Banff's fresh mountain air, magical scenery and laid-back vibe create the idyllic setting for a tranquil wellness retreat in the Canadian Rockies. We're dreaming about a weekend focused on reflection and relaxation—it's always a good idea, whether you take it solo or make it a special way to connect with friends.
Tip: While pre-booking is essential for accommodation, attractions, and some restaurants, try not to over-plan. It's often the impromptu happenings that are the most memorable.
Here are some itinerary inspirations for your wellness getaway in Banff National Park, including where to stay, what to do and how to pack.
Arrive in beautiful downtown Banff and check-in at the Elk + Avenue Hotel. Set in the heart of Banff Avenue, the charming mountain-chic property offers effortless access to the town of Banff's top strolling, shopping and dining. It also boasts one of Banff's hottest new restaurants, Farm & Fire, located on the lobby level. Going with friends? Book a loft room or junior suite for more space and a cozy living area. After unpacking, take a quiet and slow walk down Banff Avenue for window shopping, people watching and then return back along the Bow River to watch the night settle in and the people soak up the fresh air.
On the first night, keep it splendidly simple and dine on-property. Farm & Fire's delicious dinner menu is stocked with healthy and hearty dishes designed for sharing family-style. Their menu includes light options such as homemade Soup and various salad options. Or, indulge in something substantial like the fungi wood-fired flatbread, or juicy whole rotisserie chicken and shareable sides. Pair your meal with a handcrafted cocktail or glass of wine, but limit the libations! Tonight, go to bed early, snuggle in with a good book (why not take a break from the screens!) and set yourself up for an outstanding day two.
Rise, shine and pop down to the Good Earth Café in the hotel lobby. Grab your favourite morning fix, then head off on a short scenic hike. There are a host of trails awaiting your discovery near downtown Banff. Tunnel Mountain is a steep, yet relatively short option with a big scenic payoff. With each step, your mind clears and your body feels invigorated. Think sweeping views of the town, Bow River and surrounding mountain ranges. Plan for one to two hours, roundtrip, depending on your pace.
If you're up for a drive, Johnston Canyon is a stunning waterfall hike and a stellar spot to get your steps in about an hour from town. Take the boardwalk deep into the canyon until you reach the lower falls or accelerate your heart rate by hiking to the upper falls viewpoint.
Après-hike, enjoy an afternoon of rejuvenation at the Willow Stream Spa. The 40,000 sq. ft. alpine sanctuary in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel offers a collection of customized massage, facial and body experiences. After your treatment, spend time soaking in the mineral pool, waterfall plunge pools and outdoor hot tub. Then, explore the "Castle of the Rockies" grounds, and complete your visit with the hotel's famous Afternoon Tea.
Discover next-level stargazing at the Sulphur Mountain summit, with the Banff Gondola's Sky Experience. Your spirit will soar as you begin the alpine adventure by soaring 698 metres (2,292 feet) on the eight-minute ride to the summit. There's something magically refreshing about the air up here! Bring your camera to capture the mesmerizing views of six mountain ranges and the Bow River Valley.
Before dinner, stroll along the interpretive boardwalk to learn more about Canada's first national park. Back at the discovery centre, embark on a Canadian culinary journey with epic Rocky Mountain views at the award-winning Sky Bistro. Finish the evening stargazing on the rooftop patio.
Make the most of your last morning in the park with Banff Yoga Practice. The local studio offers a variety of classes, including alfresco rooftop sessions between June and September. And it's super warm and cozy inside the studio during wintertime! After your practice, venture to Central Park and onto the Bow Falls Trail. Suitable for biking or walking, the gentle riverside pathway is a tranquil and easily accessible escape from downtown's vibrant shops, restaurants and galleries. It's the perfect way to complete your wellness weekend in Banff National Park.
Mountain casual is the style of choice in Banff. Dressing in layers will allow you to make the most of your days spent outdoors. Prepare for cool, crisp mornings that warm in the afternoon hours. Comfy shoes are a must for exploring Banff's hiking trails and, of course, yoga wear if you plan on a practice. Bring your favourite book, or a journal and your reusable coffee cup and water bottle. Come with an open mind and leave with your heart full and soul soaring.
And here's to feeling calm, refreshed and inspired!