One of the major reasons for visiting Banff National Park is to enjoy the outstanding scenery and the abundant wildlife of the Canadian Rockies. There are so many ways to appreciate the mountain wilderness, that it can be difficult to decide what to do while you are here. The following tours and attractions are perhaps some of the best on offer in Banff.
Some of the best views in Banff National Park can be seen from the summit of Sulphur Mountain, and an easy way to get there is to take the 8 minute ride on the Banff Gondola. Once at the top, there are stunning mountain views in every direction, and the boardwalk allows you to continue your climb to a historic weather station. There are also restaurant facilities and a shop.
The gondola is open year round and is located 2.5km from the town of Banff, close to the Rimrock Hotel and the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Reservations are not required.
Tel: 403 762 2523
Canadian Rockies Sightseeing
Although the town of Banff is surrounded by spectacular scenery, you will want to venture out on a tour in order to fully appreciate the beauty of Banff National Park. Famous sights such as Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, the Icefields Parkway, the Columbia Icefield and Lake Minnewanka are all within a day’s drive of Banff, and Brewster Sightseeing Excursions offer regular guided tours to these places and more. Brewster have luxury motor coaches with large windows, perfect for sightseeing, and have a long history in the Banff dating back to 1892. Brewster’s sightseeing tours can take you to all the most popular destinations in the Canadian Rockies.
Tel: 1 800 760 6934
Guided Hiking and Snowshoeing
Specializing in interpretive hiking and snowshoeing excursions in Banff and Yoho National Parks, Great Divide Nature Interpretation offer half day and full day hiking trips on a daily basis from the start of June to the end of September, and during the winter, half day snowshoeing tours can be enjoyed from late December to late March. Their interpretive guides have worked in the Canadian Rockies for many years and have won several awards for their services.
Tel: 1 866 522 2735
Dog Sledding Adventures
Mad Dogs & Englishmen Expeditions offer guided dog sled & ski-joring tours in Kananaskis Country, close to the town of Canmore Alberta. Tours are in small intimate groups, and provide a hands-on experience of handling the dogs and driving the sled. Two hour, half day, and full day tours are offered as well as multi-day tours on request. Summer Kennel Tours are also available which is a great opportunity to meet and play with 50 Alaskan huskies and puppies!
Tel: 403 609 3670
Operating on the Kicking Horse river for the last 27 years, Alpine Rafting offers guided rafting trips for all levels, from the ‘gentle’ Family Whitewater tour to the Ultimate Whitewater tour with continuous Class 3 to 4 + rapids. Based in Golden BC, tours with Alpine Rafting make an easy day trip from Banff.
Tel: 1 888 599 5299
Toby Creek Adventures
Based 2 hrs from Banff at Panorama Mountain Village, Toby Creek Adventures offer a range of exciting activities during both the summer and winter months. Their half day and full day Paradise Basin snowmobile tours are suitable for all experience levels, while the Powder X tours offer high performance sleds for intermediate to advanced riders. Half day dog sledding tours are available, as are dog sledding/snowmobiling combo tours. During the summer ATV tours are offered ranging from 2-5 hours.
Tel: 888 357 4449
Guided Climbing and Skiing
Cirrus Alpine Guides offer custom guiding services throughout the Canadian Rockies and the BC Interior mountains. They specialize in alpine, rock and ice climbing, scrambling, glacier walks, as well as backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, and avalanche safety courses.
Tel: 403 678 8567
White Water Rafting
The Kicking Horse river is well known as being one of BC’s best rivers for white water rafting. Based in Golden BC, Wet ‘n’ Wild Adventures operate daily rafting trips on the Kicking Horse from May until September. An easy day trip from Banff, their full day or half day excursions take you through class 1-4 rapids and no prior experience is required.
The same company offers snowmobiling tours during the winter.
Tel: 1 800 668 9119
Taking a trail ride on horseback is one of the best ways to get into the backcountry of Banff National Park, while experiencing the mode of transport most often used by the early pioneers in the Canadian Rockies. Holiday on Horseback offer 1, 2, and 3 hour trail rides, as well as all day excursions, to a variety of destinations from Banff. Overnight trips are also available as well as horse drawn sleigh rides in the winter.
Tel: 1 800 661 8352
Sighteeing by Helicopter
To get a unique bird’s eye perspective of the Canadian Rockies, you simply can’t beat a helicopter sightseeing tour. Viewing the mountains and lakes from above and linking up all the rivers and valleys is a wonderful experience, which helps you appreciate the sheer vastness of the Rocky Mountains. Alpine Helicopters offer tours lasting 12, 25 or 30 minutes taking off from Canmore, just a 20 minute drive from Banff.
Tel: 403 678 4802