Beautiful day hike in Banff: Giant Steps and Paradise Valley


This is not a very difficult hike, but it is a long day hike. You can continue on through to Sentinel Pass-Moraine Lake for about the same out-and-back distance on Paradise Valley to Giant Steps, but you’ll need a shuttle. We did the Sentinel Pass hike on a separate day. This is a highly recommended hike with close to 5 out of 5 stars on Alltrails and ranked as a moderate hike.

You can expect to hike about 20km with a 753m elevation gain on this route. There were some muddy patches during our hike in September 2018. I’ve read of some hikers who have done this trail earlier in the summer and it was less muddy. The campgrounds around the area are closed during the peak summer months due to grizzly activity. So do check with the Banff National Park backcountry office. Always have your bear spray and make noise on the trail, especially if you notice any bear scat or prints.

Bear spray exchange / donation
Also, if I could suggest this to the outdoor shops selling bear spray: Can you please have a refund or exchange policy for unopened and unused bear sprays? It can definitely help reduce the waste of having to throw out the unused bottle. I'm hoping they get picked up by another hiker when we leave them behind at the hotels. Since we aren't able to take them with us if we're boarding any planes.
Here’s Lake Annette, against the backdrop of Mt Temple. I love shoulder season hiking with fewer traffic on the trail but also the autumn views from hikes when the valleys turn into magical wonderlands of brightly coloured hues contrasted against the snowcapped mountain and the blue lakes.

Lake Annette

What’s not to love about this hike? Lake Annette is beautiful as you see in the photos above. Once you hike past Lake Annette, you’ll find yourself traversing through beautiful larches with the open amazing views of the peaks around the valley. I just can’t get over how beautiful it was and how lucky we were to be able to walk through and experience the valley of majestic and massive peaks.

Paradise Valley

The views on this trail were amazing.

Giant Steps

You know when you are the Giant Steps when you see the unique rock formations from the Precambrian period. They get their name as they do look like giant steps. It feels like you are trespassing in the land of giants when you hop and climb from one ‘step’ to another.

The Canadian Rockies are largely composed of sedimentary rock which includes shale, sandstone, dolomite and limestone. The bulk of the geologic formations in the Banff area range in age from the Precambrian to the Jurassic periods (600–145 m.y.a.).

How the weather has changed on the return. It was bright and sunny on the way in and cloudy as we headed out.
The walk back to the trailhead

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