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Banff National Park: A Complete Guide

Banff National Park

For good reason, Banff National Park is at the top of many people’s travel wish lists. Stunning alpine scenery are peppered with stunning glacier lakes and coated in evergreens for miles. There is an activity for everyone, whether you want to admire Banff from the luxury of your automobile or go on an amazing backcountry trip. With such breathtaking landscape, it’s no surprise that more people are visiting Banff than ever before; but, with so much to see and do in Banff, arranging a vacation can be daunting. With these suggestions, you can make your trip to Banff unforgettable.

How to reach there?

The nearest airport to Banff National Park is Calgary International Airport (YYC), which is about a 1.5-hour drive in normal traffic. There is a regular shuttle bus service from Calgary International Airport to Banff, but I recommend renting a car for the most flexibility in travelling around Banff. You can also go by train from Vancouver, either on Canada Rail or the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer.

Best time to visit

Banff’s peak season is from late June through early September. Sunny days and mild temperatures lure visitors who want to view Banff’s stunning glacial lakes and adventurers who want to climb the Canadian Rockies’ backcountry; with the crowds come greater lodging fees. During the winter months, Banff’s three ski resorts are a significant draw, with skiing, snowboarding, and lots of apres-ski activities for everyone.

Spring and October are Banff’s shoulder seasons, when the people drop away but the weather can be unpredictably unpredictable. In May or September, it’s not unusual for it to snow.

Park Entrance Fees

Adults and seniors can buy a day pass to Banff ($9.80/$8.30 CAD or $19.60 for groups of up to 7 travelling in the same car) that allows them to visit Banff as well as Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, and Waterton Lakes. Free admission for children under the age of 17!

Park Weather

Even in the summer, the weather in Banff is unpredictable. Summer days are typically bright, with high temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 24 degrees Celsius), but lower temperatures and rain are not uncommon, even in July and August. Snow (and lots of it) is a given from October through April.

Where to Stay in Banff National Park

There’s something for everyone in Banff, whether you’re looking for a quaint cabin, a family-friendly condo, or five-star grandeur. Accommodations can be costly during peak summer months, but you can save money by going during the off-season. The majority of the national park’s hotel options are concentrated in Banff and Lake Louise, but Canmore, just outside of Banff, has a variety of options and a terrific mountain vibe. Fairmont Banff Springs and Canalta Lodge are one of the best hotels in Banff.

Places to see in Banff

Lake Minnewanka
Town of Banff
Johnston Canyon
Lake Moraine
Lake Louise
Icefields Parkway
Bow Lake
Peyto Lake
Mistaya Canyon

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