Touring to Banff Nationwide Park in Alberta, Canada?
Canada’s first nationwide park, Banff is without doubt one of the most scenic spots in the complete nation, and it has sufficient actions to maintain you occupied for weeks on finish.
How do I do know? As a result of I lived in Alberta for a whole yr! That’s proper — dwelling in Alberta, not too removed from Banff, gave me the chance to scour the land and discover the very best this area has to supply.
On this article, we’re not solely going to cowl the very best matters to do in Banff Nationwide Park, however I’ll additionally provide you with my insider tips about the place to remain, learn how to get to Banff, and a lot extra! Oh, and earlier than we begin, you’ll want to bookmark my good Alberta Highway Journey Itinerary to assist plan your go to.
Prepared? Let’s dive in!
The Greatest Matters to do in Banff Nationwide Park
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#1 – Go to the Fairmont Banff Springs
I do know, I do know, putting a resort as the primary matter to do on this record appears just a little unusual, however hear me out.
The (arguably) most historic resort in all of Canada, The Fairmont Banff Springs was constructed between 1911 and 1928 and is situated on the foot of Sulphur Mountain. Often called “Canada’s Citadel within the Rockies”, this UNESCO World Heritage Website is nice for a historical past lesson and a day of luxurious alike.
Whereas I completely suggest staying not less than one night time on the Fairmont Banff Springs Resort, when you select to produce other lodging then I’d nonetheless counsel visiting the spa, the golf course, the artwork galleries, or one of many award-winning eating places.
That is going to sound bougie, however having afternoon tea within the resort’s Rundle Bar is an absolute spotlight and the proper day to heat up after a day spent outdoors.
#2 – Experience a Gondola
Ever dreamed of gliding excessive by the mountains and taking within the views of Banff from the consolation of a big metallic field?
Nicely then do I’ve information for you!
Banff, Alberta is dwelling to some Gondola experiences which can have you taking in wonderful views whereas having a rush of an expertise on the identical time.
Gondola #1 – The Banff Gondola
Essentially the most well-known of the Gondolas, The Banff Gondola is a glass-enclosed 8-minute trip that may take you up Sulphur Mountain and drop you off at probably the greatest viewpoints in the entire park.
On the high, you’ll discover an Interpretive Centre, unbelievable eating places, and a scenic boardwalk.
The Banff Gondola is situated in Banff on the finish of Mountain Avenue. Should you don’t have a automobile, then you possibly can simply get to it by taking the Bow Valley ROAM Transit bus, on Route 1.
This gondola is definitely probably the most well-known matters to do in Banff!
Gondola #2 – The Lake Louise Gondola
A 14-minute trip situated on the Lake Louise Ski Resort, the Lake Louise Gondola offers you two using choices: a traditional enclosed gondola expertise, or an open-air chairlift trip.
If you get to the highest (2088m / 6850 ft), there are eating places, espresso bars, and views to take in.
Gondola #3 – Banff Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift
Whereas not a gondola per se, the Banff Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift is a 15-minute trip that offers you a wholly new perspective of Banff.
From the chairlift, you’ll get views of the City of Banff, Bow River, and the towering cliffs of Mt. Rundle.
When the chairlift will get to the highest, you’ll discover the Cliff Home Bistro the place you possibly can have a meal or a drink and take within the magnificent views.
#3 – Take a Soak within the Scorching Springs
Situated close to the highest of Sulphur Mountain, the geothermally-heated Banff Higher Scorching Springs is a totally pure mineral water spring. That is the very best elevation scorching spring in all of Canada, and the one spring open to public bathing within the park.
Good and toasty all yr spherical, the temperature of the recent springs depends upon the season, but usually stays between 27°and 47° C (80° – 116 °F)
A tourism staple of Banff, Alberta, the springs supply facilities similar to a restaurant, lockers to your matters, and towels.
Banff Higher Scorching Springs is situated at 1 Mountain Ave. There isn’t a ton of parking right here, so I like to recommend taking the ROAM bus Route 1.
#4 – Discover the City of Banff
Should you’re on the lookout for a nature break and desire a comparatively extra city expertise for a day, then contemplate all that downtown Banff has to supply.
Regardless of your price range, there are many points of interest in Banff together with purchasing, eating places, artwork galleries, and museums.
Talking of museums, if you wish to study just a little bit extra in regards to the Rocky Mountains then try the Banff Park Museum, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, or the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum.
As for Banff artwork galleries, The Carter – Ryan gallery is to not be missed. Showcasing the artwork of indigenous artist Jason Carter, this artwork gallery is a staple in Canmore and the city of Banff.
Moreover, when you’re on the lookout for one thing just a little completely different, I like to recommend paying a go to to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity the place you’ll discover artwork, festivals, live shows, and workshops.
Word: Should you’re on the lookout for extra matters to do in Alberta as a complete, then try our full Alberta Journey Information!
#5 – Go Mountain climbing
Given Banff’s famend pure magnificence, I’m certain a giant cause to your journey is to expertise nature up shut and private.
Top-of-the-line matters to do in Banff, there are such a lot of mountaineering trails which are worthy of your consideration (like, so, so many). Nevertheless, if in case you have restricted time within the park, then try a number of of those trusty gems:
Hike #1 – Johnston Canyon
An especially in style day hike, Johnston Canyon is a straightforward trek that may take you thru a towering canyon and to the Decrease Falls (1.1 km/0.68mi), Higher Falls (2.7km/1.67mi), and the Ink Pots (11.7km/7.27mi).
If excursions are extra your pace, then try this in style Johnston Canyon Icewalk tour.
Hike #2 – Tunnel Mountain
For a hike that’s just a little bit extra average (and with fewer folks), try Tunnel Mountain. This 2-hour hike is definitely accessible from downtown Banff and options path switchbacks. From this hike, you’ll get nice views of Bow Valley and Mt. Rundle.
Hike #3 – By way of Ferrata
Whereas the By way of Ferrata will not be for the faint of coronary heart, when you’re trying to get your adrenaline flowing then that is the hike for you. This assisted mountaineering expertise will take you alongside Mount Norquay, and you may anticipate suspension bridges, ladders, and being fixed in a harness whereas hooked up to the facet of a mountain.
Hike #4 – Rock Isle Lake by way of Sunshine Meadows
It is a nice easy-moderate mountaineering possibility. An 8-km (4.97mi) loop path alongside the continental divide and Kootenay Nationwide Park, this trek will take you previous rolling hills, lakes, valleys, and mountains at Simpson viewpoint.
#6 – Take a Helicopter Tour
Wish to expertise the very best views of Banff?
Then e-book a helicopter tour!
A trip not like another, a Banff helicopter tour is an effective way to get jaw-dropping views of mountain peaks, cities, lakes, valleys, and a lot extra.
Whereas the launch level is simply outdoors the park, this Abraham Lake Ice Bubbles Helicopter Tour is highly-rated and offers you nice views of the world.
#7 – Canine Sledding
First used as a way of transport by the Inuit folks in Northern Canada, canine sledding is without doubt one of the hottest matters to do in Banff.
Should you’re an animal lover who desires to spend a day round a pack of a number of the sweetest, most energetic, canines you’ll ever meet, then that is for you.
To go canine sledding, you’ll must take a tour.
Word: As a result of canine sledding clearly entails animals, I wish to observe that a lot of the dogsledding firms in Banff are extremely vetted and are held to the very best moral requirements.
The animals are handled with dignity and respect, and serving to the canines deplete a few of their vitality is definitely actually good for them. That stated, completely do your due diligence when selecting a canine sledding firm to go along with.
I’d record some choices right here however fairly frankly, personally researching is one of the best ways to go. Ask questions and solely spend your cash the place you are feeling comfy.
#8 – Take a Sleigh Experience
Searching for some winter magic in your journey to Banff?
Then take a Winter Wonderland sleigh trip!
Every winter, Banff and Lake Louise develop into blanketed in snow, and as such firms supply up private and non-private sleigh rides.
Every expertise will start with you visiting the stables to satisfy the horses and the workers, and from there, your guides will entertain you with historic tales and establish any factors of curiosity you move.
Take a look at this highly-rated family-friendly horsedrawn sleigh trip tour.
#9 – Go Tubing and Tobogganing
Zooming down a snowy mountain with only a flimsy tube or toboggan underneath your physique is probably not for the faint of coronary heart, but it surely’s positively probably the most unforgettable matters to do in Banff.
Whereas any hill can technically be used for tobogganing (you possibly can lease toboggans downtown Banff) when you’re on the lookout for extra of a thrill I extremely suggest tubing.
With amenities operating at each Mount Norquay and Lake Louise, the tubing expertise in Banff options inflatable tubes, towing techniques (yay for not having to trudge up the hill after you’ve slid down), and arranged slides.
It doesn’t matter what age you’re, I assure you’ll have a blast tubing down the mountain.
#10 – Plan a Wellness Weekend
Well-known for its rejuvenating qualities, planning a wellness retreat is without doubt one of the finest matters to do in Banff.
Whereas nature is a pure rejuvenator, Banff can also be dwelling to spa therapies, yoga festivals, saunas, massages, meditation retreats, the aforementioned scorching springs, and a lot extra.
Whether or not you intend in the future of pampering, a weekend, or longer, you gained’t run out of rest in Banff, Alberta.
#11 – Go Horseback Using
Horse lovers unite!
Whether or not you’re a seasoned equestrian or are new to the expertise, horseback using within the Canadian Rockies will not be an exercise you’ll quickly neglect.
There are many using experiences to select from — from simply a few hours to week-long adventures — and that is an exercise that may be tailor-made to your style and price range.
This 1-hour Banff horseback using tour will take you throughout the Spray River and provide you with views of Bow Falls.
#12 – Go Rafting
Ever dreamt about crusing down some rapids in Banff, Alberta?
Nicely then you definitely’re in luck — with rivers and streams galore, there are tons of choices for rafting within the park.
If raging rivers are your matter and also you wish to go for the craziest rapids, then positively go to Banff within the spring when the snow is melting within the mountains.
That stated, when you’re a first-timer or on the lookout for one thing just a little tamer, then there are alternatives for that too.
Both method, I extremely suggest reserving a tour because the guides will take you to the very best spots and enable you keep away from falling snow (an actual hazard in these elements).
Take a look at this Whitewater rafting tour in Horseshoe Canyon.
#13 – Drive the Icefields Parkway
The 230km drive that connects Banff Nationwide Park to Jasper Nationwide Park, Icefields Parkway is commonly considered probably the most lovely highways on the earth.
To expertise it in all its glory, I like to recommend taking a self-guided Icefields Parkway photograph tour and making an effort to go to all the hottest stops alongside the best way.
This consists of Peyto lake, The Columbia Icefield (go to the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Heart, the Glacier Skywalk, and the Athabasca Glacier), Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls.
Remember to e-book not less than a full day for this drive!
#14 – Hit the Lakes
If you consider Banff Nationwide Park, you in all probability have a psychological picture of a stupendous turquoise lake surrounded by mountains and timber, am I proper?
Nicely, that psychological picture is spot on as a result of the pristine lakes are one of many greatest attracts for guests to the world.
Listed below are a number of of the very best lakes in Banff Nationwide Park:
Lake #1 – Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka (pictured above) is the second largest lake in all the Canadian Rockies’ Nationwide Parks.
A real gem, you’ll see images of this lake plastered throughout each Banff article (together with this one), however do you know that there’s extra to Lake Minnewanka than meets the attention?
Again within the day, Lake Minnewanka was dwelling to a resort city that drew tons of holiday makers however, as a result of development of a brand new dam in 1941, that resort city is now nicely beneath the lake’s floor.
It’s nonetheless pretty nicely preserved although so when you’re into Scuba diving, then lease some gear and go to this wonderful underwater ghost city.
Round 8,00Zero divers make the plunge yearly!
Lake #2 – Lake Louise
What is maybe essentially the most well-known lake in all of Canada, Banff Lake Louise is a glacier-fed turquoise lake that’s an absolute dream to kayak, canoe, swim, skate, or snowshoe.
Nestled on the shore of Lake Louise you’ll discover the attractive Chateau Lake Louise, one other Fairmont Resort. Should you plan to remain shut, then that is a straightforward lodging spot.
Lake #3 – Moraine Lake
One other probably the most photographed and in style lakes in Banff Nationwide Park, Moraine Lake isn’t too removed from Lake Louise and is nice for all the same old lake actions.
This lake can also be glacier-fed, and as such has that vibrant turquoise shade all of us love.
Nevertheless, whereas Moraine is actually lovely, it’s additionally very talked-about.
To be able to get a parking spot and never have crowds of individuals in your images, I like to recommend coming right here on the morning time or in a shoulder season.
On that observe, remember the fact that the highway to Moraine Lake is closed within the wintertime, and may solely be accessed by cross nation snowboarding or snowshoeing.
Lake #4 – Peyto Lake
One more glacier-fed lake, Peyto Lake is accessible from the Icefields Parkway adopted by a 20-minute hike. Once more, this lake is turquoise in shade and is without doubt one of the most photographed spots in Canada.
#15 – Go Canoeing / Kayaking
As you’ve simply learn, a part of the outdoorsy allure of Banff Nationwide Park is the wonderful glacier-fed lakes. Nevertheless, they’re extra than simply image backdrops.
Should you go to in the summertime, then probably the greatest matters to do in Banff is to get out on the water by way of canoe, kayak, or perhaps a paddleboard.
Merely lease some gear and head out on the water!
#16 – Tour Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic Website
Should you’re trying to dive into some native First Nations and pure historical past, in addition to study extra in regards to the origins of the Canada Park system, then I like to recommend taking the Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic Website Discovery Tour.
This tour will educate you all about pure scorching springs, the historical past of the world’s indigenous folks, and the way Banff Nationwide Park turned developed within the nineteenth century.
That stated, if excursions aren’t fairly your matter then you possibly can completely discover Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic Website with no information.
Word: Banff is situated on Treaty 7 territory — the standard land of Stoney Nakoda Nations of Wesley, Bearspaw, and Chinink; the Tsuu T’ina of the Dene folks; and three Nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy: the Pikani, Kainai, and Siksika. Banff can also be shared with the Metis Nation of Alberta Area 3.
#17 – Go Snowboarding / Snowboarding
Trying to hit the slopes?
Then you definately’re in the best place!
The Rocky Mountains are probably the greatest locations to go snowboarding and snowboarding within the nation, and Banff itself is dwelling to 3 large ski resorts: Banff Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mount Norquay.
What’s cool about these resorts is that when you purchase a elevate ticket at one, you’ll have entry to all three.
Should you plan on touring to Banff to shred some powder then you definitely’re going to wish to come throughout excessive ski season — November by Might.
#18 – Go Skating
If skating on frozen Lake Louise isn’t in your winter Banff bucket record, then it completely ought to be.
One of the crucial in style matters to do in Banff, you possibly can simply lease some skates at Lake Louise and hit the ice.
Simply remember the fact that the ice must have a sure stage of thickness for it to be secure.
Ask somebody at your lodging learn how to discover out if the ice is match to skate on, or take note of any signage within the space.
The best way to get to Banff
Situated simply 127 km / 78.9mi west of Calgary, Banff is situated in the course of the Rocky Mountains and is the very best city in Canada at 1383m / 4537ft.
To get right here, I like to recommend flying into Calgary, renting a automobile, after which driving to the park. Uncover Automobiles is the very best place to check charges.
That is the simplest solution to get round.
Nevertheless, when you plan to journey to Banff from Calgary by bus or shuttle then you’ve gotten a number of choices: the Brewster Specific, Sundog Excursions, the Banff Airporter, or the On-It Transit Service.
This non-public shuttle from Banff to the Calgary Airport can also be an incredible possibility.
Additional to this, when you plan on touring Canada extra extensively then one thing I extremely suggest is to journey from Vancouver to Banff by prepare: The Rocky Mountaineer being essentially the most well-known possibility to select from.
Have in mind although that there isn’t any prepare route between Banff and Calgary.
The best way to get round Banff
Should you plan on going the rental automobile route, then you definitely’ll discover sourcing parking spots is a breeze. The city of Banff itself has a ton of road parking and parking tons and lots of the hikes and points of interest have parking as nicely.
That stated when you don’t wish to lease a automobile to your whole keep then Banff Nationwide Park does have shuttles that may take you to and from the most well-liked points of interest.
Should you plan on taking native transit, then ROAM Transit is your pal — you’ll be capable to discover transit routes on-line or at any of the customer facilities. ROAM will get you round Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise.
Additionally, observe that there are charges to get into Banff Nationwide Park. Take a look at the Banff Tourism Website for essentially the most up to date information.
The place to Keep in Banff
I discussed a few lodging choices above, however here’s a complete rundown of the place to remain in Banff Nationwide Park:
Should you’re on the lookout for an lodging possibility that’s even simpler on the pockets, then try our information to Home Sitting!
That’s it for the very best matters to do in Banff Nationwide Park!
I hope this gave you a ton of nice exercise concepts to your subsequent go to.
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Have enjoyable in Banff!
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