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Trail Finder: Tunnel Mountain Trail, Banff, Alberta, Canada

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Cover photo: Tunnel Mountain, Tatonka, The Sleeping Buffalo. Photo credit: Olga Erosova 

Editor's note: Last week, Obozmobile master Dave Dolph and a team of brand partners led a group of hikers up Tunnel Mountain to culminate nine amazing days of film and connection at Banff Mountain Film. Ambassador Shauna Morey was along to lend a hand and offered this hiking guide.

rsz img 6373Sunrise Hike participants all ready to start their day with an exhilarating hike up Tunnel Mountain before breakfast during the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Photo: Shauna Morey

Trailhead: Access begins in the Town of Banff, at the trailhead parking lot off St. Julien Road; 0.3 km south of Wolf Street.

Trail type: Out and Back

Distance: 1.4 Miles (2.3 km), +/-  990 ft (300 m)

Duration: 1.5 Hoursrsz img 6389

Two happy hikers enjoying views just before the summit of Tunnel Mountain. Photo: Shauna Morey

The hike: This trail can be hiked any day of the year and rises steadily, but gently, up out from the valley to the top of Banff’s smallest mountain, and offers amazing vistas of the Bow Valley. Although this hike starts in a town, the wilderness is ever present, listen to the boop boop of the Raven, watch out for deer, elk, or one of many other charismatic mega fauna, bears, cougars or wolves; they have all been spotted here! A good reason to be observant, give wildlife at least a 300 ft (100 m) birth, make noise, dawn your bear spray and know how to use it. Many locals and traveler’s still hike this trail in inclement weather, as did the Oboz team during a very snowy and cold demo day with the Banff Mountain Film Festival!rsz img 6387

Nearing the top! Early risers enjoying the Sunrise Hike during the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Photo: Shauna Morey

Level of Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Highlights: This trail winds its way up switchbacks through forests spotted with Juniper, Lodgepole Pine and Engelmann Spruce to the summit of Tunnel Mountain, know as Tatonka: Sleeping Buffalo, named by the indigenous for how the east face looks from afar.  

Before reaching the summit one is greeted with views of Sulphur Mountain to the south-west, the Rundle Massive which runs 11.25 mi (18 km) eastward to Canmore , and the cliffs on the east side of Tunnel Mountain, sometimes dotted with rock climbers.  

Once at the summit enjoy amazing views of the Town of Banff, Cascade Mountain and The Bow Valley to the west. The Bow Valley is a large U shaped trough carved by glaciation, extending from Lake Louise eastward, just imagine the valley filled with ice to the tops of the peaks!   

Refuel: Eddie Burger in Banff, the best burgers and milk-shakes around!

Shauna is a Canadian Guide offering Hiking, Backpacking, Winter Walks and Nordic Ski Instruction and tours in the Canadian Rockies, find her at Freeheelin’ Adventures.

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