Easy Hikes Around Banff – The Marsh Loop
Banff National Park, Alberta
I think the reason this hike doesn’t get much attention in the Canadian Rockies is more down to its name than anything else. It sounds somewhere in between a Halloween monster and an overly sugary breakfast cereal. Though either would actually make a hike a lot of fun, the Marsh Loop has plenty to offer those looking for something a bit different from the norm.
Technically if you don’t stop to throw new snow on your walking partners, this hike will take you about an hour return so it is unlikely to leave you panting like a Labrador. If you are spending a few days at least around Banff National Park, it is likely you have seen more forests and mountains than Frodo so the unique natural river marsh on view is all the more exceptional. Start your epic trip from the Cave and Basin site where the walk is signposted all the way along the boardwalk. Before you even start, there is a fish viewing platform where you can shout at little fishies below and also a bird hide for the ornithologists amongst you.
The trail winds around with the Bow River on your left which is often populated by energetic and cold looking canoeists. On your right you will see the marsh. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with what exactly a marsh is – don’t expect too much from the physical land. The beauty of a marsh is generally not what it looks (and smells) like but what creatures call this home. Butterflies, dragonflies, and wildflowers are just a few who have made the Marsh Loop their home.
There are plenty of wooden bridges to cross where, if you have the right equipment, you can take some great wildlife photos to show off around Banff. If you are feeling particularly energetic, continue on to the Cave and Basin or take a bike ride to the Sundance Trail. If not, you can happily turn tail to the fish viewing platform to abuse the slippery suckers some more!