While a lot of people seem to think that summer is prime time to hit the mountains, we beg to differ. There's nothing more perfect than an early fall hike. The leaves are changing colour, so the views are 10x more beautiful, the crisp, fall air is super refreshing, and it gives you the perfect excuse to take a study break.

If Alberta is known for anything, it's those gorgeous Rocky Mountains. While Banff and Jasper are often popular hiking destinations, you can find great trails, perfect for any level of experience, province wide. We've scoped out some of the best, and have broken them down into lists by difficulty.

Whether you're new to hiking, or consider yourself a pro, you'll definitely find the perfect trail on this list. Lace up your boots, and get hiking:

Beginner

Intermediate

Expert

For Beginner hikes, click "Next"


Beginner

Sunwapta Falls // Jasper National Park

Length: 1 km

Time: 1 hour

Why you should go: This could be considered less of a hike, and more of a stroll with an incredible view. The best spot to take photos of the falls is in the parking lot at the bottom.


Johnston Canyon // Banff National Park

Length: 2.2 - 4.8 km

Time: 2 - 3 hours

Why you should go: Although it's often busy because it's a popular tourist destination, Johnston Canyon is a place every Albertan should visit at least once. The canyon is composed of two different trails, so you can choose the approximate length of your hike.


Tunnel Mountain // Banff National Park

Length: 4.3 km

Time: 2 - 3 hours

Why you should go: If you're a hiking newbie, look no further. Tunnel Mountain is a popular choice for many Banff visitors, and if you make it to the end you'll find a beautiful panoramic view of the city, as well as Mount Rundle.


Blakiston Valley // Waterton Lakes National Park

Length: 1 km

Time: 1 hour 

Why you should go: If you're not a hiking expert, no need to fret. This hike is virtually flat, and the views are to die for.


Badlands Trail // Dinosaur Provincial Park

Length: 1.3 km

Time: 30 minutes

Why you should go: If you find yourself in Dinosaur Provincial Park, this is a hike you have to take. You'll find plenty of signage to provide info about the park, as well as catch some great views of hoodoos and sandstone.

For Intermediate hikes, click "Next"


Intermediate

Hoodoo Trail // Writing On Stone Provincial Park

Length: 4.4 km

Time: 4 hours

Why you should go: This is the perfect spot to see all the best parts of the prairies at once. Hoodoos, sandstone clicks, rock art, valleys, and coulees. The hike features all kinds of terrains, so it can be a bit challenging, but definitely worth it.


Siksika Trail // Cooking Lake

Length: 4.6 km

Time: 2 hours

Why you should go: If you don't mind hills, and are hoping to catch some views of the wildlife, then this is the trail for you. It's especially beautiful in the fall when all the leaves are changing colour.


Wood Bison Trail // Elk Island National Park

Length: 16 km

Time: 4 - 5 hours

Why you should go: Enchanted forest vibes? Count us in. Wood Bison Trail may be longer, but it's relatively flat, so it's not incredibly difficult. 


Lineham Falls // Waterton Lakes National Park

Length: 8 km

Time: 3 hours

Why you should go: This path is a bit more secluded and less touristy, so if a quiet hike is what you're after, head here.


Larch Valley // Banff National Park

Length: 12 km

Time: 7 hours

Why you should go: This is one of the more well-known hikes in Banff, so chances are it'll be busy, but the views of the beautiful meadows below, and the mountain peaks above are worth it. 

For Expert hikes, click "Next"


Expert

Cavell Meadows // Jasper National Park

Length: 8 km

Time: 3 hours

Why you should go: If you've conquered all the beginner hikes in Jasper, try this one next. The hike isn't overly long, but the path itself requires some hiking strength. 


Devil's Thumb // Banff National Park

Length: 2 km

Time: 2 hours

Why you should go: Although the hike is short, it's tough. There's an approximate 5-metre climb up, but the views are worth it, as you can see.


Vimy Peak // Waterton Lakes National Park

Length: 10 km

Time: 7 hours

Why you should go: This hike is more difficult, mostly because the path isn't as well maintained as others. It's also a long, strenuous scramble to the top, but when you make it, the view will make everything worth it.


Trans-Canada Trail // Cypress Hills Provincial Park

Length: 32 km

Time: Varies

Why you should go: This hike is made up of various trails, so you can go for as long as you'd like, and switch your path up every time. You don't need to hike all 32 km at once, but if you do, good on you.

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