Although Banff National Park doesn't have as many great backpacking trips as other National and Provincial Parks in the Canadian Rockies, it certainly doesn't have a shortage of single day adventures.
In the core area around Lake Louise and Moraine Lake you'll be able to find most of the trailheads that disappear gleefully off into the mountains, offering incredible alpine vistas and monumental glacier vantage points.
If you plan on doing any number of these hikes then I have very important pieces of advice for you. Start as early as possible, if that means waking up before sunrise then do it.
1. Mount Saint Piran
Starting at the car park at Lake Louise, the trail begins with an uphill push almost to the shore of lake Agnes before it branches off right toward the Little Beehive. 400 meters before the summit of the Little Beehive the pathway veers off to the left onto a sign posted, but not very trodden path through the ever more sparsely situated trees.
Once out of the trees the route is obvious and easy to follow and not before long you'll be tackling the rocky slope to the summit. The summit views are some of the best in Canada. Surrounded by peaks to the West and South, the Bow Valley to the East, and the Waputik Icefield to the North. Truly remarkable and serene after the throngs of happy snappers at shoreline of Lake Louise.
2. Lake Agnes/Little Beehive/Big Beehive
The Lake Agnes Tea House is a popular walk up from Chateau Lake Louise stopping at Mirror Lake about halfway. The view from the tea house is fantastic, so you might as well have a cup of tea here and take a break. The line for beverages might be a considerable length so try and get there as early as possible.
3. Larch Tree Valley/Sentinel Pass
Larch Tree Valley is one of the most popular hikes on this list, especially in September, when the larches turn all shades of lime green, bright yellow then orange before eventually losing their soft needles. This marks the beginning of their dormant season.
4. Consolation Lakes
The lakes lie under gigantic cliffs where mountain goats can be spotted moving gracefully from rock to rock. In my opinion this hike offers the best views to effort ratio in Banff National Park.
5. Eiffel Lake / Wenkchemna Pass
The route to Eiffel lake starts at the Moraine Lake Car Park on the same trail as Larch Tree Valley/Sentinel Pass. After around an hour on the switchbacks the well trodden trail breaks away from the main crowds by taking a left at a prominent fork. From here the trail to Eiffel lake flattens out.
6. Plain of the Six Glaciers
Another incredible hike with a phenomenal views to effort ratio, the Plain of the Six glaciers starts with a lakeside stroll along Lake Louise before gradually ascending to the tea house. Not before long you'll enjoy a cup of Earl Grey or Orange Pekoe whilst taking in some of the best views in town.
7. Lake Annette & Paradise Valley
This almost 20 km circuit either starts at the Paradise Valley Trailhead (on the Moraine Lake Road) or at the Moraine Lake Car Park. You can do it in either direction but I would recommend doing it from Paradise Valley to Moraine Lake as it's easier to hitchhike from Moraine Lake rather than to Moraine Lake.