44 Fun Family Hikes in the Rockies: Canmore, Banff and Jasper

The magical scenes of the tall mountains with snowy caps and the clear blue lakes are amazing and make for stunning photographs. Hiking the trails in the Rockies is the perfect way to experience the magic of this place. Canmore has amazing hiking trails for families, and Banff and Lake Louise offer many family hiking opportunities, and if you make it all the way to Jasper, family hikes are also unbelievable in that region! Here is a list of family-friendly hikes in the Canadian Rockies to help you get outside and on the trails with your children. 

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blue lake surrounded by conifers, hiker on a rocky trail in a canyon and mountains in the distance behind a creek
lac bleu entouré de conifères et les montagnes en arrière plan

The Best Family Hikes in the Rockies – Canmore


Canmore is a charming tourist town near Calgary in Alberta. It sits in the Bow Valley, surrounded by mountains. The hiking adventures in this town are endless. I rounded up the best family hikes in Canmore for you to enjoy as a family. Some hikes are within the provincial park and public land sites in Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley. Visit the Kananaskis Conservation Pass website to buy a seasonal or daily pass (one pass per vehicle).

Policeman’s Creek Boardwalk Trail

  • Distance: 4 km out-and-back
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Approximate time: 1 h
  • Trail access: in downtown Canmore near the Big Head sculpture
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: all year long
  • Free access

Policeman’s Creek Trail is in downtown Canmore but has the feel of the country with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. This family hike in Canmore follows the creek and ponds and wanders through wooded areas. It connects to other trails if you would like to make it a longer hike.

Policeman's Creek Boardwalk family hike in the Canadian Rockies

Grotto Canyon

Children will undoubtedly enjoy Grotto Canyon’s moderate family hike in Canmore. The start of the trail follows the powerline and the factory with a steady climb for the first kilometre. You will come to the viewpoint known as the bench. Take a few moments to enjoy the view.

Then, the trail wanders in the forest until it emerges on the Grotto Creek bed, where the tall walls of the canyon tower above the hikers. Following the creek bed, you will come to the waterfall 2 kilometres from the start. A couple of hundred metres later, the Inukshuk garden is quite impressive. If you wish to continue on the trail, there is a cave at kilometre 2.5, which is the main attraction of this trail. Keep your eyes open for pictographs on the rock walls. 

Grotto Canyon Hike in Canmore

Three Sisters Creek Trail

The first kilometre of this family-friendly hike in Canmore is on the Highline Trail. Not too far after crossing Three Sisters Creek, you will come to a fork. Head left on Three Sisters Creek Trail. You will come across two waterfalls as the trail follows the creek for another kilometre. 

View of Ha Ling from a family hike in the Canadian Rockies

River Walk Trail

  • Distance: 2 kilometres point-to-point
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Approximate time: 1 h
  • Trail access: in Riverside Park
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: all year long
  • Free access

The trail follows the Bow River for about 2 kilometres. It is an easy flat trail with benches to rest and admire the surroundings. Part of the trail also has interpretive signs, making it one of the great family hikes in Canmore. Don’t miss the Engine Bridge on the trail. Using this bridge, you can make this a loop, return to the park by the Spur Line Trail, and cross the river again on Rundle Drive. The circle is an easy 2-kilometre walk.

enjoying a family hike on the River walk trail in Canmore

Three Sisters Viewpoint

  • Distance: 1 km loop
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: minimal
  • Approximate time: 20 min
  • Trail access: across the street from the Off-Leash Dog Area at 71 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: all year long
  • Free access

There is parking near the dog park. The trailhead of this family hike in Canmore is across the road from the dog park, passed the railroad tracks. The trail follows the Cougar Creek bed for close to 500 metres and ends at a pond with the Three Sisters Peaks behind. Ha Ling is also in view in the distance. The loop will take you back to the creek bed, where you can head back to the parking lot.

the Three Sisters Peak in the distance on a family hike in Canmore

Canmore Hoodoos

  • Distance: 3 km out-and-back
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: 150 m
  • Approximate time: 1 h
  • Trail access: parking near the Benchlands Trail Bike Skills Park
  • Dog friendly? yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: from April to November
  • Free access

The trail runs along the bike park and then heads into a wooded area with a steady climb. You will come to a cemetery, and not too long after, the hoodoos will come into view. There are different paths for you to explore. You can make this trail a loop by heading back on the Benchlands Trail or using the Douglas Fir Bench for an extra 2 kilometres. This family hike in Canmore offers amazing views of the hoodoos and the town with the mountains in the background.

Hoodoos with the Rockies in the distance on the Hoodoos Trail in Canmore

The Best Family Hikes in the Rockies – Banff


Hiking adventure possibilities continue in the town of Banff just north of Canmore. This busy town sees its share of tourists and can get pretty crowded. Some trails listed here are busy, while others are off the beaten path and much less frequented. These family hikes in Banff are the best in the area. Most trails listed here are part of Banff National Park and require an access pass. You can visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a daily permit or a seasonal pass.

Tunnel Mountain

  • Distance: 5 km out-and-back
  • Rating: moderate
  • Elevation gain: 270 m
  • Approximate time: 2 h
  • Trail access: there are two points of entry, the lower parking area or the upper trail parking
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: all year long

This family hike in Banff brings you to the top of the small mountain between Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. It is a busy trail, but the views are stunning. There are two trailheads. The out-and-back from the lower parking area is 5 kilometres. You can also start from the upper parking on Tunnel Mountain Drive for a 4-kilometre out-and-back trail.

The first viewpoint, less than 2 kilometres from the start, offers a magnificent view of Mount Rundle, the Bow River and part of the Fairmont Springs Golf Course. The famous Parks Canada red chairs are at the trail’s end. This viewpoint looks out towards the town of Banff below. 

View of the Banff golf course from the Tunnel Mountain Trail

Bow Falls Viewpoint

The trail runs along Bow River and through wooded areas with viewpoints of the river along the way. There are boardwalks, stairs to guide hikers, and benches for quick rest while enjoying the scenery. The viewing platform at the end of this family hike in Banff lets you admire the spectacular falls. 

Bow Falls Viewpoint

Johnston Canyon

  • Distance: to lower falls 2 km to upper falls 5 km out-and-back
  • Rating: easy to moderate
  • Elevation gain: 260 m
  • Approximate time: 2 h
  • Trail access: parking is on the Bow Valley Parkway
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: all year long
  • Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a pass

Johnston Canyon is a popular attraction and is perfect for a family hike near Banff. It is a busy trail. The majority of the trail is paved. It runs along the canyon, sometimes close to the bottom, sometimes from the top. From the rapid cascades to the high falls dropping in pools of clear blue water in the narrow rock walls of the canyon are an impressive sight. 

walking on the walkway by the river at the bottom of Johnston Canyon in the Canadian Rockies

Tunnel Moutain Hoodoos Trail

The Hoodoos Trail is a pleasant family hike in Banff. Hikers will walk through the forest with glimpses of Bow River. From the Hoodoos viewpoint, you can admire those rock chimneys and Mount Rundle across the river. The famous Parks Canada red chairs will provide a nice place to sit and rest before returning. 

View of Mount Rundle and the hoodoos on the Tunnel Mountain Hoodoos Trail in Banff

Minnewanka Lakeside Trail and Stewart Canyon

The Lake Minnewanka day-use area gets pretty busy, so parking might be limited. This family hike in Banff follows the lake with amazing views of the mountains across. It is a wide paved path for the first part of it. You can read the history and legend of the lake on interpretive signs near the trailhead.

The trail continues in the forest towards Cascade River, crosses the river and heads north to Stewart Canyon. Shortly after the river crossing, you will come to a fork. Left is Stewart Canyon, and right is Lake Minnewanka trail continuing as a backpacking trail. If you choose to hike the Stewart Canyon, you will hike on the canyon’s edge with the water cascading below. 

Minnewanka Lake and the mountains in the background in Banff

Fenland Trail

This family hike in Banff is a short easy walk through forest and marshes. Part of the trail runs along 40 Mile Creek and Echo Creek. It is the perfect place to see wildlife. Hiking in a group or carrying bear spray is recommended, as bears are often seen close to the trail. 

Two Jack Lake Trail

The first part of the trail follows Two Jack Lake’s shore through the campground. This family hike in Banff has amazing views of the lake and the mountains. After leaving the lake’s shore, the trail reaches Cascade Canal and follows along for about one kilometre. 

View of Two Jack Lake and Mount Rundle in the distance on the Two Jack Lake Trail in Banff

Johnson Lake trail

Johnson Lake Trail is an easy family hike in Banff, starting at the footbridge to the left of the beach. The trail runs along the shores of Johnson Lake in the forest. The view of the surrounding mountains is stunning. Once you have made your way around the lake, make time for a swim from the sandy beach at the trailhead.

Tourists enjoying a swim and a paddle in Johnson Lake in Banff

Cave and Basin Trail

This interpretive trail is a leisurely walk on a paved route and a boardwalk through a forested area near the basins. The smell of sulphur will accompany you throughout the hike. Interpretive signs tell about the discovery of the hot pools. In addition, there is an interesting exhibition about climate change that you can choose to visit before or after this fun family hike in Banff.

View from Cave and Basin Trail in the Rockies

Cascade Ponds Trail

The easy trail loops around the Cascade Ponds through the forest with amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

Silverton Falls

This short family hike near Banff starts on the Rockbound Lake Trail. You will come to a fork about 400 metres from the start. Head right towards the falls (left is Rockbound Lake). The trail will follow Silverton Creek and quickly climb through a few switchbacks. The stunning falls come into view once the trail levels off, ending at the viewpoint.

The Best Family Hikes in the Rockies – Lake Louise


Lake Louise is probably the most famous lake in Canada, and it is no surprise. The stunning scenery, the blue lake and the surrounding mountains are astounding sights. The village not too far from the lake is a busy little town that comes alive with tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. It has its share of hiking adventures for families that should not be overlooked. Lake Louise and the surrounding areas are part of the Banff National Park, and a Parks Canada pass is required before venturing on one of these family hikes in Lake Louise. 

Lake Louise Lakefront Trail

This easy family hike in Lake Louise will lead walkers along the lake’s northern shore with multiple viewpoints. There are benches along the way to let you rest and enjoy the fantastic views. There are also a few opportunities to dip your feet in the cold baby blue water. At the end of the trail is a popular spot for a swim.

Lake Louise Lakefront Trail to enjoy as a family

Fairview Lookout Trail

The trail on this family-friendly hike in Lake Louise leads to one of the best lookouts in the area. Part of the trail is paved and eventually turns into a loose-gravel path. It is considered easy with short but steep moderate climbs. It is mostly under tree cover until you come to the lookout. Once past the lookout, coming back to the trailhead along the shores of the lake, there are multiple viewpoints.

Lake Agnes Trail

  • Distance: 7 km out-and-back
  • Rating: moderate
  • Elevation gain: 430 m
  • Approximate time: 3 h
  • Trail access: from the Lake Louise parking lot
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: from June through October
  • Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a pass.

This family hike is one of the most popular hikes in Lake Louise. The trail is a wide path with a steady climb. Part of it is also used for horseback riding. You can view Lake Louise from different viewpoints for the first 2 kilometres as the trail gets higher above the lake. The trail wanders in the forest for another kilometre until it opens up to Mirror Lake with the Big Beehive in the background.

After Mirror Lake, the climb keeps a steady elevation gain towards the falls and Lake Agnes. Wooden stairs help hikers up with platforms to view the falls. As you come to Lake Agnes and the teahouse, the views of the surrounding mountains are splendid, especially on a calm day with the reflection in the lake waters. The teahouse is usually quite busy. Bring cash if you wish to enjoy tea and a snack from the teahouse.

the Lake Agnes Teahouse in Lake Louise

Bow River Trail

This is a lovely walk along a beautiful river with the water flowing rapidly. There are many viewpoints along this easy family hike in Lake Louise. Hikers can admire the river as the trail wanders through a wooded area along the shores of the Bow River. You can access the trail from the Lake Louise Campground if you are a camper. If you are not camping, you can access the trail at the railway station.

The Bow River from the trail on a family hike in the Rockies

Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail

This easy family hike near Lake Louise is a trail that is primarily flat but has some short climbs. It offers beautiful views of the magnificent Moraine Lake and the surrounding snowy Ten Peaks.

Moraine Lake from the Shoreline Trail

Moraine Lake Viewpoint (the Rockpile)

This is a very short trail, but it has stunning views of Moraine Lake. This family-friendly hike near Lake Louise takes you up rock stairs on top of a rockpile (the viewpoint is often referred to as the Rockpile). The best time to view the lake from this vantage point is early morning, as the sun’s rays reflect the fantastic blue of the water with the Ten Peaks in the background. This is the most photographed lake, and anyone that has stood on this rockpile understands why. It is a must if you are in the area.

Moraine Lake Viewpoint from the Rockpile

Consolation Lakes Trail

This hike near Lake Louise can be enjoyed as a family if your children can walk the distance. The trail starts on the same path as the Rockpile but veers to the left towards the Tower of Babel. Take note of possible restrictions regarding group hiking since bear activity is frequent in this area.

Before plunging into the forest, you will walk through a rocky and wooded area. There is minimal elevation for the most part, but you will encounter short climbs. Once out of the forest and into the rock field, you will have to scramble toward the lake. The views are amazing, and some hikers enjoy dipping their toes in the cold waters of the glacier-fed Consolation Lakes.

The Best Family Hikes in the Rockies – the Icefields Parkway


The Icefields Parkway is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. This road is unlike any other, with impressive mountains, blue lakes, and many glaciers. There are many stops along the way that are pretty stunning but to fully experience all the parkway has to offer and truly take in all the views, make a few of those stops for hiking adventures. These are some of the best family hikes along the Icefields Parkway. All the trails listed are part of either Banff National Park or Jasper National Park. Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a daily permit or a seasonal pass.

Peyto Lake Viewpoint

This is a short but steep uphill path to the viewpoint of Peyto Lake and the mountains surrounding it. It is a popular stop along the parkway for its amazing views. 

Peyto Lake Viewpoint

Upper Waterfowl Lake

This short, easy walk on the trail that follows Mistaya River to Waterfowl Lake. It offers a beautiful scene of the blue lake and the mountains in the background.

Family Hike around Waterfowl Lake

Mistaya Canyon

  • Distance: 1 km out-and-back
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: 50 m
  • Approximate time: 20 min
  • Trail access: from the Mistaya Canyon parking lot on the Icefields Parkway
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: all year long
  • Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a pass.

This is a short but steep hike, descending on the way out and back up on the return. The views of the cascading water raging through the narrow canyon and the mountains in the distance are stunning.

Raging water of Mistaya Canyon with the mountains in the background

Panther Falls Trail

This short but steep hike through switchbacks will lead you to amazing waterfalls. Keep an eye out for rainbows. In the winter, you can get up close and personnel with the frozen waterfall by walking behind it. 

Parker Ridge

The trail will bring you through a series of switchbacks through the forest with beautiful views of the parkway and the surrounding mountains as you gain elevation. The trail levels out to wander around the ridge with the Saskatchewan Glacier and the valley in full view. Make sure to go to the trail’s end to fully appreciate the scenery.

Saskatchewan Glacier on Parker Ridge Hike in the Rockies

Athabasca Glacier to the base of the glacier

  • Distance: 1.5 km out-and-back
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: 60 m
  • Approximate time: 30 min
  • Trail access: across the street from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre in Jasper National Park
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: from May through September
  • Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a pass.

This short but steep hike will bring you to the edge of the Athabasca Glacier. As you climb the hill towards the glacier, you will encounter markers informing us how much the glacier has receded over the years. Make sure to bring extra layers on this hike, as the wind and cold air will take anyone by surprise, even on summer days. 

Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefields in the Canadian Rockies

Beauty Creek to Stanley Falls 

  • Distance: 4 km out-and-back
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: 140 m
  • Approximate time: 1-2 h
  • Trail access: from the trailhead parking lot on the Icefields Parkway
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: from April through October
  • Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a pass.

This trail follows Beauty Creek parallel to the road for the first few hundred meters. Then, it plunges into the forest and steadily climbs along the creek with multiple views of waterfalls and cascading water. There are many spots to stop and sit by the flowing water for a rest and a snack. 

Family Hike along Beauty Creek with water cascading down the river

Sunwapta Falls to lower falls 

This is a busy day-use area with amazing views of the mighty falls. You can hike down the forested trail running along Sunwapta River for multiple views of the lower falls. 

Sunwapta Falls from the trail

Athabasca Falls to the river

This short trail leads to amazing lookouts over the impressive falls. You will walk along the river and descend rock stairs to emerge by the lake. It can get quite busy on the trail as this is a popular stop on the Icefields Parkway. 

Athabasca Falls

Path of the Glacier Trail (and Edith Cavell Pond)

The Path of the Glacier is partly paved, and on a gentle climb, it turns into a rocky path toward the Edith Cavell Pond Lookout. If you wish to continue hiking, the trail leads to meadows with amazing views. This part is moderate with more elevation gain, but the views are magnificent if you and the kids are willing and able.

View of Edith Cavell Pond on Path of the Glacier Family Hike in the Rockies

The Best Family Hikes in the Rockies – Jasper


Jasper is a charming town at the northern end of the Icefields Parkway. It is surrounded by mountains and is home to many lakes. Most hiking adventures in the Rockies will leave you in awe and wonder. The following trails are meant to be enjoyed as family hikes in and around Jasper. Most hikes proposed next are in Jasper National Park and might require an access pass. Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire.

Valley of the Five Lakes  

This trail is a wonderful family hike in Jasper, wandering in the forest with splendid views of each lake. It is a sometimes wide dirt-packed path, occasionally narrow, with scattered roots and rocks. The lakes are a pristine blue or clear green, with snow-capped mountains in the distance to make them picture-perfect scenes. The red chairs are set to look out at the third and fourth lakes. Hikers will often take a dip in the fourth lake before returning to the trailhead.

Blue lake of the Valley of Five Lakes in the Canadian Rockies to enjoy as a family hike

Pyramid Island Loop

This is a short walk crossing the footbridge to the island and walking around the island in a wooded area with beautiful views of the lake and Pyramid Mountain. This easy family hike in Jasper can get busy, but the lake views are sublime on a bright sunny day.

A great family hike on the bridge to Pyramid Island with Pyramid Mountain in the background

Lake Annette Loop

Another family hike in Jasper starts from Lake Annette’s public beach and picnic area. This trail is a paved path hugging the shore of Annette Lake. You will get beautiful glimpses of the lake along the way, with benches to sit on and enjoy the view. 

Lake Edith Loop

  • Distance: 4.5 km loop
  • Rating: easy
  • Elevation gain: 140 m
  • Approximate time: 1-2 h
  • Trail access: from Lake Edith public beach
  • Dog friendly? Yes, may be off-leash in some areas
  • Best time to enjoy: all year-round
  • Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a pass.

You can access this trail from the public beach. This family hike in Jasper will bring hikers around the lake, following the shoreline on a narrow dirt-packed path. Views of the lake with the mountains in the distance are beautiful.

Bench to rest on the family hike around Lake Edith in Jasper

Beauvert Lake Loop Trail

This family-friendly hike in Jasper has amazing views of the clear green lake. You will walk by the golf course and the famous Jasper Park Lodge. The trail has benches along the way to rest and admire the surroundings.

Overhanging tree on the family hike around Lake Beauvert in Jasper

Maligne Canyon

  • Distance: 4 km (can be done as a loop or out-and-back)
  • Rating: moderate
  • Elevation gain: 130 m
  • Approximate time: 1 h 
  • Trail access: from the Maligne Canyon parking lot
  • Dog friendly? Yes, on a leash
  • Best time to enjoy: from May through October
  • Visit Parks Canada’s website to inquire about a pass.

This is a beautiful family hike in Jasper. It is mostly a paved path with stairs that eventually turns into a dirt-packed trail. This busy trail is often wet and humid from the water cascading through the canyon, so appropriate shoes are recommended. You will walk alongside the impressive canyon seeing the raging waters and the falls from above and below, crossing bridges along the way. 

Water cascading down Maligne Canyon

Old Fort Point Trail


One more family hike to enjoy in Jasper is Old Fort Point. It is recommended to complete this loop clockwise. The trail wanders through the forest with some steep portions. It offers glimpses of the surrounding mountains through the trees.

Once it loops around, the trail opens to 360-degree views of the town and mountains. It continues in the forest, eventually coming to the popular viewpoint atop a rocky hill known as Old Fort Point. From there, it is a steep downhill back to the trailhead. A set of wooden stairs will help hikers down. 

Talbot Lake Viewpoint

This is a short steep hike through sand dunes up to a grassy hill with amazing views of the surrounding mountains and the Athabasca River, Jasper Lake and Talbot Lake. It is well worth the stop and makes for perfect family pictures.

Talbot Lake

Miette Hot Springs

This trail is paved with a gentle climb running along Sulphur Creek. You will hike past the ruins of the old Hot Springs pool. You can see the source of the springs and dip your hands or toes in hot water surging out of the springs. This is a different but interesting family hike near Jasper with a great opportunity to see wildlife.

ruins of the old Miette Hot Springs facilities near Jasper in the Canadian Rockies

Mary Scheffer Loop Trail

This loop is one more easy but amazing family hike near Jasper. It starts along the sublime Maligne Lake with the mountains in the distance. There are numerous viewpoints along the shore. The trail plunges into a wooded area at the mid-way point to loop back to the beginning.

View of Maligne Lake on Mary Scheffer Loop Trail a great family hike near Jasper

Last Words on the Best Family Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

This completes the list of the best family hikes in the Canadian Rockies from Canmore to Jasper. Hiking adventures are endless in this part of the country, and many more options remain for enjoying nature and wildlife as a family in the Canadian Rockies.

Do you have a favourite trail in the Rockies? Share in the comments if you have hiked a particular family trail that I should add to this list.

Consider these three epic hikes in the Canadian Rockies if you need more challenging hikes to satisfy your adventurous hiker’s soul.

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