Banff National Park Entry Fee
There is an entry fee to enter most of the National Parks in Canada. The fee may seem a bit steep to some people, but keep in mind that Banff has an incredible amount of visitors each year, and the money goes towards maintenance, services, facilities, wages, etc.
When you arrive, there is a toll booth set up. There are a few lanes to go through if you are staying in Banff where you pay the fee, and another lane or two you can just drive through if you're just driving through. Some people go through the drive through lane, but still stay in Banff, not paying the fee. I don't agree with this at all.
We all want to enjoy our National Parks, so please do the right thing and pay the fee.
There are also yearly passes available.
More info: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/tarifs-fees_e.asp?park=1
Need to know what to do or see in Banff? Then one of your first stops should be the BANFF INFORMATION. Here you will find what you you need. Looking for a Hotel? What about restaurants? You probably want to know about the area parks and get brochures. Well the friendly people at the information center, conveniently located on the main street in Banff, will surely help you.
What to see in Banff??
I drove from Calgary to Banff last August, and I have a couple tips for you. One thing I wasn't aware of prior to my trip - - Banff is a town within the boundaries of the National Park. Just past Canmore is the entrance to the Park, where you pay a daily fee for entrance. Since I was going to be there four days, I paid at that time for 4 days fees. (I think it was approximately $9 per day)
My first full day in Banff, I took two half day bus tours - - - to get a feel for the area and see where I would want to explore more on my own. The morning tour was the Banff area, the Hot Springs, Lake Minnewanka, and various points where you could stop and get good photos of the scenery.
Since I was doing the two tours, the tour company provided a complimentary lunch at the Spaghetti Factory - - and it was a FULL lunch, including dessert. Probably worth $15-20
The afternoon tour was to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, which were about an hour north of Banff. At each of those stops, they dropped us off and said to be back at the bus in about an hour - - so we could explore a little on our own. The parking lots were so full, I was glad that the bus dropped us off (and I didn't have to seek a parking space).
So my second day, I took the Banff Gondola up to the mountaintop. From there, you could walk a boardwalk up to the next mountain and get some wonderful views.
My third day was totally on my own, based on what I had seen from the tours.
I didn't have the time to get up to Jasper. I wished I had more time in the Banff area.
Enjoy your trip! I have several fond memories of Banff.
One is the visitor lookout spot called "Surprise Corner". You walk up about 30 steps to a wooden deck area that's probably about 50 feet square, with built in benches around 2 sides. From the one side is the wonderful view of the huge Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. I was introduced to this spot from the bus tour I had taken.
A couple days later, I returned to Surprise Corner, with my camera and a book. I took some photos, and then sat on the bench reading for a couple hours. Totally relaxing, peaceful.
What was funny was that maybe every 20-30 minutes or so, a tour bus would come by - - a bunch of people would come up to the deck, ooh and aah and snap a bunch of photos, and then go back to their bus.
But I stayed, and enjoyed the peace between those tourist groups.
The Mountain Range in the refection of the the lake was one of my best shots and one of my best memories to take away from Banff area. The mountain views all around the little town of Banff will stay in my memories forever. The Rundle, The Sundance Range and Sulpher Mountain.
Take a panoramic photo of these gorgeous mountain range & the amazing alpine trees! Pictured here are 2 most beautiful ladies who got lost in the mountains. Hehehe, just joking... that's me & my Canadian guide. But, she's beautiful, don't you think?