Banff, Alberta, Canada, located in the heart of Banff National Park, is a rustic townsite known around the world for its idyllic mountain setting and wealth of activities. travelers choose Banff as a destination because it is stunningly beautiful any time of year and there are activities to suit every taste, age, and skill level. Whether you’re visiting in winter and want to take in sports like skiing, ice skating, and snowmobiling, or are visitingin warmer months and want to experience hiking, canoeing, golfing, and mountain biking, Banff National Park is a exciting and welcoming mountain community.

How to get There

Banff is a short 1 hr 30 min (127.4 km) drive west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada highway. The drive itself is scenic as you travel through Alberta’s grand prairie lands and see the landscape turn from expansive farmland and deep, rolling foothills to jagged and majestic rock mountains that tower overhead. Charter buses are also available and can be hired directly from the Calgary Airport. Car Rental is also an option for travellers who want to explore the national park on their own.

Popular in any season

During winter, the township of Banff and surrounding areas turn into a snowy wonderland with plenty of powder and ice for any of your favourite winter activities. Summer is another popular month, particularly for visitors interested in hiking, camping, and water sports. For visitors looking for a chance to spot rocky mountain wildlife, fall is the ideal season, when mammals are mating and preparing for winter. Spring is also a favourite time of year with spring births and animals waking up from hibernation.


Hiking is one of the most accessible outdoor activities in Banff. From easy, meandering trails along the town’s beautiful Bow River, to high alpine hikes and scrambling, there are hikes to suit every skill level. There are several shorter hikes within the Banff townsite, and longer hikes a short drive from the main townsite. For advanced hikers, the Cascade Amphitheatre is a 15 km round trip (about 6 hours) hike and has a 640m elevation. Johnston Canyon is a popular hike for people of all skill levels. The 2.25 km (about 30 minutes) route winds through the magnificent Johnston Canyon to the lower falls.


When the snow begins to fall in Banff National Park, people from around the world flock to ski some of the best mountain runs in the world. With three ski resorts within the park, there are plenty of option for beginner skiers through to experts. Sunshine Village is only a 15 minute drive from Banff, and is a stunning mountain resort with more than 30 feet (nine metres) of snowfall per year. Lake Louise Ski Resort is a 45 minute drive from Banff and is know to have some of the best powder in Canada, as well as 160 runs from beginner to expert.


Banff is one of the most photographed locations in the world, and it’s no wonder. Within the townsite itself, it is surrounded by the grandeur of large snow capped mountains. An aquamarine glacier-fed Bow River cuts through the heart of the town, and it’s not uncommon to see wildlife wandering the banks of the river. A short drive from the townsite offers many opportunities to photograph stunning mountain settings. The Banff Gondola is a popular option, with a tram traversing to the top of –mountain and providing panoramic views of the townsite, as well as Cascade Mountain, Tunnel Mountain, and Mount Rundle.

Historical Attractions

Banff National Park is rooted in history as one of the major points of call along the famed trans-continental rail line. Today, there are many historical elements present in the city, making it an ideal destination for history buffs and those interested in learning more about the history of Alberta and Banff’s role in the formation of Canada. The Banff Springs Hotel is a massive castle-like hotel constructed in 1888 as a point-of-call for railway travellers. Today, it is a 5-star resort with incredible views of the Bow Valley and Bow River, as well as the lush evergreens of the surrounding mountains. Opened in 1883 by the Canadian Pacific Railways, the Upper Hot Springs had been used for generations by indigenous peoples as healing pools. Today, they are one of the most popular attractions looking to heal their muscles after a day full of adventure.

Indigenous Arts and Culture

Banff National Park is made up of traditional lands of the – people. The townsite features a number of different locations to learn more about the history of the first nations people in that area and to exhibit their splendid arts and culture for others to experience.


Banff National Park is teeming with wildlife, which makes it a favorite destination for people looking to catch their first look at animals such as bears, elk, big-horned sheet, and deer. Smaller mammal like marmots, squirrels are also common in the area, and Banff is also home to a number of local and migratory bird species. Caution is to be taken when viewing wildlife. Ensure you keep a safe distance.

The most popular wildlife and the variety that is most often spotted in Banff are Elk. Elk are also known as reindeer and are known to graze at the side of the highway, wander the townsite’s riverbanks and walk along the cart paths and greens of the Banff Springs Golf Course. Bird watching is another popular activity in the park, particularly for birds of prey. Known as one of the top locations for predatory bird species in North America, Banff offers the opportunity to spot majestic bald eagles, a variety of falcons and owls. Other species of birds view include blue jays, canadian geese and trumpeter swans.

Connection to Jasper National Park

Banff National Park is adjacent to Jasper National Park, a mountain park to the north. The Jasper townsite features many similar mountain activities as Banff, but its remote location and proximity to expansive canyons and bodies of water providemany unique and exciting mountain experiences worth travelling for. the Jasper townsite is a 3 hr 24 min drive 287.9 km from Banff. The spectacular Athabasca River runs directly south of the town, and the most popular attractions include a boat ride on majestic Maligne Lake, a visit to Spirit Island, or a mountain hike through Maligne Canyon.

Travel Banff

Banff National Park is a friendly and welcoming resort community in the heart of Canada’s splendid Rocky Mountains. A visit to the region is ideal any time of year, and the wide variety of activities available make it a fun and exciting option for all travelers.