Things to Do in Banff
With boundless natural beauty, heading outdoors to take it all in is the thing to do in Banff and the surrounding areas. Lake Louise, located northwest of Banff, is a 40-minute drive along route 93. Referred to as the 'Jewel of the Rockies', skiers and snowboarders migrate here to glide down the nearby slopes while capturing the sights including The Victoria Glacier and the bowl-shaped valley that engulfs it. Look out for the fantastic annual events held in Lake Louise such as Ruckus in the Rockies, which hosts a combination of daily snowboard team competitions in a jam format with DJ-helmed after-parties in May.
On your Banff holiday, become one with nature and feast your eyes on the world-famous sights that are inescapable. Hike the highly regarded Parker Ridge Trail - a firm but steady incline putting trekkers above the treeline. Located in the northern Banff National Park near the town of Jasper, the 5-kilometre return trail offers a great view of the Saskatchewan Glacier, among many other sights. With almost too many vantage points to choose from, there is no doubt you'll snap that once-in-a-lifetime shot.
After visiting Bow Falls, a surprisingly wide and short yet misty waterfall near town, Fairmount Banff Springs Golf Course is just around the corner. With 27 holes and almost 6,000 metres of fairway cut into the valley, trees line the immaculate course and the ever-watchful eye of Mount Rundle scrutinises each stroke you play. This course will be sure to thrill any keen golfer who is lucky enough to spend the day here.
With such variety on offer in Banff, here's our pick of the area's must-dos.
Canada's first national park was made official in 1885 after railway workers stumbled upon a natural hot spring. The park reserves the most stunning untouched scenery within its 650,000-hectare border and includes the town of Banff.
Banff Upper Hot Springs is a modern day spa set in an ancient landscape. It uses the naturally heated and mineral-concentrated spring water to relax and rejuvenate visitors who take a dip in the outdoor hot pool. The natural spring pool is a popular spot for skiers and snowboarders to unwind after a long day on the slopes.
This is the exact location where 3 railway workers found a natural hot spring and consequently set off a tourism boom to the area. The cave and basin were separated and nationally recognised as an area of preservation, which then quickly led to the 650,000 hectares of surrounding land also being conserved too. This is the site of the first Canadian national park, Banff National Park.
Mount Norquay is one of 3 large skiing resorts within the Banff area. With 28 runs totalling 16,000 metres of varied difficulty levels, this mountain is the perfect place to visit and hone your winter sporting skills.
The 'Water of Spirits' is a huge lake just 15 minutes' northeast of Banff and rests in the shadows of Cascade Mountain. The longest lake in the Rockies is geared toward some great activities including fishing and diving as well as hiking and biking around the shoreline edge. Boat tours are frequent and thoroughly enjoyable taking visitors to unmissable vantage points along the 28 kilometre-long strip of water.