If you're visiting Calgary, it's definitely worth your while to spend a few days in Banff and the surrounding area. The scenic drive is about an hour and a half from the city along the Trans-Canada Highway. If you're planning on skiing or other activities in addition to sightseeing, you could easily spend more than a weekend in the area. If you only have a weekend to spare, don't fret-- this guide will help you pack the most into your few days in Banff.
It’s hard to avoid the wildlife in Banff…it isn’t unheard of to see elk wandering the sidewalks. Banff is home to a variety of animals including deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and even bears. In the off season, check out the Fairmont Banff Springs golf course around dusk to spot groups of elk enjoying the fairways.
Gondola up Sulphur Mountain
Stunning views of Banff are only an 8 minute gondola ride up the mountain. At the top you’ll find boardwalks to stroll, trails to hike, and even a chalet to grab snacks and drinks. Gondola tickets are around $30 each and you can easily spend a couple of hours exploring once you get to the top.
Just a 40 minute drive from Banff, Lake Louise is a must-see if you’re in the area. The beautiful blue water is surrounded by mountains all around. There is also a gondola ride where some have reported grizzly bear sightings. Take a walk along the trail to the other side of the lake for a nice view of the Chateau Lake Louise.
Grab a Bite at the Eddie Burger + Bar
Having some Alberta Angus is a must while you’re in Banff, and the Eddie is a great place to do it. There are a ton of burger options (including a veggie burger) as well as an extensive milkshake bar. The Eddie is located right on the main street of the town so it's easy to find and easy to stumble back to your hotel from. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a bison patty!
This was actually one of my favourite spots on our trip. The water is truly mesmerizing-- for the full effect, climb up on the rocks to see the lake from above. There are plenty of hiking trails from the lake and it's often less busy than Lake Louise. Depending on the time of year, check to make sure the road to Moraine Lake is open.
The views in Banff are unlike any other. If you like the outdoors, you certainly won't be disappointed with the variety of nature, wildlife, and scenery.
Do you have any Banff area tips? Let me know in the comments!