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Cascade Amphitheatre

  • Difficulty
  • 12.9km
  • 675m
  • 3.5-5.5h

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The hike to the Cascade Amphitheatre is a popular hike near Banff. While the views once you get to Cascade Amphitheatre are great, the journey through the forest to get there can feel a bit long.

Getting there

From Banff, head across Highway 1 to the Mount Norquay Ski Area and park in the parking lot. The trail begins behind Mystic Chairlift.

elevation

Total Gain: 675m

About

Type of Hike Out and Back
Crowd Levels Moderate
Route Signage Average
Toilets None
Family Friendly No
Backcountry Campgrounds No
When to Do June through early October

 Detailed Description

This is a popular hike, and for good reason, the views from the Cascade Amphitheatre are wonderful. There is also a lot of time in the trees, so it’s best to do this with some friends, where conversation means the time goes quickly.

From the Mount Norquay Ski Hill parking lot, follow the trail out past the main lodge and along a service road that goes by the base of the Cascade, Spirit and Mystic Express chairlifts.

The start of the trail is behind the Mystic Chairlift, and the first 2 km are gently downhill towards Forty Mile Creek. Unfortunately, this means that you will be hiking uphill on the way back!

Continue along the trail following signs for Cascade Amphitheatre. At the creek turn right and follow this trail for 2.4km, until it branches. Take the path to the right, signposted to Cascade Amphitheatre and you will soon begin the switch-backed ascent to Cascade Amphitheater.

When you arrive at the Cascade Amphitheatre meadows, you’re greeted with an incredible view. From the meadows you can see the route to the summit of Cascade Mountain, a challenging scramble. The route generally follows the skyline of the cliffs forming the right-hand wall of the Amphitheatre.

After enjoying some time at the meadows, return the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • This trail can be busy in summer, so it’s best to start early.
  • Do not attempt to follow scramblers up Cascade Mountain. It is a challenging scramble.