9 tips for pet-friendly Banff & Lake Louise vacations

Pets are a special part of a family. So it can be hard to leave them at home during a vacation, or to find a trusted pet-sitter at short notice. If you’d like to bring your furry friends along for an adventure in Banff and Lake Louise, here are some useful tips for a pet-friendly getaway.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Lobo the dog explores Banff National Park with his owner. Photo: Luke Sudermann.

While pets are welcome in Banff National Park, they must be kept on a leash at all times. Want to go somewhere your furry friend can roam free? Banff is home to an off-leash dog walking park in the town’s industrial area. The Banff Recreation Grounds are another popular place where you can go to walk your pet. If you’re visiting during snow season, it can be a good idea to bring a coat or booties to keep your pet warm – if they will wear them!

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Remember your leash when exploring Banff National Park with your pet. Photo: Emma Gumbleton (@emmagumblebum).

2. You can choose from a number of pet-friendly hotels

In the Banff area, you’ll find pet-friendly accommodation at properties including the Fairmont Banff Springs, The Moose Hotel & Suites, Hidden Ridge Resort, Rimrock Resort Hotel, Juniper Hotel, Buffalo Mountain Lodge, Irwin’s Mountain Inn, Tunnel Mountain Resort, Rocky Mountain Resort, Banff Ptarmigan Inn, Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets, Inns of Banff, and Bumpers Inn, (as well as Emerald Lake Lodge, close-by in Field, BC).

In Lake Louise, your furry friend is welcome to join you at properties such as the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Lake Louise Inn.

Note:  in order to avoid disappointment, be sure to confirm the pet-friendliness of your hotel prior to making a reservation. Hotels may also have different policies on the number of pets permitted in each room, the type of pets allowed, and the number of pet-friendly rooms available.  Call our reservations team  at 1-844-754-2443 and we would be happy to confirm your dog-friendly accommodation.

3. Like other guests, pets pay to stay

Most properties in Banff National Park charge a pet fee starting from $25 per pet, per night – however, this varies between each property. Usually, hotels will request that you do not leave your pets unattended in your room – however, some will make an exception if they are housed in an appropriate kennel.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Crusoe the Celebrity Daschund kicks back in style at The Moose Hotel & Suites in Banff. Photo: CelebrityDachshund.com

4. You can hire a doggy babysitter

If you need someone to look after your furry friend during your ski trip in Banff National Park, or if you’d just like to have a day or night out while your pet is cared for, MyHotelSitter.com offers doggy babysitting. The service includes walks and costs $20 per hour for up to 3 dogs at a time.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Your pets will be well taken care of at Banff National Park’s pet-friendly hotels. Photo: Getty Images.

5. You can meet the Director of Pet Relations

On top of being one of the most pet-friendly destinations in Banff National Park, the upscale Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is also home to a famous four-legged employee. Marcus is the Chateau’s much-loved yellow labrador who holds the esteemed title of Director of Pet Relations.

He is part of the Fairmont’s Canine Ambassador program, designed for travellers missing their own furry friend. Marcus came to the Chateau after failing the final test at guide dog training school because he was “too friendly”. But now he’s found the perfect role.

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While Marcus is now semi-retired due to his senior age, you may be able to spot his wagging tail around the grand Chateau – be sure to say hi and shake a paw.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Marcus knows how to make guests feel welcome at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

6. You and your furry friend can enjoy tasty treats

Prior to arriving at your accommodation, ensure that you have enough food for your pet during your stay, or check with the hotel to see if they are able to provide pet food options.

If you’d like to head out on the town for a snack, head to local Banff favourite Wild Flour Artisan Bakery & Café. It’s not just people who flock to this popular, casual cafe – here you’ll find a smorgasbord of delicious baked treats for people (tarts, cookies, muffins, granola bars, foccacias and more), plus a brimming jar of delicious home-baked treats for pups.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Traveling with pets doesn’t have to be a dog’s breakfast. Photo: Psilaska.cz

7. Avoid wildlife encounters – especially with pets

The towns of Banff and Lake Louise are part of Banff National Park, a protected, UNESCO World Heritage-listed area known famed for its untouched wilderness. This scenic area is home to a number of amazing wild animals such as bears and wolves, plus other large mammals such as elk and deer. While encounters with these animals are relatively uncommon, it’s important to remember that they are unpredictable and potentially dangerous if they feel threatened.

It’s particularly important that visitors do not feed any wild animal in Banff National Park. Feeding wildlife can put both their lives and yours at risk –   it causes wild animals to become dependent on food from humans, leading to increased risks of human interaction and this may cause them to be culled in the interest of public safety.

Protect yourself, your pet and Banff National Park’s magnificent creatures by using caution to avoid wildlife when exploring the area with your furry family members. Take note of wildlife warnings on signs around town and via the Parks Canada website.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Stay safe when exploring Banff National Park your pet by keeping your distance from wildlife. Photo: CelebrityDachshund.com

8. You can learn about Banff’s remarkable service dogs

Not all heroes wear capes – some wear collars. In Banff National Park, dogs make a valuable contribution to a number public-safety roles. In the event of emergencies, avalanche rescue dogs assist with tracking missing persons who may find themselves lost or injured in the wilderness. Bear tracking dogs are also used to monitor the location of grizzlies that call Banff National Park home.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Rescue dogs are a valuable part of avalanche response teams in Banff National Park. Photo: Parks Canada.

9. Missing your pup back home? Explore Banff National Park with a dog sledding tour

Life’s ruff when you’re a dog lover if you can’t bring your pup everywhere you go. But you can still get your dose of doggo while exploring the outdoors with one of the many dog sledding adventures available in Banff National Park. A visit to the wolf-dog sanctuary may also be in order.

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Dogsledding is a scenic way to explore Banff National Park. Photo: ThePlanetD.com

Ready for a scenic and snowy adventure with your pet?

To book your next pet-friendly ski vacation with SkiBig3 to Banff and Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, check out our featured ski and stay vacation packages or call us at 1-844-754-2443.


— Update: 02-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Pet Friendly Banff: Where to Eat, Stay & Play with Your Dog from the website likewhereyouregoing.com for the keyword are dogs allowed in banff national park.

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Bring your furry friend! I’ve put together this post to give you everything you need to know about planning a pet friendly trip to Banff National Park.

Dogs are welcome in Banff National Park, provided they are on a leash at all times.

The Canadian Rockies are the perfect playground for both you and your pets, which is why it’s exciting watching more and more dogs visit the area each year.

Between the brand new off-leash dog park and the pedestrian-only streets within the townsite of Banff, there are plenty of dog friendly activities to do both in and around the Banff area.

Bringing a dog to Banff is lots of fun, here are some pet-friendly tips, things to do, places to eat and welcoming accommodations to make the most of your holiday.

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This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase I may make a small commission. I only share information about things I know, love and trust!


Are you going to be flying with your dog? Read my guide to the best airline approved pet carriers (including the one we use).


Dog Friendly Hotels in Banff

Are dogs allowed in banff national park

There are several great options for pet-friendly hotels in Banff, including many within quick walking distance to all the downtown fun.

Book your hotel well in advance of your trip, as most hotels only have a selection of rooms that allow pets.

Keep in mind that most hotels charge a pet fee per night, usually around $20. In addition, they request that you don’t leave them in the room unattended.

If you do need to step out, most hotels request that you use an approved travel pet crate and leave your cell number so that the front desk can get a hold of you should the need arise. 

Here are my top choices for pet friendly hotels in Banff:

Best Overall + location

Elk & Avenue: this hotel is the perfect location. It’s less than half a block to the main downtown area and is very welcoming to pets.

Upon check-in we were greeted with a goody-bag and in the room was a dog bed and water dish free to use.

There’s a grassy park right across the street and the on-site Good Earth Café has a dog-friendly patio for morning coffee with your furry pal. 

Best Hot Tub

The Moose Hotel & Suites: this hotel is located just one block further from Elk & Avenue and is one of the newer hotels in Banff.

Stay here if you love a rooftop hot tub with a view!

Best Budget Pick

The Dorothy Motel: choose this hotel if you’re on a budget and want quick access to go in and out with your dog.

While the prices are low, the quality of rooms is high (it’s very recently renovated). Even though it’s on the edge of town, it’s located in a quiet neighborhood within walking distance of the amazing off-leash dog park. 

  • Are dogs allowed in banff national park
  • Are dogs allowed in banff national park

Best High End

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel: I always recommend the Banff Springs for a luxurious stay, also known as the Banff Castle.

If your wallet allows, this is the best place to stay with your pup, as they even allow larger well-behaved dogs. 

If you can’t find a room in Banff, there are several great pet-friendly hotels in Canmore only 20 minutes away. 


Dog Friendly Activities in Banff

There are plenty of things you can do with your dog in Banff. 

Off Leash Dog Park

Are dogs allowed in banff national park

Start your day with a visit to the off-leash dog park located in the industrial area of town, just off the intersection of Compound Road and Hawk Ave.

It’s a beautiful hidden gem where a portion of the forested area has been fenced off. 

Cafes and Shops

  • Are dogs allowed in banff national park
  • Are dogs allowed in banff national park

Come back into town and enjoy coffee and breakfast at either the Good Earth Café or Wild Flour Bakery, both of which have dog-friendly patios. 

Stroll around the pedestrian-friendly areas of Banff Ave and Bear Street and enjoy mingling with other furry friend tourists and taking in the views.

There’s also great pet-friendly shops in town that love to meet your 4-legged family members. 

Rocky Mountain Soap Co. and Banff Dog House are dog-friendly stores located on Banff Ave and invite you to bring your pups inside while you shop. 

Fun on the Water

Canoe, kayak or SUP on the Bow River or into Vermilion Lakes. Rent whichever vessel you prefer from the Banff Canoe Club and show your dog the sights!

Are dogs allowed in banff national park

Sightseeing

There’s plenty of sightseeing to be had in town – try walking down Muskrat Street across the pedestrian bridge to the Bow River Falls viewpoint. 

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Head up Tunnel Mountain Road to the Tunnel Mountain Reservoir area – bring a blanket and enjoy a quiet picnic, read a book or just enjoy the peaceful views. 

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Tunnel Mountain Reservoir

Cascade Ponds is a nice large area for a stroll or even a light bike ride, with plenty of picnic areas and stunning scenery. 

Johnson Lake is one of the warmest lakes to hang out for a dip. There are a few different areas where you can lay down a blanket and enjoy a beach day in the mountains or do a light hike around the perimeter of the lake. 

Dogs are allowed at Lake Minnewanka but only up until the Stewart Canyon Bridge and not any further.

You can bring your dogs to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake though for deeper views of these ethereal glacier lakes.

If you do plan to visit any of these lakes with your dog, I recommend going in the off season or at least during the week for fewer crowds. 


Pet Friendly Hiking and Trails in and Around Banff

Visit the Marsh Loop or Fenland Trail if you’re in the mood for an easy, scenic saunter. 

If you need more of a challenge, the Tunnel Mountain Hike can be accessed from downtown and take most people less than an hour and a half. 

Mistaya Canyon Hike. A short, easy hike just off the Icefields Parkway

Big Beehive Hike via Lake Agnes for high views above Lake Louise. 

Plain of Six Glaciers (another tea house hike), a moderate hike just under 15kms with everything you could hope for in a mountain hike, including shimmering turquoise lakes and glaciers. 


Dog Friendly Patios in Banff 

  • Are dogs allowed in banff national park
    Magpie & Stump
  • Are dogs allowed in banff national park
    Three Bears
  • Are dogs allowed in banff national park
    Buffalo Mountain Cafe

There’s a nice list of dog-friendly restaurants in Banff and it keeps growing.

Here is my tally of the ones that allow dogs (but just remember you will be seated on the outdoor patio).

Magpie & Stump street level patio for tacos and margaritas. 

Three Bears Brewery for local brews and and amazing pizza – try the elk meat & kale!

The Eddie for tasty burgers. 

Bear Street Tavern for modern comfort food and very welcoming atmosphere for pets. 

Melissa’s MisSteak street-level patio (great food and never too busy). 

High Rollers for the largest draft beer selection and classic pub fare. 

Pacini if you need your pasta fix and extra convenient if you’re staying at the Moose Hotel. 

Park Distillery for fun cocktails and great people watching. 

Evelyn’s Coffee World on Banff Ave for morning provisions.

Buffalo Mountain Cafe is a great outdoor spot outside of the crowds of town – enjoy fresh baked goods or wood-fired pizza on the cozy patio. 


Places You Can’t Bring Your Dogs & Pets in Banff

Are dogs allowed in banff national park
Cascade of Time Garden

While there are many patios that allow your dogs to sit with you while you dine outside, most health & safety policies in Alberta do not allow animals inside restaurants.

Essentially, don’t expect to be able to bring your dogs inside. 

Attractions like the Banff Gondola and the Mt. Norquay Sightseeing chairlift do not allow dogs to come aboard.

If you’re looking for a dog-friendly gondola in the Canadian Rockies, I highly recommend the Jasper National Park Skytram. 

Nor can you take them to the ski hills or hot springs. 

Pets are also not permitted in the Cascade of Time gardens located on the grounds of the administration building. 


Final Tips for Bringing Your Dog to Banff

Are dogs allowed in banff national park

The weather in Banff National Park varies and can change at a moment’s notice. No matter what season you’re visiting in, be prepared for inclement weather. 

And while dogs must always be on a leash, there are some trails that prohibit dogs due to wildlife corridors, especially areas with a high concentration of bears.

Always check each individual trail before visiting with your pet. 



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Are dogs allowed in banff national park

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About the Author: Tung Chi