The Tunnel Mountain hike 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.

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Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course next to Mount Rundle.

Tunnel Mountain Hike Near Banff Town

Bernese mountain dog on the Tunnel Mountain trail
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Berner Bella enjoys any opportunity to play in the snow! Tunnel Mountain is dog-friendly.

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
Dog-friendly: Yes
Features: The Tunnel Mountain hike 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.

Hiking to the Tunnel Mountain Summit

The Tunnel Mountain trailhead
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Crossing Tunnel Mountain Drive on my way to the upper trailhead.

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!)

The view of Banff from Tunnel Mountain hike
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Looking down at the town of Banff in the wintertime.
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Belle taking a little break on the trail.

Great Hike For Any Season

Tunnel Mountain view from summit
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The view from Tunnel Mountain in the spring.

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.

Read more: XC Skiing Moraine Lake Road in Banff National Park (Perfect For Beginners!)

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Elk near the Tunnel Mountain trailhead.
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View of Banff Town from Tunnel Mountain. Excellent place to get the lay of the land!
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Tunnel Mountain is a great hike all year round.

Have you hiked Tunnel Mountain in the wintertime? What winter hike would you recommend in Banff National Park? Leave a comment below!


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Banff’s Tunnel Mountain Hike is Wonderful in Winter via @outandacross
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