why Tunnel Mountain is the best first summit

Why Tunnel Mountain is the Best First Summit

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I’ve always wanted to summit a mountain. To get the unapparelled views of the surrounding for the very top. When we planned a trip to Kananaskis last summer I immediately set out to find a good hike for us to do.  When looking at neighbouring Banff, I stumbled on the Tunnel Mountain Hike, and it was a no-brainer. Hike in the beautiful Rockies, and summit my first mountain.

Tunnel Mountain is Banff’s smallest summit, located right in town. After doing some research I was promised a relatively easy hike. 4.3 km (up and down) with a gain of 300m of elevation. My hiking experience at the time was pretty limited, and my summit experience was absolutely zilch, so this sounded like something right up my alley. The promise of 360° views of the townsite, and surrounding peaks sounded like just the motivation I would need to get the top.

There are two parking areas. One offers quite a number of stalls and there is a short walk up to the second. This parking area, where we parked, only has about 6 stalls and in early August they are in high demand. The earlier you go the better off you’ll be. not just for parking, but for heat and business of the trail as well.

The Hike

The trail is wide and well-maintained with switchbacks the lead you up the mountainside, leaving the vertical gain very manageable. You walk easily through the trees and towards the top of the mountain, with plenty of gorgeous area with photo ops of the surrounding landscapes. While there is switchback there are points on the trail where the grade is still substantial, you are still climbing a mountain.

At one point we reached an area and I was sure that we were at the top, also we were not, and a kind lady told me we had just a little further so we ventured on.

When we got to the top there was no doubt, the signage made it clear. there is a wide open area perfect for picnics, although I hear there is a grassy meadow a little further down the trail I didn’t know about at the time. The views of the townsite below and surrounding mountains and river are spectacular. Exactly what I needed after the hike up the mountain. After a quick water and snack break, we headed back down the way we came. Providing the same useful information to people, “you’re almost there!”

The trail is very popular, so if you’re looking to be alone you may want to find another. It is a great first summit and easy hike for both children and dogs. For my first summit, it inspired me to add more to the list, both for us to do solo, as well as family friendly.

Tunnel Mountain Trail Information

  • Elevation Gain: 300 meters (948 feet)
  • Time: 2 to 3 hours round trip
  • Distance: 4.3 km (2.7 miles) round-trip
  • This trail is very popular and can get crowded in the summer and early fall months. Beat the crowds by hiking early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Tunnel Mountain Trailhead

Lower Trailhead: In downtown Banff, from the southern end of Banff Ave., turn east on Buffalo St. (turns into Wolverine) to St. Julien Rd. Continue until parking lot on your left where a sign marks the trailhead.

Upper Trailhead: Continue past the Banff Centre. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road from the Tunnel Mountain viewpoint parking area. This parking area is small as mentioned but shortens the hike to 3.6km.

 

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Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit
Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit

13 comments

Jennifer – Libby and Lu

This looks like so much fun!I love the pictures and now I want to give this a try 🙂

I definitely recommend it.

What a beautiful hike!

Hard to find one that isn’t.

Recently tried indoor climbing and now I’m hooked! Awesome post!

I hope I love it as much as you did!

It really is

Sounds like quite the adventure! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

thanks for reading

I love hiking mountains and hope to do it more when our kids will grow up.

http://travelfamilyblog.com/kayak-and-paddle-surf-with-kids-how-we-are-preparing-our-kids-for-a-full-day-kayak

I hope to get my youngest started next year.

you got some amazing pictures up there!

the views are fantastic

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