Travel reviews
4.5 / 5 - 234 reviews

What to do

  • Noteworthy
  • Worth the detour
  • Must see

Hiking on Skoki MountainBanff is the name of a legendary national park, and the name of a charming alpine town in the heart of the majestic Rockies at an altitude of 1,380 metres.

Look around you: with its backdrop of mountains, glaciers, forests, rivers and alpine meadows, you will quickly understand why Banff is considered a "must-see" destination to add to any Canadian Rockies road trip.


Banff National Park

Season: Open year-round, 24 hours a day.

Visitor Centres:

The Banff Visitor Centre (224 Banff Avenue, Banff)is open from mid-May to the end of September, 8 am to 8 pm and the rest of the year from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on December 25).

The Banff Visitor Information Kiosk (327 Railway Avenue, Banff) is open from early October to the end of March, 9 am to 5 pm (closed on December 25).

Admission fee: $10.50/day/adult and free for youth 17 and under.
An annual Parks Canada Discovery Pass is $72.25/adult.

The Town of Banff

Town of BanffThe town's main thoroughfare, Banff Avenue, is teeming with boutiques and restaurants. With the impressive Cascade Mountain looming in the background, you will feel like you have stepped into a picture postcard.

Highway 1A (Banff to Lake Louise)

Along the way to Lake Louise you have a good chance of seeing wildlife beside the road, such as black bears, elk and grizzly bears. For the best chance of sightings, try to travel early in the morning or at the end of the day, when the animals come closer to the road to feed.

Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon, BanffDistance (round-trip): 2.2 km
Time (round-trip): 1 hour
Level: Easy
Elevation gain: 30 m

Johnston Canyon, one of the most popular day hikes in Banff National Park, is 30 minutes from the Town of Banff. Its easily accessible location close to Highway 1A, as well as the beauty of Johnston Creek and its waterfalls, makes it a choice destination for visitors and hiking enthusiasts. You will be able to appreciate the power of the water as it rushes and plunges through the canyon. This 2.2-km round-trip hike to the lower falls is considered easy (elevation gain of 30 metres) and takes about 1 hour (round trip).

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Cave and Basin, BanffCave and Basin is the birthplace of Canada's National Park system, created in the early 1900s after three railway workers stumbled upon a cave full of "liquid gold" in 1883.

Pay a visit to this fascinating site with more than 13,000 years of history, where you will have the chance to walk through a magnificent underground cave and admire its natural beauty. Experience nature, culture and history and learn about the origins of the region's hot springs. You can even dip your hands in the steamy mineral waters.

The site offers free discovery tours led by naturalist guides (daily at 1:30 pm). You can also take a guided lantern tour after dark (Saturday nights from June to September).

Open daily from mid-May to mid-October from 9:30 am to 5 pm and 11 am to 5 pm the rest of the year.

Gondola to Sulphur Mountain

Banff GondolaThe Banff Gondola will whisk you up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, an elevation of 2,281 metres, in just 8 minutes, where you will experience jaw-dropping mountain views. Take in the 360o panoramas from the observation deck or take a stroll along the Ridgetop Boardwalk where the views get better with every step. To avoid the crowds in high season, it is best to take the Gondola before 11 am or after 5 pm.

Open daily from 9 am to 8:30 pm from mid-April to mid-May, 8 am to 9:30 pm from mid-May to late June and 8 am to 10:30 pm from late June to early September. Reduced schedule in low season.

Hiking on Sulphur Mountain

Distance (round-trip): 11 km
Time (round-trip): 4 hours
Level: Difficult
Elevation gain: 655 m

Hiking enthusiasts may prefer to take the 5.5-kilometre trail (one way) with an elevation gain of 655 metres (a 4 hour round trip). The trail starts from Upper Hot Springs, 1 Mountain Avenue, Banff.

Upper Hot Springs

Upper Hot Springs, BanffSoak in the steamy hot mineral waters where travelers have come to “take the waters” for more than a century. Upper Hot Springs is a public pool filled with natural hot springs water. Located just outside of Banff on the slopes of Sulphur Mountain, the springs offer spectacular views of the Bow Valley, from an elevation of 1,585 metres. Early in the morning is the best time for a truly relaxing experience!

Open Friday-Tuesday from 10 am to 6 pm. Hours may vary. Visit the website for more information.



For the sake of the environment and to avoid parking problems, take advantage of Banff's public transit options:

1. Roam Public Transit services the Town of Banff and popular Banff Attractions ( The hybrid Roam buses cover several routes including:
Roam Route 1, providing service to Upper Hot Springs and Sulphur Mountain (Banff Gondola) from Banff Avenue
Roam Route 2, providing service between Tunnel (Village I and Village II), downtown Banff and the Banff Springs Hotel
Roam Route 4, providing service between the Banff Train Station and Cave and Basin Historic Site

2. A Parks Canada shuttle service operates daily from mid-May to early October between the Town of Banff and Lake Louise (Samson Mall). Personal vehicle access is prohibited to Moraine Lake in 2023. Shuttle service only. You must reserve :

For more information about these different services, visit the website:

Where to eat

  • $ Inexpensive
  • $$ Moderate
  • $$$ Upscale
  • $$$$ Fine dining

Wild Flour Banff’s Artisan Bakery Café ($-$$)

This bustling bakery is a favourite gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. Open for breakfast and lunch, it offers excellent value for money. Customers come for the artisan bread, freshly-baked pastries and organic, local, healthy, and nourishing food. For breakfast, try the breakfast frittata sandwich or the housemade granola with a great cup of coffee. At lunch, a tantalizing array of fresh soups, salads and sandwiches will make your mouth water.

Open daily from 7 am to 4 pm.

The Bear Street Tavern ($$-$$$)

The Bear Street Tavern may not offer the best service, but it certainly has the best pizza in town. Also serves soups, salads and sandwiches: there's something for everyone!

Open daily from 11:30 am.

The Juniper Bistro ($$$)

The Juniper Hotel restaurant has one of the best views in Banff. Ask for a table near a window or on the patio for the best possible vistas. The menu offers handcrafted cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients and features smoked duck breast, beef, lamb and fish dishes. Vegetarian and gluten-free options at every meal. Ranked one of the Top 100 Best Restaurants in Canada by Open Table.

Open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 am to noon / 5 pm to 9 pm, Tuesday-Wednesday from 8:30 am to noon, Saturday-Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm / 5 pm to 9 pm.

Eden ($$$$)

Located within Rimrock Resort Hotel, Eden is one of only five 5-diamond restaurants in Canada. Enjoy one of Banff's finest dining experiences featuring delicately crafted French cuisine influenced by fresh local ingredients. Expect to spend 3 hours over dinner. Reservations required.

Open daily from June-October, 6 pm to 9:30 pm and October-May, Wednesday-Sunday from 6 pm to 9 pm.

*** Hours may vary ***

Festivals calendar

Banff Yoga Festival

Dates: late May

Three-day wellness festival with more than 90 yoga workshops for every level and the best yoga instructors in the Bow Valley. Happiness guaranteed!

Craft Beer Festival

Dates: early December

Alberta craft beer festival showcasing more than 40 breweries from across the province. Held at the Cave and Basin Historic Site.


When to visit

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Travel reviews

Travel reviews

4.5 / 5 according to 234 reviews
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37 %
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An amazing mountain town

Nick Leong Thursday September 15, 2022

Sulphur mountain (shuttle) and Johnston canyon are worthwhile

Victor Demol Tuesday September 13, 2022

Another wonderful Town

Roy Thomas Tuesday July 26, 2022

Great Town loads to do and see traffic can get busy, so would advise to use the transport system which is great plenty to in town as well as outside of town.

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