25 Mar Top Things To Do in Banff National Park
So, you’ve explored the town of Banff and are now looking to go further afield and see some of the top things to do in Banff National Park. Read on for our go-to list of Banff’s tourist attractions that make the Banff National Park famous.
Hit the Slopes
Skiing or snowboarding is definitely one of the top things to do in Banff National Park. The Banff ski season starts in November, but Banff gets snow as early as late-September. There are three ski hills inside the national park and people often ask which ski resort is the best in Banff National Park… It depends on what you’re after!
- A 10-minute drive from town, Mount Norquay is the closest and also the smallest resort. It has some of the steepest slopes and some of the best powder on a snow day.
- Sunshine Village is a 20-minute drive away, with more mountains to explore and chairlifts to ride. Although it has some advanced double-black runs, if you’re a snowboarder beware the many meadows/plateaus!
- Lake Louise is a 40-minute drive away. While the front side of the mountain is often quite icy, the hill has some terrific terrain parks and tree runs.
Visit the Greater Lakes
The lakes in Banff National Park are some of the most-photographed in the world.
- Featured in almost every nature calendar is the aquamarine Moraine Lake. Accessible only in summertime and home to the highest mountain in the national park, this lake is hands-down one of the best places to see in Banff.
- Right next door is the famous Lake Louise which has the beautiful Fairmont Lake Louise Chateau right on its shore and features incredible ice sculpting competitions in winter.
- Further along is Bow Lake. Many people drive past without stopping, but we recommend pulling in and walking along the crystal clear waters.
- Last up is Peyto Lake. A must-see in the national park! Once you pull in to the car park, it’s a 20-minute walk to the viewing platform where you can look down at the uniquely shaped lake.
Drive the Scenic Highways
Exploring more of the Banff National Park means you’ll be getting out onto Canada’s highways. Look out for scenic highways like the Bow Valley Parkway towards Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper. In addition to the many picturesque stops perfect for stretching your legs in summer, these highways are flanked by endless lakes, mountains and forests, so just going for a cruise is a great way to enjoy Banff when it’s raining.
Catch the Northern Lights
Catching a late night show put on by mother nature is one of the top things to do in Banff for both visitors and locals. The elusive Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights can sometimes be seen inside the Banff National Park. There are two popular viewpoints to try your luck: Lake Minnewanka and Castle Junction. Keep tabs on the Aurora forecast using an app like Aurora Watch. Remember that some wildlife are more active at night, so keep an eye out on the roads and keep handy a deterrent like bear spray.
Find a Tea House in the Mountains
Tucked away in the forests surrounding Lake Louise are two teahouses; the Lake Agnes Teahouse and the Plain of 6 Glaciers Teahouse. For a shorter hike (7.5km return) and lakeside views, head up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse. Or, try out the 15km return hike to Plain of 6 Glaciers which ends with a sprawling panorama of valleys, mountains and glaciers. Either way, you’ll have earned a hot cup of tea and sweet treat once you get there!
The best way to explore the Canadian Rockies is on foot! There are a wealth of hiking trails inside the Banff National Park, from hour-long hikes to full-day expeditions which is why hiking is one of our top things to do in Banff National Park. Read up on our favourite hiking trails in the Banff National Park here.