Banff Via Ferrata: The Wildest Trip You Can Take in Banff National Park

Via Ferrata in Banff National Banff

I may look confident, but I was too scared to let go

Banff Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata iron rungs

Up up up you’ll go, grasping onto these metal rungs.

I did the coolest thing ever last weekend. It’s called Via Ferrata and it’s an assisted climbing activity in Banff National Park. If you’ve ever fancied going mountaineering or rock climbing (but were too scared to try), this is the activity for you.

Mountaineering in Banff National Park

Mountaineering Mt. Norquay

Safety first! You’ll be clipped in the entire time.

First, the basics. You’re probably wondering as I was, what Via Ferrata means. It’s Italian for iron road. During the war years, they fastened iron rungs to the mountain face, forging a trail so troops could quickly get through the Alps. It’s a popular activity in Europe, but there are precious few Via Ferratas in Canada. Via Ferrata routes are open at Mount Norquay each summer. If you can climb a ladder, you can so do this. It’s like getting all the thrills and views typically reserved for elite climbers, but with all the safety features. You have to wear a helmet, harness and lanyard, which connects you to the iron cable. You clip your carabiner into the cable, then you climb. Clip, climb, clip, climb. Easy peasy, just like that. Here’s a few pictures to give you a better idea of what it’s like.

Climbing Mt. Norquay

It is seriously vertical!

Outdoor adventure in Banff National Park

Via Ferrata Suspension Bridge Banff National Park

Yep, we crossed that swaying 30 metre suspension bridge.

Banff Vista

You get to see Banff, Cascade Mountain and the Bow River from a whole new angle.

Wooden mountain bridge

Just don’t look down!

Mount Norquay Summit Ridge

Our view from the Summit Ridge

Climbing Via Ferrata at Mt Norquay, Banff National Park

Look ma, no hands!

Mountaineering couple

And we take a break

Have you been mountaineering or rock climbing (outside of a gym)?

P.S. If you’re in a blog reading mood, check out A Trail Near Lake Louise to Convert Hiking Haters and A Weekend at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

Via ferrata canada

About the Author:

I’m a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust. Whether it’s luggage, time or just life, I cram as much as possible into small compartments. Warning: Contents may shift during flight. My life is one bumpy ride! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.


  1. Walter Foddis 30.07.2014 at 19:18 - Reply

    Looks like fun! I’d have to work on my fear of heights though.

  2. Kyla @ Mommy's Weird 30.07.2014 at 23:24 - Reply

    So, tell the truth. Were you scared…?

  3. Jody 31.07.2014 at 00:17 - Reply

    I was totally scared! I almost shit the bed:)

  4. Intents Offroad 31.07.2014 at 01:44 - Reply

    This looks like my kinda thing! Although…We have these trees in Western Australia, big tall 300ft high ones with iron bars driven into the trunks like ladder rungs so you can climb allllll the way to the top. I can’t handle them so maybe I won’t handle this too well either…

    • Jody 31.07.2014 at 16:19 - Reply

      I think the photos make it look more intimidating than it actually was. Those trees sound amazing! Have you written a post on it? I’d love to learn more.

  5. Leela 09.04.2015 at 18:36 - Reply

    What route did you do?
    The 2, 4, or 6 hour route?

    • Jody 14.04.2015 at 08:47 - Reply

      I did the 4-hour route. At the time I don’t think they had a 6-hour one.

  6. […] P.S. You also might enjoy A trail near Lake Louise to convert hiking haters and Via Ferrata: The wildest trip you can take in Banff. […]

  7. Heather piunti 29.06.2018 at 16:18 - Reply

    Was there anyone in your group that was afraid of heights? My husband gets nervous with heights, but said he was willing to try it.

    • Jody 29.06.2018 at 16:27 - Reply

      Actually, I was. You do a sample climb to get used to it before heading out on the course. Climbing up the rungs was fine for me. I didn’t like walking across the narrow bridges. I just didn’t look down and stayed focused on what was ahead. I’m really glad I did it. They have routes that are only three hours and I’d start there. They also have a half way turn around point. For me it was worth it. Please let me know if you folks get out. I’d love to here how it went for you.

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