Banff National Park Travel Guide

  • Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff National Park
    Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff...
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  • Lake Louise
    Lake Louise
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  • Morraine Lake
    Morraine Lake
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Banff National Park Highlights

  • Pro
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    zrim says…

     Abundant wildlife, spectacular scenery around every corner 

  • Con
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    zrim says…

     Banff is no secret, everyone and their uncle is here 

  • In a nutshell
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    Carmanah says…

     The heart and soul of the Canadian Rockies 

Banff National Park Things to Do

  • Peyto Lake

    If you are planning to drive the beautiful Icefields Parkway then Peyto Lake is a must see! Yes, from the parking lot it's only a short trail up to the viewpoint and it can get very crowded up here...especially in the summer months. Try and plan your visit before 10.00am or after 4.00pm to avoid the large crowds. If you have a couple of hours to...

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  • Moraine Lake/ Valley of Ten Peaks

    Moraine Lake is located near Lake Louise and definitely a lake you can't miss if you travel to the Canadian Rockies. Moraine Lake is set below the Valley of Ten Peaks and it rivals Lake Louise in beautiful and in fame. The scenery at this lake is spectacular, especially when viewed from the top of the Rockpile to the left of the parking lot. There...

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  • Johnston Canyon

    Johnston canyon is one of the most popular hiking options in the park with either a 2 mile round hike to the lower falls or a 4 mile hike to the upper falls. Its best to get here early as the parking lot fills up and the trail, at least to the lower falls, get congested.

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Banff National Park Hotels

Banff National Park Restaurants

  • The Keg Steakhouse and Bar

    This Keg has got me re-thinking ever setting foot in another Keg restaurant. I'm not a huge complainer, nor am I terribly picky. But I've got to say that for $145... well I expect a lot more than I received. Our meals were good - when we got them - but the service was among the worst I've ever experienced. For starters, we arrived here around 7:00...

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  • Maple Leaf Grille and Spirits

    We dined here on our last Saturday night in Banff with our son and daughter in law . It was wonderful . I loved my tenderloin . Pat had the bison and it was fabulous. The duck looked good too. It was a wonderful classy restaurant and definitely would recommend it.

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  • Cafeteria at the Crossing

    Standard cafeteria food. Deli sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, a couple soup selections, pies. You get the idea. Nothing fancy. Nothing terribly interesting. But it is fast. The most important thing is to get some food and get back out in the mountains. Just try not to arrive behind a tourbus group, then it might be a bit slower. We arrived just in...

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Banff National Park Nightlife

  • nothing beats a full moon

    Sure, the town Banff has tons of places to grab a drink or something to eat but as pretty as it might be, it does not beat enjoying the nature you came all this way to see in the first place. I love visiting brewpubs as much as anyone but Banff would have to have a pretty damn good one to get me out of the park and into the town. The campgrounds...

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  • An Irish night out!

    For the number of Scottish and Irish folks that supposedly inhabit Canada nowadays, we were astonished to find that St James's Gate in Banff was the only Scottish or Irish Bar we came across!We weren't in Canada just to drink obviously, but for 2 countries that are so well known for liking there alcohol, we thought we would have passed more .... oh...

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  • Banff National Park Hotels

    11 Hotels in Banff National Park

    19 Reviews and Opinions

Banff National Park Transportation

  • Coach / Bus / Car / Trolley.

    This is a one day excursion I took whilst I was in Banff (in July 2005) and it took me across Great Divide of the Rocky Mountains, Johnstone Canyon, Lake Louise, Valley of the Ten Peaks, Victoria Glacier, Moraine Lake, Yoho National Park's Takakkaw Falls, Spiral Tunnels, Emerald Lake and Natural Rock Bridge. It was a wonderful day and we had...

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  • Rent an RV (Recreational Vehicle) /...

    When you're in Banff, most people go to Lake Louise as well. The route to take is Highway 1. Or alternatively, you can take the Bow Valley Parkway. It is slower, more curvy, and you get less grand vistas. But you feel much closer to nature on this route. Many places to stop off for a hike or camping or just to take pictures.

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  • SKi Lift

    You have two choices - an open chair or enclosed bucket.......guess what I choose? Half way up I began looking at the floor of the bucket (Gondella they called it) every time it passed a piece of machinery to haul it further up it shuddered but when it came to a complete stop very near the top I was scared witless as it swung precariously in thin...

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Banff National Park Shopping

  • Lake Louise Village

    Loved the shops at Lake Louise Village - especially enjoyed people watching here...........So many tourists coming & going Gifts - Food - Flowers - Liquor Store & lots more Use a Credit Card & worry about the price latter............

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  • The Christmas Shop

    Every thing you could possibly want for Christmas Decorations - this shop was packed full of Christmas ornaments - trees - lights you name it - they had it. An ornament with a Rocky Mountain theme for your tree at home as a lasting reminder of your trip From 2 dollars up

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  • Soap

    Lovely local hand made soap and beauty company. You can really only find this stuff in the west. For people who like stores like the Body shop or Lush this is a wonderful chemical free alternative that is all hand made on site. They make a variety of items like soap, lotions, salts, perfumes and gift boxes. I love the patchouli mint soap for that...

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Banff National Park Local Customs

  • Birds/ Animals/Flowers

    These cheeky little fellows popped up everywhere and were a joy to see. Please do not feed them although they will squeek for your attention = when tourists are thin on the ground they have to survive on their own

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  • Local Crafts

    Finding locally produced products in Banff is a hard task. Most craft items are mass produced in the far east - a hard fact of mass tourisim. Indian head wear and the popular dream catchers are all made from feathers from lands far removed from here TBC

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  • Presents/Souvenirs

    All these wonderful items were found at the shops along Banff Avenue. I took these pictures because I've learned to curb my spending on decorative items. You wouldn't believe the amount of things I've to lug home from every single trip to Japan & elsewhere, so much so that anyone who had traveled with me would know that I'm not joking about it!

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Banff National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Beware off and respect Wildlife.

    They may be cute and thy may look friendly but DO NOT feed the animals. This little guy has obviously been acclimitized to human contact which is not a good thing. These are wild animals. Sooner or later this the chipmunk will bite somebody or become so reliant on handouts that he won't be able to fend for himself. Let wild animals stay wild....

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  • Be aware of lots of mosquitos

    In summer, there seem to be a lot of mosquitos, especially on the campgrounds. You should wear a net over your face, to be protected of mosquito bites. West nil virus is spreading more and more in this area! On some campgrounds (especially Porcupine and Lake Magog Campground) it was even impossible to leave the tent!

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  • Take enough water clothing and food...

    Between Porcupine campground and Lake Og Campground you will not find any water resources! Thus you should take a lot of water when leaving Porcupine. We ran out of water while hiking through the Valley of Rocks and had to stop every 20 minutes due to the hot burning sun!

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Banff National Park Tourist Traps

  • Overpriced sporting fashion & souveniers

    Everything in Banff promotes the sporting circuit. So expect to see lots of overpriced sporting fashions like Lulu lemon, Columbia, Mountain Co-op, Burton. Also general souveniers can be pricey. Look around- that's free. If you want to get souveniers there are some stores at the end of the street away from the hotel strip that have a variety of...

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  • The Town of Banff

    This town has turned from a beautiful little town in Canada's oldest National Park into one big tourist trap. It now looks like any other town run for (and by) a major corporation in support of the ski operations in the vicinity. I'm not sure how many "faux Alpine" towns we need, but Banff has degenerated into another one.They seem to be catering...

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  • icefield helicopter tours

    Before you book that helicopter tour of a lifetime, flying over Glaciers in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, there are some factors that an informed and educated vacationer should make themselves aware of.The experience is beautiful and amazing, truly, but.............. 1. If you travel from Banff or Jasper, two of the major resort destinations, you could...

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Banff National Park What to Pack

  • Bring Camera & Film

    Comfortable shoes for walking, and not just on sidewalks, but on walking paths, and rough ground. As you go up higher in the mountains, have a jacket - for example, while short sleeves are fine in the town, you'll find it much cooler up at the top of the gondola. Lots of film, telephoto lenses because its safer to take the pics of animals at a...

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  • Keep your camera loaded and fully...

    Comfortable shoes for walking, and not just on sidewalks, but on walking paths, and rough ground. As you go up higher in the mountains, have a jacket - for example, while short sleeves are fine in the town, you'll find it much cooler up at the top of the gondola. Lots of film, telephoto lenses because its safer to take the pics of animals at a...

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  • ready, set, go

    Unless you like paying C$20 per day each, you can leave your backpack at home but a day pack is essential in this hiking paradise. Bring good sturdy hiking boots and comfy socks to handle the rocky trails of Banff. Bring synthetic clothing which is lighter per warmth factor and dries more quickly if it gets wet. Rain gear is essential and being...

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Banff National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Flowers

    Take a walk along the boardwalk at Johnston Lake & stroll through the medow - bursting with scent & beautiful coloured wildlowers - I could have stayed all day with the gentle hum of insects, bird song & the least chipmunk (too quick to photograph) drarting to & fro.

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  • Wildlife

    Chipmunks, much like squirrels are the entertainers of the forest but what to us is entertainment, for the chipmunk is the work of storing food for the winter. They just move so fast it appears comical to us but make no mistake, these are serious omnivores whose diet includes nuts, insects, grain, small frogs, fungi, worms and bird eggs. One of the...

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  • Hiking /Trails

    The hiking trail that leads to the paint pots is located just off the #93 highway between Castle Mountain junction and Radium, BC, in Kootenay National Park. There is a rest area at the trail head, and a sign on the highway tells you it's the way to the paint pots. The Paint Pots are a series of shallow ponds in an area of high mineral...

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Banff National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Horseriding/Hiking

    This full-day expedition is a beautiful 7 hour ride that will take you to Paradise Valley, to the Giant Steps, Lake Annette, and the Horseshoe Glacier (how appropriate!). You get to enjoy your lunch beside the elegant Giant Steps waterfall. It's a great ride for beginners as the climb to the valley is quite gradual. The cost is/was $155.00 per...

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  • Skiing /Snowboarding

    For Skiers or those who just enjoy the view from the tops of mountains, take the Ski Lift at Ski Louise for a panoramic view of the 10 peaks. See the travelogue for views of the chairlift, Ski Lodge Restaurant etc.

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  • Kayaking/canoeing

    Lake Louise is a nice lake for canoeing. There we go . This is late June and there was a slight breeze off of the mountains , so it was cool . The water is around 1 deg. C ( 34 deg. F ) so you do not want to capsize the canoe. It took an hour to paddle the length of the lake and back . You will notice that there are few boats on the lake . Canoes...

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Banff National Park Favorites

  • Lakes /Mountains/Rivers.

    every corner you turn, you get a different perspective of Banff National Park. I suggest get a good camera before you embark on this trip! You won't regret it :) I'm glad i had my Nikon. (hmm, the VT pic dimensions are stretching my pic out of proportion. Click on pic to see it in intended proportions.Tks!) ps: Also stock up on outdoor gear and...

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  • Banff National Park

    The best thing about Banff is the scenery. I have been all around the Americas and the only thing that comes close is maybe Santa Marta area in Colombia. The tip I would like to give skiers is to go between Easter and the end of May. Prices drop, the crowds go away and it snows a lot. For locals, April and May are favourite ski months....

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  • Icefield Parkway/Glaciers

    All along the highway there are ample opportunities to pull over and take in the sights. It seems that every 10 km, there is another view point. I would recommend that you should stop at as many as time allows. Our 5 hour trip turned out to be 8 hours and we did not stop at all the places we would have liked. Next time we will spend a couple days...

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Top 10 Multi-Generational Destinations: Banff National Park

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

Skip the Alaskan cruise that all your friends are taking and go explore the true wilderness– the kind that isn't readily available anywhere nearby. Alberta, Canada is home to some of the most beautiful, pristine, and well-preserved natural settings in the world, including Banff National Park, Canada's first national park and the world's third national park. The Xplorer Club, which includes a free interactive booklet, provides interactive activities for children, including a scavenger hike and Banff National Park Bingo, so they better keep their eyes peeled for elk, bears and Woodland Caribou. The area is unique in that it provides equal amounts of activities no matter the season. In summer, there are great hiking trails, rafting excursions, biking trips, or horseback rides; the winter provides ample snow for both downhill or cross country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and enjoying the hot springs! Another great aspect of Banff & Lake Louise is that there are so many options, any activity can be modified: for example, the number of hiking trails provide for any difficulty level, length of hike, and time, so people of all ages can participate in activities. For those who aren't up for seriously steep hills, a simple stroll around Lake Louise or Moraine Lake provides some exercise and beautiful scenery, without fear of inclines or injury.

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Explore Deeper into Banff National Park
Icefields Parkway
Things to Do
Lake Louise/Chateau Lake Louise.
Things to Do
Lakes /Mountains /Glaciers / Waterfalls
Things to Do
Banff Springs Hotel/Bannf Hot Springs
Things to Do
Sulphur Mountain Gondola
Things to Do
Hiking/Trails
Things to Do
Banff nearby
Favorites
Banff Town
Off The Beaten Path
Lake Louise/Chateau
Favorites
Mountains
Off The Beaten Path
Hikes & Trails
Favorites
Banff Town/ Lake Louise Town
Favorites
Lakes
Off The Beaten Path
Stay on the designated trails!!!!
Warnings and Dangers
soo Many Tourist
Warnings and Dangers
The Grizzly House
Restaurants
Waterfalls
Favorites
Churches
Local Customs
Aardvark Pizza
Restaurants
See the Prairies
Things to Do
Cave and Basin
Things to Do
Lac des Arc
Things to Do
Take a break in Lake Louise
Restaurants
Ski the Rockies
Things to Do
Take a Drive to Lake Louise
Things to Do
Try the Tandori Chicken
Restaurants
Cascade Gardens
Things to Do
The Founders of The Whyte Museum
Things to Do
Moore Residence
Things to Do
Scrumptious Food
Restaurants
Wildlife on the Highway
Warnings and Dangers
Take a Dog Sled Ride
Things to Do
See the the Rockies
Things to Do
Whyte Museum
Things to Do
Real Western Experience
Restaurants
Elk
Local Customs
Icefields parkway
Things to Do
Bow Valley Parkway
Things to Do
Waterfowl Lake
Things to Do
Peyto Lake
Things to Do
Map of Banff National Park

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