Banff National Park Visitor's Guide
One of Canada's most popular national parks, Banff is a readily accessible, stunningly gorgeous park that can be visited year 'round! The charming town of Banff sits INSIDE of the national park – how cool is that! A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is worth your time to plan at least one visit to Banff.
When to Visit Banff
For warmer weather activities, head there from late spring through early fall. Note that this popular Canadian national park will be crowded then, so you may prefer the shoulder season, or if you enjoy winter sports, head there when it gets cold! Here's the average Banff weather to help plan your visit.
How to Get to Banff National Park
Banff National Park is super easy to get to – best of all, you don't even need a car!
If you are flying, fly in to Calgary International Airport. Then you can take the bus shuttle directly to Banff. There is ample public transport in town and it is a VERY walking friendly place to visit!
Or you can take the scenic Rockie Mountain Train into Banff!
Here's a link to more info on getting to Banff Park.
There are so many ways to explore Banff National Park!
Check out this list from the Canadian Park official website. You can tailor your vacation to suit your needs or if you prefer to join a small hiking tour group, I recommend my affiliate partner Wildland Trekking.
Wildland Trekking offers two tours:
Lake Louise featuring Banff, Yoho and Jasper and National Park
This all inclusive tour is six days and you will hike about 27 miles/43km while trekking through all three Canadian Rockie Mountain national parks! Plus, you'll stay in very comfy accommodations each night so you'll be rested and refreshed for the next day's adventure.
Banff Sawback Canadian Rockies Backpacking Tour
This all inclusive five day tour is a bit more challenging, plus you'll be camping and carrying your gear along one of the prettiest trails in this small group guided tour. A great way to experience the uncrowded back country while in the comfort of going with a knowledgeable and experienced guide.The tour starts near Banff and ends at famous and beautiful Lake Louise. You'll hike about 32 mi/51km.
Things to Do at Banff Park
Where to Stay in Banff
You have lots of options when you visit Banff national Park in all price ranges! Banff area accommodations.
Whether you splurge to stay there or not, be sure to save some time to visit historic Fairmont Banff Springs!
You can camp out in the backcountry or in a designated camp site, or upgrade all the way up to higher end historic Fairmont.
The park itself has some interesting lodging choices from campsites to yurts to microbes! The park even offers learn to camp classes! Here's a link to the Park's accommodations.
The Crazy Tourist has done a great job summarizing Banff area accommodation options. Here's a link.
Like most places, the best time to see wildlife is early morning or later in the day.
It is common to see elk, osprey, and bighorn sheep. Banff wildlife includes both grizzly and black bears [see Bear Safety info here]. On occasion, you might see coyote, foxes or wolves.
The Canadian National Park system recommends you use these guidelines for safely watching wildlife. If you cause the animal to move then you are too close! It is your responsibility to watch for defensive warning signs that the animal sends out.
- 100 m/330′ from bears (unless you are inside a vehicle);
- 30 m/100′ from all other large species;
- 200 m/660′ from coyote, fox or wolf dens.
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