Banff National Park Travel Guide

  • Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff National Park
    Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake, Banff...
    by spidermiss
  • Lake Louise
    Lake Louise
    by richiecdisc
  • Morraine Lake
    Morraine Lake
    by coldincanadabrr

Banff National Park Things to Do

  • Moraine Lake/ Valley of Ten Peaks

    5 out of 5 stars

    As busy as Lake Louise already was, I was concerned about the crowds at Moraine Lake. Luckily, we still got here early enough (around 10:30), that the crowds were not too horrible. There was a fairly substantial line for those wanting to rent kayaks/canoes as we passed, and since we had skipped the walk around Louise, we definitely wanted to tackle...

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  • Peyto Lake

    5 out of 5 stars

    Peyto Lake was the last stop of our one-day roadtrip on the Icefields Parkway. This is another stop that doesn't require too much time, unless you want to go all the way to the Bow Summit Lookout, in which case you'll need at least 2 hours. Peyto Lake is located about 100 km north of Banff town, and it's one of the most popular stops on the...

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  • Lake Louise/Chateau Lake Louise.

    Lake Louise was named in honour of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, after whom the province was also named. She was the daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of the fourth Governor General of Canada; as such, she spent 3 years in the former British colony and took a deep interest in the new Dominion of Canada. The village of Lake Louise was...

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Banff National Park Hotels

  • 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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  • The Glacier View Inn

    Icefields Parkway (Highway #93 North), (formerly Columbia Icefield Chalet), T1L 1J3, Canada

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

Banff National Park Restaurants

  • St James' Gate Irish Pub

    Yes, once more we landed at an Irish pub for dinner! What can I say? No matter where I am in the world, I've yet to have a bad experience in one of them (well, the Irish-Cuban pub I went to in Prague was a bit of a let down, but then who has ever heard of such a thing as an Irish-Cuban pub?!). In any case, my sister and I ended up at St. James's...

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  • Maple Leaf Grille and Spirits

    3.5 out of 5 stars

    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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  • Num-Ti-Jah Lodge Dining Room

    Num-Ti-Jah’s Chef strives to use fresh, seasonal, local produce whenever possible, all served in a warm, relaxed, friendly atmosphere in a unique Canadian Rockies setting. A hearty, candlelit a la carte dinner sets the stage for an evening of lounging and relaxing.

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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

    13 Hotels in Banff National Park

    5 Reviews

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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  • Rest stops

    A trip to the Rockies ususally involves a bit of driving through some of Canada's most sublime landscapes. You'll most likely want to stop everywhere to take pictures, but instead of stopping and parking alongside the road, you should know that the best view points have been identified and parking spaces are available at these view points - just...

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  • Calgary International Airport

    The Calgary Intl Airport is the closest major airport to Banff National Park. Located an easy 1.5 h drive (145 km) from the park, the airport is located at the northern end of the city, so you don't actually need to drive through Calgary to get on the Trans-Canada Highway, which will take you straight to Banff. There are several car rental...

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Banff National Park Shopping

  • 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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  • Banff Avenue

    Whether you want to or not, any amount of time you spend in Banff town will quickly make you come back to civilization. This was an entirely different experience for us since we are used to Forillon National Park, which is all about nature (the area's residents were forced to relocate when they opened the park, so nevermind about going shopping...

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  • 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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Banff National Park Local Customs

  • Birds/ Animals/Flowers

    One of the most commonly sighted animals in the park are Elk. You can see them by the roadsides in the early morning or at dusk. The bow valley parkway provides a better opportunity than the main highway through the park, the Icefields parkway.

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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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  • Churches

    The pretty llittle white church is located at 102 Banff Avenue on the corner of Buffallo Avenue. Designed by architect John Manuel of Winnigeg in the Gothic Revival style. The church was built in 1927. The base of the church is designed with locally quarried rundle stone creating a natural look in keeping with the mountains surrounding her.

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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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  • Stay on the designated trails!!!!

    When trying to find the trail between the Citadel Peak and the Brewster Creek, you should follow the stone heaps. If you get lost you can find the trail, after two small lakes on the right side of the creek (this is where the creek starts!) - you can see the two lakes in the background of the picture I added. It is a horse trail and thus not very...

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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

  • 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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  • 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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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

    Take a boat trip and enjoy the fabulous mountain scenery!! The trips last about an hour-and-a-half and travel a fair distance up and down the lake. Schedule: Mid-May to October daily at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. July & August also has a sunset cruise at 7 p.m. $26. per person Also, if you have one and want to bring it along, Lake...

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Banff National Park General

  • 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
Johnston Canyon
Things to Do
Lakes /Mountains /Glaciers / Waterfalls
Things to Do
Bow Lake
Things to Do
Banff Springs Hotel/Bannf Hot Springs
Things to Do
Hiking/Trails
Things to Do
Banff Gondola
Things to Do
Lakes
Off The Beaten Path
Banff Town
Off The Beaten Path
Lake Louise/Chateau
General
Banff Town/ Lake Louise Town
General
Hikes & Trails
General
soo Many Tourist
Warnings and Dangers
Mountains
Off The Beaten Path
Take enough water clothing and food during your hikes!!
Warnings and Dangers
Banff Tea Company
Shopping
Banff nearby
General
Waterfalls
General
Park Distillery Restaurant + Bar
Restaurants
The Keg Steakhouse and Bar
Restaurants
Aardvark Pizza
Restaurants
Rent an RV (Recreational Vehicle) / Camper
Transportation
Budget Car Rental
Transportation
Tapas
Restaurants
The Wood Restaurant & Lounge
Restaurants
The Station Restaurant
Restaurants
SKi Lift
Transportation
Presents/Souvenirs
Local Customs
Parks Canada's Discovery Pass
General
Exploring the town of Canmore
Things to Do
Banff Upper Hot Springs
Things to Do
Afternoon tea at the Banff Springs Hotel
Things to Do
Bow Falls and Bow River trails
Things to Do
The "real" castle in the Rockies
Things to Do
Minnewanka Lake Cruise
Things to Do
Lovely dinner at Lake Louise's old railway station
Restaurants
Another popular stop on the Icefields Parkway
Things to Do
A mandatory stop on an Icefields Parkway roadtrip!
Things to Do
Hiking up to Bow Glacier Falls
Things to Do
Great patio, great views and great food!
Restaurants
Lake Agnes Teahouse and the Beehives
Things to Do

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Map of Banff National Park