Fun things to do in Banff National Park

  • Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff National Park
    Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff...
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  • Johnston canyon
    Johnston canyon
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  • Bow lake
    Bow lake
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Banff National Park

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    Cave and Basin

    by easterntrekker Written Apr 15, 2014

    Cave and Basin
    This is just a short ride from the Town Center. It was much better than I thought it would be. We went into the cave and had a look at the natural thermal pool .Stinks of sulphur so we didn't stay long . We also had a look at the steaming waters outside the cave, a very interesting site for sure . This is actually the start of Banff as a visitor center. There is an artificial skating rink here where a public pool once stood . We had a look at a guy carving an impressive ice sculpture as well.
    Inside the the activity center the kids had a good time building log cabins with the wooden blocks and even had a game of curling on a miniature curling table.
    Before heading out we took a walk on the boardwalk . There's a really different warm plant area ...kept green by the warm waters that run through it. Saw a few birds and large flock of ducks on the pond.
    On the way in we had a good look at a coyote running up the road. He went too fast for a photo though.
    Admission was $3.90 each and free for children under 5years old.

    Stinky Waters but worth a Look
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    Ski the Rockies

    by easterntrekker Written Apr 15, 2014

    Woke up this morning all set but with a bit of apprehension for our day of skiing . Outside at 8:30 this morning it is -12C...we hope we don't freeze.
    We get to Lake Louise at about 10:30....looking back at it we should have left earlier as it took an hour to get our ski rental gear. It cost $84.00 each for the lift ticket and $40.00 each to rent the gear. Lucky for us had a free pass for us.
    We start out at the bunny hill with everyone helping us to get going . Honestly I was exhausted just from walking around in the boots.by now it's warmed up and we start peeling off clothes. They have a "magic carpet" ride to take you up the bunny hill. All so new to us.
    A couple of runs and we get on the lift with Mark and Jack. Such an amazing view. First we ski the back mountain run . Just loved it . It's been a long while since we skied . We take a lunch break at Temple Lodge. Pretty good food.the chilli and chicken burger was great.
    Now we are ready for the next run . We take the chair lift up with Mark and Sophia and ski down the front of the mountain . The first runs were a little steep for us , but with Marks help we got through it . It 's hard to believe little 4 year old Sophia and 7 year old Jack . They are skiing great,There's a lodge half way on this side , we just sit for a quick break here. Incredible views . It takes us about an hour to get to the bottom and by now it's already 4PM.
    We did it!

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    Cascade Gardens

    by easterntrekker Written Apr 3, 2014

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    Our next stop is the Cascade Gardens . I had read about them but didnT know where they were located , we stumbled upon them on the way to the Banff Springs Hotel. Of course there is not much to see in winter but walking the stone pathways around the beautiful stone administration building is really quite lovely . The view is really special looking down the hill towards town

    Magical
    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Women's Travel
    • Historical Travel

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    The Founders of The Whyte Museum

    by easterntrekker Written Apr 3, 2014

    the residence of Peter and Catherine Whyte 1931
    This is a lovely log home and residence of the founder of the Whyte Museum . I enjoyed hearing tale of the interesting lives of these early settlers of Banff.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
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    • Seniors

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    Moore Residence

    by easterntrekker Written Apr 3, 2014

    Historical houses
    The 1917 Moore Residence. 125 Lynx St
    This log home was surprisingly spacious and had lots of interesting artifacts . This had once belonged to a wealthy family who spent their winters travelling the world. Some of their treasures are displayed here. No photos allowed....

    A trip back in time
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    • Seniors
    • Museum Visits

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    See the the Rockies

    by easterntrekker Written Mar 23, 2014

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    For me the best part of being in Banff is seeing the Rocky Mountains . I am not a big skier although I will take a run but just standing in the streets in Banff and seeing the snow capped peaks is such a surreal jaw dropping experience.

    There a mountain in our street
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    • Singles
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    Whyte Museum

    by easterntrekker Updated Mar 23, 2014

    This is well worth a visit. Admission is by donation . They had a wonderful ever changing art display , which feature artists from around the world . I did enjoy this but for me the best part was the history that was depicted here. Ur gave me a good first glimpse of early Banff.

    This Bear leads the way
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    • Museum Visits

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    On a Clear Day See Forever - Gondola

    by CdnJane Written Oct 16, 2012

    My friend wouldn't spend the money to go up the Gondola to the top because "he'd been on gondolas before" - I decided that it was worth my while and money! I think that I was right, because it wasn't just about the ride, it was the view from the top - the chance to see all around.
    Do go up - but do wear warmer clothes and some walking shoes so that you can enjoy yourself up there. You can walk around, or even walk down if you so desire.

    Banff Springs Hotel from Gondola The Gondolas View of Banff from the top of Sulpher Mountain View from top of Gondola Banff from the Gondola
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    • Family Travel

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    Castle Mountain

    by spidermiss Updated Apr 5, 2011

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    I stopped at Castle Mountain, which is half way between Banff and Lake Louise, on a few occasions during my visits to the Canadian Rockies. This mountain was named in 1858 by James Hector because it had an appearance of a castle. The mountain was renamed as Eisenhower in honour of the US president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, after World II, but then was reverted back to the original name in 1979. However, there is a pinncale on the mountain called Eisenhower Tower. There is a picnic spot nearby and this area including the mountain is popular for hiking and climbing.

    Castle Mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta
    Related to:
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Mountain Climbing

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    Upper Hot Springs

    by madamx Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Here, you get a chance to soak in naturally heated mineral water ( sometimes the staff help mother nature a little). The water is monitored frequently to keep it at least at 40C. Recently, they have had to add some municipal water to the pool, as the drought that Alberta has been experiencing every summer has been drying up the natural source.

    The Upper Hot Springs consists of a large soaking pool, plus an a shallow area for children as well. There is also a spa here , offering massages and body treatments.

    The best time to visit here is in the winter, where the contrast between the cold air and hot water is invigorating, plus you can't beat the view of the snow covered mountains. During the summer, try coming later at night, around 10 pm to avoid the crowds. The cost is $7.50 per entry, and if you want a private soak, $250.00 an hour.

    www.calgaryplus.ca

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    Lake Minnewanka

    by GrumpyDiver Written Oct 22, 2010

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    The closest lake to the park entrance just north is Lake Minnewanka, or "Water of the Spirits" in the Stoney Indian language. It is just 5 km (3 miles) from the town in Banff and is the largest lake in the Canadian Rockies.

    A dam built in 1942 burried a village, some pilings and an even older dam, making this a popular place for scuba diving.

    Lake Minnewanka with scuba divers in the water View of Lake Minnewanka View of Lake Minnewanka View of Lake Minnewanka picnic site View of Lake Minnewanka
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    • Road Trip
    • Fishing

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    Plain of the Six Glaciers

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 26, 2009

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    Many complain that Banff National Park is over-crowded and as Canada's most popular National Park, it does get its fair share of visitors but with over 1000 miles of trails, it is not likely all of them are jam-packed. Of course, the trails around Lake Louise and Moraine Lake get the most action so if seeking solitude, they are not your best choice. That said, we chose to do just that as with limited time in the park, I wanted to show my wife an area I knew to be quite beautiful despite the crowds and development.

    The Plain of Six Glaciers is a 5.3 kilometer one-way hike that takes you along the shore of Lake Louise before rising up 365 meters into an alpine area featuring six glaciers. Unfortunately, the glaciers have receded a lot due to global warming and you may have to strain a bit to see some of them. It remains a beautiful hike though it is very busy up to a teahouse half-way up the trail. Beyond that it is a scree walk and thins out quite a bit. This is a pretty hike in itself but can easily be connected to the Beehive hike and Lake Agnes. By doing that, you will be hiking 14.6 kilometers which will take about 5 hours, only about an hour more than returning the way you came though you will have an additional climb by combining the two.

    unfortunately, the glaciers are receding no shortage of alpine beauty en route
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    Lake Agnes

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 26, 2009

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    Lake Agnes gets lost in the shuffle between its more famous sister lakes of Louise and Moraine but though smaller and a tad less pretty, it is surely a better place to find some solitude. Of course, to do that, you will have to head to the far end of the small lake.

    Lake Agnes is only a 3.5 kilometer hike from Lake Louise though you pick up a fairly steep 385 meters of elevation along the way. This will bring you to a charming little teahouse that serves light snacks and beverages. For many, this is what makes this area special, for others it is a sign of over development. Since I do not use such facilities, I fall into the later category but there are only a couple in the park so there are numerous trails without such man made structures.

    The round trip to the teahouse is around 2.5 hours. On the opposite side of the lake, you will escape 90% of the people that hike up to the teahouse and can continue on to make a circuit rather than return the way you came. You can also connect this hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers that way.

    the quiet end of Lake Agnes looking down at Lake Agnes from Beehive trail view from Lake Agnes Teahouse
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    Scenic Drive - Bow Valley Parkway

    by Camping_Girl Updated Jan 2, 2009

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    The Bow Valley Parkway is the original #1 highway through the park. It is now the #1A highway, and is called the Bow Valley Parkway. This roads winds its way for 31 miles through the forest and along the Bow River just north of the Trans Canada Highway. It is a very scenic and relaxing route to get from Banff to Lake Louise. While the road is open year round, the eastern half from Banff to Castle Mountain Junction is closed from 6pm to 9am from March 1 to June 25, due to spring mating season.

    This road is a great place to spot wildlife. Due to the curving nature and slower pace of this road, it is also a great road for a motorbike. I would caution all riders though to keep a sharp watch for wildlife and don't ride this road in the early morning or after about 6:00 pm, due to the increased activity of deer and elk during these periods. All drivers are cautioned to follow the posted speed limits on this road, since there are collisions with wildlife on this highway all year round.

    The Bow Valley Parkway is the access road to Johnston Canyon. There are also numerous pull-outs along this road, many of which explain the geography of the area. Also along this route is a monoment honouring the many Ukrainians who were held in internment camps in this area during the war. There are also a couple of campgrounds along this road. As an FYI to campers, these campgrounds tend to be the last ones to fill up daily, so keep that in mind if you don't have a reservation and are looking for a site inside the park.

    Road makes room for a tree! Scenic views Another mountain view from pull-out along Parkway
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    • Motorcycle

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    Spirit Island

    by lazyman_1 Written Aug 21, 2007

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    Located well inside Jasper National Park, I had to make the drive to Maligne lake to visit spirit Island. The island itself is a cluster of only about 30 or 40 trees on a small spit of land just offshore. The only way to access the island is by a 1.5 hour roundtrip boat tour where you will only spend approximately 15 minutes at the island site. This was a must see for me as spirit Island was another iconic Canadian image that i had seen photos of several times in my life. Having finally had the chance to visit was amazing. The island, with it's emerald green waters, is a very special place, to see photos does not do it justice. It is a tranquil, peaceful and beautiful spot which seems to encompass the nature of the entire park.
    The name Spirit Island comes from an American photographer who first photographed the Island in the 1930's. He entered his photo in a national Kodak photo contest and won.When asked why he chose to name his photo "Spirit Island", he declared that he felt this image embodied the true spirit of the Canadian Rockies. Hard to argue that.

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Banff National Park Hotels

  • Patricia Lake Bungalows

    Pyramid Lake Road, 5 km from Jasper, Jasper, Alberta, T0E 1E0, Canada

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

  • Banff Springs Hotel

    Friend's of mine were visiting Alberta so we decided to splurge and share a room at the Fairmont...

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  • Bow Valley Motel

    This is a fantastic place to stay if you are on a budget. The rooms are well equip with everything...

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