We hired our PT Cruiser at Calgary Airport and returned it to Alamo / National Car Rental in Banff ( cnr Lynx & Caribou St) 8 days later. The vehicle performed well and was covered in mud and dirt when we returned to the depot. No extra fees, there is no car wash in Banff and the staff were not concerned about the dirt.
During our 8 days in the Rocky Mountains we were amazed by the size and variety of motor homes travelling around the Rocky Mountains. It looked like the ultimate way to travel with all the comforts of home and plenty of Campgrounds located on or near the most scenic areas of the Rockies.
Should we return I would consider hiring a recreational vehicle, it looked like great fun. Many of the motor homes had the facility to tow a small car which would be ideal when looking for a parking space when in town.
It's really near from Calgary, less than 1 hr driving and to get there you take the TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY #1 (which takes you from coast to coast in canada, the longest road in the world), and just follow the signals to Banff.. when you arrive at the National Park, you pay like 18 dl per car....
To get around banff....and particullay as a snowboarder, you need a car. its invaluable to get your equipment to the mountains. And as a photographer, its needed to get me the places i want to go take photos.
Yes the buses are there, but they dont go when and where you always want to go. Hire a car if you need to but well, so easy just to chuck the board in the boot and away you go again!
I drove my own vehicle out to Banff. It is very easy to find your way around town and to the campgrounds, and nearby attractions. It is fairly easy to find parking, and it is free. And Banff is a great town to just walk around, it is full of nice little shops and good scenery.
Not that the usual way from Calgary to Banff is not scenic, but I think that Highway 1A is much nicer.
From Calgary, take the Crowchild Trail in the northwest direction. Once outside the city you will be rewarded with a magnificent, unobstructed panoramic view of the mountains on your left. Not long after you will be in Cochrane, a very quaint, picturesque town with a old-west-looking downtown. From there you can take Highway 22 south to rejoing Highway 1, or continue on 1A to Canmore, which is a fair bit windy, and slower. If you're not in a hurry to get to Banff, and certainly if you have done the Highway 1 route before, this is highly recommended.
We flew in twice from Montreal to Calgary International Airport via ' AIR CANADA ' from MONTREAL. We drove there on another occasion in this Pontiac Phoenix. On another trip after flying in I bought my son-in-laws Oldsmobile ( as he was moving to ARIZONA ) and used it to travel into the mountains and back to Montreal.( see picture above)
From Calgary by car or bus. To Calgary from most places in the world by AIR ( AIR CANADA). One can also take a train in Canada (VIA RAIL)
BY car or once in Banff area on foot so as to see it all. We went once in this car.