I am an avid hiker with a focus on easy to moderate trails in natural settings. I occasionally do harder trails.
Hoodoos Toe Trail in Banff
The Hoodoos Toe Trail is located in Banff National Park. The trail is part of a network of trails that are located off and along Tunnel Mountain Road. This road can be found on Banff Avenue, not too far from the Trans Canada Highway as you drive toward Banff. There are some hotels along this road so you can plan accommodations close to this trail if you like.
A trail in this area that I took was called "The Toe," a trail that may go by other names like the Hoodoos Toe Trail. A hoodoo formation is central to this ridge-side trail as are stunning and distant scenery of the Bow River, the Banff Springs Hotel, and mountains in the area.
I took this trail on September 15th, 2021. As a trail in Banff National Park, a park pass is required to use the parking lot. This parking lot had limited spaces but there are a lot of other trailheads in the area. The trailhead map that I found designated the area as Tunnel Mountain Bench.
Trail Conditions on the Hoodoo Toe Trail
This trail was a nice trail. As I walked, I could tell that it used to be paved at some points in the past. However, the pavement wasn't maintained and is largely a smooth dirt trail at this time. There were a lot of valley-facing viewpoints and informational placards.
Furthermore, the dips and dives along the trail were not too difficult. This is a trail that you could take if you weren't looking for an athletic hike but just some moderate exercise.
In the following video, I filmed one of the valleys and a viewpoint. The Banff Springs Hotel is actually in the valley in the distance but it was too small for my camera to pick up. When you are there, you should be able to see it with the naked eye. A camera with great zoom features would be able to get a nice photo of the historic building.
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Pileated Woodpecker on Banff's Hoodoo Toe Trail
In the last video, I give you an idea of the trail conditions. It's not a wide trail but it's not rocky and it didn't have that many tripping hazards. For difficulty, I would call it moderate at the best but it could be viewed as easy-to-moderate.
I did not see any significant wildlife during my hike on this trail, however, the last video features a Pileated woodpecker. It may be hard to see at times but keep your eye on the base of the tree.
These are interesting birds because they are the largest extant members of the woodpecker family. I actually came across one in Jasper several years ago at a time when I didn't know what kind of bird it was (see the picture to start this article).
When I searched online using only a description of the bird, I thought for a little while that I had found an Ivory-billed woodpecker because they look like Pileated woodpeckers. However, I learned that I was wrong and that was disappointing because the former is thought to be extinct.
A Beautiful Trail
I do recommend this trail. It was informative, scenic, and easy to get to. Furthermore, if you want a long day of trail hiking then there is a lot to do in this area.
Just Be Cautious About Your Footing
It was a safe trail although I only came across a few different people while on it. Lastly, I don't know that I would recommend getting adventurous by hiking down the ridge. I did that near the Toe Trail and found that I had to turn around due to lousy footing.
At another point in the greater area, I did take a marked trail down the ridge to the edge of the Bow River. Even this trail had plenty of treacherous footsteps.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Shane Lambert
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 27, 2021:
This sounds and looks like an interesting trail. Thanks for sharing the information and the videos. I would love to visit the area.