The Tunnel Mountain trail in Banff should not be underestimated, even though it’s quite short and sweet. In fact, it’s the shortest summit in all of Banff National Park. It’s also one of the best winter trails around. Located just outside of Banff’s downtown, this easy summit is perfect for any season and any hiker looking for some fresh mountain air.
About Tunnel Mountain Trail
Location: Banff National Park
Distance: 4.5 kilometres out and back
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (slippery in the winter)
Elevation: 300 metre gain
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Features: The Tunnel Mountain trail features nice views of Banff Town and the surrounding mountain range.
Remember: You’ll need a Banff Park Pass to park your vehicle at the trailhead.
Winter Hiking in Banff at Tunnel Mountain
Banff is a popular spot for a reason. After strolling the streets of downtown Banff, head over to the Tunnel Mountain trailhead (lower parking) on St. Julian Road just minutes away. The upper trailhead on Tunnel Mountain Drive is not accessible to vehicles in the winter months.
The Tunnel Mountain hike is just over 2 kilometres one way and gains about 300 metres. This is a short and sweet hike with remarkable reward; easily one of the best summits for novice hikers at 1,692 metres. Take your time at the top to enjoy the panoramic views of Banff Town and the surrounding mountain range.
I’ve ventured up Tunnel with just hiking boots in the winter, but it can be slippery on the icy descent. I bought Hillsound trail crampons this year and have been so impressed with their performance. They’re now a staple in my winter hiking pack!
Read more: 5 Easy Hikes for Rocky Mountain Rookies (Plus a Bonus!)
Great Hike For Any Season
In the Rockies, going from summer to winter hiking requires some extra research and planning. Is there avalanche risk? What’s the temperature? What gear do you need? How do you keep water from freezing? The good news is that there’s no avalanche risk on Tunnel Mountain. But before venturing out, make sure to pack proper winter gear… including layers!
I’ve hiked Tunnel Mountain a few times. In summer or winter, this short trail is a great spot to get some fresh air and exercise. Tunnel is a good introduction to the Rocky Mountains, and a nice options for a quicker trip. It’ll leave you wanting more.
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Have you hiked Tunnel Mountain in the wintertime? What winter hike would you recommend in Banff National Park? Leave a comment below!