Cascade Mountain is arguably one of the most iconic peaks that you can see from the Banff townsite. If you’re walking along Banff Avenue towards the bridge, turn around and look behind you – that’s Cascade Mountain (as long as it’s not cloudy!). This isn’t just a lucky coincidence, Banff Avenue as planned out in this way to line up with Cascade Mountain.
I hiked it in late September 2014, and it took a full day. We left at 7am to make sure we would have plenty of light and wouldn’t end up rushing back down. To make sure that you are on the correct route carry a detailed topographic map and pick up a scrambling guide from the Parks Canada Information Desk in the Visitor Information Centre on Banff Avenue. It’s a true scramble and you really need to have good weather to hike it in.
It’s nice to get out on a hike really early in the day, and when we set off there was a light frost on the plants and shrubs as we started on the trail towards Cascade Amphitheatre. From there the trail climbed quite steeply, without a scrambling guide route finding would have been difficult from this point.
It takes a while to get to the summit, and the false summit does get your hopes up a little too early! However taking it at a good pace with regular water and snack stops makes it not quite so bad.
When we got to the top it was pretty windy and we needed to stop and put some more layers on before we could admire the views. What you can see from the top is truly incredible. It is a true panorama, we could even see Mount Assiniboine as it was a clear day.
Being able to see so much of the area around the town of Banff and over towards Canmore gives a unique perspective on the region. It is such a contrast to the busy streets of Banff in the summer, and it’s funny to think of all the people down in Banff town taking pictures of Cascade Mountain whilst you’re taking photos from the top!
In all the total distance for the hike was 18km (11.2 miles) with and elevation gain of 1325m (roughly 4350 feet).
© RockiesOutdoors 2015.