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Best things to do in Banff National Park

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Where in the world: Canada  /  Alberta  /  Canadian Rockies  /  Banff National Park

Top 15 things to do in Banff National Park

1. Kingmik Dog Sled Tours, Lake Louise

It did not take long to convince Parks Canada that this would be a wonderful activity to offer visitors. As there is no other dog sledding in the area, it was an oddity indeed to see a dog team whisking people off the door step of Chateau Lake Louise. But the allure caught on quickly and today dogsledding is one of the most popular activities in the park.

Kingmik still remains the intimate and personable feel of the early days. We consider ourselves small but mighty, with just 50 amazing dogs, and 5 full time professional dog mushers.

We are the only dogsled company operating in Banff National Park, giving us exclusive rights to the trail systems.

Every sled is guided, which amounts to a guest to guide ratio of 2:1, and we run no more than 5 sleds per tour time. We feel that this enables guests to best experience the silent grace and beauty of dog mushing, amidst one of the most beautiful landscapes of the world.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Kingmik Dog Sled Tours

2. Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village sits high on the continental Divide in the heart of Banff National Park, just a 15 minute drive from the picturesque mountain town of Banff. Three sprawling mountains feature more than 3,300 acres of skiable terrain, ranging from gentle inviting beginner runs all the way up to the most extreme big mountain runs. With an altitude of 2,200 m (7,200 ft) at the village, Banff Sunshine receives over 9 m (30 ft) of soft, dry "champagne" snow in a season and boasts the longest non-glacial season in Canada. Banff Sunshine Village offers guests 12 lifts including nine super lift one of which being Canada’s only heated chairlift and a high speed 8 passenger gondola.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Sunshine Village

3. The Lake Louise Ski Resort, Lake Louise

Hit the slopes in the heart of the Canadian Rockies at The Lake Louise Ski Resort. With 1,700 skiable hectares (4,200 acres) and 139 marked ski runs, the resort offers runs for the beginner, intermediate, and expert skier or snowboarder. The site sports endless chutes, glades and gullies, cruising runs, gentle slopes, and extremely challenging terrain. Take a ride on the gondola with views of glaciers, natural springs, and possibly grizzly bears. Finish your day with a meal or drink at one of the many restaurants within the resort.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about The Lake Louise Ski Resort
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4. Lake Louise, Lake Louise

Get active and enjoy the invigorating views at Lake Louise, one of Canada's biggest natural attractions. In an area widely considered the hiking capital of the Canadian Rockies, this glacial lake ensures memorable boating experiences in the warmer months and serves as a vast skating rink in the winter. Year-round you'll find something to do in this quintessentially Canadian mountain setting, including skiing, hiking, biking, and climbing.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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Tours including Lake Louise:

5. Lake O' Hara, Yoho National Park

Explore the vistas and deep azure waters of Lake O' Hara amidst an untouched alpine landscape. You'll find a number of well-marked trails around the lake. Situated on an elevation of 2,020 m (6,627 ft), the lake can be a challenge to get to--the best way is via bus. A trek up an 11 km (6.8 mi) trail is a more adventurous option, and be aware that you’re not guaranteed a bus ride down unless you made the reservation for the journey uphill. Book tours early to avoid disappointment.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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Tours including Lake O' Hara:

6. Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff

The discovery of the thermal mineral springs of Cave and Basin National Historic Site in 1883 was a catalyst for establishing Canada's first national park. Today, you can no longer swim in the hot springs, but you can visit the historic site and view displays about the history of Canada's national parks. Admire the cave surrounded by scenic hiking trails and boasting indoor and outdoor natural pools filled with striking azure waters.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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Tours including Cave and Basin National Historic Site:

7. Bow Valley Parkway, Banff

Drive on Bow Valley Parkway, a scenic section of the Trans-Canada Highway that takes travelers from Lake Louise to Banff. Cycle or drive on the narrow, winding path, and you might spot coyotes, elks, wolves, grizzlies, and bighorn sheep. Numerous viewpoints and interpretive spots offer picturesque vistas of the wildlife-rich Bow Valley, rocky cliffs, and evergreen forests. This road provides access to many hiking trails and scenic spots, such as Johnston Canyon and Moraine Lake.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. Bow Falls, Banff

Witness a raging torrent of white water at Bow Falls. Listen to the hypnotic roar as the water tumbles down the dramatic cascade. Though not particularly high, the falls are wide, and the power on display is undeniable. If you can handle some stairs, the trail continues beyond the falls and is worth exploring for a peaceful stroll where you might spot some wildlife. Nicely accessible from a nearby carpark, the falls offer something for everyone to enjoy.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Banff Upper Hot Springs, Banff

Banff Upper Hot Springs are commercially developed hot springs located in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, near the Banff townsite. Discovered in 1883, the hot pool is outdoors and while in the pool, visitors can look across the valley to Mount Rundle. It is located at 1,585 metres (5,200 ft) of elevation, which makes it the highest hot spring in Canada.

The Upper Hot Springs are one of nine naturally occurring hot springs in the Banff area. The hot spring water flows naturally through a big crack in the rock called the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault. The source of the water is located at higher elevations on either Sulphur Mountain or Mount Rundle. The springs are created by water passing through cracks in the mountain from Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain. As the water flows down the mountain it picks up heat and minerals. The flow rates fluctuates seasonally depending on when the snow melts. In the spring the water flows at over 900 litres per minute, which is the highest flow rate of the year. Highest water flows are in the spring and are lowest during the winter. Since the early 2000s, flow to the Upper Hot Springs has stopped for several months of the winter. During these times, municipal water is substituted for the recreational pools. Water temperature is kept at approximately 38 °C (100 °F), which is the hottest of the springs in the Banff area.

The Banff Springs snail is absent from the Upper Hot Springs region.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Johnston Canyon

Hike the scenic Johnston Canyon in the Banff National Park. A relatively easy trek, the route takes you along a well-maintained walkway with railings. Enjoy the picturesque view as you partake in the tranquil hike, and admire two scenic waterfalls along the way. You can continue to the meadow above the canyon to see six vibrant mineral springs known as the Ink Pots. In winter, parts of the trail can be icy or covered in snow, so walk carefully and bring suitable equipment.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Louise

Modern accommodations in a World Heritage-listed national park, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers stunning views of the azure lake and Victoria Glacier. Besides staying at the hotel, you can enjoy fine dining at one of its restaurant, take horseback rides across the grounds, or rent a kayak to explore the lake. During the winter, sleigh rides and ice-skating on the lake remain among the most popular activities.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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Tours including Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise:

12. Canmore Cave Tours, Canmore

Join a guided tour of Canmore Cave Tours. You can push your limits to the extreme while discovering the beauty of the Rockies from the inside. With over 4 km (2.5 mi) of tunnels and many geological and paleontological features including stalactites, stalagmites, and animal remains, the caves offer lots to see. Rappel 18 m (60 ft) inside a giant cave or belly crawl through tight sections of cave. You’ll visit the Grand Gallery, the largest known room within the cave system. With no lights, ladders, or walkways, your senses will be on overdrive. Wear sensible shoes.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
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14. Lake Louise Summer Gondola, Lake Louise

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Icefields Parkway

Take a drive on Icefields Parkway, a scenic Albertan road that connects Lake Louise with the town of Jasper. Built in 1940 and stretching for 230 km (140 mi), the highway runs along the Continental Divide and boasts stunning natural scenery. Among many scenic vistas, you can admire the vast Columbia Icefield and its array of glaciers, as well as the vibrant turquoise waters of lakes Bow and Peyto. Enjoy the views of imposing mountaintops, stop to see two picturesque cascades, and even spot a bear, elk, or moose along the way.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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Tours including Icefields Parkway: