The Ultimate Guide to Banff
Everything you need is right here, from hiking recommendations, to restaurants, to hotels and much, much more.
The Local’s Guide to Banff
If you want a local’s guide to Banff, then you’ve come to the right place! Louise was born and raised in Banff and I moved here way back in 2012. Between the two of us, we’ve got almost 40 years of experience in the Canadian Rockies!
We’ve spent years exploring as many restaurants, attractions, hotels, hikes, hot springs as we can, and slowly but surely we’re compiling our database for new visitors. Explore this page for honest reviews, detailed guides, hidden gems and all things related to Banff, Jasper, Calgary, and the Canadian Rockies.
Step 1 – Pick your season
What you’re able to get up to on your visit to Banff is going to completely depend on when you visit. Are you a skier? Are you hoping to see some of our bright blue lakes? Maybe you want to see our fall colours. We recommend checking out our comprehensive ‘month by month’ guide to the best time to visit Banff before you go any further!
Step 2 – Pick Somewhere to Stay
Knowing where to stay when you visit Banff is almost overwhelming. There are so many towns and hotels to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin.
We’ve written a complete Guide to Hotels in Banff & Lake Louise to make things easier for you. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a few budget options, check out our guide to Cheap Accommodation in Banff
Step 3 - Start Planning your Activities
Whether you visit in Summer or Winter, there are dozens of incredible things to do in Banff. Why not start with our list of 100 things to do in Banff to help you narrow down a few options, and then head back here for some more specific posts on various topics below!
SUMMER IN BANFF
With a lifetime of things to do in Banff in summer, you’ll have to be efficient with your time. To get you started, here’s our perfect 4 day summer itinerary for first time visitors to Banff.
Hiking Guides for Banff (or nearby)
Planning a trip to Banff can be almost overwhelming, especially if you only have limited time at your disposal! To help you save some time, we’ve put together a few broad hiking and scrambling suggestions that we’ve loved over the years.
- Top 5 Favourite / Best Hikes near Banff
- 14 Breathtaking Hikes in Kananaskis you Can’t Afford to Miss!
- 6 Incredible Hikes from Moraine Lake
- 10 Stunning hikes you can do from the shores of Lake Louise
- 33 Easy walks and Hikes in Banff National Park
- The Ultimate Guide to Hiking and Camping at Lake O’Hara (2020 Reservation Update!)
- The Best Place to see Fall Colours in Banff
Specific Hikes (and scrambles) in Banff and Kananaskis that we love
If you don’t want to read our guides, here are a few of our absolute favourite hikes in the Canadian Rockies
Summer Activities in Banff
Summer is when Banff comes alive, and there are dozens of amazing adventures to be had. Yes, hiking is a huge attraction for Banff, but there are other things too! Here are a few things to get you started!
- The guide to renting a canoe in Banff and Jasper
- The Columbia Icefield Skywalk (and is it worth it)
- The Sulphur Mountain Gondola (and is it worth it)
- The epic Mt. Norquay Via Ferrata in Banff
- Planning your visit to Moraine Lake
- A Guide to Driving the Icefields Parkway
Places to explore beyond Banff
Banff National Park is just a fraction of the things to explore in the Canadian Rockies. Make sure you explore some of our other incredible gems:
- 7 Things to do in Yoho National Park
- Kootenay National Park (what to do when Banff is full)
- Road trip to Nordegg
- Waterton and Bear’s Hump
WINTER IN BANFF
Winter in Banff is all about getting outside and playing in the snow. Whether you’re a skier or looking for something a little less high octane, there are dozens of incredible things to do here.
Skiing in the Canadian Rockies
It almost goes without saying that skiing in Canada is unbelievably good. It’s the reason I first came out here and we’re still absolutely obsessed with the Champagne powder out here.
The first post to check out is our Ultimate Guide to Skiing in Western Canada.
Still need more? Check out some of these posts:
Other Great Winter Activities
Wintersports are great, but there are plenty of other fantastic things to do in Banff during the winter that don’t involve exercise. Here are a few things we recommend:
Natural Hot Springs in the Canadian Rockies You Need to Visit
Step 4 - Plan your meals
With so much good food and drink in the Canadian Rockies, you’ll have to work smart if you’re going to track it all down.
To begin with, here’s our complete guide to restaurants in Banff. Over 40 restaurant recommendations with something for even the pickiest foodies!