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Dog-Friendly Snowshoeing in and Around Banff National Park

Scenery near Lake O’Hara via the fire road, photo credit Rob Dykeman

Traveling to Banff National Park for a snowshoe destination is a great experience for the whole family – even for Rover! Banff offers a wide variety of pet-friendly accommodations ranging from rustic cabins to luxury rooms and an excellent selection of trails that will leave you and your dog tired and happy and the end of the day.

Banff

One of Canada’s premier destinations, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, welcomes up to two pets in a room at a rate of $25 per day and offers a food dish and water bowl as well as snacks. Your pet will enjoy the historic building and fantastic views…okay, maybe not, but you certainly will while your pet sniffs the extensive grounds.

On a more modern note The Juniper Hotel and Bistro offers plush pet beds, food dish and water bowls, towel for your pet, organic cookies, pet-friendly maps and clean up baggies at a rate of $25 per pet per day. The Juniper also donates 5 percent of all pet charges to Friends of Banff National Park for wildlife education and interpretive programs. Even dogs can make a difference! The Juniper overlooks the town of Banff and has green space for your pet.

For budget travelers like me who think that anything more than a tent is luxury Best Western Siding 29 Lodge offers good value with pets costing $10 per night. The kids will enjoy the indoor pool and everyone will enjoy the complimentary breakfast and underground parking. A small lawn around the building allows for pet pit stops.

Popular pet-friendly trails in the Banff area:
-Bow Falls to Hoodoos Trail: 5.1 km one way with 60 m elevation gain
-Sundance Trail: 3.7 km one way with 50 m elevation gain
-Fenland Trail: 2.5 km loop with no elevation gain
-Stoney Squaw Summit Trail: 2.1 km, 182 m elevation gain
-Healy Creek Trail, which ties into the Sundance Trail and the Brewster Creek Trail and are all dog friendly

On the marsh near Sundance and Fenland Trails, photo credit Rob Dykeman

Castle Junction

The log cabins at Castle Mountain Chalets, located halfway between Lake Louise and Banff with a short 25-minute drive to either town, have rustic charm with wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Pets get welcome treats and clean-up bags and cost is $25 per pet daily. This is an excellent location for the whole family with nothing but green space and fantastic views as well as excellent wildlife viewing.

Popular pet-friendly trails in the Castle Junction area:
-Protection Mountain campground to Baker Creek Mountain Resort: 4 km return
-Vermillion Pass offers backcountry snowshoeing with no designated trails
-Moose Meadows to Ink Pots: 5.3 km one way, 220 m elevation gain

Vermillion Pass backcountry snowshoeing

Lake Louise

In the Lake Louise area, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is pet-friendly and a similar experience to Banff Springs with the added bonus of a luxurious dog bed, the latest issue of The Bark magazine and an information sheet on pet activities. The cost is $35 daily for your pet. Various trails in the area provide various snowshoeing experiences from flat to steeper climbs.

And down in the village, Lake Louise Inn offers a variety of pet-friendly choices from economy twin rooms to superior studio suites with a $50 cost for your pet per stay. A heated indoor pool, whirlpool, steam room and fitness centre will keep everyone busy in the evening while Rover snores away after a big workout in the deep snow and fresh mountain air.

Popular pet-friendly trails in the Lake Louise area:
-Lake O’Hara fire road: 11 km one way, 430 m elevation gain (Yoho Nat’l Park)
-Takakkaw Falls road to switchbacks: 7 km, moderate elevation gain (Yoho Nat’l Park)
-Highline Trail: 9 km return, 60 m elevation gain
-Pipestone loops: a dog-friendly cross-country ski area with various loops
-Lake Louise lakeshore: 4 km return, no elevation gain
-Louise Creek: 5.6 km return, 195 m elevation gain
-Mirror Lake: 5.4 km return, 295 m elevation gain
-Fairview Lookout: 2 km return, 100 m elevation gain

Takakkaw Falls road

For more pet-friendly accommodations in Banff follow this link. Stop in at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre or the Banff Information Centre to pick up maps and get information on many more pet-friendly trails in Banff National Park and which trails to avoid as some trails are sensitive wildlife corridors and do not allow dogs.

This entry was posted in Destinations, Features, Homepage Featured by Cathie Lank. Bookmark the permalink.
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About Cathie Lank

Cathie Lank is an Alberta-based outdoor travel writer and photographer who has spent many years exploring the backcountry in the beautiful Canadian Rockies as well as many destinations abroad. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country and backcountry skiing and anything that is outside and active. Her writing focus is in outdoor recreation, active vacations and adventure travel.

One thought on “Dog-Friendly Snowshoeing in and Around Banff National Park

  1. Hi Cathie, great article and some nice trail suggestions. There’s one important detail worth knowing that you forgot to mention in your article: your dog needs to be on a leash at all times when on the trail in Banff National Park. Enjoying a great winter holiday in Banff National Park is a pleasure – but you’ve got to keep your dog on a leash when on the trail.

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