Mistaya Canyon – Best Canadian Rockies Day Hikes

#37 – Canadian Rockies Day Hikes: Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya Canyon Trail
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  • Location: Banff National Park
  • Trailhead: Mistaya Canyon
  • Type: Out-n-Back
  • Rating: Moderately-Easy
  • Total Distance: 0.5-mile
  • Trailhead Elevation: 4,987′
  • Total Elevation Gain: 132′
  • Recommended Time: 45 minutes
  • Recommended Season: Mid-June to Late-September

Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya Canyon

Mistaya Canyon is an amazing hike located on the Banff National Park side of the Icefields Parkway (one of the most scenic drives in the world). The hike is a short trail that follows the path of an old road straight down and over the canyon itself via a well-placed bridge. From the bridge, one of the most picturesque scenes of the Canadian Rockies sprawls out before you as the Mistaya River crashes through the narrow slot canyon.

Mistaya Canyon Trail

Mistaya River Canyon
A view down into the canyon from the bridge.

The hike down to the Mistaya Canyon is unremarkable. It is a short, steep descent through the forest, but then as if out of nowhere this snaking slot canyon appears beneath your feet as you venture out over the old bridge. The scene that sprawls before your eyes is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The river flows down from the glaciated peaks and crashes through the polished walls of the curvy canyon. This hike, while short, may have the most bang for the effort of any hike on our best of the Canadian Rockies Day Hikes list.

Caution!

There are no signs that say you aren’t allowed to venture out onto the rocks above the canyon but be extremely cautious if you choose to do so. The person in the main image gives a great scale to the scene. I don’t know the person, but if they were to slip it would be over. This, like most of the Canadian Rockies, is remote country and help isn’t nearby.

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