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Best Things To Do in Banff

Seasons dictate the popular activities of Banff. In the winter, skiing is king. In the summer, hiking, biking, scrambling (a mix of hiking and rock climbing) and fishing rule. If you make the trek to Banff, you probably have an outdoor sport in mind. Take advantage of the rugged terrain in whatever manner you see fit. On your day off, leave your posh resort to explore the stores and restaurants in downtown Banff, which encompasses just 1 ½ square miles and sits at an elevation of 4,537 feet, making it the highest town in Canada.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated April 13, 2018

  • #1
    Sunshine Village
    View all Photos
    #1 in Banff
    Hiking, Recreation, Skiing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Skiing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located miles 11 miles west of Banff Town, Sunshine Village offers 12 lifts, more than 3,300 skiable acres and a peak elevation of 7,200 feet. And thanks to its location straddling the Continental Divide, Sunshine sees more snow than its neighbors, meaning the ski season here is long – typically from early

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  • #2
    Banff Gondola
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    #2 in Banff
    Hiking, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Banff Gondola is a relaxing way to experience the town's natural beauty. The eight-minute ride to the summit of 7,500-foot Sulphur Mountain leads to breathtaking views of the Bow River Valley and Banff, not to mention a boardwalk, a handful of eateries, a gift shop, interactive interpretive exhibits, a

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  • #3
    Moraine Lake
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    #3 in Banff
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located about an hour's drive north of town, Moraine Lake is the visual highlight of any Banff trip and labeled a must-see bucket list item by many recent visitors. Nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake mirrors the snowcapped peaks and is surrounded by backcountry hiking trails. The

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  • #4
    Lake Louise Ski Resort
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    #4 in Banff
    Hiking, Recreation, Skiing
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Skiing
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Lake Louise Ski Area is one of Banff's most popular ski locales and one of the largest ski areas in North America. It encompasses three mountains, 145 runs – including a 3,250-foot vertical rise – 10 lifts and a terrain park, not to mention several lodges touting top-notch eateries. Plus, Lake Louise boasts one

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  • #5
    Mount Norquay
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    #5 in Banff
    Skiing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Skiing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Although it is the smallest of Banff's three ski areas, Mount Norquay is also the closest – it's about 5 miles northwest of Banff Town. Beyond its convenient location, the resort is also considered the area's best skiing locale for families because it offers daycare for children and ski and snowboard instruction

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  • #6
    Whitewater Rafting & Float Trips
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    #6 in Banff
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    When you're not admiring Banff's stunning scenery from a hiking trail or in the comfort of your car, get out on one of its rivers. Whether you're craving the excitement of a whitewater rafting adventure or just want to peacefully glide through the water, you'll find Banff tour operators satisfy a variety

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  • #7
    Hiking
    View all Photos
    Hiking
    free
    #7 in Banff
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Though Banff is perhaps best known for its stellar slopes (it's considered one of the world's best ski destinations), its hiking trails are just as impressive – and free to access. No matter which trail you choose to tackle (there are a variety of options for all skill levels), you'll likely

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  • #8
    Columbia Icefield
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    #8 in Banff
    Natural Wonders, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Covering 130 square miles on the southern edge of Banff National Park, the Columbia Icefield is the largest body of ice in the Canadian Rockies. It's a bit of a drive from Banff Town (about 2 ½ hours), but you'll quickly find the views are well worth the trip. Seasonal tour

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  • #9
    Banff Upper Hot Springs
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    #9 in Banff
    Spas, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Spas, Swimming/Pools
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    These springs, which were first discovered by Canada's First Nations people prior to the 1880s, were regarded as sacred waters that could cure illness and maintain health. Now, the springs are a popular tourist attraction thanks to their serene atmosphere and stunning alpine views. The facility, which is akin to

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  • #10
    Cave and Basin National Historic Site
    View all Photos
    #10 in Banff
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This is a popular attraction among nature lovers and history buffs alike. Experts refer to this site as the birthplace of Banff National Park and the natural hot springs have lured travelers in search of solace for years. Although the original springs are no longer open to the public (the Banff

    ...Read More »
  • #11
    Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
    View all Photos
    #11 in Banff
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located just a block back from Banff Avenue on Bear Street, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is the only museum of its kind. Named after its patrons, Peter and Catharine Whyte – who were determined to enhance Banff's cultural life – the museum is dedicated to portraying the art and culture of

    ...Read More »
  • #12
    Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
    View all Photos
    #12 in Banff
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Having opened in 1952, the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum has dedicated more than 50 years to educating visitors about the contributions made by native people in the area. Brace yourself if you're a history buff or culture hound; there are numerous displays exhibiting domestic routines, hunting tactics and daily life

    ...Read More »
  • Banff Park Museum
    View all Photos
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Lake Minnewanka
    View all Photos
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Banff Legacy Trail
    View all Photos
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

Explore More of Banff

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