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12 Best Things To Do In Banff

12 Best Things To Do In Banff

Nestled amidst the majestic Canadian Rockies, Banff stands as an enchanting gateway to nature’s most exquisite wonders. This picturesque town offers a breathtaking blend of awe-inspiring landscapes and exhilarating adventures that will leave you spellbound. 

Can’t decide where to begin? Keep reading to discover a treasure trove of activities and attractions that will make your visit to this stunning destination truly unforgettable!

Explore Banff National Park and go hiking

Explore Banff National Park and go hiking's Homepage


Address: 110 Bear Street, Box 1260, Banff, Alberta

Contact details: +1 403-762-1200

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 8:20 AM to 4:30 PM


  • Adult – $10.50
  • Senior – $9.00
  • Youth – Free
  • Family/Group – $21.00
  • Commercial Group(per person) – $9.00

No visit to Banff is complete without exploring the inspiring surroundings of Banff National Park. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Canada, with views that take your breath away.

A great way to take it all in is to go hiking – there are so many memorable trails for you to explore. You can immerse in the natural beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and discover the unique flora and fauna that call this stunning place home. 

Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenge or just out for a leisurely stroll, there’s something for everyone at Baff. So grab your backpack, lace up your boots, and get ready for some truly incredible outdoor activities.

Local Tip: You can take a ride on camels or llamas if you’re feeling more adventurous!

Take a scenic drive on Icefields Parkway

Take a scenic drive on Icefields Parkway's Homepage


Address: Highway 93, Alberta, Canada

Contact details: Facebook: 

Ready for an adventure? Then buckle up, because taking a drive along the Icefields Parkway is definitely one of the best things to do in Banff. 

This stunningly scenic road stretches for about 230 kilometers and runs between Lake Louise and Jasper National Park. 

The drive itself is filled with breathtaking views—from sweeping views of glaciers and Rocky Mountains to wildlife such as elk and mountain sheep roaming freely on the roadside. 

Make sure you stop your car and take in the magnificent atmosphere—it’s also a great time for a photo opportunity! You can also stop by some of Banff’s must-see sites along the way, like Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls, Bow Lake, and Mistaya Canyon. 

Local Tip: Don’t forget to bring your camera and stop at the numerous viewpoints along Icefields Parkway for breathtaking panoramas of glaciers, turquoise lakes, and majestic mountain peaks.

Go skiing or snowboarding at Mount Norquay

Go skiing or snowboarding at Mount Norquay's Homepage


Address: Mt Norquay Scenic Dr, Banff, Alberta

Contact details: +1 403-762-4421

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 8 AM to 8 PM

Take your pick between skiing or snowboarding at Mount Norquay! As one of the oldest ski resorts in western Canada, it’s perfect for those who are just beginning to explore winter sports. 

Plus, it’s located right in Banff National Park, so you can enjoy pristine natural views while you hit the slopes. Mount Norquay is home to three distinct ski areas:

  • The North American area has bold terrain and steep chutes, with plenty of tree runs and jumps for advanced skiers.
  • The Cruiser area is designed for beginners and intermediates; wide open glades and rolling trails make it ideal for honing your skiing skills.
  • Finally, the Skogan area has many family-friendly runs with gentle grades, so everyone can join in on the fun.

Plus, off-piste adventure awaits: snowcat skiing and snowshoeing trails have been added to Mount Norquay’s attractions to get you out into nature’s playground. So grab your gear and make some winter memories!

Local Tip: For a more enjoyable skiing or snowboarding experience at Mount Norquay, consider visiting on weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds and enjoy the slopes with more room to maneuver.

Visit the picturesque Moraine Lake

Visit the picturesque Moraine Lake's Homepage


Address: Moraine Lake Rd, PO Box 70, Lake Louise, AB

Contact details: +1 877-522-2777

Operating hours: 

  • Open year-round

If you’re looking for a breathtaking sight to behold in Banff, look no further than Moraine Lake. As one of the most popular spots in the area, this lake is picture-perfect, boasting spectacular blue water and towering mountain peaks in the backdrop. 

There’s something magical about this place—ita picturesqueness is simply spellbinding. When you visit Moraine Lake, there are so many activities that you can take part in:

  • Hiking: With gorgeous mountain scenes and wildflowers all around you, a hike around the lake is definitely worth your time.
  • Boating: Paddle Boats and canoes are available for rent here so that you can experience the lake up close and personal!
  • Fishing: Pack your fishing rod with you on your visit and try to catch some trout or other freshwater fish in the serene waters of Moraine Lake.
  • Birdwatching: Birdwatchers love visiting this spot to get a glimpse of some rare species, such as the white-tailed ptarmigan!

No matter what activity you choose to do here, one thing’s for sure—you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience at Moraine Lake!

Local Tip: Arrive early at Moraine Lake to secure a parking spot and enjoy the serene beauty of the lake before the crowds arrive, especially during the peak summer months.

Check out the mesmerizing Banff Gondola

Check out the mesmerizing Banff Gondola's Homepage


Address: 100 Mountain Ave, Banff, Alberta

Contact details: +1 866-756-1904

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 8AM to 9PM

If you’re looking for an experience that is both breathtaking and unique, check out the Banff Gondola! This thrilling activity takes you 8,486 feet up Sulfur Mountain, where you can take in the awe-inspiring views of the surrounding nature. 

Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about its history as well as the ecology of the area. Once you reach the top, take a few moments to admire the stunning views of six mountain ranges. 

Then snap a few pictures and enjoy some of the activities offered, such as a 360-degree theater and interpretive programs.  Not only does riding on the Banff Gondola provide visitors with stunning panoramic views, but it’s also eco-friendly! 

The gondolas run on biodegradable hydraulic fluid and are powered by solar energy. Plus, they are made with sustainable materials such as recycled glass countertops and locally sourced wood trim.

Local Tip: For the best experience on the Banff Gondola, aim to visit during sunset hours, when the sky is painted with vibrant colors and the surrounding mountains are illuminated with a warm, golden glow.

Take a helicopter tour of the Canadian Rockies

Take a helicopter tour of the Canadian Rockies' Homepage

In our books, one of the most memorable ways to take in the breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies is to take a helicopter tour! This thrilling experience offers you a bird’s-eye view of some of the most stunning natural scenery on the planet.

The views from up high are incomparable—from cascading snow-capped mountains to crystal-clear glacial lakes. You can enjoy it all from the comfort and safety of your own private helicopter with a knowledgeable tour guide at the helm.

Helicopter tours give you the unique opportunity to capture shots that you simply can’t get on foot. What’s more, unlike other adventure activities, all of your gear is provided. 

From comfortable headphones so you can hear your guide’s commentary to life jackets in case of an emergency landing on a mountain lake, rest assured that all your needs are taken care of.

Local Tip: Book your helicopter tour of the Canadian Rockies in advance and consider opting for a morning flight, when the air is typically calmer, providing a smoother ride and clearer visibility for those breathtaking views.

Check out Cascade Ponds

Check out Cascade Ponds' Homepage


Address: Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive, 110 Bear St, Banff

Contact details: +1 403-762-1500

Tucked away in a small canyon at the base of Cascade Mountain, these three ponds are alive with wildlife, offering travelers a peaceful escape from the busy streets. 

From beavers and geese to deer and moose, there’s an abundance of fauna to be spotted in this area—so why not bring your binoculars for some nature-watching?

If you’re feeling adventurous, take a hike around one or more of the ponds. At two miles long, it’s an easy-to-moderate hike with stunning views of Mount Rundle and Vermillion Lakes. 

Along your route, you’ll pass over several wooden bridges that cross over crystal-clear waters—it’s no wonder it’s so popular with photographers!

Local Tip: Pack a picnic and visit Cascade Ponds during the weekdays to enjoy a more peaceful and secluded atmosphere, as this picturesque spot tends to be less crowded compared to weekends.

Go dog sledding or horseback riding

Go dog sledding or horseback riding's Homepage

Dog sledding is one of the most popular activities in Banff, and it’s easy to see why. As you take off with a team of friendly huskies, you’ll be able to experience the beauty and majesty of nature in an intimate and unique way.

Horseback riding is a great option for inexperienced riders. Guided tours are available that will take you through some of the prettiest parts of Banff National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). 

You’ll be able to journey through canyons, valleys, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, and more—all while riding your trusty steed! Plus, many companies offer different packages depending on your skill level and experience. 

So don’t worry if you don’t have much experience with horseback riding; there will be something suitable for everyone. All in all, it’s a great way to explore Banff National Park and get an unforgettable nature experience!

Local Tip: For a memorable experience in Banff, try dog sledding or horseback riding during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall), when there are fewer tourists and you can enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons in a more tranquil setting.

Visit some of the beautiful Banff waterfalls

Visit some of the beautiful Banff waterfalls' Homepage

You won’t want to miss out on exploring some of the gorgeous Banff waterfalls! After all, there’s nothing quite like standing in the presence of Mother Nature and admiring the mesmerizing cascades of rushing water. These are some of our favorite spots:

  1. Johnston Canyon

The Johnston Canyon Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Banff. It’s an easy, 1.2-mile roundtrip with two incredible lookout points where you can admire Johnston Canyon Falls from up close. This is definitely a must-see!

  1. Bow Falls

Bow Falls stand as an impressive 13-meter cascade located at the base of Mt. Cascade, off Spray River West. 

Although it doesn’t have a designated trail or lookout, you can see it from Bow Falls Trail and Spray River West Trail—it’s worth a detour if you’re in the area!

  1. Honeymoon Lake Falls

These little-known falls are tucked away in Honeymoon Lake Provincial Park, a great spot for birdwatching and picnicking. 

The trail is fairly easy, but there aren’t any lookouts, so be sure to bring a sturdy pair of shoes so you can make your way right up to the edge for a stunning view!

Local Tip: Explore Banff’s beautiful waterfalls during early spring or late fall, when the melting snow and ice create powerful cascades, and you can enjoy the sights with fewer tourists around.

Soak in the hot springs at Banff Upper Hot Springs

Soak in the hot springs at Banff Upper Hot Springs' Homepage


Address: Mountain Ave, Banff, Alberta

Contact details: +1 800-767-1611

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10AM to 10PM

There’s nothing quite like chilling in a hot spring on a cold Canadian winter day, and Banff Upper Hot Springs is the perfect spot for it!

Located 7,100 feet above sea level in the Canadian Rockies, you can kick back and relax in the natural mineral waters, warmed up by an underground geothermal hot spring.

In addition to providing thermal relief and relaxation, taking a dip in these hot springs can have some benefits for your health too. It’s said that the mineral-rich waters can help with:

  • Soothing stiff muscles and aching joints
  • Relieving stress and tension
  • Clearing any respiratory breathing problems
  • Diminishing aches and pains

Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy a breathtaking view of Sulfur Mountain—a Banff National Park icon—as you soothe away any worries!

Take a boat tour of Lake Minnewanka

Take a boat tour of Lake Minnewanka's Homepage

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta

Contact details: +1 800-767-1611

Operating hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 24hrs

You can also take in all of the natural beauty of Banff from the comfort and serenity of a boat tour on Lake Minnewanka! This peaceful lake was carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers, and it is now home to some of the most stunning views in the area.

On a boat tour, you will have the opportunity to explore beyond the shoreline and take in views that would otherwise be inaccessible. You will be able to spot wildlife like bald eagles, deer, elk, moose, and bears as you glide along in your boat.

The guides that provide these tours are also full of knowledge; they’ll be able to tell you all about the history of Lake Minnewanka as well as some interesting facts about the area. 

Plus, they’ll also be able to point out certain landmarks or areas that you wouldn’t have noticed before.

Local Tip: For a more serene experience on your Lake Minnewanka boat tour, consider choosing a weekday morning departure, which often has fewer passengers and allows you to fully appreciate the stunning scenery in a peaceful setting.

Spot wildlife in their natural habitat

Spot wildlife in their natural habitat's Homepage

If you’re looking to get close to nature, then Banff is the perfect place. There are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife in their natural habitat, from deer to elk and even bighorn sheep!

No matter what time of year it is, you’re bound to come across some furry friends in and around Banff. Here are a few tips for spotting wildlife:

  • Plan Ahead: Most animals have slightly different behavior patterns depending on the season. For example, deer tend to move around more during the spring and summer months, so plan your visit accordingly.
  • Start Early: Most animals tend to be more active at dawn and dusk, so plan your trek accordingly. That way, you can maximize your chances of seeing them in action!
  • Be Respectful: The animals that live in Banff deserve our respect, so don’t get too close or try to disturb them. It’s best to observe from a distance and keep all noise levels low. Taking pictures from a safe distance is fine too!

So if you’re ready for an adventure that will take you up close and personal with nature, grab your camera and start exploring the wild side of Banff!

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