3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
Beginning from Mount Norquay Ski Resort, this hike is very convenient to the town of Banff, but you’ll quickly forget the proximity of civilization once on the trail.
After a short distance among ski runs and lifts at the resort, the trail dives into dense forest and later crosses a stream on a footbridge.
Then the uphill begins.
The gradient is sustained for quite some time, as the trail takes switchbacks up the slope of Cascade Mountain.
The scenery is mostly forest, but you’ll catch glimpses of surrounding mountains through the trees. Eventually, the forest thins and the incline lessens as the trail enters the Amphitheatre––formed by the arcing cliff face on a soaring ridge of Cascade Mountain.
Within this narrow cirque are trickling streams, verdant meadows, and an abundance of wildflowers that bloom in July and August.
The trail typically remains snowy well into June, but by late June might be melted enough to go without snowshoes. Sources: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/randonee-hiking/banff#Cascade https://banff.ca/640/Cascade-Amphitheatre