There are many things to do in Banff. It is one of the most picturesque places in the world! Here are a few of my favorites in this Canadian park.
The Canadian Rockies hold some of the most beautiful views in the world. Spanning across British Colombia and Alberta, these mountain ranges are characterized by countless ice-capped peaks, turquoise glacier lakes, and occasional sightings of wildlife. With mountainous surroundings, numerous hot springs, and a vast selection of outdoor activities, Banff National Park quickly became one of my favorite destinations in North America.
Without a question, it isn’t difficult to find picture-perfect spots in the Rockies. Even the public bathrooms are surrounded by the backdrop of breathtaking landscapes. Nonetheless, with any natural wonder, there will be a few must-visits that top the chart.
Here are a few extra things to make your trip around Banff easier!
Find affordable flights on Kiwi, a booking site that mixes and matches flights from different airlines to find the best/most economic route (Kiwi offers a money-back guarantee if you miss a connection).l
Not renting a car? Jump on a Hop On Hop Off bus for the best of Banff!
Find economic hotel options on Hotels.com
1. Cascade Gardens
Cascade Gardens is a free destination located just a few minutes away from downtown Banff. The garden is completed with streams, picnic areas, and scenic views. There are lots of Instagram-worthy spots at Cascade Gardens. In fact, many wedding photographers head to the Cascade Gardens to get breathtaking shots.
-Find out what else to do in Banff from To Someplace New.
2. Johnston Creek
A beautiful natural setting within Banff National Park, Johnston Creek derives from Castle Mountain and empties into the Bow River. The creek flows through Johnston Canyon, a large gorge formed by thousands of years of erosion.
A beautiful walkway is constructed mid the Canyon. While the first half of the path is built with safety rails and wooden boards, the second half of the trail is more natural-stic. During the winter months, the partially frozen grounds make the trek towards the creek an adventurous undertaking.
3. Lake Agnes
Lake Agnes Trail is one of the best trails located in Banff National Park, Canada. The trail begins next to Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and is 3.4 km one way, 385 m elevation gain, 2.5 to 3 hours round trip. The hike is considered moderate with an upward climb up to Lake Agnes. Along the way, you run into a lake called Mirror Lake which gives you great direct and reflective views of the Big Beehive Mountain.
– Visit the Wandering Queen for more hiking-inspirations in Banff.
4. Lake Louise
Lake Lousie is a small hamlet in Alberta, Canada. With a population of less than a few hundred, its serenity quickly began attracting many tourists. As with most Banff locations during the summer, Lake Louise can be quite crowded with sight-seers. Instead of rushing with the crowds under the summer heat, winter is also a great time to visit this beautiful spot. When the Canadian winter strikes, it will freeze the lake and create a vast skating area that many can take advantage of. Cross-country skiing and sliding around the icy range are also fun activities to take on around this time.
You can take a canoe across the river or have dinner by the spectacular blue waters. Best of all, there won’t be too many tourists in sight!
5. Lake Minnewanka
Unlike the simple lake and mountain view that many locations offer, Lake Minnewanka is also home to a small wooden lodge that sits quietly on the waters. The chocolate-brown of the structure coordinates with the colors of the high-rising mountain in the background.
It is breathtaking.
For Mayuri, who got married in Banff, Lake Minnewanka was the perfect wedding photo spot. During summers, the location is perfect for picnics, camping, short hikes or just capturing the blue waters of the Minnewanka Lake.
In the winter, the lake is frozen, perfect for winter activities like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. You can also spot Northern Lights here, making it an ideal Instagram spot to capture those stunning Banff natural wonders.
6. Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is the perfect representation of Canada’s Rocky Mountains. The glacial blue lake lies in the valley of the Ten Peaks. The combination of the rugged mountain peaks towering above the crazy blue waters is a sight like no other.
Moraine Lake is located just 14 kilometers south of Lake Louise. The road is closed in winter due to heavy snowfall. July, August, and September are extremely busy so prepare to arrive before sunrise to find parking, otherwise, it’s a long and busy shuttle bus. The early morning start is absolutely worth it, as the rising sun lights up the mountain peaks and you will miss most of the crowds. This dramatic setting makes for the most Instagram-worthy photo!
For Maggie, Moraine Lake in the Rockies is undoubtedly one of the most photographed spots in all of Canada.
The turquoise lake tucked into the Valley of Ten Peaks is awe-inspiringly gorgeous. Climb the top of the Rockpile for the classic Moraine Lake picture, or wander around the lakeshore, and away from the crowds, for a different angle. There are also several other trails in the area, such as the popular Larch Valley trail and Consolation Lakes. You can also take a canoe out into the lake itself!
7. Peyto Lake
There are very few places as beautiful as Banff. During one of my four visits, I got the chance to drive the Icefields Parkway and make a stop at Peyto Lake. I wasn’t prepared for the beauty that awaited me!
Peyto Lake is located on the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) about 25 miles north of Lake Louise off the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1). There is a parking lot at the trailhead. Follow the trail which is just under 2 miles (easy to moderate hike) to the viewpoint for these amazing views. TIP: Make sure you have a full tank of gas, water, and snacks as there is nothing on the Icefields Parkway. In addition, there is usually no cell service in the area.
8. Two Jack Lake
9. Upper Kananaskis Lake
Upper Kananaskis Lake is an hour and a half away from Banff. A 15.3-kilometer trail loops around the lake and is surrounded by miles of mountain ranges. Although winter may be a colder season for a visit to this natural wonderland, the view is just as enticing as it would be during the summer months.
When Canada hits the negatives in its temperature department, the Upper Kananaskis Lake will be partially frozen. During the day, the winter sun will reflect off of the ice and waters, creating a beautiful view against the backdrop of the ice-tipped mountains.
10. Vermillion Lakes
Canada is a beautiful country. Whether it is the coast of Vancouver, the modernity of Toronto, the history of Quebec or the scenery of Victoria, there is lots to do and more to see in the Great White North. Without a doubt, Banff National Park is one of the most Instagram-worthy destinations in Canada. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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