If you’re planning on spending your holidays in Canada you’re going to have to choose wisely exactly where and when you’d like to go. May I present for your consideration the enchanting Banff National Park? Here I shall give you the low-down on some of the most picturesque places to visit in and around the town Banff. It’s perfect for those who want to be surrounded by nature, who enjoy outdoor activities and who like to meander through quaint little towns. Trust me, there are plenty of things to do in Banff.

Banff Springs Hotel Banff Alberta Canada

Banff Springs Hotel Banff Alberta Canada

William Cornelius Van Horne, general manager of Canadian Pacific Railway, opened the divine Banff Springs Hotels in 1898 in the town and proclaimed: “If we can’t export the scenery, we’ll import the tourists.” And he was right. Banff has spectacular scenery, and tourists come here in droves. And rightly so — it is one of the most magnificent places on the planet.

If We can t export the scenery we ll import the tourists WC Can Horne quote

If We can t export the scenery we ll import the tourists WC Can Horne quote

Banff is a beautiful resort town in the province of Alberta, Canada. The town itself is located within the Banff National Park, the oldest national park in the country which covers almost 4,120 mi2 of land. It is the home of beautiful green sceneries, crystal clear blue waters, and diverse wildlife like squirrels, chipmunks, wolves, cougars, elks and grizzly bears. It is popular for its spas, springs and resorts, but there are so many more things to do in Banff. But first, before you go ahead and make and pick a list of activities to do in Banff, it’s best to decide when to visit Banff.

When is the best time to visit Banff?

Frozen welcome to Lake Louise sign Banff National Parkl things to do Alberta CANADA

Frozen welcome to Lake Louise sign Banff National Parkl things to do Alberta CANADA

Most people go here during the summertime so they can enjoy outdoor activities such as swimming, boating hiking, and camping. However, although there are more fun things to do in Banff in summer, you can still visit here at any time of the year, especially since the world-class ski hills of Lake Louise, Sunshine, and Kananaskis are nearby.

Banff Springs Hotel entrance Alberta Canada

Banff Springs Hotel entrance Alberta Canada

Now with a clear timeframe in mind, here is a list of 33 things to do in Banff, Canada:

Things to Do in Banff

Nature

Mountain banff albertat 2098057 1280

Mountain banff albertat 2098057 1280

 Mountain peaks as high as the sky, clear lakes that shimmer in the sun, and fresh air that you won’t find in the city – these are the best of Banff. A vacation in nature is the top reason that Canadians love this place. Here are some Banff, Canada points of interest that you need to visit:

1. Cave and Basin National Historic Site

A place of natural, cultural and historical significance, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site is the birthplace of Canada’s national parks. You can visit here on your own or join a guided tour to see the impressive rundle stone architecture, bubbling mineral waters, and the underground cave.

2. Lake Minnewanka

Banff Lake Minnewanka Two Jack sign things to do in Banff national park Alberta Canada

Banff Lake Minnewanka Two Jack sign things to do in Banff national park Alberta Canada

Of all the interesting things to do in Banff National Park, visiting Lake Minnewanka should be a priority. The largest lake in the national park has blue waters and mountain views that will take your breath away. From here, you can see the Devil’s Gap where the Rocky Mountains transition into the flatlands of the Prairies.

3. Lake Louise

Lake louise 1901680 1280

Lake louise 1901680 1280

Lake Louise is equally stunning as Lake Minnewanka. This beautiful lake is like a scene out of a dream – clear turquoise waters and a view of the Victoria Glacier. You can go canoeing at the lake during the summer and take pictures of the snow-capped mountains during the winter.

4. Columbia Icefield

Columbia icefield 57940 1280

Columbia icefield 57940 1280

Do you want to go to a place where water flows to three different oceans? Water from the summit of the Columbia Icefield flows to the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic! Here, you can also find ancient ice that is up to a million years old. You can hike part of it, but it’s best seen with a ice field snowmobile tour.

5. Skiing

There are world-class ski lodges in Banff where you can stay and have the time of your life during the wintertime. Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Norquay are the best places to go to if you want to ski. They cover over 3,100 hectares of snowy terrains.

Hiking

Banff 2102133 1280

Banff 2102133 1280

When it comes to hiking, you have a lot of options in Banff. Here are some trails to choose from:

6. Alymer Lookout/Alymer Pass

Difficulty: Difficul

Distance: 7.3 miles

Estimated time: 7-8 hours

Why choose this trail: Panoramic views of Lake Minnewanka, Mount Inglismaldie, Mount Girouard and Mount Alymer

7. Boom Lake

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 6.2 miles (round-trip)

Estimated Time: 3-4 hours

Why choose this trail: Snow-peaked mountains and limestone walls surround the lake

8. Bourgeau Lake & Harvey Pass

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4.5 miles

Estimated Time: 6 hours

Why choose this trail: Views of Bourgeau Lake, Mount Assiniboine, and Healy Creek to Sunshine Meadows

9. C-Level Cirque

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance:  2.6 miles

Estimated Time: 3 hours

Why choose this trail: Old mine buildings, Lake Minnewanka viewpoint, and Cascade Mountain

10. Cascade Amphitheatre

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance:  4.1 miles

Estimated Time: 6 hours

Why choose this trail: Hike through a forested valley and into a natural ampitheatre

11. Cory Pass Loop Hike

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance:  8.1 miles (loop)

Estimated Time: 6 hours

Why choose this trail: Wildlife and bird watching; dog-friendly

12. Fenland Trail Hike

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.3 miles (loop)

Estimated Time: 40 minutes

Why choose this trail:

13. Healy Pass

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 5.6 miles

Estimated Time: 6-7 hours

Why choose this trail: Forest and marshland with picnic grounds and washroom facilities

14. Ink Pots

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance:  3.4 miles

Estimated Time: 4 hours

Why choose this trail: Hike the trail to see waterfalls and five aquamarine pools of water

15. Johnson Lake

Johnson Lake Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Johnson Lake Banff National Park Alberta Canada

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.9 miles (loop)

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Why choose this trail: Family-friendly trail that ends at a berm where people fish in Johnson

16. Johnston Canyon – Lower Falls

Difficulty: Easy

Distance:  0.7 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Why choose this trail: Catwalked trail through limestone cliffs with views of streams, rivers and waterfalls

17. Johnston Canyon – Upper Falls

Difficulty: Easy

Distance:  1.5 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

Why choose this trail: Catwalked trail through limestone cliffs with views of streams, rivers and waterfalls

18. Marsh Loop Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Distance:  1.7 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 40 minutes

Why choose this trail: Also good for bird watching, biking and horseback riding

19. Rockbound Lake

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 5.2 miles

Estimated Time: 6-7 hours

Why choose this trail: Lush forests and wide meadows; views of Castle Mountain and Helena Ridge, Rockbound Lake and waterfalls

20. Silverton Falls

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 0.6 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 40 minutes

Why choose this trail: Lush forests and breathtaking view of the Silverton Falls

21. Spray River

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 3.5 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 3 to 4 hours

Why choose this trail: Lush forests and breathtaking view of the Spray River

22. Sulphur Mountain

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.4 miles

Estimated Time: 4 hours

Why choose this trail: Panoramic views of the Bow Valley; boardwalk to the Cosmic Ray Station and Sanson’s Peak

23. Sundance Trail/Canyon

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.4 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 3 hours

Why choose this trail:

24. Sunshine Meadows & Rock Isle Lake

Difficulty: Easy

Distance:  1.1 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 1 hour

Why choose this trail: Views of Rock Isle Lake, Standish Viewpoint, and may continue to Larix Lake or Grizzly Lake

25. Surprise Corner to Hoodoos

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance:  3.0 miles

Estimated Time: 3 hours

Why choose this trail: Good for biking and hiking during the summer and snowshoeing during the fall and winter

26. Stewart Canyon

Difficulty: Easy

Distance:  0.9 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 40 minutes

Why choose this trail: Views of Cascade River flowing from Cascade Mountain and into Lake Minnewanka

27. Stoney Squaw

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.3 miles

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

Why choose this trail: Views of the Mount Norquay and Cascade Mountain; open meadow with views of Mount Rundle, Tunnel Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, Vermillion Lakes and Sundance Range

28. Tunnel Campground Loop

Difficulty: Easy

Distance:  4.0 miles (one way)

Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

Why choose this trail: Campgrounds and wildlife spotting

29. Tunnel Mountain Summit

Town of Banff Alberta visitors sign

Town of Banff Alberta visitors sign

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance:  1.5 miles

Estimated Time: 2 hours

Why choose this trail: Views of the town of Banff, Vermillion Lakes and Bow Valley

Attractions

Banff Gondola RIde summit wait time sign

Banff Gondola RIde summit wait time sign

A lot of people come to town for outdoor Banff activities and the infamous Banff Gondola ride, but there are plenty of other Banff attractions worth visiting.

30. Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride

If you happen to plan your vacation during the wintertime, you should totally take a charming horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow-covered plains of Banff. You can take your family or friends on a 45-minute tour on a sleigh, just make sure to wear layers to keep yourself warm during the ride.

31. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

To learn more about the history of town of Banff, head to the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Current exhibitions include 100 Heads: Childhood Memories of Banff Personalities, Gateway to the Rockies, and Gems Within: 50 Years of Collecting. All of these will give you an insight into how the town was formed and has progressed through the years.

32. Luxton House Museum

The historic Luxton House Museum was the home of Norman, Georgina and their daughter Eleanor who are known as the pioneer family of the town. It was built during the early 1900s. The arts and crafts style of the home has been preserved to give visitors a realistic travel through time.

33. Banff Upper Hot Springs

Things to do in Banff National Park sign Alberta Canada

Things to do in Banff National Park sign Alberta Canada

 Up for a swim? Head to the Banff’s popular hot springs including the Banff Upper Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs, and the Miette Hot Springs. With your friends, family or partner, you can enjoy a nice day soaking and relaxing surrounded by the beautiful mountain views. If you want to splurge, head into the Banff Springs Hotel and take in the hot springs there. It’s a great way to end your day trip to Banff, and nice to treat your body (and your soul) to the healing properties of the water.

So this has been the list of things of what to do in Banff. Hopefully, it has given some idea of the activities you can do and the attractions you can visit while in town. Enjoy!

Anything else you’d like to add to the list of Banff activities?

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