Banff National Park - Sundance Canyon
Alberta, Canada travel tourism
Sundance Canyon is a hiking and sightseeing trail starting from the Cave and Basin National Historic Site located west of Banff, Alberta, Canada in the Banff National Park. The hiking trail enjoys views of the Bow River, the Cave and Basin Wetlands and and a canyon.
The Sundance Canyon Trail is a one-way 4.3 kilometre route following a paved pathway and a single track dirt trail into a canyon. The trail is considered easy-going with an elevation gain of 145 metres only. The return time on this trip is between 3-4 hours.
This Banff National Park trail is a popular recreation route for activities like hiking, sightseeing, birdwatching and horseback riding. The trail accesses other trails in the region like Brewster Creek and Sulphur Mountain. The area is a popular horseback riding destination with tours operating in the region.
From the Cave and Basin parking lot the trail follows a wide, level paved walkway for 3.3 kilometres. Most of the paved route follows the shores of the Bow River. There are viewing benches located along this portion of the route. And at about the one kilometre point on the trail there is an access trail, on your right, connecting to the Marsh Loop Trail.
The first 3 kilometres of the paved route is exposed to sunshine with little shade cover. At the end of the paved section there is a 1 kilometre single track dirt trail entering into the forest which leads to the canyon.
At the trailhead entrance there are some directional signs, a trail map and information about Sundance Canyon. To the side are some picnic tables, a shelter and a bike rack - bikes are not permitted beyond the this point.
The Sundance Canyon Trail is a loop trail. It starts off low following the bank of a creek, crossing over a wooden foot bridge leading to a small waterfall.
The Banff park trail then loops back by climbing up some rock steps and tree root ladders - taking the high road - so to eventually loop back, behind the canyon, leading out onto a ridge and hiking back through the forest.
The trail soon drops back down to the creek and reconnects with the main trail. Once again back at the trailhead, hikers walk back 3.3 kilometres along the same paved walkway to the parking lot.
How to Get to Sundance Canyon
Travel south on Main Street (Banff Avenue) in the village of Banff, Alberta, Canada and cross the Bow River Bridge. At the stop lights turn west and follow the road for 1.5 kilometres to the parking lot at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. The trailhead is located near the main building.