From hikings trails and nationwide parks, to the world well-known Lake Louise and Lake Moraine, let our record of the most effective issues to do in Banff, Canada show you how to plan your subsequent go to.
The city of Banff, in addition to the encompassing Banff Nationwide Park, is likely one of the most treasured jewels in all of Canada, and North America for that matter.
The jagged peaks of the Canadian Rockies stand up in all instructions, creating an awe-inspiring scene that beckons all who go to to get outside.
With Cascade Mountain rising above the city at one finish, Mount Rundle drawing all eyes that land on it, and quite a lot of quaint timber shops lining the streets, Banff is as near a residing fairy story vacation spot that yow will discover.
Yearly a whole lot of 1000's of vacationers from america and Canada flock to Banff to indulge in its pure magnificence and to sort out the massive variety of actions and sights which have grown over time.
Situated proper within the Banff Nationwide Park, its landscapes are phenomenal. The close by Lake Louise is an iconic sight, the ski resorts are top-notch, and it’s little marvel Banff is now considered one of Canada’s greatest journey locations.
The Greatest Issues to Do in Banff
There are quite a lot of issues to do in Banff, because the pure landscapes are very accommodating for all types of actions, starting from mountain climbing to canoeing to snowboarding, and a lot extra.
Whereas the city of Banff is sort of small and will be explored in simply a few days, the encompassing area is far more vibrant, and Banff Nationwide Park is the place a lot of the magic occurs.
A few of the sights in Banff Nationwide Park are world-famous, together with the sapphire Lake Louise and different peaks within the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Right here is our record of the most effective issues to do in Banff, which is able to hopefully show you how to begin exploring this excellent area.
1) Trip the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain
There’s a really distinctive and scenic magnificence to be discovered on this a part of the Rocky Mountains, and that gorgeousness is most accessible when it from excessive atop the mountains.
The close by Sulphur Mountain gives really epic views from its summit. The gondola is an effective way to get to the highest the place these vistas grow to be accessible to nearly anyone.
No marvel it’s grow to be one of many high issues to do in Banff!
Driving the gondola isn’t nearly attending to the highest of Sulphur Mountain. The views alongside the best way present a really distinctive perspective of the size of Banff and its surrounding area.
Its 7,500-foot tall peak of Sulphur Mountain consists of interactive displays, a present store, locations to eat, and even a 360-degree observational deck with views of Banff and the Bow River Valley under.
Climbing out towards the summit of Sulphur Mountain has you observe a well-built boardwalk, that may get icy, so ensure you deliver correct footwear.
The quick stroll is properly price it although, and on a transparent day, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of the Bow Valley punctuated with hovering peaks.
Whereas the gondola journey to the highest of Sulphur Mountain is a bit on the expensive facet (CA$62 for adults 16 and up), it’s one of the standard locations to go to in Banff for good purpose.
If you wish to avoid wasting cash you can even hike to the highest of Sulphur Mountain. Enable 2 hours to climb you probably have an affordable degree of health.
If you happen to’re , the Bow Valley can also be one of many high spot for horseback driving in Banff Nationwide Park. Go to one of many tourism places of work in Banff city for excursions and data.
2) Go Snowboarding or Climbing at Sunshine Village
Regardless of the season there’s all the time one thing unbelievable to do round Sunshine Village.
Only a 30-minute drive from the city of Banff, Sunshine Village is primarily a ski resort, and it’s usually the primary resort to open up in Canada each winter, and one of many final to shut. The season lasts from November till Might!
Sunshine Village boasts 3000 skiable acres and 12 chair lifts making it world-class. There’s terrain to go well with skiers and snowboarders of all ranges.
Households could have a good time, and the ski college is likely one of the greatest within the nation.
Whereas Sunshine Village isn't a budget-friendly vacation spot, doing a little glorious snowboarding all day and stress-free within the lodge with a scorching drink within the night makes Sunshine Village one of many coolest sights in Banff.
However as soon as the ski season is over, and June rolls round, the snow melts and the terrain reveals splendid mountain climbing trails round Sunshine Village.
The Sunshine Meadows pop into life, and are thought of among the greatest mountain climbing trails in your complete wider area. There are additionally some nice mountain biking trails.
Climbing is totally free, and the surroundings is gorgeous, which is why Sunshine Meadows is likely one of the greatest issues to see in Banff.
3) Head to Moraine Lake for Dawn
Some of the photographed locations in all of Canada is the well-known Moraine Lake, with its 10 peaks reflecting on the glistening, mirror-like water.
Moraine Lake is so well-known that it was pictured on the previous twenty greenback invoice! So it’s little shock that nearly everybody visiting Banff makes an effort to see Moraine Lake with their very own two eyes.
Moraine lake itself is just an hour drive from the city of Banff, and when you’re there you’ll discover among the best mountain climbing trails within the area.
There are mountain climbing trails of various issue, so even inexperienced persons could have a simple time adjusting to the terrain that surrounds the lake.
Whereas the simplest hike is the flat Lakeshore Path, which lasts about 45 minutes spherical journey, a way more standard hike is Comfort Lakes trails, which is sort of lengthy at about 2 hours.
Regardless of which manner you choose, nonetheless, you’ll witness the magnificent alpine great thing about the Canadian Rocky Mountains and loads of well-marked trails.
Simply be certain to reach earlier within the morning to catch a parking spot.
E-book a Lake Moraine and Lake Louise sightseeing tour from Banff should you don’t have your individual automotive!
4) Go Whitewater Rafting on the Kicking Horse River
For these of you that like to do your sightseeing with adrenaline flowing by your veins, one of the thrilling issues to do in Banff Nationwide Park is whitewater rafting!
The well-known Kicking Horse River is a brief distance from the city of Banff and is understood to have the most effective rafting alternatives in your complete nation.
Charging by class 5 rapids, over waterfalls and between slim gorges is assured to get your blood pumping. But when this sounds a bit an excessive amount of for you there’s all the time an choice to take it sluggish and easily soak within the views.
There are quite a few excursions that function within the area, and among the extra mellow choices are the Kananaskis River, or the intermediate Horseshoe Canyon.
Whether or not you’re an skilled rafter or a whole beginner, you’re certain to fall in love with rafting which is arguably top-of-the-line methods to expertise Banff’s gorgeous nature.
5) Drive the Legendary Icefields Parkway
An expertise that no individual visiting Banff will ever need to miss is driving the Icefields Parkway, referred to as top-of-the-line highway journeys on the planet.
Stretching 230km from simply outdoors the Lake Louise space all the best way to Jasper, Icefields Parkway is an iconic freeway that weaves its manner by the most effective mountain surroundings in all of Canada.
Beginning within the south you traverse by Banff Nationwide Park, previous among the most picturesque landscapes conceivable, together with the impossibly blue Peyto Lake. Peyto Lake is unquestionably price a cease in itself.
Ultimately you hit Jasper Nationwide Park, with the fantastic Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier (extra on that under), and the insanely spectacular Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls.
Jagged peaks encompass you on all sides and also you’ll go by extra mirror-like lakes and rivers than you possibly can depend with loads of choices to cease alongside the best way.
You might also have the pleasure of seeing among the Canadian Rockies’ most superb wildlife, resembling bears, moose, and caribou.
The drive alongside Icefields Parkway is critically mind-blowing and will be accomplished both with your individual rental automotive (which we advocate) or by becoming a member of a tour from Banff.
Though it’s solely 230km lengthy, you possibly can simply spend 5 (or extra) hours driving the Icefields Parkway, particularly should you cease off in any respect the highlights alongside the best way or do any hikes.
If you happen to choose to benefit from your time, you possibly can guide a one-way sightseeing tour of the Icefields Parkway, choosing you up in Banff Nationwide Park, taking you to all the primary spots alongside the drive, then dropping you off close to Jasper Nationwide Park.
6) Go Climbing on the Athabasca Glacier
Probably the most-visited glacier in all of North America, the Athabasca Glacier is part of the majestic Columbia Icefield, which is the biggest physique of ice within the Canadian Rockies.
Situated almost midway alongside the Icefields Parkway, this magnificent glacier will be explored in quite a lot of methods. The preferred manner is a tour on the Ice Explorer, a specifically designed expedition bus that drives immediately on the glacier.
This journey lasts simply over an hour and will be an effective way to expertise the glacier should you’re quick on time or have some mobility points.
However if you wish to actually have an journey, then it is advisable to hike on the glacier itself!
Athabasca Glacier Icewalk has been main mountain climbing journeys for years, and runs an epic tour referred to as the Ice Cubed the place you don crampons and stroll for 5km on the massive frozen river.
It lasts for Three hours, begins in both the morning or afternoon and also you do want a regular quantity of health to participate.
Have some extra time? Try their Icewalk Deluxe tour, which works for five hours. Positively top-of-the-line issues to do close to Banff!
One of the simplest ways to get round is to lease a automotive and discover by yourself! We advocate Rental Vehicles, which has the biggest vary of automobiles for the most effective worth in the marketplace.
7) Go Ice Climbing with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures
If you happen to love adrenaline and attempting one thing new, then top-of-the-line issues to do in Banff in winter is to go on an mountain climbing tour with native specialists Yamnuska Mountain Adventures.
When the temperatures drop within the Rocky Mountains, the waterfalls freeze, creating a brand new world of potentialities for individuals who love being energetic.
Summer time is for mountaineering in Banff, and winter is for mountain climbing, which is likely one of the most enjoyable (and most badass) actions you are able to do.
Armed with ice axes and crampons, you climb vertically up frozen falls, hammering your ‘software’ into the ice and kicking the factors of your crampons in, that means with energy, method and slightly little bit of belief, you possibly can ascend to dizzying heights.
We had by no means accomplished this earlier than, so we signed up for an introductory course with Yamnuska. We met our information Jesse in Johnston Canyon, and he gave us all of our gear earlier than mountain climbing out to the distant falls.
As soon as on the finish of the boardwalk we climbed down the approved-climbers-only part and acquired kitted up.
Jessee ran up a simple route, drilling anchors into the ice and connecting the rope earlier than heading again down and giving us some detailed directions on how you can ice climb.
Then it was time to place the idea into observe!
We climbed up and down the identical route Four occasions, getting higher and quicker every time, and Jesse would consistently monitor our method and provides recommendation on how you can enhance.
Slamming the software into the ice and feeling it seize maintain was immensely satisfying, and we rapidly fell in love with this sport. It was tiring although, and as soon as we’d burned all our energy up it was time to move again to the automotive park.
The fellows at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures run a bunch of various excursions, from small introductory ones for inexperienced persons like us proper as much as intensive programs. If you happen to’re questioning what to do in Banff in winter, we extremely advocate this!
8) Soak within the Banff Higher Sizzling Springs
The Banff Higher Sizzling Springs was as soon as thought of a spot of holy therapeutic waters by the First Nations. In the present day it's a place for resting and rest.
The distinctive properties of those pure scorching springs make them one of many best vacationer sights in Banff Nationwide Park, they usually’re an incredible spot to go to all 12 months spherical.
Every pure scorching spring is akin to a public swimming pool, in that they’re geared up with the entire newest fashionable facilities resembling railings, ladders, lockers, and even a café.
What units them aside is that the swimming pools are fed by pure scorching springs, and that is the primary purpose they’re so stress-free.
Coupled with the truth that the encompassing surroundings is gorgeous, these scorching springs can simply loosen up each the physique and the soul.
All of this makes the new springs considered one of greatest locations to go to in Banff.
9) Test Out the Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic Website
Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic Website is of probably the most fascinating points of Banff’s historical past.
There’s proof of people occupying the realm of Banff for round 10,000 years, which works to point out that there’s much more to this place than meets the attention.
Having the ability to work together inside a historic setting and context is all the time superb, which is precisely what the Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic web site gives to guests.
That is the place that first put Banff on the trendy map, and the rationale it was designated as Canada’s first nationwide park.
Contained in the cave is a pure thermal scorching spring, which is now closed to public swimming, and these days it’s an academic spot.
There are many interactive shows that educate travellers concerning the significance of this location, and there’s a Discovery Tour designed particularly that can assist you immerse your self on this place.
The cavern is completely gorgeous, and undoubtedly one of many coolest locations to go to in Banff.
If you happen to’re not within the temper to go trekking round Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic web site, you can even go on a 1-hour guided experience!
10) Get pleasure from S’Mores and Stay Music on the Alpenglow Pageant
In the course of the winter months, the highest of the mountain comes alive with the enjoyable and vibrant Alpenglow Pageant, and spending just a few hours up right here is a superb Banff winter exercise.
The alpenglow refers to when the tops of the mountains flip crimson simply after the solar units, a phenomena that's really lovely (and makes for some superior images).
The Alpenglow Pageant is a good occasion to take a look at within the late afternoon, as quite a lot of native musicians take the stage, scrumptious meals is obtainable and guests are even given s’mores to cook dinner up on the out of doors fires.
We went up on a cloudy day and weren’t blessed with the well-known alpenglow, however that didn’t make the pageant any much less superior. Positively strive some cocktails when you’re up there.
11) Hike Round Lake Louise and the Close by Teahouses
One of many true gems of the area, Lake Louise is nearly as iconic as Banff itself.
Situated an hour east from the city in Banff Nationwide Park, Lake Louise is a completely spellbinding location, surrounded by surroundings that may barely be matched by every other place on this planet.
Lake Louise is a turquoise jewel surrounded by jagged peaks in Banff Nationwide Park. Whereas Lake Louise isn’t the most effective for swimming, it’s best for canoeing!
Canoeing in Lake Louise whereas Mount Victoria majestically looms to the west is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Banff Nationwide Park.
Climbing and exploring are additionally superb choices, and one thing that shouldn’t be missed is strolling as much as the close by teahouses.
A preferred and pretty straightforward trek is to Lake Agnes, which solely takes round an hour and is properly price it to admire the alpine surroundings and have a cup of espresso on the path.
When you've got extra time you possibly can head out to the teahouse on the finish of the Plain of the Six Glaciers path from Lake Louise. It could possibly take as much as 7 hours, however the views are merely unreal.
There are additionally mountain biking trails round Lake Louise that you could hit whenever you go to Banff!
With a lot to see, you possibly can simply spend a few days unearthing the nooks and crannies round Lake Louise.
Need an expertise like no different? Think about staying a the Fairmont Lake Louise, one of the well-known resorts in Banff Nationwide Park and your complete world!
12) Discover the Falls at Johnston Canyon
By far the most well-liked day hike in Banff Nationwide Park is thru the exceptional Johnston Canyon, solely 30 minutes from downtown Banff.
The simple 5km lengthy jaunt to the Higher Falls and again will take you alongside the slim gorge fashioned by Johnston Creek, a part of the well-known Bow River, and as much as a set of huge cascades and swimming pools.
Alternating between well-groomed trails and a boardwalk, it’s accessible for individuals of all ages and skills. Don’t let the excessive variety of guests put you off although – its magnificence is properly price coping with the crowds.
If you happen to occur to seek out your self on the town throughout the colder months you must undoubtedly contemplate taking a mission out to Johnston Canyon, as seeing the place lined in contemporary snow and ice is like stepping right into a winter wonderland.
Strapping ice cleats and happening a night icy hike to Johnston Canyon is a implausible exercise, as your complete area is likely one of the most lovely issues to see in Banff in winter.
The frozen waterfalls create a particular kind of drama that makes them appear as in the event that they’re straight out of a fairy story.
13) Shred the Slopes at Lake Louise Ski Resort
Towering mountains, excessive snowfall, lengthy winters and superb infrastructure makes Canada one of many world’s most well-known snowboarding and snowboarding locations.
House to among the greatest ski resorts on the planet, like Whistler Blackcomb and Revelstoke Mountain Resort, individuals journey from far and huge to carve activates the legendary slopes.
Alberta has quite a lot of world-class ski resorts, and the top of all of them is Lake Louise Ski Resort in Banff Nationwide Park.
With 4200 skiable acres and 10 chair lifts servicing 145 runs, there’s little marvel that individuals flock to Lake Louise to shred the terrain.
The slopes of Lake Louise Ski Resort cater to skiers of all ability ranges, and whether or not you’re studying on the bunny hill or hucking again 5’s off of cliffs, you’re assured to seek out one thing to maintain you happy.
If you happen to’ve already fallen in love with Banff and need to prolong your keep and discover the area, be certain to learn our Canada Journey Information.
14) Pattern the Liquor at Park Distillery
If you happen to love the style of a nice gin or tasty rye, then you definately merely can’t miss Park Distillery when questioning what to do in Banff!
Situated in downtown Banff on Banff Avenue, this superior native distillery makes among the greatest liquor within the nation, they usually’re not afraid to experiment both!
Chilli vodka? Hell yea. Maple rye? In fact! Need a gin infused with Canadian spruce? Why not?
Park Distillery has been experimenting with numerous liquors for the previous few years and has proudly grow to be top-of-the-line Banff sights round.
They've a wonderful restaurant and a fully-functioning bar (boasting delectable cocktails), however should you actually love their liquor ensure you join the free distillery tour.
15) Lease Some Ice Skates and Hit the Lakes
As soon as winter rolls round and the temperatures drop, lots of Banff’s great waters freeze over.
These in search of true journey amongst the mountain peaks won't discover this favorite native previous time of curiosity, however in the case of Banff winter actions, ice-skating is tough to beat.
Ice skating on the frozen lakes of Two Jack Lake, Johnson Lake, Bow Lake, Lake Minnewaka, and even the legendary Lake Louise, when you’re surrounded by majestic alpine peaks is nothing to scoff about.
Lake Louise itself is taken into account the most secure of the bunch to ice skate on, because it’s usually maintained and cleared of snow.
You'll be able to deliver your individual gear with you, however if you'd like you can even lease respectable gear from native outlets whenever you go to Banff.
16) Cling Out at Lake Minnewanka
It’s laborious to jot down an inventory of the most effective Banff sights with out mentioning Lake Minnewanka, the 21km lengthy spectacle simply outdoors of city.
That is the form of place the place you can get misplaced for days. Individuals who love being energetic will discover solace within the kayak and canoe leases down on the essential pier, or you possibly can tackle any considered one of quite a lot of beautiful hikes within the space.
Fairly loosen up with family and friends? Lake Minnewanka is the proper place to come back down for a picnic, or you possibly can take a ship cruise, which is arguably top-of-the-line issues to do in Banff in summer time. There is no such thing as a higher place to soak within the Banff sunshine than on the shores of a lake.
The enjoyable doesn’t cease there. It’s additionally a well-liked fishing vacation spot, with massive trout and whitefish ready to be hooked by the eager angler.
One factor that few individuals know is that you could really go scuba diving in Lake Minnewanka as properly. Sure, the water is chilly, however the underwater flora is sort of superb.
17) Climb Cascade Mountain
The overwhelming majesty of Cascade Mountain looms over the city of Banff like a guardian angel, and its presence has been wowing guests for many years.
It’s laborious to not cease and take 1000's of images of the mountain from each angle of city, however should you’re feeling as much as a problem you possibly can even contemplate climbing to its summit!
The highest of Cascade Mountain sits at 2998m above sea degree, and the path to the highest is unquestionably no stroll within the park.
The 18km return hike to the summit climbs a complete of 1325m in elevation. And when you don’t want mountaineering expertise to overcome the height, there's a honest quantity of scrambling at occasions, and the path will be sketchy.
The trailhead begins on the ski lodge on Mount Norquay. Begin early and permit your self a full day to achieve the highest and descend safely.
Don't try this hike if circumstances are moist or snowy, and monitor the climate earlier than you begin and as you're climbing.
A substitute for mountain climbing is a helicopter tour over the Canadian Rockies, top-of-the-line Banff sights.
18) Maintain an Eye Out for Banff’s Epic Wildlife
Banff is house to much more than simply busloads of vacationers and a sizeable working vacation crowd. Probably the most well-known residents of Banff are the wildlife!
House to animals of all sizes and shapes, recognizing a critter is a spotlight of many individuals’s go to to city, and sometimes it isn’t that tough.
Deer are generally seen wandering across the village, and sometimes elk and caribou make an look.
If you happen to head into Banff Nationwide Park, Canada’s first nationwide park, your likelihood of seeing some wildlife goes up drastically. Right here you might have the prospect to solid your eyes on moose and even black bears.
A few of the most elusive creatures are grizzly bears, wolves, and cougars, and you must contemplate your self fortunate should you see one.
It’s essential to needless to say these are wild animals and will be extraordinarily harmful. If you happen to see one within the wild don't method it, and should you come throughout one when driving don't get out of your automotive.
Give them loads of house and chances are high they received’t be spooked, that means you possibly can observe them safely from a distance for fairly a very long time.
If you happen to’re a nature fanatic you can even contemplate reserving a wildlife safari tour whenever you go to Banff. Exploring with a educated information will enhance your possibilities of seeing some animals!
If you happen to get pleasure from photographing wildlife, take a look at our record of the greatest journey cameras for all budgets.
19) Brush Up on Your First Nations Historical past at Buffalo Nation Luxton Museum
No journey to Canada is full with out studying about its fascinating First Nations tradition, and this superb museum in downtown Banff does an incredible job at it.
It’s been open because the 1950s, and since then the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum has devoted itself to educating everybody about the entire contributions of the native individuals to the encompassing lands.
This museum is a good Banff attraction, particularly for these keen on historical past and tradition. It’s not a really massive museum and will be explored in about an hour.
The museum is open every single day of the week from 10 am to 7 pm, and the entry payment is CA$10.
Banff Journey Information
Now that you understand what to do in Banff and the encompassing Banff Nationwide Park, we want to show you how to with one other essential planning side of your Canadian journey – discovering the proper lodging!
The place to Keep in Banff
Being such a vacationer hotspot, the city of Banff has an enormous variety of nice lodging choices for all travellers.
As a whole disclaimer, resorts in downtown Banff are very costly, so earlier than you come ensure you have sufficient room in your funds to accommodate your keep right here.
Fortunately there’s a complete vary of free issues to do in Banff whenever you get right here to assist hold the remainder of your prices down.
Greatest Hostel in Banff – Samesun Hostel
The Samesun Hostel has grow to be a little bit of an establishment throughout western Canada, and should you’re seeking to go to Banff on a funds then that is the spot to be.
Having moved to a brand new location nearer to downtown Banff a few years in the past, it has among the greatest services of any hostel within the area.
Clear dorm rooms with lockers, a tremendous widespread space, quick wifi, the well-known Beaver Bar and reductions on all types of Banff actions make it the most effective low cost lodging on the town. The employees are tremendous pleasant they usually’ll show you how to make preparations for attending to the nationwide parks and hikes.
Greatest Mid-Vary Resort in Banff – Moose Resort and Suites
When you've got the cash to splurge whenever you go to Banff we extremely advocate the Moose Resort and Suites.
We stayed right here on our final go to to Banff after taking the Rocky Mountaineer practice journey from Vancouver, and cherished our keep.
This traditional-style lodge has an incredible bar and restaurant, and the rooms are spacious and trendy.
Greatest Luxurious Resort in Banff – Fairmont Banff Springs Resort
The Fairmont Banff Springs is likely one of the most iconic luxurious resorts in Canada, and should you can afford it, you received’t remorse staying on this world-famous lodging.
Situated simply outdoors of city close to Bow Falls, this towering complicated is over 125 years previous and is a really lovely place to see.
The property can greatest be described as decadent, and the rooms are stately and tastefully adorned.
The bars and eating places are among the greatest within the nation too, so even should you can’t afford to remain right here, it’s price popping out for a drink or a chunk to eat.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is one other unbelievable luxurious lodge situated proper on the lake. It’s not as near downtown Banff as Fairmont Banff Springs Resort, nevertheless it’s a extra secluded possibility.
So there are good luxurious choices irrespective of the place you need to keep within the Banff and Lake Louise space.
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