Banff National Park was first conceptualized after hot springs were “discovered” by a pair of railway workers. Since its inception Banff National Park has remained one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic protected areas on the planet. Wildlife is often seen in and around the town.
We tour to the must-see sites and viewpoints, man-made and natural, in and around the Town of Banff. This driving loop tour can be enjoyed in about 3 hours, but allow more time to stop and enjoy the dozen or so attractions and excellent viewpoints along the way.
Expect to spend a couple of hours each if visiting Banff Gondola and the Lake Minnewanka Cruise.
Banff Ave, Downtown Banff.
Allow 1/2 day to a full day for this suggested itinerary.
60km (37 miles) loop drive.
The most popular times to visit Banff are in summer from June to August, and in winter from December to March. The shoulder seasons spring and fall offer fewer crowds and more reasonable accommodation rates.
There’s a lot that can be seen in the Banff Townsite within one day, as everything is fairly close. You can see some of the top highlights in half a day, including Lake Minnewanka, Bow Falls, Vermilion Lakes and Surprise Corner for views of the ‘Castle in the Rockies’. And allow more time if you’re visiting attractions such as the Banff Sightseeing Gondola.
To properly explore Banff National Park and see places like Lake Louise, you’ll want to spend at least two days and ideally up to a week.
The Town of Banff covers 1.52 square miles and sits at an elevation of 4,537 feet, making it the highest town in Canada. The lively streets of downtown Banff are lined with restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as art galleries and museums, with lots of attractions just a short walk or drive away.
Banff has something for everyone! There’s hikes, lakes, waterfalls, restaurants, shopping, art galleries, museums and plenty of scenic viewpoints. Some of the top attractions include the Banff Sightseeing Gondola, Banff Hot Springs and the Banff Lake Cruise. Plus, you’ll want to allow some time to simply wander along Banff Avenue and people watch.
The town is contained inside Banff National Park – so yes, if you are visiting the Town of Banff, then you are inside the Park and you are required to purchase a Park Pass.