In the winter, the Canadian Rockies are covered in snow and Banff becomes a picture-perfect ski/snowboarding escape. When the warmer months roll around, green forests dot the scenery, accenting it against gorgeous skies and the electric-blue Lake Louise. There are a million reasons to fall in love with Banff, but for the sake of brevity, we’ve collected seven of our favorites.
As one of the most famous lakes in the area, we’re blown away by how stunning Lake Louise is. The body of water seems to change color as the sky does. Trust us on this one, it’s a place you want to see in person. We recommend exploring the lake and then sharing a meal with friends at Chateau Lake Louise.
A unique balance between ski-town resort and national park, Banff offers a wide range of activities for the outdoor enthusiast. But we recommend taking a moment to wander around the little downtown area as well. Banff Town developed as a service center for the national park surrounding it, and today, most of the architecture is very modern, but it is possible to find some historic buildings in the area. We recommend visiting Banff Avenue and going to Banff Park Museum.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
What better way to relax than by a pool full of warm water with incredible mountain views? Bonus: You can rent vintage-inspired bathing suits, which we’re pretty sure would make for some awesome photo-ops.
You can reach the Athabasca Glacier via a “Snocoach,” a specially designed ice tour bus, but we think the best way to experience the glacier is to walk on it. For that, you’ll definitely need a guide — check out Athabasca Glacier Icewalks. You can take a three or six-hour tour, depending on the amount of time you have and the level of adventure you’re up for.
Perfect for both the summer and winter months, the Banff Gondola takes visitors up to a mountain summit in four-person enclosed cars. The ride takes about 10 minutes and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding areas, as well as several choices for restaurants once you’re at the top. To get back down, you can either take the gondola for half price or opt to hike down 3.5 miles.
Ski Banff at Norquay
There are three ski resorts in Banff, but we’re into the area’s oldest resort, Norquay. It has 77 hectares of skiable area and 28 trails, which are, of course, all surrounding by gorgeous scenery. One of the really great things about Banff is that all three ski resorts work together, so you can buy a pass that’s good at all of them.
Cave and Basin National Historic Site
Just far enough away from the everyday hustle and bustle of Banff tourists is a little gem and historic landmark. The Cave and Basin site is the lowest component of nine sulfurous hot springs clustered in three groups. The cave itself commemorates the birthplace of Canada’s entire National Park system, which began in 1885. Admission is just $4 and makes for a great way to spend a couple of hours exploring.