Our favorite dog-friendly trails in Banff

By Fred Jéquier

When heading out on a glamping adventure to somewhere like Banff in Alberta, Canada—with its trails galore, forests to explore, and lakes to navigate—many of us would relish the opportunity to share the experience with the four-legged members of our families. We've all been on vacations when, much to their indignation, we couldn't take our beloved canine pals, but by taking your dog to Banff, they'll stop hounding you to include them in your getaway plans.

Keep on reading to find out where you should stay and our favorite trails to hike in this beautiful corner of Canada!

Finding the perfect pad

Before you can set off on a hike with your dog, you first have to pick out that perfect, pet-friendly accommodation. With some wonderful options to choose from for your trip, you can grab those leashes, stock up on treats, and give your furry companion the vacation they deserve!

1. Dog house or dog palace?

This cabin with incredible mountain views will certainly give you paws for thought. It's not just pet-friendly, but it is perfect for a large family vacation, or even a group getaway. Set just outside of Calgary, Alberta, you and your dog can be hiking through Banff National Park together in under an hour.

2. A Golden opportunity

Another great location for you and your pet to relax after a busy day of exploring the forest and discovering new scents is Golden, British Columbia. Just over an hour's drive from Lake Louise, this fabulous cabin will leave even the smartest retriever thinking it's too far-fetched to be true! Glampers can kayak, and puppies can paddle while enjoying the comforts of this charming woodland cabin.

3. "Choose your own adventure" glamping

For a more rustic experience, glampers can opt for a cozy accommodation like this retro campervan, whose homebase is just south of Calgary, Alberta. Perfect for couples and hounds alike, the campervan set up by the hosts wherever guests would like, including any of the many campsites near Banff National Park. While the campervan must stay in one place, you and your canine companion most certainly don't have to and will be able to easily take advantage of the National Park's many trails together.

Pet-Friendly Trails

Now that you've found the ideal spot to stay with your four-legged friend, you can start to think about what you want to do in Banff National Park. You want to see as much as you can, while ensuring that your pet has an equally memorable time exploring the park. The perfect solution? There are plenty of different trail options available, varying in length, location, and difficulty.

1. Mistaya Canyon

This trail may be on the short side for the more seasoned explorer, but it's not to be sniffed at! Suitable for hikers of all skill levels and located about five kilometers south of Saskatchewan Crossing, the Mistaya Canyon Trail is a scenic hike. Just over a kilometer long, it features mesmerizing rock formations, rushing water, and several beautiful waterfalls.

2. Tunnel Mountain Trail

The Tunnel Mountain Trail is just under four kilometers long, starting on the edge of the town of Banff itself. There are some steep parts to walk up, but neither you nor your dog will find it too ruff, as there is time for you to catch your breath and bring a halt to any puffing and panting as the trail levels out in sections. When you get to the top, the climb will absolutely have been worth it. The views of Banff, and the surrounding mountains and forest are breathtaking!

3. Skoki Mountain Loop Trail

If you are hoping to unleash your inner hardcore trekker, this trail is the ideal choice. Nearly 40 kilometers in length, this looped trail features stunning views of Banff National Park and a lake that is perfect for enjoying on any particularly warm days. The Skoki Mountain Loop Trail is sure to be a great day out for both you and your right-hound man. Don't be surprised if any younger pups expect a helping paw to get to the finish line!

Park Rules

It's important to remember that those wagging tails lapping up their vacation time won't be the only members of the animal kingdom in the area. The National Park is home to a host of wildlife, and this means there are certain rules that dogs and their humans need to adhere to. Here are just a few important ones to remember, but glampers should also check out Alberta Animal Health Source for a more in-depth look at the rules.

1. Leashes

Dogs will need to stay on their leash while enjoying their day of hiking. With animals, such as black bears, cougars, and bison, living in the park, you'll want to make sure your pup stays close by. To give them a bit more freedom, the leash can be up to three meters long, so they can still have a sniff around.

2. Meeting the residents

If you do come across any of the local wildlife, such as elk or deer, give them a wide berth, especially during calving season. Sadly, these otherwise majestic creatures can't tell the difference between a friendly wagging tail saying "Hello!" and a wolf or coyote with less friendly intentions, so they won't be welcoming to any canine visitors.

3. Sunny days = hot cars

It's vital to remember not to leave your furry friend in the car, especially on a hot day. Besides, you wouldn't want to take your dog all that way just to leave them waiting for you while you enjoy the National Park, would you? Even if you're just popping into the shop on the way back to your accommodation, try to take your buddy along. They may enjoy having a look at a new town just as much as you.


For more information about Banff National Park, check out our in-depth travel guide, filled with information, tips, and ideas, for your glamping adventure in Alberta, Canada!