Fun things to do in Banff National Park

  • Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff National Park
    Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff...
    by spidermiss
  • Johnston canyon
    Johnston canyon
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Bow lake
    Bow lake
    by Jim_Eliason

Most Viewed Things to Do in Banff National Park

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Cascade Mountain

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Oct 6, 2004

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    After entering the Park, the highway heads up the Bow River valley between the towering mountains on either side and seems to be headed straight at a huge peak. This is the 9800 foot (3000 m) Cascade Mountain, so high that the old glacial era was not able to erode its sharp peaks! Eventually, the highway swings left at the foot of the mountain as it continues to follow the river valley. At that point you are very close to the town of Banff on the left, but we kept on driving further north to Lake Louise.

    Cascade Mt. Looms
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    The View From Afar

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Oct 6, 2004

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    From Calgary, you can actually see the Rockies off in the distance. Once you get onto the TransCanada Highway and get past the Winter Olympics park on the outskirts of the city, you have a really good view of these snow-capped peaks. I stopped to take this photo of the scene as you approach closer and, in not much more than 1 hour, you are among the mountains and entering Banff National Park.

    TransCanada Highway & Distant Rockies
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  • JanPeter74's Profile Photo

    Saskatchewan Glacier - Hiking trail

    by JanPeter74 Written Sep 16, 2004

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    In the north of Banff NP, close to the Athabasca Glacier and the border with Jasper NP, you can find the trail to the Saskatchewan Glacier. It is a very nice trail but rather steep. (3 km. one way; elevation gain 155 metres). Saskatchewan Glacier is the longest glacier that comes off the Columbian Icefields.

    This is one of those trails where uphill and downhill really make a difference. Uphill it took us about 1 1/2 hour. The way back only took us a little over 1/2 hour, but the threatening thunderstorm over our heads might have helped to speed things up. The last part of the trail is rather level. If you reach this point keep to the left and follow the path, even though the glacier is to the right, since this will lead you to the best view of the Glacier and the Saskatchewan Valley.

    Saskatchewan Glacier and Valley
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    Small Wildlife

    by JanPeter74 Written Sep 15, 2004

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    The Rockies are not just a perfect habitat for wildlife such as bears, elk and bighorn sheep. You are very likely to encounter lots of small animals as well, such as squirrels, chipmunks and birds like Clark's Nutcrackers.

    Pay some attention to them, these animals can be very much fun to watch as well.

    Squirrel at Moraine Lake
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  • Webboy's Profile Photo

    Saskatchewan River Crossing

    by Webboy Written Aug 2, 2004

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    We had to drive over the bridge at Saskatchewan River Crossing 3 times to get a decent picture. It is only really viewable from the bridge (which is quite a long bridge).

    You could also park your car at either end of the bridge and walk back across it, although there was no obvious car park.

    There may be another more obvious viewing point, but we couldn't find one, so had to make do with crossing the bridge at a ridiculously slow speed - but don't worry, there was nobody behind us so we weren't holding up traffic!

    The Saskatchewan River Crossing can be found just north of the Mistaya Canyon on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93).

    Although not the most breathtaking view you will see while driving Highway 93, the Saskatchewan River Crossing definetly deserves a viewing!

    Saskatchewan River Crossing
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    Mistaya Canyon

    by Webboy Updated Jul 23, 2004

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    Mistaya Canyon appeared to be one of the places that was not high up on most peoples list of places to visit.

    When we arrived there were only 2-3 other people there! Not sure why, as it is a pretty cool place!

    The Mistaya Canyon is around a 10 minute walk from the roadside carpark. When you get down to the canyon there is a wooden bridge allowing you to stand right over it ..... man its deep!!!

    The river has carved out such a deep whole in the rock over the centuries!

    The mistaya Canyon can be found just south of the Saskatchewan river crossing.

    The picture opposite shows the end of the river just as it is about to drop into the canyon - which is directly beneath where i am standing!

    Mistaya Canyon

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  • Webboy's Profile Photo

    Bow Valley Parkway

    by Webboy Updated Jul 23, 2004

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    The Bow Valley Parkway is the scenic alternative to Highway 1 from Banff to Lake Louise. Although not as stunning as the infamous Highway 93, it is still very much worthwhile driving along.

    There are many stops on the road, including stops for the Bow River, mountain views and of course the beautiful Johnston Canyon.

    We drove along this road twice. Once on the way back from Lake Louise. It was a miserable rainy day, so we didn't get the good scenery we were expecting. The second time we drove was the next day. It was a clear blue sky, and the road had just come alive with views and wildlife! We had the priviledge of meeting some Elk grazing at the roadside!

    The turnoff to the Bow Valley parkway is just after Banff heading north on Highway 1, or take the Lake Louise turnoff if you are heading south.

    The Bow Valley Parkway
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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Lake Louise Gondola

    by madamx Written Apr 29, 2004

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    The area is otherwise known as Lake Louise Ski Resort in the winter. In my opinion, if you have to decide between the Sulphur Mountain Gondola and Lake Louise Gondola, choose Lake Louise, which gives you more bang for your buck, especially the ride and breakfast deal. You have a choice of enclosed car or ski lift chair. I would recommend the enclosed car if you are afraid of heights.

    The price of the gondola ride includes presentations, the most interesting and informative one being on grizzly bears . The highest concentration of grizzlies in Banff National Park is in the Lake Louise area; the reason being the large number of berry bushes that started growing on the cleared land while the ski resort was being built.

    We were at the grizzly bear presentation, and as part of it, were taken down to a small stream . When we returned up the path, there was grizzly bear poop on the trail. The sneaky bear had come and gone and had maybe been within 50 feet of us. Our guide also told us of how, on one of the last rides down, she passed over the splayed out sleeping form of a grizzly who decided to crash for the night in plain view on the ski hill. So, definitely, there may be a chance to see a grizzly.

    www.skilouise.com

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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Canmore

    by madamx Updated Apr 18, 2004

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    When you are in the Banff area, do take the time to stop off at Canmore, approx 5 minutes from the park gates. Canmore is a charming town of 11,500 -- though growth is expected to skyrocket since the development of the Banff townsite has been curbed sharply recently

    The lovely town of Canmore is nestled into the mountains, and has a friendly, small-town atmosphere about it. If you have a car to explore Banff National Park, you might be wise to stay in Canmore, as accommodations here are much cheaper than in Banff.

    There isn't a whole lot to do here, just think of it as a place to relax and recover from the summer hoardes in Banff. There is an incredible dining scene in Canmore, and I feel the restaurants are superior to those in Banff. As one local put it, "In Banff they don't have to put too much effort into service or quality as they know the next tourist will come along".

    Most of the shopping and restaurants are located on Main Street, with hotels, fast food, and gas located just off the Trans Canada highway. However, take a leisurely stroll down Main Street -- you'll be relaxed and rejuvinated by the friendly locals and relatively small crowds.

    Main Street

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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Highway 93 -- The Icefields Parkway

    by madamx Updated Apr 18, 2004

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    Known as one of the most spectacular drives in the world, Highway 93 north starts just past the Lake Louise on the Trans Canada Highway. It winds 230 km to Jasper, and takes you by breathtaking views of mountains, glaciers and lakes. If you are driving to Jasper, give yourself about 3 hours as it can be pretty slow going during the summer due to traffic, wildlife, and stopping to admire the views.

    Looking up Highway 93 from Bow Lookout

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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Peyto Lake

    by madamx Written Apr 18, 2004

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    Peyto Lake ( pronounced Pea -toe) is named after a legendary character from Banff's past, Bill Peyto. Like his good friend Jimmy Simpson, Bill Peyto was a guide, woodsman and outfitter, and came to Banff in the 1890's. He is most well-known for capturing a wild lynx and letting it go in a bar, while he sat back, and enjoyed a drink and the action. He did redeem himself later in life as he became a park warden, nabbing poachers and rescuing stranded hikers.

    This lake probably rivals Lake Louise in terms of crowds, but not suprisingly, as from the observation deck you get a bird's eye view of the uniquely-shaped, glacial blue lake. Like all the other popular sites in Banff, I recommend getting here early in the morning and around supper time to avoid the crowds.

    Peyto Lake on a crisp autumn day

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  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo

    See the Prairies

    by easterntrekker Written Apr 15, 2014

    It's amazing that within a hour or so you can drive out if the mountains and everything gets flat . Loved this farm with the smiley face on the frozen prairie.

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  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo

    Lac des Arc

    by easterntrekker Written Apr 15, 2014

    This lake is interesting it is a short drive outside of Banff. We notice a lot of people stopping here and eventually realize they are looking at the Long Horn Sheep that group here on the rocks.

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    • Seniors

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  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo

    Take a Dog Sled Ride

    by easterntrekker Updated Mar 23, 2014

    This is an unbelievable experience.. A short distance from Banff in Canmore or Lake Louise you can take this one house sleigh ride. Breath taking experience. It is expensive however at $ 150.00 .

    See those Huskeys Go
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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Bow Valley Parkway

    by Jim_Eliason Written Aug 26, 2013

    This side highway , offers some great hikes and also the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the park.

    Bow Valley Parkway Bow Valley Parkway Bow Valley Parkway Bow Valley Parkway Bow Valley Parkway
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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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Banff National Park Things to Do

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