21 Incredible Things to do in Banff, Alberta (updated 2023)

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From world class snow mountains to the pristine lakes, the best hikes in all of the Canadian Rockies, our article to the most amazing things to do in Banff Canada is the perfect guide to your time up north.

If you’ve never set eyes on the Canadian Rockies then you’re missing out on a whole treasure chest of epic travel.

Downtown Banff and it’s surrounds are home to insanely beautiful mountainous landscapes, North American wildlife and the best hot springs in the world.

The real gem however is the Banff town and in the winter time Mount Rundle and Mount Cascade rising at either end of Banff ave makes for a scene out of a Disney movie.

Things to do in Banff
Image credit Chris Amat/Pursuit Banff Jasper collective

READ MORE: Dive deeper into everything Canada has to offer by checking out our article on Canada’s best lakes in the Rockies

The most picturesque town in all of Alberta, Canada as well as the Canadian Rockies lakes and the national parks that accompany it, is our favourite town in Canada to visit at any time of the year.

There really is something for everyone in Banff, whether you’re travelling with a loved one, taking the family on a vacation or getting away from the city lights and smells, Banff national park caters for all seasons hot or cold.

Using Banff downtown as a base, you’ll have access to the best hikes, hot springs, restaurants, mountains and of course snow in the winter.

If this guide is not enough for you, you can always download or pick up a Banff national park map from the visitors centre located in Banff downtown.

CANADA

The 21 Best Things to do in Banff

1) Fairmont Banff springs hotel

Located at the furthest southern end of Banff, the Fairmont hotel is about as castle-like as they come – literally a castle in the mountains of Canada!

During the winter months when the pine trees are covered in frosty snow and Mount Rundle sits in the background with a layer of snow on her peaks there really is nothing more beautiful to see.

This charming hotel of a time gone by has been accommodating guests for 130 years, but it’s so much more than a hotel.

For the golf enthusiasts you can play 18 holes on the Fairmont Banff springs golf course, their day spa programs or retreats for the kids.

We’re just getting started in our list of things to do in Banff and we’ve already started with the best and brightest.

Interested in staying the night? Check out the awesome deals from Booking.com

Lake Louise
Lake Louise on an overcast day is still a beautiful lake

2) Canada’s most famous lake

Attracting thousands of visitors to her emerald green frozen lake every year, Lake Louise is a gem amongst some of the best lakes in the Canadian Rockies.

Nestled below mountain ranges such as Fairview mountain, Lake Louise is seriously one of the best places to visit in Alberta.

The drive from Banff city centre to Lake Louise is all but 1 hour away passing other monumental lakes like the famous Moraine Lake as you drive down the Icefields parkway surrounded by miles of hikes in Banff national park.

Lake Louise tourism thrives all year round, with many visitors choosing to live and work in the town of Banff or reside close by in Canmore just to be near this gorgeous lake.

Lake Louise is undoubtedly the most famous lake in all of the Rockies, just don’t mind the hoards of crowds that flock here during the summer for the outdoor adventure.

The Lake Louise lakeshore trail is an easy 2km 1-3 hour return hike that follows a path around the lake, surrounded by pine trees, grey jays chirping and an overwhelming silence as you hike this beautiful Canadian trail.

You can also enjoy a warm tea and enjoy the views from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise that looks out over the lake and mountain peaks.

3) Explore the trails in Lake Louise

It might not be obvious to the naked eye but Lake Louise has some amazing hikes that surround the lake, hidden amongst incredible scenery and mountain ranges.

It’s generally speaking too cold to go for a leisurely swim in the glacial fed waters but hiking and canoeing is one of the best attractions in Banff.

A great outdoor adventure is to hire a canoe from the Lake Louise canoe rentals for a steep $135/hour for visitors who aren’t staying at the chateau Lake Louise and admire Mount Victoria in the background.

Hidden along the hikes are tea houses where you can pick yourself up a cup of coffee or tea to enjoy, unique only to the Lake Louise area.

The most popular route is the Lake Agnes trail to the lake Agnes tea house, a fairly easy trek that takes about an hour.

A little further west is the Plain of the Six glaciers tea house which will extend your hike by about 7 hours if you have the time for the most epic mountain trails and seriously one of the best things to do in Banff.

When visiting Banff it’s important to remember that Lake Louise may get over crowded and cramped during the summer months.

However if you’re considering spending a lot of time in Banff and/or Lake Louise then we’d personally recommend staying in absolute luxury and comfort and get a room of the Fairmont Chateau lake Louise.

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Image credit Reuben Krabbe

4) Lake Louise ski resort

The Lake Louise ski resort is a main tourist attraction to the national park and a highlight of a Canadian Winter.

Both Canadians and international travellers venture to the Canadian rocky mountains in search of epic powdery snow, incredible cross country skiing throughout Revelstoke to suit all ages and experience levels.

The resort takes the cake when it comes to world-class slopes however, with over 4200 acres of slopes and 10 chair lifts in operation its one of the best attractions in Banff national park.

If skiing is a little too out of your depth, mid-December to March Lake Louise freezes over and turns into a giant ice-skating rink perfect for all the best winter activities and an awesome family fun adventure.

Things to do in Banff in Summer
Main street of Banff with Cascade Mountain in the background

5) Surround yourself in beauty in the town of Banff

With the construction of the Canadian pacific railway in 1885, a little over a hundred years ago now, what was once known as just Banff Avenue has been transformed into the incredibly beautiful town of Banff.

Our favourite local eatery on a chilly winter’s night on Banff avenue is Bear Street tavern where you can pick yourself up a delicious pizza for around $20CAD.

We personally recommend the classic margherita or the Wheeler hut.

Wondering what to do in Banff after your delicious meal? Why not head into Park Distillery on the opposite side of Bear St tavern on Banff ave and try their signature liquor cocktails, beers, ciders and park spirits.

These guys have been exploring the world of mixing and experimenting liquors and have established themselves as one of the best Banff attractions around.

Burn off those calories after dinner and visit one of the only family run mountain bikes rental store in downtown Banff as they’ve got a full collection of hybrids, e bikes and traditional mountain bikes.

One activity worth doing in the summer when visiting Banff is the Banff legacy trail (also known as the Rocky Mountain Legacy trail); a 26.8km, 3 metre wide path built to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Parks Canada. 

The trail begins just after the intersection of the Bow Valley trail and Ray McBride street in Canmore, around the corner from the Travel Alberta Canmore Visitor Information centre

From here it continues on the western side of the main highway and ends at Banff avenue heading south into town. 

Things to do in Banff
Considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world

6) Drive the epic Icefields parkway

One road trip that you’re not going to want to miss driving and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful roads in the world and the “drive of a lifetime” as voted by National Geographic.

The Icefields Parkway is a 230 km stretch of road connects Lake Louise to Jasper national park through the Rocky mountains, passing surreal and breathtaking landscapes the entire way. 

A lot of Banff national parks attractions are situated along the entire drive so you never have to worry about not seeing famous landmarks.

Your journey can begin in either Jasper or Banff depending on which town you start in.

The most exciting part of driving the Icefields parkway however is the wildlife that you might encounter along the drive; wildlife like Grizzly bears, black bears, Moose and Elk and even bear cubs are all possible on this epic drive. 

The Icefields parkway and its attractions can be separated into miles, starting from mile zero in Jasper, you’ll come across these particular stops along the way.

-The Jasper Skytram (km 2)

-Valley of the 5 lakes (km 9)

-Athabasca Falls (km 31)

-Sunwapta falls (km 54)

-Tangle falls (km96)

-Jasper Glacier Skywalk (km 97)

-Columbia Icefield (km 104)

-Wilcox Pass red chairs (km 106)

We personally recommend this incredible tour of the Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Ice fields that stretches right across Banff National Park for a full day of magic

You have the option of joining this tour from Banff to help you see the best sights if you’re unsure of what to do in Banff, but we personally hire our own car when we arrive.

Johnston Canyon waterfall walk
The Upper and Lower falls walk

7) Johnston Canyon Upper falls hike

If you love outdoor adventure then look no further than the Johnston Canyon hike.

Only 30 minutes from the town of Banff this 5 hour return hike to Johnston canyon upper falls cascades along the Bow River Valley along a series of boardwalks and un-groomed trails.

Johnston Canyon is easily accessible via the Trans Canada Highway in both winter and the summer period.

We drove to Johnston Canyon through the warmer summer months when the crowds were a little busier but we didn’t find it overwhelming at all.

Drive here to see the most amazing views of frozen waterfalls, one of the best Banff hikes you can can do.

If you head here in winter in particular, strap on some snow shoes and go hiking in the snow to Johnston Canyon in what is one of the best things to do in Banff, click below to book!

8) Take a drive to Lake Minnewanka

One of the closest and largest lakes in the Canadian Rockies, Lake Minnewanka is a glacier fed lake on the outskirts of downtown Banff.

A short 15 minute drive following Lake Minnewanka scenic drive road will also take you past Two Jack lake on your way out.

Two Jack lake is actually a continuation of Minnewanka and extends for the most part out to the Two Jack lakeside campground and the main campground. 

You definitely wont be disappointed at the amount of activities to try here; everything from scuba diving a hidden underwater world, picnics by the river, rental boat hire, world class hikes and epic mountain biking trails.

If you’re the adventurous type, fill your day with epic outdoor day activities like Kayaking along the lake, fishing for lake trout on some of the more popular fishing tours on Lake Minnewanka.

Go camping in the many designated campgrounds in the national park and ice-skating during the winter months.

If you’re a mountain biking fanatic, Banff has some of the best trails in Canada.

The lake Minnewanka route is a super popular route that takes you along the easy 3 km Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail from the town of Banff, to the Cascade Ponds connector at the beginning of the lake.

Get some extra calories burnt by continuing a further 6 km to the Lake Minnewanka parking lot from the Cascade ponds to see more of Canada’s first national park.

Banff Hot Springs
Image credit Noel Hendrickson

9) Soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs

Nothing says peace and serenity more than an a frosty early morning dip at the world famous Banff Upper Hot Springs on the southern outskirts of town. The Unesco world heritage site is a top attraction in the Rockies.

The Banff upper hot springs are so unique because they are fed from the natural geothermal spring water heated deep from under Sulphur mountain – of which the water has not seen daylight for hundreds of years before it comes to the surface.

To this day the Banff upper hot springs are the only natural hot springs open to the public within Banff national park.

On site is available wheelchair access, a cafe and store with public hire towels, locker and change rooms afterwards.

If you visit Banff during the winter time (especially winter) and you’re wondering what to do in Banff to curb the cold then we highly recommend a trip to the hot springs for half a day.

Banff08
image credit Dan Evans

10) Ride the Gondola up Sulphur Mountain

This awesome outdoor adventure includes 360 panoramic views over the Banff landscapes all from the top of Sulphur Mountain.

The Banff gondola has been rated the #1 attraction in all of Banff national park and now you can purchase your admission ticket below!

Traverse the 7500 ft tall gondola ride that sits at the base of Sulphur mountain in 4 person gondolas admiring the snow covered peaks of the mountains, pine trees and wildlife that live below.

Once at the top you can enjoy the cafe, restaurant and short hiking trails and even visit the new Cosmic ray station, an historic site that was built for tourists to observe the cosmic rays over the Canadian Rocky mountains.

If you’re climbing this high to get something to eat then why not try the Northern Lights Alpine kitchen or the Sky Bistro instead.

If you’re unsure about heights but would love to try riding the Banff Gondola, why not have a closer look at the information here and see if it’s right for you?

Athabasca Glacier tours
My younger brothers trying to keep grip on the ice

11) Go for a drive on an real Glacier

Halfway between Jasper and Banff is, the Columbia Icefield -one of the largest and most visited Glaciers in North America that can be explored in a number of ways.

The Athabasca Glacier is one of the ‘toes’ of the Columbia Icefield, or the point at which the larger glacial shelf appears to end.

In reality these ‘toes’ are never really ending or beginning, they are in constant motion and have been so for hundreds of years and make an outstanding Banff winter activity to be a part of.

The most popular way is to join a tour of the Icefields and ride the Ice Explorer, a huge snow coach with wheels larger than your body to help traverse the icy terrain for an hour.

These giant, purpose built Mercedes Benz ice crawlers were specifically built to tackle to climb and terrain of Athabasca Glacier

glacier02
The custom designed Mercedes Benz Ice trucks

Upon your return to the Athabasca Glacier discovery centre we highly recommend going for a short walk along the Glacier Skywalk – a glass balustrade with glass floors that juts out from the cliffs with views of the Sunwapta valley.

The walkway tells a story of the rich natural history of the region through geology, hydrology and indigenous culture all from 280m in the air.

12) Cave and Basin national historic site

Have you ever wondered how Banff national park was placed on the map?

The cave and basin national historic site is where it all first started, as it depicts a story of human occupation of the area 10,000 years ago.

Banff was the first of Canada’s national parks designated in 1855 and this had much to do with the natural hot spring that exists inside the Cave and Basin.

The beauty of visiting the Cave and basin national historic site is the interactive visual display created within the heritage building that teaches visitors about the importance of the cave and basin.

Views from the boardwalk at Peyto Lake

13) Admire the views over Peyto Lake

It comes as no surprise that one of our favourite ‘not so little lakes’ is Peyto Lake, situated on the Icefields parkway between Jasper national park and Banff national park at the Bow pass.

Peyto Lake is literally one of the most blue lakes we have ever seen and most certainly the most blue lake in the Rockies.

It’s also remarkably shaped like a wolf or a fox..you be the judge.

Only 1 hours drive north of Banff on the Icefields parkway, the best way to view the Peyto is by entering via the Upper viewpoint beyond the public restrooms and the carpark at the top.

The elevation gain you get from climbing to the viewpoint means both sunrise and sunset will give you awesome golden hour light, and if you’re an astrophotography enthusiast then waiting for a clear night for the stars to appear will produce some fascinating results.’

14) Skiing in the highest mountains in Banff

Nestled on the continental divide between British Columbia and Alberta lies Banff Sunshine Village and Meadows, a unique high altitude natural garden set at 2300m above sea level.

During November to May, Banff Sunshine village transforms into a 3000 acre ski resort with 12 chair lifts making this one of the best things to do in Banff.

Come the summer months however the landscape changes revealing Sunshine meadows’ world class hiking trails, mountain biking and scenic chair lifts that take you to the top of Mt.Standish at 8000 ft.

This is the highest accessible chair lift anywhere in the Banff and Lake Louise region.

Of all the Banff activities to choose from, the highest mountains often produce the most beautiful views; like the ones you get when you reach the top of the Mt.Standish viewing platform and stare down at three distinct alpine lakes –Laryx, Grizzly and Rock Isle.

In fact Sunshine Village is a part of the Big Three Ski resorts in Banff, with Lake Louise and Mount Norquay being the other two.

The Big three Ski resorts in Banff span across two giant mountains, so we’ve broken it down for you to make it a little simpler to understand when you book your ski adventures

Banff Sunshine Village: 3358 Acres / 12 lifts / 137 runs

Lake Louise Ski resort: 4200 acres / 11 lifts / 164 runs

Mount Norquay: 190 acres / 6 lifts / 60 runs

Moraine01
Image credit Paul Zizka

15) Watch sunrise or sunset at Moraine lake

Moraine lake has been photographed at least 4 trillion times and previously featured on the Canadian 20 dollar bill.

When you visit Banff you should definitely have this lake on your list! 

Only one hour from the centre of Banff and 20 minutes between Lake Moraine and Lake Louise, following the trans Canada highway north of Banff exactly 2.7km before the road turns into the Ice fields parkway.

If you have time you should definitely book well ahead of time and stay at the Moraine Lake lodge on the shores of the lake near the trading post and gift shop.

The best way to see one of Canada’s prettiest lake is to book a private shuttle early morning before the rest of the tour buses arrive and grab a seat on the rock pile that look out towards the mirror-like reflections of the Valley of Ten Peaks placed behind Moraine Lake. 

If you want a hassle-free journey planned for you then you should consider taking a Lake Louise and Moraine Lake tour package that will show you the best of the region.

In summer there are plenty of family friendly activities to do around Moraine Lake like mountain bike riding.

The Moraine lake high line trail is a fun yet difficult trek to ride and rated one of the best trails in Lake Louise.

If hiking is your thing then there’s plenty of beginner options to choose from, like the 45 minute round trip Lakeshore path through to the Consolation lakes trail at around 2 hours return.

For more challenging hikes you can attempt Eiffel peak at around 3,077 metre ascent up a 11km heavily used trail, or Mount Temple.

Both of these hikes form a part of the Bow Range, which is a sub-range of Canada’s Rocky mountains.

As of the 2023 summer season in the Rockies, Moraine Lake is closed for private vehicles, transport must be booked from a tour or guide company that you can check out here

16) Hire ice skates and enjoy the winter in Banff

Summer months are beautiful in the Albertan Rockies, but the winter season stands out the most here!

Jam packed full of activities to suit both young and old, beginners through to the experienced, some of the best things to do in Banff can be found throughout the Lake Louise area.

Banff winter activities really come alive here when most of the great lakes, waterfalls and rivers freeze over in temperatures dipping to -20 degrees (celcius) in the peak of winter.

The most popular lake to skate is Lake Louise, however we’d also personally recommend checking out Bow Lake, Vermillion lakes, Two jack lake, Johnson lake, and ever Bow River.

The easiest way to reach Johnson lake is by taking the Johnson lake road from the Lake Minnewanka scenic route road back from Two jack lake. 

Lake Louise is the quintessence of ice-skating because it’s so well maintained and cleared of snow daily, and the thickness of the ice is safe enough to have lots of people at ay one time.

No need to worry if you don’t have your own gear, there’s a few options to choose from in both Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise that will give you great deals.

You can hire your skates from the Fairmont lake Louise through the Chateau Ski and Snow located next to the lobby.

Get really Canadian and rent a hockey stick and puck from here too.

Skate Rental from the Fairmont:

Adult Full day: $33/Half day $23

Children Full day: $23/half day $13

You can also rent skates from Wilson Sports in Lake Louise Village for $12, or similarly Banff adventures also rent skates for $15/day.

If in doubt you can always head straight to Lake Louise and hire them from the Chateau. 

17) Hop on the Mount Norquay chairlift

For the most breathtaking views over the Bow valley parkway, take the 8 minute chairlift ride up Mount Norquay and ascend almost 7000 ft to the top of Grizzly bear habitat.

Being the closest ski mountain to both Banff and Canmore, a short 7 minute drive from Banff town will get you to the chairlift access point.

Norquay lies north west of Banff and serves as a fantastic winter resort in the cold and also reveals two of the more popular hiking trails during the summertime, the Amphitheatre (15.4km) and Upper stony trail (4.2km)

Mount Norquay is only one of 4 main mountains surrounding  Banff, the others being Sulphur mountain, Cascade mountain and Mount Rundle.

One of the best Banff tourist attractions is to take the chairlift at the base of the mountain to the lookout point up top for sweeping views across Banff national park, gaining almost 7000 ft of elevation.

While you’re up here make sure you check out the cliff house bistro for a delicious meal, and for the adventurous at heart climb the Via Ferrata – an assisted climbing experience along Mount Norquay.

18) Climb Banff’s best mountains

If you’ve ever stood in the middle of Banff town and faced north you’ve definitely come face to face with the ever impressive peaks of Cascade Mountain.

For the most serious of hikers Cascade is the pinnacle of challenging hikes within Banff for a number of reasons.

Firstly it’s seriously high, with an elevation gain of 1563m to the summit, this 5-9 hour hike covers 20km of hard terrain.

The best time to climb cascade mountain is during the warmer months of July to September – and we heard on the grape vine that if you can see snow on the false summit, it’s not a wise decision to climb as the snow poses a serious threat to climber safety.

Another great way to see the landscape and mountain peaks is a helicopter tour over the Canadian Rockies – it really is one of the best things to do in Banff.

For more information about closed hikes and trip passes visit Parks Canada website for local information.

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Grizzly bears leave the winter hibernation in early Spring

19) Spot wildlife in Banff national park

In almost every corner of this incredible park is Canadian wildlife and no matter where we go is something we seek in every travel destination.

Wildlife spotting and in particular photographing is best achieved with a long telephoto lens to really separate your subject and fill your frame.

Unlike our home in Australia, Canada is known for its large wildlife encounters, and a walk through Banff national park, or on the trails around world famous Lake Louise will see you chance encounter with elk, Bighorn sheep and potentially Moose.

There’s always the chance of spotting wildlife like Black bears, Grizzly bears and mountain lions – just make sure you follow the trail heads and keep in mind you share the walking trails with these beautiful but potentially dangerous wild animals.

Here’s a great resource we use to help us prepare for encountering powerful wildlife.

If you do choose to get up close and personal then this wildlife safari tour is a fantastic way to do so with experts in a safe manner.

If photographing wildlife is something you’d like to do more of, we’ve created a guide to help you start your photography journey with the fundamentals of photography.

20) White water rafting on Kicking Horse river

An adrenaline fuelled adventure awaits on Kicking Horse river with class 5 white water rafting activities that are bound to get your heart pumping.

One of the coolest things to do in Banff takes just under an hour and a half to get to from Banff along the trans canada highway.

Whether your an experienced rafter, or a beginner – there are numerous companies that offer tours for a wide range of levels and experiences that extend into the Kananaskis river and Horseshoe canyon.

The Bow Valley parkway with mountains and trees in the background

21) Drive along the Bow Valley parkway

For an alternative and equally enjoyable ride to the Trans Canada highway, this stretch of road runs for 50 km parallel to the highway and is very underrated!

The Bow Valley parkway crosses paths with the 1A many times, showcasing the best of Banff attractions like Bow Falls or where the mouth of the Bow River begins; Bow Lake.

The Icefields parkway begins at the junction where the Bow Valley parkway ends and turns into Lake Louise drive into the lake itself, however if you continue north, this is the official beginning of the Icefields parkway. 

Johnston Canyon is one stop along here you cannot miss by following the catwalk through the lower canyons and continuing a further 1.2km to the upper falls.

To see one of the most photographed spots in all of Banff national park, head to Morant’s Curve where you might see a perfectly timed shot of the rail line passing through the shot snaking along the bow river, with rocky peaks in the distance.

This shot of the Rocky mountaineer is even more impressive in Banff in winter time when the trees covered in snow.

winter
Driving along the glacier is an experience we will never forget!

Your guide to the best Banff winter activities

When the landscape turns from green mountain side abundant with wildlife to a winter wonderland is one of nature’s most dramatic changes of all.

Hiking in Banff in winter is icy cold and sometimes a little dangerous due to the risk of avalanches and the extremes in weather changes; it’s also when the lakes of the Canadian Rockies freeze over and become the perfect playground.

Banff in winter is incredibly unique – the least not unique of all the winter activities is to hire ice-skates and skate across the frozen lakes from Abraham lake north west of Banff.

If hiking or skating isn’t for you in the winter wonderland then a helicopter tour over Abraham lake to see the frozen ice bubbles that form here every year is an amazing attraction outside of Banff.

Banff in Summer

For the locals who endure the freezing temperatures of the winter months in Canada, summer is a welcome gift when the ice begins to melt and people are grateful for the heat and Vitamin D.

For the Rockies this means lakes thaw out, ice skating comes to a screeching halt, the trees reveal their colourful array of greens and yellows and the tourists return to the mountains. Banff in summer is an exciting and busy time for the region.

Banff town comes alive with shop fronts, restaurants and bars bring their outdoor seating back and the tacky souvenir shops still pump out those good old Canadian flannelette shirts!

There’s no need to hire a car if you’re strolling the main streets of downtown Banff, public transport is a great option as is strapping on a good pair of walking shoes and discovering the city by foot.

Lake Minnewanka is still a fantastic option when it comes to the best things to do in Banff, and even more alive in the summer because boat tours run, stand up paddle boarding returns, having picnics or taking a canoe tour are just a few of the most fun things to do in Banff in Summer.

Canmore has to be our favourite town in the Rockies and technically still in Banff national park, a summer spent in Canmore is less busy than Banff itself.

Plenty of breweries, artisan coffee shops, a ton of awesome bike trails, hiking trails and camping spots, you’re hard pressed to find a more perfect location.  

Going on one of the Banff  gondola rides up the mountain will give you incredible views from the top of Norquay or Sulphur mountain, one of the coolest things to see in Banff in summer. 

If you’re an animal lover then horseback riding is a fantastic way to see the countryside and appreciate the history of rural Alberta.

Why not saddle up and experience a 1 hour horse back ride along  Bow River with an expert guide and safety briefing included. 

You could even stop in at the Banff Farmers market after your ride between the 24th of May and 4th of October on Wednesday 10-6.

How to get to Banff national park

There are only a few options to choose from when you visit Banff and that all depends on how you like to get around.

Firstly if you’re arriving into Alberta you will, generally speaking arrive at either two of the international airports.

Edmonton International airport north of Banff is the provinces capital city and a popular choice when travelling interstate however you will be 4 hours from Banff.

The other option is to fly into Calgary international airport, leaving you 1 hour and 20 minutes from Banff.

From either of these cities we personally recommend doing your own road trip into Banff because it will give you the most freedom to see the best attractions in Banff national park, like the hot springs or Banff gondola.

Best mid-range Hotel

If you’re not too fussed about complete luxury then head downtown and check out Moose Hotel and suites for the best mid-range hotel a short walk from the centre.

Moose Hotel offers guests a relaxation spa and thermal pool on the rooftop with incredible views of the mountain skyline at sunset.

Canalta lodge is another beautiful mid-range hotel that’s fairly new on the accommodation scene, with an incredible outdoor cabin lodge area complete with a fire pit, multiple hot tubs and insane views of Mount Norquay in the background

Best Hostel in Banff

If you’re a seasoned backpacker then the Samesun Hostel is the place to be.

A beautiful shared common area, modern dorm rooms and private beds this all inclusive dorm style hostel comes in at really affordable rates without breaking the bank.

Samesun have spread to a number of locations across western Canada and offer some of the best facilities of any hostel in Banff.

Hostel world offer great prices for the budget backpacker looking for a comfy bed to sleep in at reasonable prices!

Transport options through Banff

If you’re like us and prefer grabbing google maps and navigating your own way around then we suggest looking at Rental Cars website to see the wide variety of cars perfect for road trips through the Rockies mountain scenery.

Its a great way to explore Banff and the rest of the provincial park. Depending on what season you travel in just enquire about snow chains and being prepared for snowy conditions. 

You could even pick up your vehicle from downtown Calgary before you head in to explore Banff. 

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Christopher Aiello
Christopher Aiello
Christopher is the head writer and co-founder of Chris and Laura Travels. Having travelled to over 27 countries and counting, he has a passion for adventure travel in a responsible way. Christopher and Laura currently live in Melbourne but share their time between down under and the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. We aim to inspire others to get outside and explore through our storytelling imagery and video. Keep up to date on where we are by visiting us on our Instagram page or find out more of our story on our About us page.

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Chris & Laura

Australian and Canadian freelance photographers & storytellers addicted to travel,  inspiring you to travel the world.

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