Explore Canada’s rugged backcountry by foot to encounter alpine lakes, dipping valleys, meadows with wildflowers, and other ethereal scenery. Walking through the secluded Canadian Rockies whisks you away from the woes of reality into nature’s storybook, where exciting adventures create future folklore to share with your family and friends.
You’ll find unmatched excursions carved throughout the various national parks in the Canadian Rockies: Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Waterton National Park, Kootenay National Park, and Yoho National Park. Discover some of the top backpacking trips in the Canadian Rockies below!
How to book your backpacking trip
You will have to book well in advance through Parks Canada, and you can book Assiniboine two months in advance via BC Parks.
First, we suggest going through an itinerary to see which campsites you need to book, then checking to ensure all are free on the dates you want to go. It’s also a good idea to map out how many kilometers you’ll hike each day to estimate which campsite will work for you if there are options available.
Note that you’ll likely need a backcountry permit as well!
If the thought of plotting a backcountry trip causes you to pull your hair and scratch your head with stress, booking a guided tour through a reputable company such as 10Adventures may benefit you.
Sunshine to Assiniboine in Banff National Park/Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
It’s hard to describe the Sunshine to Assiniboine Trek, but some words that may sum up its beauty are: breathtaking, surreal, and unforgettable. This adventurous trek grants a highlight reel of quintessential Canadian scenery, ranging from bright blue lakes surrounded by snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, gorgeous passes, and more.
The Sunshine to Assiniboine Backpacking Trail traverses 54km, covering 1555m elevation in three to five days!
Skyline Backpacking Trail in Jasper National Park
Experience unobstructed views of the Canadian Rockies as you traverse above the treeline for 20km of this trail, likely the reason behind the name Skyline Backpacking Trail. Expect to revel in green valleys and bright blue bodies of water cradled by towering peaks. However, know that this is a challenging backcountry camping excursion, requiring a lot of stamina. Thankfully, the trail isn’t too technical, so you can focus on the scenery while your heart pounds against your chest.
The Skyline Backpacking Trail carries you across 40.9km, with an elevation gain of 1500m, over two to three days. Remember to pack rain gear and wind breakers to brace the weather through exposed areas.
Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park
Exploring the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park will feel like you’ve stepped into an entertaining book, with every page turn revealing an enticing plot twist. Seriously though, the Rockwall Trail provides fun, jaw-dropping views at every turn. Your stomach might be rumbling after burning so many calories, but your eyes will feast on glaciers, peaks, creeks, waterfalls, lakes, wildflowers, wildlife, and the Rockwall itself. A fan favourite along this route is Floe Lake, a rustic, clear blue lake backed by a wall of snow-capped peaks. Some of you might be lucky enough to book a campsite right by the lake!
The Rockwall Trail stretches 52.6km, boasting an elevation gain of 2982m, over four to five days. This is a challenging but highly rewarding trail! Keep in mind that this is a popular route, so you will likely have to wait in line (online) to book your campsites via Parks Canada whenever reservations open up for the season. However, you might be able to book last minute if other backpackers drop out!
Getting to Canada’s stunning backcountry makes for an exciting, memorable adventure. Before you go, remember to brush up on your bear safety tips, leave no trace principles, and as many safety, packing, and cooking tips as possible. It’s essential to do your research before heading into the unhinged wild!