Things To Do In Banff, Alberta
Banff is one of the most rewarding tourist attractions in Alberta, Canada. It is a quaint tourist town, home to the iconic Banff National Park. The Banff National Park is visited by millions of people all over the world. Banff is located in close proximity to the Canadian Rockies, cradled in turquoise-colored lakes and snow-capped mountain tops.
Banff National Park is also a UNESCO-protected natural and cultural site. This tourist town is the best place to visit in Alberta during the summers and during the winters. There is a wide range of activities that you can partake in during your stay in Banff.
Enjoy a gondola ride to the Sulphur Mountain
You can begin your stay in Banff with a gondola ride to the sulfur mountain. Gondolas are a very convenient and popular mode of transport in Banff. Taking a ride on the sulfur mountain route for gondolas can be a very rewarding experience. It is a popular outdoor activity during the summers.
This mountain is located only four kilometers away from the tourist town. There are several mountain-top restaurants here that you can stop by. You will be welcomed by gorgeous views of the Rockies from the terraces of these restaurants. You can also take a short trail towards the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site of Canada or the Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.
Day trip to Sunshine Village
The Banff Sunshine Village is a quintessential travel destination. People from all across the world visit this tourist village to experience the best of Canadian hospitality. You can ride the lifts of the village to enjoy spectacular views of the nearby mountains. You must grab a quick bite at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge during your stay in the village.
Banff Sunshine Village is extremely popular during the winters. This is because the region is famous for its deep powder snow. This makes the mountain slopes of the area very suitable for outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. You can travel across the region via the town shuttle which is free of cost. During the summers the snow melts to create some very enjoyable hiking trails throughout the village.
You must spare a few days from your trip to Alberta to visit the picturesque Banff Sunshine Village!
Camping at Lake Moraine
Lake Moraine is a place that belongs to many travel bucket lists for people across the world. It is situated in a beautiful place, cradled amidst the Rocky mountains. It is surrounded by the famous Ten Peaks of the Rockies. The waters of the lake are so clear that you will be able to see a distinct reflection of the peaks on the surface of the Lake. This image was also a part of Canadian currency.
Lake Moraine is surrounded by campgrounds and hiking trails that lead to the base of the mountains. Moraine Lake Shore Path is one of the easiest trails that you can walk across. During your walk, you will be able to enjoy stellar views of Mount Fay as well as the Fay Glacier.
Quadra Glacier is also located in close proximity. You can join a two-hour-long trail, known as the Consolation Lakes Trail, to visit the glacier. There are several car rentals and camping gear facilities in the region. Canoeing is a fun and peaceful activity that many visitors enjoy at Lake Moraine.
Rejuvenate at the Banff Upper Hot Springs
The Banff Upper Hot Springs is one of the most popularly visited destinations in the region. It is a site for rejuvenation and relaxation for locals and tourists alike. It is said that the waters from these hot springs have the ability to cure illnesses.
The hot springs are coupled with the gorgeous alpine mountains that surround them. It is a good place to visit with your friends and family. There are several facilities here like locker rooms, swimming pools, gift shops, and a cafe as well. The water from these hot springs is rich in minerals like calcium, sulfur, and magnesium.
Enjoy paddling at Lake Louise
Lake Louise is often called the jewel of Banff. Rightly so, this lake is one of the most picturesque places you will ever visit in your life. The lake is brimming with green and blue waters, cradled among mountains that are higher than 3000 meters.
Mount Victoria is the most recognizable mountain. It is located towards the western end of Lake Louise and adds a lot of charm to the place. You can enjoy a canoe ride here or book your stay at the Fairmont Chateau. The lake is surrounded by adventurous trails that you can embark upon.
You can join the Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Tour to enjoy gorgeous views of both these lakes. It will be around four hours long, led by professionals who will tell you more about the region. The area is well connected by public transportation options like busses and car rentals as well.
Ice walking at the Icefields Parkway
Icefields Parkway is the name of Highway 93. This is one of the most essential corridors in Canada. It connects several important locations in Alberta, like the Banff National Park and the Jasper National Park. This corridor is also home to the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains.
The icefield is located in close proximity to the Athabasca Glacier. This enables visitors to get the remarkable opportunity to walk on ice, straight from a glacier! Apart from this, the region has several waterfalls that surround the mountain goats and sheep.
Columbia Icefield is a premier adventure park. You can join the Ice Explorer Tour or enter the skywalk to enjoy views of the snow-capped mountains. The Icefield is also home to the Glacier Discovery Center.
Please also read about the things to do in Summerland, British Columbia.
Learn about the history of the First Nations People at the Buffalo Nations Museum
Buffalo Nations Museum of Banff is a uniquely North American Museum. The museum is dedicated to appreciating and preserving the culture of First Nations People in North America. There are many cultural demonstrations and artifacts on display in the museum.
According to legend, the civilization came around as a result of the movement of buffalo herds in the region. The museum pays an ode to this by displaying ornaments, decorated tipi, and quillwork from the community.
The Buffalo Nations Museum will take you on a walk down memory lane. It is a unique attempt at bringing together the diverse and rich history of Banff. It is the perfect place to visit for lovers of history and culture.
Whitewater rafting and float trips at the Bow River
City dwellers often miss out on unique outdoor adventures. Whitewater rafting is one of the most thrilling outdoor activities. You can enjoy gorgeous scenery during your whitewater rafting experience at the Bow River in Banff.
Rocky Mountain Raft Tours provide the best opportunity to experience the Bow River and the Hoodoos. The tour will guide along the river and it is three hours long. This calm and relaxing experience is ideal for senior members of the group as well as for young children.
Please also read about things to do in Canmore.
Rock climbing at the Johnston Canyon
The Johnston Canyon is located on the Bow Valley Parkway of Banff. There are two exciting waterfalls here, near the entrance of the Canyon. This tourist attraction is located only 26 kilometers along the parkway.
The Canyon has its own pathway that is extremely fun to explore. There are many bridges and cliff walls located along the canyon. Inkpots are a group of hot water springs located in the Johnston Canyon. The water in these springs is bluish-green in color and can be a very rejuvenating experience.
If you enjoy embarking on tricky pathways and trails, you must visit the Ink Pots region of the canyon. The best part about visiting the canyon is that it can provide you with two completely unique experiences during the summer and the winter.
Wildlife spotting at the Banff National Park
The tourist town Banff is synonymous with Banff National Park. This is one of the largest and most celebrated national parks in Canada. The national park is home to more than 50 species of animals.
You can spot big animals in the mornings by joining a hiking trail. Other animals like bighorn sheep, woodland caribou, goats, and bears can be seen in the mornings and evenings. The Banff National Park is most famous for its grizzly bears.
There are many ways in which you can catch a glimpse of grizzly bears. They can be dangerous, however, some lucky visitors often get the chance to see them. You can spot them towards the alpine regions during the winters or in thick bushes during the summers.
Some visitors also spot grizzly bears towards the Lake Moraine region. They end up following the trails in the region, becoming a part of groups of humans. It is essential to keep an eye out for them in order to maintain a safe distance.
You can also visit Grande Prairie during your stay in Banff. Read about the best things you can do in Grande Prairie.
Explore the caves of Basin National Historic Site
Basin National Historic Site has a lot of historical relevance in the region. It is said that this place was the birthplace of what became the Banff National Park later. There are self-guided tours that will help you explore the historical structure.
Basin National Historic Site also showcases a 4D film that tells the story of Banff. This region has several hiking trails that you can join to visit the caves. Other famous trails of the region are the Marsh Trail, Sundance Trail, and the Canyon Trail.
In addition to being a great outdoor place, the caves are also home to natural hot springs. These thermal springs are very rich in minerals and healing elements. This Cave and Basin site is located in close proximity to the iconic Sulphur Mountain of Banff.
Explore the Whyte Museum of Banff
The Whyte Museum is an ode to the life and culture of the indigenous people of Banff. The museum was built taking into consideration the National Indian Brotherhood and the Declarations of the First Nation. Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot, Ktunaxa Dene, Mountain Cree are some of the Indigenous nations of the region.
The Whyte Museum is home to several permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, and virtual exhibitions. When here you cannot miss the wide variety of galleries and display areas of the Whyte Museum. Kindly visit the website to know more about upcoming art exhibitions.
An evening stroll in Banff Town
We often ignore the thriving local community of Banff. This town has several tourist attractions and local hangout spots. You must spare a day on your trip to visit the many local centers of Banff.
The town is a perfect blend of urban and traditional culture. You can shop for art and local handicrafts at the Carter-Ryan gallery. If you wish to catch a live performance, head to the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity. This local center conducts many workshops, concerts, and festivals created by the local community of Banff.
Enjoy a delicious cocktail at the Bison
The Bison is a great eatery to visit after a long day of exploring Banff. This is the perfect place to wind down because there are several options for food and drink here. They serve special vegan and vegetarian options as well, it really is the most wholesome eatery in Banff!
The restaurant has won seven national awards in Canada. In addition to their consistent menu, the staff creates seasonal menus as well. Elk poutine, butternut bruschetta, steelhead trout, and roasted cauliflower are among some of the most sought-after dishes at the restaurant.
Fresh coffee at Whitebark Cafe
The mountains are the best place to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of hot coffee. Whitebark Cafe is the perfect coffee shop to visit as it offers fresh coffee and delicious food as well. They order their organic coffee from Moja Coffee in North Vancouver, Canada. Their tea leaves are from the Banff Tea Cooperation.
Their carefully curated ingredients and handcrafted menus have put Whitebark Cafe at the top of every visitor’s list. The cafe has a few outdoor tables as well, this will give you an ideal opportunity to enjoy coffee with the gorgeous view outside. What’s more, they offer vegan and gluten-free pastries as well!