How long should you spend in Banff? What's the right amount of time to plan for? Well, we think the longer the better, but we can also make a case for a quick stop. Here's how to make the most of whatever time you've got.
A Day in Banff
Well if it's all you've got, better do it right! Make sure you add in some time for a good walk (either up Tunnel Mountain or along the Bow River through the Fenlands Trail), plus time to learn about the history of this amazing place at one of the museums. Grab lunch and stop into a gallery then head up high. No trip to Banff is complete without the views from the top of the Banff Gondola—it's the perfect place to end a jam-packed day in the Rockies. And you can have an unforgettable dinner on top of the world at Sky Bistro while you're there!
Photo: Head up to the top of the Banff Gondola to catch the sunset if you've only got one day in Banff.
Banff in a Weekend
A quick getaway to Banff just makes sense, no matter the time of year. If it's summer, spend your first evening catching live music at the Banff Centre. Then, head out for a full day hike and top it off with an evening sunset and dinner at Banff Gondola. On your last day, try horseback riding, rafting or mountain biking before heading home. Now that's a weekend to remember!
Photo: A weekend in Banff isn't complete with a great hike.
Banff in a Week
A week in Banff means you'll see a lot. Get your bearings by starting in the town of Banff. Check out the Parks Visitors Centre, then stroll the Bow River and head up the Banff Gondola with time to walk to the weather station then have dinner as the sun sets. Be sure to spend one day at Lake Louise, and a full day exploring the Columbia Icefield, visiting the Columbia Icefield Adventure and Skywalk and working in a night at the Glacier View Lodge. Take a relaxing day to cruise the waters of Lake Minnewanka. And hikers need at least a full day for the hike of a lifetime. Check, check and check!
Photo: Make sure you include a trip to Columbia Icefield into your week-long itinerary.
Banff in Two Weeks
After you've done what we suggest in one week, you've got time to explore the parks next to Banff. Spend a day at Yoho's amazing waterfalls and lakes, and then head north. Spend the night at the amazing Glacier View Lodge at the Columbia Icefield, and then continue on to Jasper. Give the entire Maligne Valley area a full day, and slot a final day in for an unforgettable full-day hike at Bald Hills or Edith Cavell. You should probably be able to fit in some window shopping, wildlife viewing and outstanding dining as well!
Photo: Coming for 2 weeks gives you time to visit Maligne Lake in Jasper as well.
No matter the length of your visit to Banff, you'll be enriching your life, making memories and discovering some of the world's most beautiful landscapes. See you soon!