There are so many things to see in Banff and Jasper national parks that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to do first.

Here are some of the top things you should be sure not to miss.

The Banff Gondola above the side of Sulphur Mountain.

1. THE BANFF GONDOLA

For some of the most spectacular views in Banff, you won’t do better than a ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain on the thrilling Banff Gondola.

Explore the Banff Gondola

Two hikers on a rocky trail among small alpine trails.

2. HIKING, MOUNTAIN BIKING AND OTHER SUMMER SPORTS

With an alpine adventure playground all around, there’s always plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast, from hiking and mountain biking, to climbing or water sports.

A glacier high above and between two mountain peaks.

3. GUIDED TOURS

When you’re in the mood for a guided tour, you’ll find you’re spoiled for choice in Banff or Jasper. You might choose to take the Columbia Icefield Adventure on the Athabasca Glacier, a relaxing Lake Minnewanka Cruise in Banff, Maligne Lake Cruise in Jasper or perhaps an Icewalk in the winter.

Explore Brewster Sightseeing Tours

A fisher casts a rod from a small boat into a still lake.

4. LAKESIDE ACTIVITIES

Around one of Banff’s and Jasper's many beautiful alpine lakes, there are plenty of activities, including fishing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming—even scuba diving. And in the winter, the frozen Pyramid Lake makes for one of the most picturesque spots to snowshoe, cross-country ski, ice skate or enjoy a horse drawn sleigh ride.

A large elk raises its head to let out a bugle.

5. WILDLIFE SPOTTING

Banff and Jasper have an abundance of wildlife, from bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bears, elk, caribou and even wolverine.

The cave of the Cave and Basin National Historic Site

6. MUSEUMS AND HISTORY

Banff and Jasper have a rich and varied history, which is showcased in several museums, including The Cave and Basin National Historic Site in Banff and the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum & Archives in Jasper.

The Banff Upper Hot Springs pool above a mountain valley

7. HOT SPRINGS

The warm, soothing waters of the natural springs of Sulphur Mountain at the Banff Upper Hot Springs and Miette Hot Springs in Jasper make for a great way to relax after a tiring day’s adventure. Stay close to the Miette Hot Springs at Pocahontas Cabins.

A group of skiiers go down a steep mountain.

8. SKIING & SNOWBOARDING

Definitely one of the main reasons people visit Banff and Jasper! With four world class ski hills—Sunshine, Lake Louise, Mount Norquay and Marmot Basin—the Canadian Rockies has almost 10,000 acres of skiable terrain, and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Throw in that beautiful Alberta sunshine and it’s no wonder Banff and Jasper attracts powder enthusiasts from across the world.

People stand on the Columbia Icefield Skywalk above a deep valley.

9. SKYWALK

As part of the Columbia Icefield Experience, you'll step out on to a glass-floored walkway that reaches far out—and high above—the valley below. It's a journey of discovery rich with interpretive learnings and unforgettable views.

Explore the Columbia Icefield Skywalk

A view of a small tree-covered island near the shore of a large lake..

10. MALIGNE LAKE

Maybe this should be our #1 thing to do in the Rockies. There's no denying a visit to Jasper's stunning alpine lake, and a boat ride out to the iconic Spirit Island, will be a highlight of your trip. Make a day out of it with a short hike and a fabulous meal at one of the great dining options, including The View.

Explore Maligne Lake

A woman cross-country skis near a forest an below a mountain.

11. CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

As an international winter destination, of course, Banff and Jasper are also equally popular among cross-country skiers who enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful trails.

A sleigh ride below snow-covered mountains.

12. OTHER WINTER SPORTS

If you’re not up for a day of skiing, you might prefer the sound of dogsledding, ice-skating, or why not wrap up in a warm blanket and take a sleigh ride?

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