Banff National Park Holidays

Established as Canada’s first national park in 1885 after railway workers stumbled onto a thermal hot spring, Banff National Park is today part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and spans 2,564 square miles of mountainous terrain packed with spectacularly scenic valleys, peaks, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers.

In the picturesque town of Banff, wander along lively Banff Avenue to browse boutiques and souvenir shops, visit art galleries and museums, or chill out in the bars and restaurants.

For a loftier perspective of the town and valley, hike the 2.6 mile trail up Tunnel Mountain or hop on the Banff Gondola which is open year round and floats its way up Sulphur Mountain. When in need of some relaxation and rejuvenation head to the geothermally heated Banff Hot Springs.  It’s magical to sit in the pools whatever the time of year or hour of day.

Alternatively, don your hiking boots or hire a bike and discover more than 1,000 miles of maintained trails. Wander or ride along the shores of glittering blue-green lakes, trek up a mountain pass, hike across a frozen lake and be entranced by the landscapes around you.

Notable sights within the area include the large glacial Lake Minnewanka, where scenic cruises go out to Devil’s Gap. Or you can travel under your own steam and hire a canoe or kayak. Dramatic Johnston Canyon is another must-visit natural attraction along with Vermilion Lakes which are a fantastic place to watch sunrise or sunset, see wildlife or spend a day exploring  its shores.

Essential facts about Banff
Local Time

GMT -8 hours

Currency

Canadian dollar

Travel information

Banff is 1½ hours drive from Calgary.

Best time to go

Late June to mid-September is an ideal time for outdoor pursuits, spring and autumn are cooler but less crowded, while winter offers lots of sporting activities too.

Unmissable Experiences in Banff
Evening Wildlife Safari excursion
Evening Wildlife Safari

Join this 2 hour tour, in the company of a knowledgeable guide, through Banff National Park in search of some of its most visible wildlife. Learn about the threats faced by wildlife in the park and hear how the National Park environment helps protect animals and the natural habitat. Frequent sights include bull elk, bighorn sheep and osprey. Binoculars are provided. Available selected dates May-Oct.

From £35

Explore Banff including Gondola & Cruise (inc lunch) excursion
Explore Banff including Gondola & Cruise (inc lunch)

This fully guided six hour tour reveals some of the most incredible sights and sounds that western Canada has to offer, such as Sulphur Mountain, Bow Falls, Tunnel Mountain Drive, Surprise Corner and Two Jack Viewpoint. Included is a trip up the Banff Gondola and a cruise on Lake Minnewanka (seasonal). Available selected dates May-Oct from Banff.

From £135

Discover Grizzly Bears Tour (inc lunch) excursion
Discover Grizzly Bears Tour (inc lunch)

This full day tour visits a grizzly bear refuge to see the antics of ‘Boo’ the bear as he romps through his 20 acre natural habitat. Other stops along the route include the Spiral Tunnels and Takakkaw Falls. At Kicking Horse Mountain, a gondola ride takes you to the top of Purcell Mountains for lunch. Available selected dates Jun-Sep from Banff.

From £149

Icefields Parkway Discovery Tour Banff to Jasper excursion
Icefields Parkway Discovery Tour Banff to Jasper

This one way excursion takes you from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. The tour stops at the Columbia Glacier for a ride on the Ice Explorer and also includes brief stops at Lake Louise and the Glacier Skywalk, a glass-floored platform which extends out over the Sunwapta Valley. Available selected dates May-Oct from Banff.

From £198