Backpacking Banff in five days

Banff National Park, Alberta

By Ray Lumfardo
Staff Writer

Banff National Park has some of the best backpacking the Canadian Rockies offer. Here is a sampling of what you can do with five or more days and a backpack in Banff National Park. Seasonal restrictions can apply to some of these trails, so click here to make sure yours is open.

Banff National Park offers some inspiring views for backpackers.

Banff National Park offers some inspiring views for backpackers.

Sawback Trail

This trail takes backpackers over three awesome mountain passes. It traverses a good portion of Banff National Park, linking the town sites of Banff and Lake Louise. Pickup the trail at Mt. Norquay ski area or the Fish Creek trailhead. Parts of the trail see traffic from guided horse trips, which is great if you like horses. There are several camping options here – including a possible 7-day trip.

Campsites: Mystic Junction – Night 1; Larry’s camp – Night 2; Johnston Creek or Luellen Lake Night 3; Badger Pass – Night 4; Wildflower Creek – Night 5; Baker Lake – Night 6.

Distance: 74 km

Elevation gain: 734 m

Banff and Mount Assiniboine Mystic Pass – Flint’s Park – Badger Pass

Give yourself seven days to fully enjoy this trip, a great loop that starts and ends at Johnston Canyon. Enjoy subalpine meadows on the way to Flint’s Park, and cross the remote Mystic and Badger Passes. Badger The passes can be blocked by a huge snow cornice even into the summer months. This trail also sees its share of guided horse trips.

Campsites: Larry’s Camp – Night 1; Mystic Valley – Night 2; Flint’s Park – Night 3; Block Lakes Junction – Night 4; Badger Pass Junction – Night 5; Johnston Creek Night 6; Larry’s Camp – Night 7.

Distance: 76.4 km

Elevation gain: 2175m

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Monica Sullivan,
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