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Kay Rodriguez

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Kay Rodriguez is the Chicago-based travel writer and photographer behind Jetfarer and Skyline Adventurer. When she's not blogging furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, or paddling in a new city.

While Breckenridge is arguably most famous for its snow sports and winter activities, there are tons of amazing hikes you can do in the area in the spring, summer, and fall. The gorgeous mountain views combined with miles of evergreen forests makes for a network of super picturesque hiking trails, perfect for all levels of experience. If you’re hoping to go hiking in Breckenridge, there are tons of options to choose from. We’ve created this guide with our favorite hikes in Breckenridge to help you plan your outdoor adventures in the area!

Easy Hikes in Breckenridge

Hoosier Pass Loop

  • Trail Length: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 688 feet

For beautiful mountain views on an easy to moderate trail, Hoosier Pass Loop is one of the best hikes in Breckenridge. Featuring a 2.8-mile gravel trail that spans a rocky summit above the tree line, this hike crosses the Continental Divide and is fantastic for all levels of hikers. We went at sunset (pictured above) and it was breathtaking to watch the last golden rays of sun illuminate the nearby peaks.

Note that there is a gradual incline through the first half of the trail, so good shoes are a must. However, once you hit the pass, stunning views and an easy descent await.

How to get there: Take Highway 9 from Breckenridge south, and the trailhead is located on the right hand side ~10 miles outside of town.

Burro Trail

  • Trail Length: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 918 feet

Known as one of the area’s most popular trails, the Burro Trail is one of the must-do hikes in Breckenridge. With a leisurely 6.1-mile out-and-back trail that winds through forests, along creeks and waterfalls, and between rocky areas, it’s a laid back area that’s great for a walk with your dog or a group hike. While the trail itself does not have any major viewpoints, it connects to other trails near Peak 7 that do offer views of the town and surrounding mountains.

As this trail is one of the most accessible and popular areas for hiking in Breckenridge, it does get quite crowded on weekends and later in the day. We’d recommend heading out early in the morning and/or on weekdays for the most secluded experience.

How to get there: Park near the Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center and walk to the trail head (~5 minute walk).

Sawmill Reservoir

  • Trail Length: 1.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 236 feet

If you’re looking for a short, easy, and scenic hike, Sawmill Reservoir is a great option. The trail starts by running through the forest, then loops around the scenic Sawmill Reservoir, where you can see lots of fishing enthusiasts casting their lines around the glassy waterfront. While there are typically people wandering around the lake, it wasn’t too crowded when we hiked here in the late afternoon, just as the sun started to hang low over the horizon.

This trail is fairly flat, with a few easy inclines to reach the reservoir. We’d recommend bringing bug repellent, as it can get decently buggy in the forest and near the water.

How to get there: Take S Park Ave southbound (Highway 9) to Four O’Clock Road. Turn right onto Four O’Clock Road and the trail head will be on your left.

Gold Run Gulch Loop

  • Trail Length: 2.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 334 feet

Gold Run Gulch Loop is a wonderful, easy spot for hiking in Breckenridge that’s a little bit different than the others on our list. Instead of featuring sweeping mountain vistas and fields of wildflowers, Gold Run Gulch Loop is a stroll through the forest that takes hikers to a few historic sites and cabin ruins in the area. Along the way, you can see still-standing log structures from several decades ago.

How to get there: From Hwy 9 northbound, take a right onto Tiger Road. Then, take another right onto Highlands Road then a left onto Fairways Road. Finally, take a right onto Gold Run Road and the trailhead is located at the end of the street.

Boreas Pass

  • Trail Length: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 396 feet

For an easy, short hike that offers beautiful views of the town center and the ski slopes, Boreas Pass is one of the most accessible hikes in Breckenridge for all levels of experience. We especially recommend this hike for beginners and solo hikers, as there is a) cell service throughout most of the hike and b) about half of the trail is a shared dirt road with bikes and cars, meaning you’ll never be quite away from civilization. However, the views from the higher points of the hike are absolutely stunning.

We felt a little disappointed that this hike was largely located on a road, but nonetheless, there were a few gems we really enjoyed. First, the views are exceptional. Second, the trail is mostly shaded and very well maintained. Lastly, there are a few rocky outcroppings you can climb for extra views. Check out our full guide to the Boreas Pass hike here.

How to get there: The trailhead of this hike is located on Boreas Pass Road.

Lily Pad Lake

  • Trail Length: 3.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 396 feet

Imagine the image that comes to view when you hear Lily Pad Lake, and this trail probably fits that description very closely. This short, easy trail brings hikers through the forest to a beautiful alpine lake that’s usually filled with lily pads and flowers during the warmer months of the year. There’s a somewhat steep incline at the very beginning of the trail that flattens out toward the lake, but it’s still very accessible for hikers of all levels.

The parking is extremely limited, so we’d recommend either getting there very early or late in the day, or planning to find alternative transportation arrangements.

How to get there: Take highway 6 toward Silverthorne, exit onto Stephens Way, then turn left on Wildernest Rd and left again onto Ryan Gulch Road. Follow Ryan Gulch Road all the way to the trail head.

Sally Barber Mine Trail

  • Trail Length: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 393 feet

Another one of the most popular hikes in Breckenridge for history lovers is the Sally Barber Mine Trail. Similar to the Gold Run Gulch Loop, this hike features a few historic mine structures that you can view and explore. With a moderate elevation gain and an easy, wide trail, the Sally Barber Mine Trail is great for families and beginners, or hikers of any experience level who enjoy discovering historic areas on their adventures.

How to get there: Take Wellington Rd in Breckenridge east to Hwy 2/French Gulch Road. After ~3 miles, the Sally Barber Mine Trailhead will be on your right.

Blue Lakes Trail

  • Trail Length: 1 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 108 feet

For a short, easy hike around a scenic alpine lake, the Blue Lakes Trail is a local favorite. At just one mile, this trail is perfect for those acclimatizing to the altitude or who want a quick, leisurely hike with great views. It’s also a great spot for dogs and families. At the lake, you can often spot white mountain goats meandering along the lakeside, and during the summer, you’ll see excellent views of the surrounding mountains with wildflowers and forests nearby.

Note that visitors say that the trailhead can sometimes be hard to access without a 4WD vehicle.

How to get there: Take Hwy 9 southbound, then take a left onto Blue Lakes Road. The trail head is at the end of Blue Lakes Road and is shared with Monte Cristo Gulch.

Photo Credit: Brendan Bombaci (Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes in Breckenridge

Lower Mohawk Lake

  • Trail Length: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,486 feet

As one of the most scenic and popular trails for hiking in Breckenridge, Lower Mohawk Lake is a fantastic half-day adventure for all levels of hikers. While the trail is rated as moderate, the incline in steady and gradual throughout, making this a very accessible hike for beginners and more experienced folks. Along the way, you’ll find beautiful wildflowers and views of the snow-capped mountains nearby.

This trail actually passes by 3 main attractions – Mayflower, Continental Falls, and Lower Mohawk Lake. There’s a longer and more challenging version of this hike that’s more suited for experienced hikers, as well.

How to get there: Take Hwy 9 southbound and turn right onto Spruce Creek Road (where the Grand Moose Lodge is located). Follow Spruce Creek Road to the end where the trailhead is located.

Mt. Baldy Trail

  • Trail Length: 10.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,123 feet

As one of the most beloved hiking trails in Breckenridge, Mt. Baldy offers stunning views of the nearby mountains and pine forests. Since it is a longer hiking option with a gradual incline, Mt. Baldy is a great option for those looking for a half- to full-day adventure. Most of the trail is above the tree line, offering panoramic vistas across the valley and the surrounding peaks.

Note that the end of the trail has been closed since July 2020 as it was claimed as private property. However, users report that it’s not well marked where the closed areas begin.

How to get there: Head to Mt. Baldy Road and continue past Gold Point Resort. You’ll find the trail head on your left.

Photo Credit: Jilly Anna Joy (Flickr CC)

Black Powder Pass Summit

  • Trail Length: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet

For a shorter hike that will have you working up a sweat, the Black Powder Pass Summit trail is a fantastic moderate option for hikers of all levels. The trail is largely above the tree line, meaning you’ll see stunning, unobstructed views of the alpine meadows, blossoming wildflowers, and surrounding peaks. There are also several opportunities to view local wildlife, like the mountain goats that graze these high elevation meadows.

How to get there: Head to Boreas Pass Road, which will take you all the way to the trailhead. Note that this road is quite narrow and is made of gravel, so it can take around 40 minutes from the center of Breckenridge to arrive.

Lower Crystal Lake

  • Trail Length: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,601 feet

Hiking up to a scenic lake is possible in many parts of the Breckenridge area, and Lower Crystal Lake is a fantastic option for hikers looking for a good workout without going too long or far on the trails. The Lower Crystal Lake trail is fairly steep on the ascent, so we’d characterize this one as a moderate to difficult-level hike. At the top, you’ll see stunning mountain views along a quiet alpine lake, with tons of wildflowers coloring the landscape.

How to get there: Take Hwy 9 southbound and turn right onto Spruce Creek Road (where the Grand Moose Lodge is located). Follow Spruce Creek Road to the trailhead at the end of the street.

Difficult Hikes in Breckenridge

Quandary Peak

  • Trail Length: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,100 feet

If you’re looking to bag a Colorado 14er peak, the closest one to Breckenridge is called Quandary Peak. This challenging summit hike will take you to a whopping 14,265 feet of altitude, with 3,100 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead to the summit. The hike begins with a moderate incline through a forested area, then poses a much steeper and rockier ascent once you’ve passed the tree line. However, if you’re up for the challenge, the views of the surrounding mountains from the summit are absolutely breathtaking.

While not for the faint of heart, this peak is accessible to experienced hikers who are willing to scramble a little bit and traverse over 2 miles of steep rocky scree paths each way. We’d strongly recommend starting the hike before 7 AM to get the best views from the summit with the least crowded trails. Also, sturdy trekking poles are super helpful for the descent, as the trail can get quite slippery when going downhill from the summit.

How to get there: Take Hwy 9 southbound for ~8.5 miles, then turn right onto McCullough Gulch Rd. The trailhead is located on the left hand side of the street. If the trailhead parking lot is full, you may need to drive on nearby streets to find available street parking.

Crystal Lake

  • Trail Length: 8.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,568 feet

One of the most beautiful alpine lake hikes in Breckenridge is the trail to Crystal Lake. From the top, you can see views of Lower Crystal Lake and the surrounding meadows and mountains. Once you get above the tree line, the trail flattens out into a more gradual incline until the end. Note that this trail is very popular with hikers and off-road vehicles, so going early in the morning will minimize heavy crowds.

How to get there: Take Hwy 9 southbound and turn right onto Spruce Creek Road (where the Grand Moose Lodge is located). Follow Spruce Creek Road to the end where the trailhead is located.

McCullough Gulch Trail

  • Trail Length: 6.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,578 feet

For a trail that has just about everything, from waterfalls to scenic meadows, McCullough Gulch is a gorgeous and popular spot for hiking in Breckenridge. This 6.2-mile trail packs a punch with several waterfalls, alpine lakes, peaceful forest areas, and stunning mountain views. Don’t forget to bring a camera! The trails are steep and difficult, but doable for most hikers who are open to a challenge and have some hiking experience under their belts.

How to get there: Take Hwy 9 southbound for ~8.5 miles, then turn right onto McCullough Gulch Rd and follow it to the trail head.

Photo Credit: Thomas Elliott (Flickr CC)

Monte Cristo Gulch Trail

  • Trail Length: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,138 feet

If you’re looking for a challenging hike that isn’t too long, Monte Cristo Gulch is one of the most scenic and difficult hikes in Breckenridge. Over less than 3 miles, you’ll gain well over 1,000 feet of elevation that ends at a scenic alpine lake filled with wildflowers and mountain goats. A good chunk of this trail involves rock scrambling, so come prepared with trusty trekking poles and a willingness to use your hands!

How to get there: Take Hwy 9 southbound, then take a left onto Blue Lakes Road. The trail head is at the end of Blue Lakes Road and is shared with the Blue Lakes Trail.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Breckenridge

What to Pack

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Related Articles

If you are an avid hiker, there are few better places to spend time during the summer than Breckenridge, Colorado. There are tons of hikes in Breckenridge for all experience levels, and one of the most accessible viewpoint hikes is the Boreas Pass Trail. We hiked this trail during a sunny summer day and created this guide to help you plan your own adventure there!

The Boreas Pass Trail: The Basics

The Boreas Pass Trail runs close to and coincides with the Boreas Pass Road, a mountain biking and vehicle thoroughfare with a gravel roadway. At just a 10-minute drive from downtown Breckenridge, this hike is a popular spot for walkers and mountain bikers, and is a great option for a mid-day hike since it’s mostly shaded.

Snapshot of the Boreas Pass Trail

The Boreas Pass trail is ideal for solo hikers, beginners, or hikers looking for an easy, leisurely stroll not far from civilization. We would not recommend this trail for young children or those looking for a challenging trail – this is an easy hike and has slight elevation gain, but is not accessible to strollers/wheelchairs and has several areas bordering non-guardrailed dropoffs.

  • Trail Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 396 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy

Things to Know Before Hiking the Boreas Pass Trail

Hiking the Boreas Pass trail is fairly straightforward, but here are a couple of things to know before you head out:

  • The trail is mostly shaded. This is great because this trail is suitable for mid-day hikes (whereas less shady trails would be more difficult to do in the heat of the afternoon sun).
  • There are no amenities on the trail, so be sure to bring everything you need. There are no bathrooms or water sources on the trail, so bring everything you need with you. Here’s our packing list if you want to know what we recommend bringing for day hikes.
  • Come prepared for possible run-ins with wildlife. There have been a handful of recent wildlife sightings on the trail, so be sure to keep your distance if you see anything!
  • You’ll be walking alongside cars, bikes, and possibly horses for over half of the trail. While this may be a deterrent for some people, we didn’t think it was that bad. The dirt road that coincides with the trail isn’t too heavily trafficked, so you’ll likely see cars every 5-10 minutes.

Our Boreas Pass Trail Review

We decided to do this hike about halfway through the morning, as we were looking for a short, easy hike to complete before lunchtime. For the hike, we brought all our usual day hiking gear plus Stella, a 15-pound chihuahua-dachshund mix. It was mid-70s and sunny when we took off on the trail.

The trail head is a pretty clearly marked dirt trail that originates on Boreas Pass Road. We chose to hike counter-clockwise, as the latter half of the hike along the road has the best views. To ensure we knew where we were going, we used the AllTrails map to guide us.

The first part of the hike consists of ~1 mile of a gradual uphill ascent through a pine forest, which was great since we were hiking on a cloudless day. No views in the forested part of the trail, but the trees and wooded gravel areas were quite scenic in themselves. After about 20 minutes of hiking, we arrived at a fork in the trail. A small sign pointed to the left side of the trail; when you get here, be sure to take the right hand path to make your way around the Boreas Pass loop.

About halfway through the hike, we arrived at a roadway with several cars and RVs parked along it. We were confused, but after a little research, we realized that the trail actually is the road for the remainder of the hike back to the car. While normally this would have been a little disappointing, the views of the town, the mountains, and the lake below from the road are very picturesque.

On the way back down, there’s a small rocky outcropping that’s divided by the dirt road. We chose to take a detour and scramble to the top of one of the rocky areas, which was quite possibly the most fun part of the hike. There was a small office chair at the top of the rock pile, which was odd and hilarious.

All in all, this admittedly wasn’t our favorite hike in Breckenridge. Personally, I don’t love hikes with viewpoints I can drive to, nor do I particularly enjoy hiking alongside cars, bikes, and motorcycles. However, it was a fun and easy adventure to see some lovely views of the town and the surrounding mountainsides with the ski slopes carved into it. If you’re looking for a short and easy hike to a nice photo spot, you can’t go wrong with Boreas Pass.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Colorado

What to Pack

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Related Articles

Grand Teton National Park is one of the most scenic and widely photographed national parks in the United States, and for good reason – the landscapes here are strikingly beautiful. While many people choose to drive through and observe its natural beauty along the roadways, the absolute best way to experience these jagged peaks and placid lakes is by hiking in Grand Teton National Park. To help you make the most of your time in the park, we’ve created this list of the best hikes in Grand Teton that are suitable for all levels of adventurers!

Easy Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

Leigh Lake

  • Trail Length: 7 miles (out-and-back)
  • Elevation Gain: 110 feet

For a quieter, more peaceful trail than some of the other lake hikes in Grand Teton National Park, Leigh Lake is a wonderful and family-friendly option. Situated north of Jenny Lake and String Lake, Leigh Lake boasts stunning views of the Tetons across a serene lakeside, with dirt paths winding through pine forests and root-laced shorelines.

Elevation gain on this trail is minimal, making it ideal for beginner hikers or families wanting an easy and scenic spot to take a walk. This trail is out-and-back, so you can shorten this hike based on your time and distance preferences. Alternatively, you can combine the Leigh Lake Trail with the String Lake Loop (see below) for a longer adventure.

How to get there: Head to the North Side of Jenny Lake parking area, and park in the section closest to the String Lake trail head. From there, follow signs to Leigh Lake trail head and begin your hike there.

String Lake Loop

  • Trail Length: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 262 feet

As a sister lake to both Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake, String Lake is a small, scenic waterway that’s popular with both hikers and paddlers. For hikers, there’s a loop trail around the shore of the lake that’s one of the best easy hikes in Grand Teton for all levels of hikers. Along the lake, you’ll find dirt trails that wind through wooded areas, offering stunning views of the Tetons reflecting off the mountains.

As the trail runs mostly through the forest, it’s a great hike to do when the sun is high in the sky. If you’re looking for a longer adventure, combine this trail with Leigh Lake or Jenny Lake to get a variety of views of the iconic Teton ridge.

How to get there: Head to the North Side of Jenny Lake parking area, and park in the section closest to the String Lake trail head.

Flagg Canyon

  • Trail Length: 5.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 324 feet

For a scenic walk along the Snake River, the Flagg Canyon trail on the north side of the park is a great place for hiking in Grand Teton. Featuring a pretty waterfall and lots of riverfront and forest views, this leisurely pathway is a great adventure through the north side of Grand Teton. Wildflowers, pine trees, and wildlife viewing opportunities will greet you on these dirt pathways.

If you’re staying at Flagg Ranch Campground, it’s a nearby trail that’s conveniently accessed without a car. Note that because this trail is close to the river, you should make sure to use bug spray and opt for long sleeves/pants, as the mosquitoes here can get vicious during the summertime.

How to get there: The trail head is located just south of the entrance to Flagg Ranch off of Hwy 89. You’ll need to cross under a bridge to access the rest of the trail.

Photo Credit: Bryant Olsen (Flickr CC)

Two Ocean Lake

  • Trail Length: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 462 feet

For a lesser-known lake trail that boasts beautiful views of the Tetons, Two Ocean Lake is a wonderful option for hiking in Grand Teton. This flat, easy trail spans 6.1 miles along the perimeter of the lake, offering spectacular views of the mountains as well as the surrounding forests, especially early in the day when the water is still and mirror-like.

The area is also known for abundant wildlife, including bears (so enjoy, but don’t forget to remain alert and keep bear spray with you at all times).

How to get there: Turn onto Pacific Creek Road from Hwy 89, then turn left onto Two Ocean Lake Road. Then, follow the road to the end where you can park and begin the hike.

Photo Credit: Tim Lumley (Flickr CC)

Taggart Lake Loop

  • Trail Length: 4.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 429 feet

Taggart Lake, located south of Jenny Lake, is a scenic lake located at the foot of the Tetons. For morning hikes with a view, there are few hikes we’d recommend more than Taggart Lake. It’s a perfect place for beginners to go hiking in Grand Teton, with a 4.1 mile loop that winds through the forest to reach the lakeside. At the lake itself, you can enjoy glassy reflections of the mountains on the teal blue lake, especially early in the morning when the water is still.

Note that the parking lot for Taggart Lake is quite small and can get crowded, so we’d recommend getting there early in the morning for the best views and the smallest crowds. Additionally, this hike can be combined with a hike to Bradley Lake for a longer, more challenging adventure.

How to get there: From Highway 89 near the Moose entrance, look for signs that say “Taggart Lake” on the side of the road closest to the mountains.

Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail

  • Trail Length: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

Colter Bay is a campground, lodge, and scenic lake all in one, and one of our favorite ways to enjoy it is by hiking one of the main trails in the area. For hikers that want a shorter adventure, the Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail is a fantastic option that’s suitable for all levels. This popular trail boasts 2.5 miles of beautiful lakeside and mountain views spanning a small peninsula lined with pine trees that juts out into the water.

Unlike many of the hikes on our list, this trail is paved, so it’s suitable for families with strollers or wheelchairs. It’s also easily accessed from the Colter Bay parking lot, where there is plenty of space throughout the day for visitors to park.

How to get there: Enter the Colter Bay Village area and park near the Colter Bay Amphitheater.

Photo Credit: Anne (Flickr CC)

Colter Bay Hermitage Point

  • Trail Length: 9.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 738 feet

For a longer, more involved hike near Colter Bay, Hermitage Point is a fantastic spot for hiking in Grand Teton. This trail starts at Colter Bay Village and brings hikers along forested dirt paths along the lakefront, down south to a quiet wooded peninsula where you can catch incredible, breathtaking views of the mountains across the lake. You can combine this with the Lakeshore Trail for an extra-long adventure, as the two trails do not overlap.

As this hike is on the long side, we’d strongly recommend bringing and reapplying bug spray often, as the mosquitos can get very aggressive, especially in the summer. We’d also strongly recommend bringing bear spray, as there have been several bear sightings along the trail.

Phelps Lake

  • Trail Length: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 725 feet

If you’re looking for a lake that has views of the iconic Teton mountain range, but is a little less crowded, Phelps Lake is one of the best Grand Teton hikes for all levels. At 7 miles, it’s definitely one of the longer easy hikes on our list, but is much less crowded than nearby Jenny Lake and boasts beautiful (but different) views.

This loop trail runs around the perimeter of Phelps Lake, through mostly shaded and wooded areas. It’s suitable for hikers of all skill levels, and is a good option for a hike later in the day as direct sun exposure is minimal.

How to get there: From Moose-Wilson Road, turn off at the Phelps Lake trailhead entrance and park at the end of the road.

Schwabacher’s Landing

  • Trail Length: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

Quite possibly the most scenic and famous spot in Grand Teton National Park for photographers is Schwabacher’s Landing. Located on a small, slow-moving creek, this trail boasts jaw-dropping views of the iconic Grand Teton peaks reflecting off the water. While many people simply park and enjoy the views nearby, there’s a 1.8-mile trail that accompanies this viewpoint, where you can catch lots of different perspectives of the mountains amidst the dense evergreen forests.

For excellent lighting and views with few people, sunrise is the best time to head to Schwabacher Landing. You’ll have the opportunity to see the mountains glow orange and gold in the morning sun, their snowy peaks reflecting off the water from the creek. If you go later in the day, the afternoon haze may make the mountain views a little more foggy.

How to get there: Turn onto Schwabacher Road from Hwy 26-89 and continue all of the way down the gravel road to the trail head.

Moderate Hikes in Grand Teton National Park

Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point

  • Trail Length: 2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 410 feet

As one of the most popular hikes in Grand Teton National Park, you won’t likely find solitude and tranquility on the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point trail. However, you will find an accessible moderate hike (just under 2 miles) that has a variety of landmarks, including waterfalls, forests, and a sweeping viewpoint of Jenny Lake.

For families wanting a bit of an extra challenge, this moderate short hike is a popular and scenic option. However, our personal opinion is that the Inspiration Point viewpoint was a little underwhelming, and that this hike is best paired with a continuation into Cascade Canyon (see below).

For the least crowded trails, take the first Jenny Lake boat shuttle at 7 AM (leaves from a boat dock near Jenny Lake visitor center, $18 ticket round trip). If you want to extend your hike beyond the 2 miles of this trail, you can buy a one-way ticket across the lake and then hike the Jenny Lake trail back to the parking lot.

How to get there: Enter the Jenny Lake South area, drive past the visitor center, and park by the entrance to the Jenny Lake Trail. From there, you can walk to the boat shuttle dock and purchase your ticket for Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.

Jenny Lake

  • Trail Length: 7.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 728 feet

Jenny Lake is one of the most iconic and highly-trafficked areas of Grand Teton National Park. For those wanting to avoid large crowds, this trail probably isn’t for you. However, if you go early in the day and hike counter-clockwise, you can enjoy this gorgeous lake trail with much fewer crowds. As one of the most popular places for hiking in Grand Teton National Park, we’d recommend arriving before 8 AM.

Once you’re at the trail head, you have a few options: you can hike the full 7.7-mile trail, or you can take the Jenny Lake boat shuttle across the lake and walk back. Shuttle fares are $10 one way or $18 round trip.

How to get there: Enter the Jenny Lake South area, drive past the visitor center, and park by the entrance to the Jenny Lake Trail.

Cascade Canyon

  • Trail Length: 9.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,128 feet

One of our top picks for hikes in Grand Teton is Cascade Canyon, a moderate trail through one of the major canyon areas in Grand Teton National Park. This trail passes by Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, so it’s a fantastic day hike to pair with a trip to Jenny Lake. Along this 9.7-mile trail, you’ll see gorgeous mountain and glacier views. The beginning of the trail is a pretty steep uphill, but the rest has rolling hills across a gravel/rocky path.

A nice aspect of the Cascade Canyon trail is that it’s out-and-back, so you can make your adventure as long or as short as you’d like to go. In our opinion, it’s worth hiking up at least a little bit past Inspiration Point to enjoy some of the striking views of Cascade Canyon.

How to get there: Enter the Jenny Lake South area, drive past the visitor center, and park by the entrance to the Jenny Lake Trail. From there, you can walk to the boat shuttle dock and purchase your ticket to the trail head for Inspiration Point and Cascade Canyon.

Taggart Lake to Bradley Lake Loop

  • Trail Length: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 761 feet

If you’re looking for a moderately challenging and stunningly beautiful hike, Taggart Lake and Bradley Lake Loop is an excellent option. With serene alpine lakes and views of the majestic Tetons in the distance, this trail is perfect for hikers of all levels looking for a bit of a challenge with magnificent rewards. If you go early enough, you can catch some breathtaking reflections of the mountains in the still waters of the lakes before the mid-day wind picks up.

As we mentioned in the Taggart Lake section, parking is limited in this part of the park, so we’d recommend beginning this hike before 8 AM. Plus, the light in the morning against the mountains is an incredible sight to see.

How to get there: From Highway 89 near the Moose entrance, look for signs that say “Taggart Lake” on the side of the road closest to the mountains.

Signal Mountain

  • Trail Length: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,184 feet

Signal Mountain is a mountaintop that overlooks Jackson Lakes and the iconic, snow-capped Teton range. A popular spot for watching sunrise and sunset, the 8.3-mile Signal Mountain trail is a fun hike to a pretty viewpoint.

The catch? This trail ends at the summit of Signal Mountain…which people can also drive to. So, if you’re looking for a remote wilderness hike with epic, exclusive views, this hike probably isn’t the best one of you. However, if you’re wanting a moderately challenging hike to one of the park’s most stunning viewpoints, we’d say to go for it!

How to get there: Park near the Signal Mountain lodge, then take the trail that begins on Signal Mountain Marina Road.

Aspen Ridge Loop

  • Trail Length: 5.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 780 feet

For a forested trail that’s off the beaten path, Aspen Ridge is a wonderful spot for hiking in Grand Teton National Park. This 5.7-mile loop trail winds through the forest, passing by scenic alpine lakes, beautiful viewpoints, and tons of wildlife viewing areas. This is one of the lesser-known hikes in Grand Teton, so you can expect much smaller and more sparse crowds, even during the popular summer season.

How to get there: Park at the trailhead for Phelps Lake, then follow signs for Aspen Ridge.

Photo Credit: Al_HikesAZ (Flickr CC)

Difficult Hikes in Grand Teton National Park

Lake Solitude

  • Trail Length: 16 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,637 feet

Lake Solitude is one of the most popular challenging hikes in Grand Teton, but the stunning views along the trail are absolutely worth the effort. You’ll pass through Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and Cascade Canyon, ending at Lake Solitude and giving you a quadruple-whammy of hikes all in one! Hikers rave that the Lake Solitude trail is perhaps the most beautiful and scenic hike in all of Grand Teton…but you’ll have to do the hike to decide for yourself.

At 16 miles of trail (out and back), this is not a hike for beginners or those looking for a short adventure. Most people clock in between 7.5 and 9 hours from beginning to end for Lake Solitude, so you’ll need a full day to complete the hike. However, if you’re willing to put in the work and exercise, the views are some of the most picturesque and outstanding in the entire park.

How to get there: Begin at Jenny Lake South, where you can take the boat shuttle to the trail head. Alternatively, you can park at Jenny Lake North/String Lake and walk to the trail head via the Jenny Lake trail.

Photo Credit: oliver.dodd (Flickr CC)

Delta and Amphitheater Lakes

  • Trail Length: 9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,329 feet

Of all of the challenging hikes in Grand Teton, Delta Lake is one of the most beautiful (and popular). This strenuous trail traverses forests, switchbacks, and some stunning viewpoints. Delta Lake itself is one of the most picturesque spots in the the entire Grand Teton park area.

It’s best to do this hike in the early morning to ensure you can find a parking space. The sun can get very hot and direct, especially in the non-shaded areas, so be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and bug spray for your hike.

How to get there: Park at the trail head for Lupine Meadows, then begin the hike there. We’d recommend using AllTrails to ensure you’re on the right path for Delta Lake, otherwise, it can be very difficult to find.

Garnet Canyon to Lower Saddle

  • Trail Length: 12.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 5,321 feet

Scramblers and climbers, rejoice! The Garnet Canyon to Lower Saddle hike is popular for its technical aspects, namely scree fields, scrambling/bouldering, and even opportunities for traditional rock climbing. As this is the path that most people who climb Grand Teton take to get to the base, it offers stunning views of the iconic mountains surrounding the namesake peak.

This hike is not for the faint of heart, as many folks will name this one as one of the most difficult spots for hiking in Grand Teton. Come prepared with crampons and bear spray, as ice/snow and wildlife are both significant threats on this trail.

How to get there: Begin the trail on the Lupine Meadows Access trail head area.

Photo Credit: Florin Chelaru (Flickr CC)

Static Peak

  • Trail Length: 16.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 5,423 feet

Static Peak is a beloved trail in Grand Teton for experienced hikers and those looking to bag a gorgeous peak in the park. Many hikers refer to it as a hidden favorite, as its difficulty and length make this summit accessible only to experienced folks looking for a challenge. Along the way, you’ll find steep ascents and plenty of switchbacks, with a rocky peak that’s a gorgeous spot for photos or a leisurely summit snack.

At around 17 miles, this is a full day hike that leads you all the way to the peak of Static Mountain. It can also be paired with the Albright Peak for an extra long, strenuous, and rewarding adventure.

How to get there: Turn onto White Grass Trail Head Road (near Phelps Lake), then stay left to arrive at the Static Peak trail head.

Grand Teton Loop

  • Trail Length: 31.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 6,909 feet

For those wanting a multi-day wilderness backpacking experience, Grand Teton Loop is the iconic 31.6-mile backpacking circuit in the park. This trail winds through the area near Jenny Lake, offering unparalleled views of the Grand Teton peak and the mountains nearby. This hike combines some of the best views in the entire park, and shouldn’t be missed if backcountry is your style!

To do this multi-day hike, you’ll need to reserve a wilderness permit in advance or in person at the national park’s office and come equipped with your own backpacking gear. There are designated camping areas that are available to backcountry hikers, so be sure to consult the park rangers for the most up to date information.

How to get there: Begin the trail at the Jenny Lake South trail head, where you can park your car overnight if you are backpacking.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

What to Bring

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Related Articles

If you’re looking for the ultimate city for outdoor adventures, Vancouver is a top contender. This coastal city in British Columbia has a wonderful blend of the urban experience and the natural environment. Hiking in Vancouver is one of the best ways to get outside and see all of the rugged, wild nature that this region of Canada has to offer! From evergreen forests to crashing waterfalls, sweeping mountaintops to the calm seaside, Vancouver offers a diverse set of outdoor experiences for hikers of all levels. We created this guide to the best hikes near Vancouver to help you plan your next outdoor adventure!

Photo Credit: Colin Knowles (Flickr CC)

Easy Hikes in Vancouver

Stanley Park Seawall

  • Trail Length: 10 kilometers
  • Location: Stanley Park, Vancouver

Located off the coast of Vancouver, the Stanley Park Seawall trail is easily one of the most scenic spots for hiking in Vancouver proper. Stanley Park is a formerly indigenous area of Vancouver, which features large, rocky cliffs and evergreen forests. The Seawall Trail runs around the perimeter of the park (bordering the coastline) and is a popular spot for locals to go running, biking, and walking. For one of the most convenient and accessible hikes in Vancouver for all levels of hikers, the Stanley Park Seawall is a great place to start.

Lighthouse Park

  • Trail Length: Varies
  • Location: West Vancouver

If you’re in the mood for a nautical hike, the trails at Lighthouse Park are a wonderful and easy way to explore this historic area. Unsurprisingly, this trail system boasts views of a historic lighthouse, as well as local plant and wildlife and views of the rocky shoreline of Vancouver. Locals especially love this park for hiking in Vancouver because it’s family-friendly and dog-friendly, meaning that you can bring the whole crew along to enjoy the lighthouse and the tranquil seaside vibes!

Photo Credit: GotoVan (Flickr CC)

Quarry Rock

  • Trail Length: 3.7 kilometers
  • Location: Cove Forest (northwest Vancouver)

Arguably the most popular of the easy hikes near Vancouver, Quarry Rock offers tremendously beautiful views to hikers of all levels. It’s definitely popular for a reason – you’ll get to see bird’s eye views over the water to the lush, forested areas surrounding Vancouver. We’d strongly recommend starting this hike early or going on a weekday, as it is one of the most crowded hikes in the area due to its easy trails and beautiful views.

Photo Credit: sharkhats (Flickr CC)

Lynn Canyon

  • Trail Length: 1.9 kilometers
  • Location: Northern Vancouver

A family-friendly trail near the north side of Vancouver, Lynn Canyon is one of the best hikes in Vancouver for beginners and less experienced hikers. It’s also great for people seeking beautiful, unique views, with a stunning 157′ suspension bridge that catches the eye of many artists and photographers in the Vancouver area. Along the way, you’ll find waterfalls, gorges, and thick evergreen forests. The trail is only 1.9 kilometers, perfect for a short, easy hike that’s not far at all from the center of Vancouver.

Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut (Flickr CC)

Killarney Lake Loop

  • Trail Length: 7.9 kilometers
  • Location: Bowen Island

For an easy, scenic trail through the forest that boasts some particularly stunning views of Killarney Lake, the Killarney Lake Loop is a fantastic hike for all levels. This trail combines dirt trails with scenic boardwalks through the tropical forest and along the waterfront, perfect for misty days or those times when shade would be best. Don’t be fooled by the easy terrain on the trail – the views from the trail are absolutely incredible, with views across the lake to the surrounding mountains.

Dog Mountain

  • Trail Length: 4.5 kilometers
  • Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park

If it’s an alpine-type environment you’re looking for, Dog Mountain offers bird’s eye views and evergreen forests to hikers of all levels. It’s the perfect place to go hiking near Vancouver for families or those wanting an easy, short trail. Bridges and trails will lead you through shady, forested areas and to some really stunning views of the surrounding forests and mountains. On clear days, you can see out to the water and the islands nearby.

Photo Credit: Michael Dorausch (Flickr CC)

Norvan Falls

  • Trail Length: 16.7 kilometer
  • Location: North Vancouver

For a day-long adventure on an easy-to-hike trail, Norvan Falls is a fantastic hike for all levels of experience. You’ll meander through the forest and pass by gorgeous waterfalls, with beautiful mossy tree trunks scattered between waterways.. While it’s lengthier than the other easy hikes at 16.7 kilometers, the trail itself is flat, easy and scenic. If you’re looking for the best day hikes in Vancouver, Norvan Falls will definitely give you and your fellow hikers a long, fun, and accessible adventure.

Photo Credit: Giuseppe Milo (via Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes Near Vancouver

Joffre Lakes

  • Trail Length: 7.7 kilometers
  • Location: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

While it’s 2.5 hours from the city, we couldn’t write a guide to hiking near Vancouver without listing one of the area’s most iconic hikes – Joffre Lakes. You’ve probably seen this hike all over landscape photographers’ Instagram accounts, as it has grown significantly in popularity over the last few years. With its turquoise waters, shady evergreens, and stunning snow-capped mountains, this moderately difficult hike packs a punch in terms of photogenic spots to go hiking in the Coast Mountains.

St. Marks Summit

  • Trail Length: 10.8 kilometers
  • Location: Cypress Provincial Park

Seaside cliff views meet foggy forests at St. Marks Summit, a moderately difficult trail located in Northwest Vancouver. Getting to the summit will take you through quintessential Pacific Northwest terrain, with tall evergreens and moss-covered trunks. Once you get to the top, you can hike out to the rocky outcroppings and see views of the islands off the bay, which is especially beautiful in the early morning or late afternoon. If you want to see the views, however, go hiking on a day that is clear – otherwise, you’ll be greeted with thick clouds and fog from the top.

Photo Credit: Brodie Guy (Flickr CC)

Elfin Lakes

  • Trail Length: 20.1 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Beloved by locals for short backpacking trips, the Elfin Lakes trip is one of the most visually stunning moderate hikes in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. At 20.1 kilometers, it’s very long, but local hikers typically split that over the course of 2-3 days. Unlike some of the summit hikes on our list, Elfin Lakes boasts sweeping views of the surrounding mountains almost all the way throughout. If you don’t want to camp in one of the many campsites, you can stay at the Elfin Lakes shelter, a bunk house for backpackers run by BC parks ($15/person per night).

Mount Cheam

  • Trail Length: 7.7 kilometers
  • Location: Bridal Veil Falls Park

Mount Cheam is one of the few moderately difficult summit hikes in Vancouver that will take you above the tree line, rewarding you with breathtaking views of some of the rocky, bare peaks in the region. While there is an uphill, it’s fairly gradual and accessible to less experienced hikers who are ready to work! This hike is best done on clear days, where you can see the exceptional views of the mountains nearby. Note that this trail is quite exposed, so be prepared for the potential of direct sun and strong wind. You’ll also need a 4×4 to access the trail head.

Mount Seymour

  • Trail Length: 8.2 kilometers
  • Location: Mount Seymour Provincial Park

If you want to bag not one, not two, but three peaks in one hike, the Mount Seymour trail is the perfect (and not too difficult) way to do so. The views from these rocky peaks are second to none, with sweeping panoramas of the sea and the surrounding mountains on clear days. With a gradual incline leading hikers up 570 meters of elevation gain, it’s not too difficult but will definitely work your legs on the ascent. The rewards at the top are absolutely worth the effort!

Photo Credit: Sathish J (Flickr CC)

Difficult Hikes Near Vancouver

Panorama Ridge

  • Trail Length: 28.3 miles
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Not for the faint of heart, the Panorama Ridge hike is one of the longest and most challenging day hikes in Vancouver and the nearby areas, but is also one of the most iconic. At nearly 30 kilometers, this hike will take a full day (likely 11 hours or more) or require an overnight stay at one of the trail’s campsites. Given its length and 1,540 meter elevation gain, this trail takes experienced, adventurous hikers through all of the essential Vancouver landscapes – foggy, mossy forests, alpine lakes, and of course, rocky peaks. From the top, on clear days, you’ll be rewarded with one of the the absolute best views in the entire Vancouver region.

Garibaldi Lake

  • Trail Length: 21 kilometers
  • Location: Lexington, KY

If you’re looking for a slightly shorter hike than Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Lake is a fantastic alternative. This 21-kilometer difficult hike is one of the most popular spots for camping and hiking near Vancouver. This scenic trail will take you through the pine forests and pas waterfalls and scenic viewpoints, before the beautiful finale at the scenic and incredibly gorgeous Garibaldi Lake.

You can choose to hang out here and hike back down or spend a night at the neighboring campsite. At the lake, you’ll find turquoise blue waters and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains in the park. There’s a reason why Garibaldi Lake is such a popular trail – it is an absolutely incredible (and challenging) hike!

Photo Credit: Lisa (Flickr CC)

Black Tusk

  • Trail Length: 25.9 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Another popular trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Black Tusk is visible from many of the other peaks in the area (including Panorama Ridge). As a strenuous, challenging hike, this one definitely isn’t for beginners or those who haven’t experienced alpine hiking before. It’s also a popular spot for a 2-3 day backpacking trip, as there are several campsites along the way. Be sure to bring snow shoes or crampons as the trail usually gets snowy and icy in the winter and shoulder seasons. In the summertime, be prepared to scramble up loose rock the last 2 kilometers. Your hard work will be rewarded by a a 360 degree view of Garibaldi lake, Shark’s Fin, and Mt. Garibaldi.

Crown Mountain

  • Trail Length: 8.9 kilometers
  • Location: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

The trail up to Crown Mountain is a challenging trek that will test your determination and your ankles. What makes this hike especially difficult is the steep hike down to Crown Pass before another steep ascent to the true summit of Crown Mountain, meaning you effectively climb up the mountain twice each way. Be prepared for loos gravel and scrambling with the air of bolted chains. Your view at the top lets you see the gorgeous Capilano Watershed area, and, on an especially clear day, the city of Vancouver in the distance. Hikers can take the Grouse Mountain Skyride up part of the way. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, the Grouse Grind, BCMC Trail, and Hanes Valley trail can all be added on to the start of your summit trek.

Photo Credit: Jay Huang (Flickr CC)

Grouse Grind

  • Trail Length: 2.9 kilometers
  • Location: Grouse Mountain Park

The Grouse Grind is a popular hiking destination located within the borders of Vancouver. Sitting at just under 3 kilometers, this trail takes hikers up a stone and wooden staircase 780 meters to the top of Grouse Mountain. Set aside about 1.5 to 2 hours for this hike. It’s recommended to take the Grouse Mountain Gondola down (free trip downhill) to keep the trail safe from loose gravel pelting down on the ascending hikers. This trail can get crowded during the busy season. At the top of the mountain are cafes, restaurants, and bars, offering a delicious reward to the hikers that finish the grind.

The Lions

  • Trail Length: 12.4 kilometers
  • Location: Lions Bay

An iconic landmark overlooking the Howe Sound, the Lions are two twin peaks north of Vancouver. This 4 hour trail will take you to the ridge of the Lions. Here, you’ll catch stunning views of the Howe Sound and the North Shore mountains. Most of the hike is a steady incline up a gravel path. You’ll pass over a bridge which will be your last chance to refill your water before the top. The “heads” of the Lions are climbable, but they require extensive scrambling and straight-up bouldering. Do NOT attempt without a buddy or if you are afraid of heights.

Photo Credit: ActiveSteve (Flickr CC)

Golden Ears Trail

  • Trail Length: 21.7 kilometers
  • Location: Golden Ears Provincial Park

One of the most epic hikes near Vancouver, Golden Ears trail takes you up to the northern summit of the mountain. This trek is perfect for backpackers, as there are several campsites located within the park, as well as 6 tent platforms near the peak. Panoramic views of Pitt Lake wait at the end of the hike. We wouldn’t recommend this trail to any beginner hikers as the route is very technical. Additionally, the elevation gain means unpredictable climate. There’s an emergency shelter located near the top for hikers who get stranded by bad weather.

Photo Credit: Simon Morris (Flickr CC)

Stawamus Chief

  • Trail Length: 6.1 kilometers
  • Location: Stawamus Chief Park

A classic hike near Vancouver, the Stawamus Chief is a trail that takes hikers up one of the three peaks of this picturesque mountain. This trail is mostly wooden stairs and can get a bit crowded during the summer months. Ascending to the first peak requires climbing a metal ladder.More experienced hikers have the option to ascend all three peaks, adding about 5 kilometers to the trek. This option requires a lot of elevation change but will offer three unique perspectives and views of the Howe Sound and the town of Squamish below.

Photo Credit: JayCWSee (Flickr CC)

Wedgemount Lake

  • Trail Length: 10.3 kilometers
  • Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park

Wedgemount Lake is a gorgeous alpine lake located within Garibaldi Provincial park. This hike is known as one of the most challenging trails in the park, partly due to its steep elevation gain. The trail will initially take you through an old forest and some moderate switchbacks. Eventually, you’ll reach a viewpoint looking out at the 300 meter tall Wedgemount Waterfall. Once you cross the treeline, you’ll scramble up to the British Columbia Mountaineering Club hut. The end of the trail is a short distance further, offering spectacular views of glaciers and Wedgemount Lake, which is known for its radiant turquoise blue color.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Vancouver

What to Pack for Hiking in Vancouver

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links


Known for its massive Stampede and its proximity to the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is a beautiful city that’s perfect for outdoor lovers. Hiking in Calgary is a fantastic (and cheap!) way to enjoy nature in and around the city. Within a few hours’ drive, you can have access to stunning mountaintops, flower-filled meadows, desert-like canyonlands, and evergreen forests. No matter what kind of trail you’re looking for, you can find a place to go hiking near Calgary that will take your breath away! We wrote this guide with 17 of the most beautiful hikes in and near Calgary for all levels – beginners to advanced enthusiasts – so you can plan your next adventure!

Easy Hikes Near Calgary

Bow River Pathway & Prince Island

  • Trail Distance: Up to 48 kilometers total (5 kilometer loop near Prince Island)
  • Location: Downtown Calgary

While there are several short urban hikes in Calgary, our favorite trail by far is the Bow River Pathway. Running for a total of 48 kilometers along the Bow River through the heart of the city, this is one of the most popular trails for running, biking, and hiking in Calgary. With mostly paved, flat trails, this trail is accessible for all levels of hikers.

As you stroll, you can see people fishing or kayaking in the Bow River, epic skyline views of the city, and you’ll even pass by Calgary’s famous bright red Peace Bridge. We’d highly recommend the Prince Island area of the Bow River Pathway if you want a nice blend of nature and city elements along your hike.

Photo Credit: necopunch (Flickr CC)

Grassi Lakes

  • Trail Distance: 4.3 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB (Trailhead GPS: 51.08105, -115.39472)

Located in nearby Canmore, Grassi Lakes is one of the most popular easy hikes near Calgary and is a scenic, fun choice for hikers of all levels. While the trail does include an ascent, which is gradual and involves some stair climbing, the rewards at the top are excellent. You’ll see beautiful views of Ha Ling Peak, as well as the deep turquoise lakes below. If you’re looking for a wonderful, family-friendly spot for hiking (that isn’t too far off the beaten path), Grassi Lakes is a short and fantastic option.

Grotto Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 4 kilometers
  • Location: Grotto Mountain Provincial Recreation Area

As another one of the more well-known hikes near Calgary, the Grotto Canyon trail is a short, easy hike that takes you through huge rock structures and canyon areas. Here, local rock climbers can often be found scaling the vertical rock faces. After you’ve wandered past the rock climbers, you’ll hike through a boulder-filled trail and end at a waterfall, which makes for a really nice picnic spot or a scenic place to take a rest.

Photo Credit: Sabrina Setaro (Flickr CC)

Horseshoe Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 2.9 kilometers
  • Location: Kneehill County (Trailhead GPS: 51.41554, -112.88567)

At less than 1.5 hours from Calgary, Horseshoe Canyon may be one of the most unique spots for hiking near Calgary. With striated rock formations and plateaus, this strange landscape is located near the Canadian Badland. Instead of the common alpine landscapes of the nearby Canadian Rockies, you’ll find a much drier, desert-like landscape at Horseshoe Canyon. Pair a morning hike here with a trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park for a wonderful outdoor getaway near Calgary!

Troll Falls

  • Trail Distance: 3.4 kilometers
  • Location: Kananaskis County, AB (Trailhead GPS: 50.9364, -115.14133)

Known for being a fantastic family-friendly option, Troll Falls is located just over an hour from Calgary and is a great waterfall hike for all levels, including children. It’s just 3.4 kilometers, meaning you can pair it with other hikes in the Kananaskis area or simply take your time along the way. With dirt paths through the forest that lead hikers to a towering waterfall, it’s a nice, short, accessible option for hiking near Calgary. If you choose to hike in the winter, don’t forget to wear microspikes for safety!

Photo Credit: L F (Flickr CC)

Johnston Canyon

  • Trail Distance: 5 kilometers
  • Location: Banff National Park

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular hikes near Calgary, and it’s easy to see why. Waterfalls meet narrow stone gorges with a raging turquoise river in this beautiful and easy cliffside trail, which is perfect for solo hikers, couples and families of all hiking levels. This Banff hike is unique because it consists of a series of cliffside metal bridges that take you through this stunning canyon…no uphills necessary!

There are a few different options for this hike, including a short version that takes hikers right up to the Lower Falls (the first set of falls), or the longer version that extends all the way through the Upper Falls to the “Ink Pots,” a colorful phenomenon that occurs in these natural pools in Banff National Park. If you want to avoid the crowds (and yes, this trail does get crowded), be sure to get started hiking early in the morning.

Ha Ling Peak glows in the distance. Photo Credit: Darren Tennant (Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes Near Calgary

Ha Ling Peak

  • Trail Distance: 8 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB

Open year-round, Ha Ling Peak is arguably one of the popular and most picturesque moderate hikes near Calgary. It’s on the shorter end of the hikes in Canmore, at 8 kilometers out and back. But don’t let Ha Ling Peak’s distance fool you – the hike is actually decently challenging, as you’ll ascend well over 800 meters one way in about 4 kilometers.

The peak itself rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the Bow Valley below, as well as nearby East End of Rundle and Lady MacDonald peaks. As this trail is among the most popular day hikes near Calgary, we’d recommend starting very early to find parking and beat the crowds (plus catch the early morning alpenglow on the mountains!).

Photo Credit: Terry Lawson (Flickr CC)

Ptarmigan Cirque

  • Trail Distance: 4.3 kilometers
  • Location: Kananaskis County, AB

For gorgeous mountain views in a glacier-carved cirque, the Ptarmigan Cirque trail is a fantastic, moderate trail for hiking near Calgary. Beloved by locals, this trail is fairly short, but has a lot of variety to offer along its gradual slopes. You’ll pass by jaw-dropping views of the surrounding peaks, tiny waterfalls in the rocks, and lots of beautiful wooded areas. This trail is especially beautiful in the fall, when the larches turn orange and bright yellow amidst the blue backdrop of the mountains.

Photo Credit: nucksfan604 (Flickr CC)

Plain of Six Glaciers

  • Trail Distance: 15 kilometers
  • Location: Banff National Park (Park at Lake Louise)

As one of the most popular trails for hiking in Banff National Park, the longer, more difficult (and arguably more beautiful) sister of the Lake Agnes Tea House hike is the Plain of Six Glaciers trail. Rocky, winding dirt trails take hikers from the crowded shores of Lake Louise into secluded getaways deep in the Rocky Mountains. In our opinion, this is one of the most spectacular hiking trails in Banff National Park, and we’d recommend doing this one if you’ve got limited time in the park.

Visitors can expect to see beautiful, towering glaciers, craggy mountain peaks, and scenic passes through the wilderness. In the summer, hikers can stop for a quick rest at the Plain of Six Glaciers tea house, where they serve hot beverages and snacks for passers-by.

But before descending back down the way you came, be sure to stop by Abbots Pass for some of the most jaw-dropping views in the park.

How to get there: Park in the Lake Louise parking lot, pass the Chateau Lake Louise, and take the trail head that begins to the right of the lake at the edge of the forest. Once you are there, you will see signs to the Plain of Six Glaciers hike (it’s the same one as the Lake Agnes Trail).

Hoo Doo Trail

  • Trail Distance: 3.5 kilometers
  • Location: Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park

Try not to get too confused: there are several hikes in Alberta called the Hoo Doo Trail, but the one we’re talking about is in Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park. With 3.5 kilometers of pathways through the strange, eerie “hoodoo” rock formations of the park, you’ll see why this trail is one of the most notable hikes in Calgary and the surrounding areas. The drier terrain in this area of Alberta is a welcome change to the otherwise evergreen, alpine scenery farther north.

Photo Credit: mark goble (Flickr CC)

East End of Rundle (EEOR)

  • Trail Distance: 5.6 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB

One of our personal favorite hikes near Calagary is East End of Rundle, lovingly called EEOR by locals. This moderate to difficult hike isn’t for the faint of heart – while it’s not too technical, you’ll certainly need to use your hands and do some scrambling to reach the summit, especially once you’ve cleared the tree line. However, along the way, you’ll see beautiful views of the Bow Valley, nearby Ha Ling Peak, and the surrounding mountains.

Note that there are a few false trails that stray away from the main area – be sure to take note of your surroundings and make sure you follow the same pathway down from the top of the mountain as you did when you ascended.

Resting on a rock after completing the chain course on the Mount Yamnuska Trail

Difficult Hikes Near Calgary

Mount Yamnuska

  • Trail Distance: 11 kilometers
  • Location: Bow Valley Provincial Park

By far, Mount Yamnuska is one of our favorite adrenaline-pumping, muscle-throbbing hikes in Calgary and the surrounding areas. Known as the “gateway to the Canadian Rockies,” this 11-kilometer trail takes you through an evergreen forest, up a steep rocky scramble, around a chain cliffhanger (seriously), and up to the summit of this iconic Canmore peak. It’s a whopping 900+ meters of elevation gain, so be ready for some SERIOUS uphills and downhills if you choose to tackle this one.

Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass

  • Trail Distance: 17.5 kilometers
  • Location: Banff National Park

One of the most incredible day hikes near Calgary, Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass is a challenging but memorable hike to tackle. Located in Banff National Park, his full-day hike brings you to some of the best landscapes in the park, including many peaceful, secluded lakes, and panoramic views of the park.

Although this is the longest challenging hike on our list, it’s well worth the effort for a full day of adventuring through alpine trails and forests.

Throughout the hike, you might see some wildlife, including little chubby marmots (that we thought were adorable!). You’ll pass through Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Lake, both perfect places for a snack or a break. You also have the option of summiting Mount Bourgeau, although it is definitely a difficult scramble!

Photo Credit: Andres Alvarado (Flickr CC)

Mount Lady MacDonald

  • Trail Distance: 9.9 kilometers
  • Location: Canmore, AB

The Mount Lady MacDonald hike, named after the wife of the first Prime Minister of Canada, is a challenging trail that has breathtaking views start to finish. We definitely would not recommend this hike for beginners, but experienced hikers will absolutely have a blast. You’ll walk through evergreen forests, past a heli-pad, and all the way up to the rocky, scree-filled summit. Be prepared for some wind! We’d strongly recommend trekking poles for this one, as there are a lot of difficult ascents where they could come in handy.

Smutwood Peak

  • Trail Distance: 17.9 kilometers
  • Location: Kananaskis County

Easily one of the most beautiful summit views near Calgary, Smutwood Peak’s trail isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll hike, you’ll scramble, and you’ll gawk and the stunning, stunning views of the ridge and the alpine lakes and valleys below. Definitely not for the faint of heart, this long but vastly beautiful trail is best for experienced hikers who have already summited other peaks in the area. This hike is best to do in the summer or fall, when the snow has mostly melted.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Calgary

What to Pack for Hikes in Calgary

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

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