If you’re looking for a fun half-day activity in Banff National Park, an adventure where you can view sights mostly unseen by other visitors, a Via Ferrata mountain climbing tour at Mount Norquay is hands down the way to go!
A Via Ferrata adventure is one of the best activities and tours you can do in Banff. And it’s also very safe, as you’re harnessed into the mountain the entire time.
In 2020, Mitch and I completed the Summiteer Via Ferrata route at Mt Norquay, and we were excited to be invited back this summer to check out Mount Norquay’s brand new Alpinist Route! Continue reading this shorter blog for my review of their new Alpinist route, or you can check out my full-length Banff via ferrata blog here.
Disclaimer: Our Via Ferrata climbing experience was kindly provided on a complimentary basis by Mount Norquay. As always, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. I will continue to promote only products, properties, destinations, and services that I truly believe in 100%, and would wholeheartedly recommend to others.
COVID-19: If you’re worried about Covid, read about Mount Norquay’s Via Ferrata Covid Safety Measures.
Banff’s Via Ferrata at Mount Norquay: What is it?
“Via Ferrata” is an Italian word for “iron road”.
Essentially, it’s an assisted climbing experience where you can scale your way up the side of a mountain using footholds, beams, ladders, and suspension bridges while harnessed into the side of the mountain.
It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to experience mountaineering and challenge a fear of heights while remaining completely safe!
What is the Alpinist Via Ferrata Route?
Banff’s Via Ferrata has multiple route options, ranging from 2-hour to 8-hour climbs. Which you should choose depends on your fitness level, appetite for adventure, and time availability!
For this visit to the Banff Via Ferrata, we tried out the brand new Alpinist Route, which takes about 4.5 hours to complete and covers 1.9km distance, and 305m gain, up to 2355m above sea level.
Norquay explains that this route is called the “Alpinist” because alpinists are constantly on the move. With this route, you can expect continuous moderate to strenuous exertion with brief breaks.
This tour provides everything offered during their popular 4-hour “Ridgewalker” tour, but then continues out and along the ridge to the stunning Norquay “Panoramadome”. For another 600m, it then follows the scenic narrow crest of the mountain.
The minimum age for this tour is 14 years old and a minimum of 40kg (88lbs)
Is Banff’s Via Ferrata at Mt Norquay safe?
Yep, completely! The Via Ferrata is basically a safe, assisted version of mountaineering. You’re completely secure, clipped into a harness system during the entire experience. You’re also given training and time to practice before the tour begins.
The Via Ferrata tour is one of the best things to do in Banff
If you’re craving adventure and want to see views from a perspective that most don’t get to see, this is indeed the tour for you! The Via Ferrata experience promises memories you’ll never forget, and photos you can’t wait to share!
Where is the Via Ferrata in Banff located?
Banff’s Via Ferrata is at Mount Norquay, located up Mount Norquay Road in Banff, AB.
You can view a map here:
When is the best time to experience the Norquay Via Ferrata?
The best time to check out the Via Ferrata in Banff is from late June to early September, for the best chances of good weather. Outside of this time, the temperatures cold be colder and there may be snow or icy conditions.
Check out my blog: The Best Time to Visit Banff for more information about Banff’s seasons.
Looking for the best deal on accommodations in Banff and Lake Louise?
Book using my affiliate link with Expedia for special discounts:
OUR EXPERIENCE OF THE ALPINIST ROUTE AT MOUNT NORQUAY
This route was a lot of fun! Though it’s a shorter route than the Summiteer (the Via Ferrata route we did last year), we had a blast and enjoyed the new course.
There are exciting bridges and planks to cross and beautiful views.
If you have 4 or 5 hours in your day for the Via Ferrata, then this is a great option to get the most bang for your buck!
If you’re looking for something even more exciting and have more time to spare, then opt for the Summiteer.
Either way, hope you have so much fun!
LOVE IT? PIN IT!
What Else To Do in the Area: Banff and Lake Louise
Looking for some ideas for the rest of your visit to Banff and area? I have you covered!
Here are a few of my recommendations:
- Hike popular Johnston’s Canyon
- Go ice skating around Banff and Lake Louise
- Drive the memorable Icefields Parkway
- Go for one (or more!) of the amazing hikes in the area
- Soak in Banff Natural Hot Springs
- Wander the “downtown” area of Banff for some shopping
- Photograph the famous Morant’s Curve
- During winter, go skiing, snowboarding, or tubing at Mount Norquay Ski Resort
Looking for even more ideas of what to do in winter in Banff? Check out my blog post:
Questions or comments about the Via Ferrata Tour at Norquay, or Banff and Lake Louise? Some other topics you’d like me to cover? I’d love to hear from you, just leave me a comment below!