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Tunnel Mountain Hike: 7 Amazing Tips For Everybody

Tunnel Mountain Hike

Tunnel Mountain Hike is an easy to moderately strenuous hike that can be done from Banff Town. This is an excellent family activity.

The shortest mountain to climb in Banff, Tunnel Mountain rises around 300 meters above sea level. The Mountain may be reached by a few mild switchbacks. For those looking for a simple mountain trek close to Banff Townsite, the Tunnel Mountain hike is perfect.

Native Americans once referred to the mountain as Sleeping Buffalo Mountain because it is what it seems to be when viewed from some angles. The peak was given the name Tunnel Mountain when a planned route for the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) was about to be blown through it. The peak was circumvented using a far less expensive alternative path, but the moniker Tunnel Mountain stuck.

Spectacular views of the Banff Townsite, the Banff Springs Hotel, the Bow Valley, and the beautiful surroundings can be had from Tunnel Mountain.

Photo by Kevin Noble on Unsplash

Guide To Tunnel Mountain Hike

The route turns around and continues over the cliffs that face east after the peak. From here, one can view the Bow Valley and the slopes of the imposing Mount Rundle, as well as the Banff Springs golf course.

The 27-hole Banff Springs championship golf course travels along the Bow River and is surrounded by the stunning Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle snow-capped peaks.

1. Basic Details Of Tunnel Mountain Hike

  • Distance – Distance 4.8 km (2.8 miles) return hike from the trailhead.
  • Walking Duration –The return hike takes 1.5 to 2 hours which depends upon fitness level.
  • Total Hill Climb (ascent/descent) – 270 meters (885 feet)
  • Difficulty– Easy to Moderate.
  • Tunnel Mountain Trailhead– Tunnel Parking Lot

2. How To Reach

Driving, using a public bus, or walking are the three ways to travel from downtown Banff to the trailhead of The Tunnel Mountain.

2.1. Walk

You may simply start hiking in town because the trailhead is about 1 km from the city’s center.

2.2. Driving

The top and lower parking areas near the trailhead are both less than five minutes drive from Downtown Banff.

2.3. Bus

From the city center, take the Roam Transportation Route 2 bus to Tunnel Mountain.

3. Tunnel Mountain Hike Location

The Tunnel Mountain Hike road is clearly defined and ascends the mountain’s eastern slope via a series of medium switchbacks until it reaches its summit. Although the walk begins in a forest, there are some lovely views of the town through trailside gaps in the trees.

Enjoy views of Bow Valley and the Banff Springs Hotel while travelling. There are also lovely vistas with fantastic views of Mount Rundle closer to the peak.

The neighbouring mountains, notably Sulphur Mountain and Cascade Mountain, look magnificent from the summit.

Photo by Tim Stief on Unsplash

4. From Tunnel Mountain Trailhead To Summit – Access The Best

  • Start your Tunnel Mountain Hike at dawn or sunset.
  • Bring either micro spikes or snowshoes if you walk Tunnel Mountain in the winter, depending on the weather.
  • To appreciate the vistas, take some time to relax at Tunnel Mountain’s peak with a picnic and some card games.
  • To avoid crowds, start your Tunnel Mountain Hike early in the day or late at night.
  • To conserve the surrounding plants, stay on the route.
  • You should bring a bug suit for the Tunnel Mountain Hike because it will be quiet mosquitoes in July and August. For trekking, Prefer a bug suit rather than an insect spray because it’s less cumbersome and toxic-free.

5. Best Time To Hike Tunnel Mountain

Banff Avenue and the Tunnel Mountain hike are accessible year-round for hiking. In the summer, you will surely find the busy trail. Winter hike is an easy hike here, although ice cleats are advised because the route can get frozen and extremely slick.

You should start your hike early in the day to avoid excessive traffic as this is a fairly popular track. Visit Banff National Park at the proper time to extract all the seasonal benefits.

6. Packing And Preferable Footwear

Knowing just what to carry for a trek might feel intimidating, especially if you’re a novice hiker. You may find extreme packing, a little uncanny. But believe it, your hike will be smooth once you realize you do not lack anything from the list.

6.1. PD Capture Clip

Most hikers use Peak Design’s Capture Clip is a reliable, secure, and incredibly practical way to transport your camera when out trekking or camping.

6.2. Hydration Reservoir

The importance of a hydration reservoir cannot be overstated. It keeps you hydrated on the route and contains 2L+ of water. Use the 2L Hydrapak since it has a removable tube and never leaks.

6.3. Day Pack

Look for features like a sternum strap, a hip belt with pockets, and a back ventilation system in a high-quality daypack.

6.4. Waterproof Jacket

The most crucial layer for your Tunnel Mountain Hike is a waterproof jacket since it keeps you warm and shields you from wind and precipitation. Carry a pair of waterproof trousers in case it starts to rain. Additionally, a puffer jacket serves as a warm layer in the winter months.

In the winter, it’s an advantage because the Tunnel Mountain Hike path is well-liked and crowded. Normally, there is enough traffic to keep the snow compressed and comprehensible. Snowshoes are only necessary when there has been a recent snowfall.

It is advised that you put ice cleats on your footwear because if there is ice on the trails, it can be quite treacherous.

Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

7. Safety Measures To Be Taken

Winter trekking has its own unique set of difficulties. Be careful to plan and be ready for unforeseen circumstances before beginning the Tunnel Mountain Hike.

Wintertime visibility may be compromised by fresh snowfall and decreased sunshine hours. Take a light with you, preferably a headlamp. Always keep a map and navigating equipment with you. The blazes may be obscured by snow in addition to the Tunnel Mountain Trail, which is frequently covered with it.

Your body still needs water and electrolytes when it’s chilly. Keep in mind these hydration guidelines and drink on the water whenever you pause.

One excellent piece of advice to remember includes clothing correctly for the hiking location and weather, bringing light food for longer hikes, and being sensible with your physical limitations. It is advised to carry bear spray as well to protect yourself from wild animals.


Canada’s first national park, Banff National Park, was established in 1885. From its modest beginnings as a 26 square kilometre hot springs reserve, Banff National Park has expanded to 6,641 square kilometres of unparalleled alpine magnificence snuggled in the heart of the breathtaking Canadian Rockies.


This short and simple Banff climb may not provide the same harsh pristine wilderness vistas as other of the park’s more isolated peaks, but it does provide a quick stroll with lovely views within just easy reach of the town of Banff. That is why this is one of the most summited mountains in Banff, and maybe the entire Rockies.

Tunnel Mountain may be reached by car from either the top or lower trailhead. the toe of Tunnel Mountain’s proximity to the Banff townsite, it’s best to begin your walk from wherever you’re staying rather than driving up toward one of the Tunnel Mountain parking lots.

Some of Parks Canada’s red chairs may be seen on the top (1,690 m/5,543 ft above sea level). Especially on a warm day, relax and take in the view.

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Pooja Thakur

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