11 things to do in Banff National Park

View from the Cascade Gardens

I went to Banff in September 2010. It was snowing but it was still gorgeous. It was a nice time to go because there weren’t too many tourists and the aspens were at their peak.


●Canada’s first National Park, established in 1885
●1 ½ hours west of Calgary in Alberta
●Connects to Jasper National Park

What to do:

1. See Lake Louise. While at Lake Louise, walk through the Chateau Lake Louise.

2. Visit the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

3. Ice fields Parkway This is a gorgeous drive that passes through lakes, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, and mountains. 

4. Banff Gondola The gondola takes you to the top of Sulphur Mountain for spectacular views. To get there take Banff Ave south across Bow River. Take a left on Cave Ave. Take a right on Mountain Ave and follow that road until it dead ends at the gondola parking lot. 

5. Parker Ridge Trail This is a 2.5 mile round trip hike with a view of the Saskatchewan glacier. 

6. Cascade Gardens These gardens are behind the park administration building. It is free to walk around. There are many paths that go over bridges and through gazebos. 

7. Bow Falls Bow Falls is located right behind the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. 

8. Lake Minnewanka The lake is located 15 miles north of Banff. This is the park’s largest waterway. 

9. Vermillion Lakes From downtown, take Mount Norquay Rd. north towards Hwy 1. Turn Left on Vermillion Lakes drive. The hike is 3.7 miles round trip. There are 3 lakes and there are wonderful views of Mt. Rundle. 

10. Banff Upper Hot Springs These soothing hot springs are open year round. From downtown, cross the Bow River bridge. Turn left on Spray Ave. Take a right on Mountain Ave. The hot springs are at the end of the road. 

11. Surprise Corner This is the spot where most of the famous pictures have been taken of the Banff Springs Hotel. Drive down Banff Ave towards Bow River. Turn left on Buffalo Street. You will see the parking lot just after the view opens up.

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