenic drive.

Guide Along App

Recommended App

Before your scenic drive on the Bow Valley Parkway, we recommend getting the GuideAlong app. This entertaining and educational GPS activated audio tour will greatly enhance any drive in Banff National Park.

Get GuideAlong

The Rockbound Lake parking lot is just 25 minutes from Banff and around 1 hour 45 minutes from central Calgary. Take the TransCanada Highway 1 west to the Banff National Park gates, where you can buy your Banff park pass.

From here, continue onwards to the Castle Junction turnoff. You’ll cross the Bow River before reaching a T-intersection for the Bow Valley Parkway. Turn right and then immediately start looking for the Rockbound Lake day use area on the left.

The Rockbound Lake parking lot will fill up fast in the summer. If you are visiting Banff National Park in the summer, we recommend that you arrive as early as possible, even on a weekday. If the parking lot is full, you can try the overflow parking lot just across the Bow Valley Parkway.

The Parks Canada Silverton Falls trailhead sign in the Rockbound Lake parking lot.
The Rockbound Lake / Silverton Falls trailhead sign.

If you are hiking Silverton Falls in the summer, you’ll be happy to know it is one of the hikes in Banff National Park without a car. Roam bus route 8S offers weekend service throughout the summer hiking season. You’ll want to get off at the Castle Junction stop. Ensure you check the Roam 8S bus schedule before planning to hike Silverton Falls by public transit.

You can also ride your bike from the Town of Banff to the Rockbound Lake parking lot. Cycling the Bow Valley Parkway is one of our favorite bike rides in Banff National Park. This is especially true in May, June and September when most of the eastern leg of the Bow Valley Parkway is closed to vehicle traffic.

Cycling Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park.
I love cycling the Bow Valley Parkway, especially when the road is closed to vehicles.

Banff Silverton Falls Hike Stats

How Long is the Silverton Falls Hike?

The round-trip distance of the Silverton Falls trail is 2.1 km – 1.3 miles (one-way distance of 1.05 km) from the Rockbound Lake day use area parking lot.

Two kids hold hands while on an easy family hike to a waterfall in Banff National Park.
The Silverton Falls hike is so short, our kids didn’t have time to fight.

How Hard is the Hike to Silverton Falls in Banff?

Due to the short length and manageable elevation gain, we rate the Silverton Falls hike as “easy”.

At only 2.1 km and 135 m (1,250 feet) elevation gain, the Silverton Falls trail is an easy Banff hike that almost anyone can do.

The hiking trail has a few steeper sections, so if you are a beginner hiker or don’t hike frequently then this will probably feel much more like a moderate hike. The trail is well groomed and there are plenty of spots to take a break along the way.

A family hikes through a clearing in the forest on the hike to Silverton Falls in Banff, Canada.
Our son leads the way on one of the steeper sections of the Silverton Falls hike.

How Long Does the Silverton Falls Hike Take?

It should take a typical adult 30 – 60 minutes to complete the round-trip hike to Silverton Falls. We recently did this hike with our two kids (7 and 9 years old) and it took us 50 minutes including time at the waterfall.

Silverton Falls Trail Map

The Silverton Falls trail is reasonably easy to follow and is well marked. If you are feeling uncertain, you can use the Alltrails app while hiking to Silverton Falls to help you stay on the right path.

To find the Silverton Falls trail map in Alltrails, simply search for “Silverton Falls”. Be sure to download the Banff National Park trail map (and not the one in Oregon State) prior to leaving.

Enjoy map downloads and many more premium features with a 7-day free trial of AllTrails+!

Two kids hike side-by-side through a lush forest in Banff National Park, Canada.
Our kids enjoy a conversation along our hike to a beautiful Banff waterfall.

If paper maps are more your style, I highly recommend Gem Trek hiking maps. They are the gold standard for Banff & Kananaskis hiking trails maps and we own the entire set. They are exceptional 3D topographic maps which I love looking at for hiking inspiration.

The Silverton Falls Trail appears on the Gem Trek hiking map entitled, “Banff & Mount Assiniboine Map”.

Hiking Silverton Falls Trail with Kids

If you are visiting Banff with kids, this is an excellent family hike. Some of the steeper sections may be challenging for some kids, but it’s well worth it to make it to the top. Even kids can appreciate a beautiful Banff waterfall. Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a break on a log or a large rock.

Our kids, who are 7 and 9 years old, are decent hikers and they really enjoyed this hike, especially the little rock scramble at the waterfall.

a family stops to admire a beautiful Banff waterfall.
Our kids love hiking to Banff waterfalls – especially if it’s an easy hike to get there!

Don’t miss out on the best Banff day-hikes with kids.

Where to Stop for Lunch or a Break

The obvious place to stop for lunch is right next to the Silverton Falls, although the viewing area is on the small side. If you happen to be hiking Silverton Falls on a weekend in summer, you may not have enough space for an extended break.

A young hiker stops to admire the 3-tiered Silverton waterfall in Banff, Canada.
There’s not a lot of room at the Silverton Falls viewing area.

Silverton Falls Hiking Safety

There are relatively few hiking hazards along the Silverton Falls hiking trail. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow up all the way to the waterfall. We recommend you use caution near the waterfall where there is a steep drop-off without any safety rails. In addition, do not attempt the rock scramble at the waterfall unless you have the appropriate skills and footwear.

A Parks Canada sign warning of steep drop offs along the easy hike to Silverton Falls in Banff.
Watch for some steep drop offs as you near the Silverton Falls.

The Bow Valley Parkway is an important wildlife corridor, so it’s important to educate yourself on Bear Safety in Banff National Park. This should entail carrying bear spray in an easy to reach location and making plenty of noise on the way up.

Cougars also live in Banff National Park. Learn more about Cougar Safety in Banff National Park.

Chances of a dangerous wildlife encounter in Banff are very low, but you never know what will happen with Banff wildlife, so be prepared.

Parks Canada doesn’t publish a Silverton Falls trail report. As a proxy, we recommend you check the Rockbound Lake trail report for recent trail conditions, wildlife warnings and possible closures before you head out.

The Silverton Falls hiking trail leads through prime wildlife corridors in Banff National Park.
The forests along the Bow Valley Parkway are important wildlife habitat in Banff National Park.

Silverton Falls Trail Logistics

On-leash dogs are allowed on the Silverton Falls hike, but mountain bikes are not. There are toilets in the Rockbound Lake parking lot, but none on the hiking trail.

You won’t get cell service for the entirety of your hike, so don’t count on it for your safety.

A dense evergreen forest in front of Storm Mountain in Banff National Park.

What to Bring for Hiking to Silverton Falls

This isn’t a very long hike, so you don’t need to be as prepared with all the proper hiking gear. Check out our list of essential Banff hiking gear for our recommendations to get the most enjoyment out of your hike, regardless of the variable Banff weather and trail conditions.

A family enjoys an easy hike to a Banff waterfall along the Bow Valley Parkway.
That belt I’m wearing is actually a bear spray holster.

The Silverton Falls trail is a short Banff hike, but there are still a few items that we recommend bringing:

  • Bear spray is a must. Cannisters are available to buy or rent at many locations in Canmore and Banff. Carry your bear spray in an easily accessible location.

  • Water – the Silverton Falls trail has a few steeper sections and on a hot summer day you’ll want to ensure you have enough water. A hydration pack is an effective and eco-conscious way to bring enough water.

  • Bring several layers of clothing with you. The weather can be quite variable hiking in Banff National Park, no matter the season. For hiking in Banff, we typically wear convertible hiking pantsT-shirts, a fleece top and rain jackets. Bring a daybag as you can expect to put on and take off layers all day.

  • We don’t use trekking poles, but they can help with balance and to take pressure off knees on the descent.
a woman wearing a camera and a daybag poses for a picture in front of Silverton Falls - a beautiful waterfall in Banff, Canada.
Celine carries a day bag with our hiking supplies and water.

Silverton Falls Footwear Recommendation

The Silverton Falls trail is in decent shape for most of its length and you could do this Bow Valley Parkway hike with normal sneakers on. That said, a good pair of hiking shoes or hiking sandals is always preferable when enjoying an easy hike in Banff National Park.

A boy sits on a rock near the Silverton Falls Banff waterfall.
Our son models his Keen hiking sandals near Silverton Falls.

Silverton Falls is a highly enjoyable easy Banff hike with an exceptional payoff. The towering Banff waterfall at the end is well worth the effort!

Banff Attractions Near the Silverton Falls Trail

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Dan Brewer, a life-long Alberta resident, calls Canmore home along with his wife and two kids. He is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada, where he gets to share his passion for the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Dan, along with his family, love being outdoors doing one of the many activities they enjoy in the mountains: hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

When he's not in Canmore enjoying one of his favourite local hikes, you can find him hoping on a plane to explore a new country with his family or working on one of their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.