Sunshine Meadows in Banff National Park could easily be considered one of Alberta’s most scenic hikes—and the real beauty of it is that you don’t even have to work that hard to enjoy the million-dollar views. Located in the popular Sunshine Village ski resort, the trails open up as soon as the snow melts, revealing plenty of well-marked trails which wind past piercing blue lakes, fragrant meadows bursting with wildflowers and spectacular vantage points of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Those used to frequenting the resort during winter may be surprised to see where the trails begin: at the top of the Standish quad chairlift, where there just so happens to be a huge wooden platform overlooking the pristine valley spread out below. It’s usually buried under several metres of snow, but once the white stuff melts it’s the perfect place to enjoy views of the tranquil alpine lakes dotting the landscape, including Larynx, Grizzly and Rock Isle.
The panoramic vistas are reason enough to make the trip out, but there’s another advantage to picking this scenic spot for a day hike: you don’t actually need to hike. While fit folks may be inclined to tackle the trails from the base of the village which can add an additional two hours of hiking through thick forests, most people take the easy route and book a seat on the bus or gondola, then hop on the Standish chairlift to summit the 2,400 metre elevation.
From there, the landscape opens up and the walking trails are mostly flat, making them accessible for all ages and skill levels. The meadows straddle the Continental Divide between Alberta and British Columbia, and the canopy of vibrant flowers framed by the towering Rocky Mountains make the scenery unforgettable no matter which route you pick. However, no visit is complete without a jaunt around Rock Isle, which is the area’s crown jewel.
Budget a couple of hours to meander along the trails, or kick it up a notch and spend a full day tackling Quartz Ridge or Healy Pass. No matter which path you take, a day at Sunshine Meadows is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
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Wow what great scenery! I have lived in Alberta for most of my life and I didn’t know that there were such great trails at Sunshine. The photos of Rock Isle would be worth the hike alone, I love that lake.
Isn’t it amazing? I hadn’t been until last year either!
Ahhh, I really want to go to Banff. Actually, I NEED to get to Canada in general. Such a stunning looking place. Tough decision whether to go for the snow or those beautiful summer views you have been seeing. Those reflections look amazing!
Canada is one of the most beautiful country I’ve been to. This sunshine meadows is spectacular. I love the views. I would totally do this hike.
What a spectacular place. I mean look at those clouds. Banff is high up on my national parks list, though a little out of the way still, from Oregon.
Not too far from Oregon, relatively speaking!
Direct 2 hour flights daily from Portland to Calgary – you can be there by lunch time!
I love visiting national parks and Sunshine Meadows looks stunning. I’d love to visit it someday. Your photos are beautiful.
Visiting Banff has been so high on my wish list! The Sunshine Meadows hike looks particularly spectacular, those views are incredible. With so many trekking trails, it can be overwhelming to decide, thanks for highlighting this particular trek!
The photos explain it for itself. Banff looks so peaceful. And that Rock Isle really completes it. I can imagine the water refelcting its surrounding so perfectly.
Banff is one of our favorite places–it is so gorgeous there! We are hoping to make another trip there this summer, so we will definitely have to check out Sunshine Meadows. Thanks for the suggestion–the views look amazing and we are always looking for hikes we haven’t tried yet!
WwoooowwwwW such a beautiful scenic place. Was not aware that Banff is such a beautiful place. Would love to visit it as soon as possible now 🙂
You have no idea on how I fell in love with this! I love great landscapes! Instagrammable place! I was actually looking to get a Canadian visa so I can see all these right before my eyes!