By Karen Ung
Whether you have babies or big kids, Banff National Park is fun. We go at least once a month, so my four- and- five-year-old daughters have got packing down to an art, and are usually first in the car anticipating our next adventure. Here are some of my girls’ favourite spring things to do in Banff.
- Johnston Canyon 1.2 km to Lower Falls; 2.4 km to Upper Falls, 120 m elevation gain
Johnston Canyon is a beautiful destination year round with a series of picturesque waterfalls and catwalks. Children three and up can easily manage the flat hike to Lower Falls. Families with older children may continue on to Upper Falls to see even higher falls.
- Sulphur Mountain Gondola
For sensational views without a strenuous climb, take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Have lunch in the cafe or restaurant, then walk to the old weather station on Sanson Peak (1 km return).
Feeling energetic? Hike up (5.5 km, 655 m elevation gain) and take the gondola down for half price. Children six and up should be able to do the trail in four hours.
- Lake Louise Shoreline 2 km to end of lake
Walk the shoreline of this world famous emerald green lake, then pop into the Chateau for afternoon tea.
- Banff Legacy Trail 24 km round trip bike ride
Start from the Valley View Day Use Area (on Highway 1) for an unforgettable bike ride to the heart of Banff. With minimal elevation gain on this paved trail, it is doable with kids in a bike trailer or on a tandem bike.
- Tunnel Mountain 4.6 km round trip, 300 m elevation gain
Whether your kids are three or 13, they will enjoy hiking the scenic switchbacks to the summit and looking for the red chairs and geocaches.
Bonus: End your perfect day in Banff with a soak in the Upper Hot Springs!
Check trail reports before you go to see if ice cleats or microspikes are needed.
About the Author
Karen Ung is married to her backpacking sweetheart and is a mother and lover of maps, mountains and mochas.
With her geography degree and experience leading hikes and backpacking trips in the Rockies, she is full of ideas on where to go and what to do. The mission of her blog, Play Outside Guide, is to provide “everything families need to know to play outside and have fun.”
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