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Banff Travel Guide: What to Do & Where to Eat in Banff, Alberta | Wanderlist Travel

Let’s travel to: Banff, Alberta

Canadian mountains, hiking trails, hot springs, and lakes; it’s all yours to explore.


  • Home to one of the most beautiful National Parks in Canada

  • Known for its incredible mountains offering breathtaking views

  • Banff has a small population of approximately 10,000 people.

  • Banff has the second highest elevation in Alberta after Lake Louise.

  • Part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

  • Tip: Always eat your meals before a hike and have extra food (granola bars etc...) and water at all times.


  • Weather: Can be unpredictable. It’s possible to experience rain, snow, wind and sunshine all on the same day. The temperature can be warm or hot from June to September and cooler during the rest of the year. Snow is common from November to April.

  • Best time to visit: Year round depending on what you want to see. May to June is a great time to visit. Try to avoid the mid-July to August rush, however anytime of the year is worth it.

  • What to wear/bring: Since the weather is unpredictable, it is recommended to bring a light windbreaker, a good pair of hiking shoes or running shoes and comfortable clothing. Bring a sturdy backpack that you will feel comfortable wearing.

  • Transportation: Banff is beautiful and you want to explore all the beauty it has to offer. Travelling by bike or public transportation is possible, but would be easier during the summer months. Renting a car can maximize the various locations you can and want to see. With a car, you can also choose to visit Calgary (West of Banff), Drumheller (North-East of Calgary) and even drive along the Icefields Parkway (Hwy#93) to visit Jasper National Park (North-West of Banff).

  • Accommodation: There are numerous lodges in the Banff area. Consider spending your nights relatively close to the downtown core to experience the nightlife.


Note that these activities may be more suitable for adventure seekers!

  • Downtown Banff: Grab some comfortable shoes and walk around the area. You can grab a bite at the many delicious restaurants Banff has to offer! Exploring downtown is a great way for you to meet some locals or other adventurous travellers and learn other activities or locations to explore by visiting the Information Centre.

  • Canoe/Kayak in the Bow River: A peaceful way to explore Banff and all that it has to offer along the river. Renting is inexpensive and quite simple (During certain seasons).

  • Tunnel Mountain Trail: Located right next to downtown Banff. A relatively easy hike for those that want to relax. At the top of the mountain you will get a breathtaking view of the entire town, along with various mountains and rivers. If you time it just right, you can watch the sunset at the top. *Tip: Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

  • Lake Louise and Moraine Lake: Both lakes are right beside each other and just a few minutes away. They are a must see! During the winter you can walk along the frozen ice over the lake with mountains standing high in the background. In the summer you can canoe or kayak in the clear blue lake in Lake Louise.

  • Driving down the Bow Valley Parkway: Get ready for beautiful scenery after another. This road is predominately known for its wildlife. Driving down this road I witnessed a bear, a group of deer and a family of rams. Drive with caution and be on the lookout for animals.

  • Sulphur Mountain: The hike for this mountain is not for the faint hearted. It will take approximately 2-4 hours to get to the top even though the terrain is easy. The elevation is what makes the hike difficult. Another option is to take the gondola up and down the mountain or hike up the mountain and take the gondola down. At the top, you will find a restaurant and of course an incredible view. There is also a pathway connecting to an adjacent mountain. After the adventure, consider taking a dip in the hot springs at the base of the mountain to relax.

  • Lake Minnewanka: A large area full of hiking trails and tons of wildlife. If you want to take pictures of elk and horned sheep, this is the place to go.

  • Johnston Canyon: Venture on the trail to the Lower falls and the Upper falls where you can see beautiful waterfalls. The length of this hike will take 1 hour each way. If you are adventurous like me, try hiking up past the Upper falls towards Ink Pots. This hike takes you into the middle of a valley where you will be surrounded by mountains, creeks and forests all around. Note that it takes another 2 hours one way and the hike can be extremely tiring however the view from the valley will be absolutely worth it. Trust me.

  • Icefields Parkway: This stellar drive through the Canadian Rockies can take you from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. If you plan on going to Jasper after Banff, this is the road to take. You will see the most stunning sceneries in the world. Along the way, you can stop at the Columbia Ice field Discovery Centre for a Glacier Tour, visit Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls.

List by: Jonathan Tsang

My name is Jonathan Tsang. For 4 years, I was stranded in school with only one goal – survive. Now I work as an accountant, but to escape the numbers, I need to travel and experience as much of the world as I can. To do this, I must become someone else. I must do something else.

Yes, I used the “Arrow” intro.

Join me on my adventures: @jonislegendary


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