17 Awesome Things to Do in Banff, Canada (2019 Edition)

23 min

Things To Do In Banff Canada

Whether or not you’re into mountain climbing or rafting, taking the simple approach up a mountain or shredding the slopes on the way in which down, let our checklist of the finest issues to do in Banff, Canada enable you plan your subsequent go to.

Things To Do In Banff Canada

Cascade Mountain rises above city – Issues to do in Banff, Canada.

The city of Banff, in addition to the encompassing nationwide park is among the most valuable jewels in all of Canada.

The jagged peaks of the Rockies stand up in all instructions, creating an awe-inspiring scene that beckons all who go to to get open air.

With Cascade Mountain rising above the city at one finish and plenty of quaint timber shops lining the streets, Banff is as near a dwelling fairy story vacation spot that you will discover.

Yearly a whole bunch of 1000’s of vacationers flock to Banff to delight in its pure magnificence, and to sort out the large variety of actions and sights which have grown through the years.

Situated proper within the Banff Nationwide Park, its landscapes are phenomenal, and it’s little surprise Banff is now one among Canada’s finest journey locations.

The Greatest Issues to Do in Banff

There are plenty of issues to do in Banff, because the pure landscapes are very accommodating for all kinds of actions, starting from mountain climbing, to canoeing, snowboarding, and a lot extra.

Whereas the city is kind of small and could be explored in simply a few days, the encompassing area is rather more vibrant, and the nationwide park is the place many of the magic occurs.

Here’s a small information on the perfect issues to do in Banff that can serve you as a base that can assist you begin exploring this excellent area.

Banff Chasing Waterfalls

Do go chasing waterfalls in Banff!

1) Journey the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain

There’s a really distinctive and scenic magnificence to be discovered on this a part of the Rockies, and that gorgeousness is most accessible when it from excessive atop the mountains.

The close by Sulphur Mountain provides really epic views from its summit, and because of the Banff Gondola that climbs its option to the highest, these vistas are accessible to virtually anyone.

No surprise it’s turn out to be one of many prime issues to do in Banff!

Driving the Banff Gondola isn’t nearly attending to the highest. The views alongside the way in which present a really distinctive perspective of the size of Banff and its surrounding area.

Its 7,500-foot tall peak consists of interactive reveals, a present store, locations to eat, and even a 360-degree observational deck with views of Banff and the Bow River Valley under.

Mountain climbing out in the direction of Sulphur Mountain’s summit has you observe a well-built boardwalk, that may get icy, so be sure you convey correct footwear.

The quick stroll is effectively value it although, and on a transparent day you’ll be rewarded with beautiful panoramas of the Bow Valley punctuated with hovering peaks.

Whereas the gondola journey is a bit on the expensive aspect (CA$62 for adults 16 and up), it’s one of the vital well-liked locations to go to in Banff for good motive.

If you wish to avoid wasting cash you may as well hike to the highest of the Sulphur Mountain. Permit 2 hours to climb in case you have an inexpensive degree of health.

Banff Gondola Views

Views of the Bow Valley from the highest of the Banff Gondola.

2) Go Snowboarding or Mountain climbing at Sunshine Village

Regardless of the season there’s at all times one thing unbelievable to do round Sunshine Village.

Only a 30-minute drive from downtown Banff, Sunshine Village is primarily a ski resort, and it usually is the primary resort to open up in Canada each winter, and one of many final to shut – The season lasts from November till Could!

3000 skiable acres and 12 chair lifts makes it world class, and there’s terrain to go well with skiers and snowboarders of all ranges.

Households may have a good time, and the ski faculty is among the finest within the nation.

Whereas it’s not a cheap vacation spot, performing some glorious snowboarding for the day, solely to chill out 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 it’s over, and June rolls round, the snow melts and the terrain reveals splendid mountain climbing alternatives.

The Sunshine Meadows pop in to life, and are thought of among the finest mountain climbing trails in the complete wider area.

Mountain climbing is totally free, and the surroundings is gorgeous, which is why Sunshine Meadows is among the finest issues to see in Banff.

Sunshine Meadows Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography.

The view of Sunshine Meadows from above. Photograph credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.

3) Head to Moraine Lake for Dawn

One of the photographed locations in all of Canada is the long-lasting Moraine Lake, with its 10 peaks reflecting on the glistening, mirror-like water.

The scene is so well-known it even featured on the previous twenty greenback invoice, so it’s little surprise virtually all guests to Banff make an effort to see the place with their very own two eyes.

The fantastic pure panorama and terrains implies that regardless of the place you go you’ll be greeted by unforgettable magnificence, and one of the vital beautiful locations is Moraine Lake.

The lake itself is kind of close to the city, because it’s about an hour drive from there, and when you’re there you’ll encounter among the best trails within the area.

The magic is that there are trails of various problem, so even rookies may have a simple time adjusting to the terrain that surrounds the lake.

Whereas the best hike is the flat Lakeshore Path, which lasts about 45 minutes spherical journey, a way more well-liked hike is Comfort Lakes trails, which is kind of longer at about 2 hours.

Regardless of which approach you choose, nonetheless, you’ll come throughout alpine magnificence and well-marked trails, so that you’ll be good in any case.

Simply make certain to reach earlier within the morning to catch a parking spot.

Moraine Lake Banff Lake Louise

Alesha strolling alongside the shores of Moraine Lake.

4) Go Whitewater Rafting on the Kicking Horse River

For these of you on the market that like to do your sightseeing with adrenaline flowing via your veins, one of the vital thrilling issues to do in Banff is go whitewater rafting!

The well-known Kicking Horse River is a brief distance from city and is thought to have the perfect rafting alternatives in the complete nation.

Charging via 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 at all times an choice to take it gradual and easily soak within the views.

There are quite a few excursions that function within the area, and a few fo 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 sure to fall in love with what’s arguably one fo the perfect methods to expertise Banff’s gorgeous nature.

Rafting Bow River Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

Rafting on the Bow River – Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Images.

5) Drive the Legendary Icefields Parkway

An expertise that no individual visiting Banff will ever need to miss, driving the Icefields Parkway is heralded as top-of-the-line street journeys on the planet.

Stretching 230km from simply outdoors Lake Louise all the way in which to Jasper, this iconic freeway weaves its approach via the perfect surroundings in all of Canada.

Beginning within the south you traverse via Banff Nationwide Park previous among the most picturesque landscapes possible, together with the impossibly blue Peyto Lake.

Finally 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’ll be able to depend.

You might also have the pleasure of seeing among the Canadian Rockies’ most superb wildlife, comparable to bear, moose and caribou.

The drive is significantly mind-blowing, and could be accomplished both with your personal rental automobile (which we advocate), or by joining a tour from Banff.

Although it’s solely 230km lengthy, you’ll be able to simply spend 5 (or extra) hours driving this street, particularly in case you cease off in any respect the highlights alongside the way in which or do any hikes.

Peyto Lake Icefield Parkway

Don’t miss out on the superb Peyto Lake in your journey alongside the Icefield Parkway!

6) Go Mountain climbing on the Athabasca Glacier

Essentially 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 Icefield Parkway, this magnificent glacier could be explored plenty of methods, with the most well-liked one being 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 could be an effective way to expertise the glacier in case you’re quick on time or have some mobility points.

However if you wish to actually have an journey, then you should hike on the glacier itself!

Athabasca Glacier Icewalk has been main mountain climbing journeys for years, and run an epic tour known as the Ice Cubed the place you don crampons and stroll for 5km on the large frozen river.

It lasts for Three hours, begins in both the morning or afternoon, and also you do want a typical quantity of health to participate.

Have some extra time? Try their Icewalk Deluxe tour, which works for five hours. Undoubtedly top-of-the-line issues to do close to Banff!

7) Soak within the Banff Higher Scorching Springs

What was as soon as thought of a spot of holy therapeutic waters by the First Nations is at this time a spot for resting and rest.

The distinctive properties of those springs make them one of many best vacationer sights in Banff, and so they’re an incredible spot to go to all yr spherical.

The Springs are akin to a public swimming pool, in that they’re outfitted with all the newest fashionable facilities, comparable to railings, ladders, lockers, and even a café.

What units them aside although is that the swimming pools are fed by pure scorching springs, and that is the principle motive they’re so stress-free.

Coupled with the truth that the encompassing surroundings is gorgeous, these scorching springs can simply chill out each the physique and the soul.

All of this makes the springs one among finest locations to go to in Banff.

Banff Upper Hot Springs Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson

The Banff Higher Scorching Springs are to not be missed in your subsequent go to to city! Photograph Credit score: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson.

8) Test Out the Cave and Basin Nationwide Historic Web site

One of the fascinating points about Banff and its environment that goes past its apparent pure splendour is its historical past.

There’s proof of people occupying the realm of Banff for round 10’000 years, which works to indicate that there’s much more to this place than meets the attention.

With the ability to work together inside a historic setting and context is at all times superb, which is strictly what the Cave and Basin web site provides to guests.

That is the place that first put Banff on the fashionable map, and the explanation 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, but additionally beautiful 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.

9) 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.

Discovered an hour east from city, it’s a completely spellbinding location, surrounded by surroundings that’s can barely be matched by another place on this planet.

Lake Louise is a turquoise jewel positioned within the centre of a crown of peaks, and whereas the lake itself isn’t the perfect for swimming, it’s utterly thought for canoeing!

Canoeing in Lake Louise whereas Mount Victoria majestically looms to the west is among the finest issues to do near Banff.

Mountain 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 well-liked and pretty straightforward trek is to Lake Agnes, which is able to solely take round an hour to achieve and is effectively value it to admire its alpine location and have a cup of espresso on the sting of it.

When you’ve got extra time you’ll be able to head out to the teahouse on the finish of the Plain of the Six Glaciers path. It may possibly take as much as 7 hours, however the views are merely unreal.

With a lot to see, you’ll be able to simply spend a few days unearthing the nooks and crannies across the lake.

Need an expertise like no different? Take into account staying a the Fairmont Lake Louise, one of the vital well-known inns in the complete world!

Lake Agnes Teahouse Lake Louise

The beautiful Lake Agnes – one of many well-liked hikes you are able to do from Lake Louise.

10) Discover the Falls at Johnston Canyon

By far the most well-liked day hike in Banff is thru the exceptional Johnston Canyon, solely 30 minutes from city.

The straightforward 5km lengthy jaunt to the Higher Falls and again will take you alongside the slim gorge shaped 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 effectively value coping with the crowds.

Should you occur to seek out your self on the town through the colder months you must undoubtedly take into account taking a mission out to Johnston Canyon, as seeing the place lined in contemporary snow and ice is a very memorable expertise.

Strapping ice cleats and occurring an icy hike to Johnston Canyon is a improbable exercise, as the complete area is among the most lovely issues to see in Banff in winter

The frozen waterfalls create a selected kind of drama that makes them appear as in the event that they’re straight out of a fairy story.

Johnston Canyon Banff

Johnston Canyon is among the hottest day hikes in Banff, and for good motive.

11) 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.

Dwelling to among the finest ski resorts on the planet, like Whistler Blackcomb and Revelstoke Mountain Resort, individuals journey from far and broad to carve activates the legendary slopes.

Alberta has plenty of world-class resorts, and the head of all of them is Lake Louise Ski Resort.

With 4200 skiable acres and 10 chair lifts servicing 145 runs, there’s little surprise that folks flock to Lake Louise to shred the terrain.

The slopes caters 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 glad.

Lake Louise Skiing Reuben Krabbe

Shredding the slopes of Lake Louise are top-of-the-line adventurous issues to do close to Banff. Photograph credit score: Reuben Krabbe

12) Pattern the Liquor at Park Distillery

Should you 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 proper downtown on Banff Ave, this superior native distillery makes among the finest liquor within the nation, and so they’re not afraid to experiment both!

Chilli vodka? Hell yea. Maple rye? In fact! Desire a gin infused with Canadian spruce? Properly why not?

Park Distillery have been experimenting with numerous liquors for the previous couple of years and have proudly turn out to be top-of-the-line Banff sights round.

They’ve a superb restaurant and a fully-functioning bar (boasting delectable cocktails), however in case you actually love their liquor be sure you join the free distillery tour.

13) Hire Some Ice Skates and Hit the Lakes

As soon as winter rolls round and the temperatures drop, lots of Banff’s fantastic waters freeze over.

These in search of true journey amongst the mountain peaks may not discover this favorite native previous time of curiosity, however relating to winter actions in Banff, ice-skating is tough to beat.

Ice skating on the frozen lakes of Two Jack, Johnston 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 frequently maintained and cleared of snow.

You’ll be able to freely convey your personal gear with you, however if you’d like you may as well lease respectable gear from native outlets.

Ice Skating Lake Minnewanka Paul Zizka Photography

Ice skating on Lake Minnewanka. Photograph Credit score: Paul Zizka Images

14) Cling Out at Lake Minnewanka

It’s onerous to write down a listing about the perfect Banff vacationer sights with out speaking about Lake Minnewanka, the 21km lengthy spectacle simply outdoors of city.

That is the sort of place you would get misplaced for days. Individuals who love being lively will discover solace within the kayak and canoe leases down on the primary pier, or you’ll be able to tackle any one among plenty of beautiful hikes within the space.

Somewhat chill out with family and friends? Lake Minnewanka is the proper place to come back down for a picnic, or you’ll be able to take a ship cruise, which is arguably top-of-the-line issues to do in Banff in summer season.

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 learn about is that you may truly go scuba diving in Lake Minnewanka as effectively. Sure, the water is chilly, however the underwater flora is kind of superb.

Lake Minnewanka What To Do In Banff

Hanging out at Lake Minnewanka.

15) 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 onerous to not cease and take 1000’s of images of Cascade Mountain from each angle of city, however in case you’re feeling as much as a problem you’ll be able to even take into account climbing to its summit!

The highest of Cascade Mountain sits at 2998m above sea degree, and the path to the highest is unquestionably no work 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 beat the height, there’s a truthful quantity of scrambling at occasions, and the path could be sketchy.

The trailhead begins on the ski lodge on Mt Norquay. Begin early and permit your self a full-day to achieve the highest and descend safely.

Don’t try this hike if situations are moist or snowy, and monitor the climate earlier than you begin and as you might be climbing.

Cascade Mountain

Cascade Mountain rising above city. Should you’re feeling tremendous match you’ll be able to even climb it!

16) 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. Essentially the most well-known residents of Banff are the wildlife!

Dwelling to animals of all sizes and styles, recognizing a critter is a spotlight of many individuals’s go to to city, and infrequently it isn’t that tough.

Deer are generally seen wandering across the village, and every now and then caribou additionally make an look.

Should you head out into the Banff Nationwide Park your likelihood of seeing some wildlife goes up drastically, and you might have the prospect to solid your eyes on moose and even black bear.

Among the most elusive creatures although are grizzly bears, wolves and cougars, and you must take into account your self very fortunate in case you see one.

It’s essential to take into account that these are wild animals and could be extraordinarily harmful. Should you see one within the wild don’t method it, and in case you come throughout one when driving don’t get out of your automobile.

Give them loads of area and chances are high they gained’t be spooked, which means you’ll be able to observe them safely from a distance for fairly a very long time.

Caribou Banff National Park

A elk hangs out close to Lake Minnewanka.

17) 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 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 instructing everybody about all the contributions of the native individuals to the encompassing lands.

This museum is a good Banff attraction particularly to these serious about historical past and tradition, however it’s not a really massive museum and could be explored in about an hour.

The museum is open day-after-day of the week from 10 am to 7 pm, and the entry charge is CA$10.

The place to Keep in Banff

Being such a vacationer hotspot, Banff has an enormous variety of nice lodging choices for all travellers.

As a whole disclaimer, inns in Banff are very costly, so earlier than you come be sure you have sufficient room in your finances to accommodate your keep right here.

Fortunately there’s an entire vary of free issues to do in Banff once you get right here to assist preserve the remainder of your prices down.

Greatest Hostel in Banff – Samesun Hostel

The Samesun Hostel has turn out to be a little bit of an establishment throughout western Canada, and in Banff it’s no exception.

Having moved to a brand new location nearer to downtown a few years in the past, it has among the finest 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 makes it the perfect low cost lodging on the town.

Greatest Mid-Vary Lodge in Banff – Moose Lodge and Suites

When you’ve got the cash to splurge out we extremely advocate the Moose Lodge and Suites.

We stayed right here on our final go to to Banff after taking the Rocky Mountaineer practice journey from Vancouver, and liked our keep.

This conventional model lodge has an incredible bar and restaurant, and the rooms are spacious and trendy.

Greatest Luxurious Lodge in Banff – Fairmont Banff Springs

The Fairmont Banff Springs is among the most iconic luxurious inns in Canada, and in case you can afford it, you gained’t remorse staying on this world well-known lodging.

Situated simply outdoors of city close to Bow Falls, this towering advanced is over 125 years previous and is a very lovely place to see.

The property can finest be described as decadent, and the rooms are stately and tastefully adorned.

The bars and eating places are among the finest within the nation too, so even in case you can’t afford to remain right here, it’s value popping out for a drink or a chew to eat.

Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We’re Alesha and Jarryd, the award successful writers and photographers behind this weblog, and we now have been travelling the world collectively since 2008. Journey journey is our ardour, and thru our tales and pictures we promote thrilling off-the-beaten-path locations and interesting cultures as we go. Comply with our journey in actual time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Newest posts by Alesha and Jarryd (see all)

Like it? Share with your friends!


What's Your Reaction?

Naughty Naughty
Cry Cry
Cute Cute
Love Love
Wow Wow
Angry Angry
Damn Damn
Dislike Dislike
Like Like
Huh Huh
Choose A Format
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds

Send this to a friend