There are many ways to see and enjoy the fabulous Canadian Rockies. This is a spectacular place — vibrant and inspiring to its core. Once you’re here, it’s hard to go wrong. But we think you should get your special visit just right.
To make your visit here as memorable as possible and to get the most out of each moment, we've put together what we think is the ultimate way to spend three days in Banff and beyond.
Our carefully curated Canadian Rockies itinerary includes a selection of the region’s most iconic experiences. It's got just the right combination of adventure and comfort in our pristine natural surroundings, all within three distinct alpine attractions.
The key is to plan this at least 48 hours ahead of time so you can secure your spot — a necessity during peak season and hours at most Banff hot-spots. Plus, by booking early with a Pursuit Pass, you can bundle and save on attractions during your epic alpine adventure.
Start your Canadian Rockies adventure in high style at the Mount Royal Hotel, located in the historic heart of downtown Banff.
After checking in and spending some time exploring the shops and restaurants of downtown Banff, it's time to elevate your visit with a trip to the Banff Gondola. This is the classic Rockies experience — Banff's #1 attraction. Just a short distance from your downtown hotel, the iconic Banff Gondola has taken visitors and locals of all ages on memorable rides to the top of Sulphur Mountain since 1959 (with some updates and upgrades made over the years, of course).
Contemporary and modern, not only is the Banff Gondola a safe and secure eight-minute ride to the most incredible mountain views, it has a beautiful interpretive boardwalk trail and plenty of places to rest and revel in the six mountain ranges visible from the summit.
To add to your experience, the Gondola’s Upper Terminal has a fantastic 360-degree observation deck, an interpretive centre and theatre, a café, Banff's best patio — Peak Patio — and two great restaurants, including Banff’s #1 dining spot, Sky Bistro. So, enjoy a delicious meal as the sun sets and toast your first perfect day in the Rockies. This is the perfect place for the ultimate dinner with a view. Cheers to day one!
Once the sun has dropped behind the peaks, head back to the Mount Royal Hotel and call it a night — you've got an early start tomorrow!
This is going to be one of those days you'll never forget.
Get an early start and be on the road along the Icefields Parkway by 8 a.m. if you can — it'll mean better chances of spotting wildlife, less traffic and more solitude en route. When you arrive at the Columbia Icefield, head inside and then let the adventure begin. The Columbia Icefield Adventure and Skywalk is actually two unforgettable experiences in one!
On your inspiring Columbia Icefield Adventure, you (and your friends) will explore one of the largest non-polar icefields in the world, situated along the iconic Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park. Here, you will take a thrilling ride on a massive ice explorer right onto the surface of the marvelous Athabasca Glacier. After your glacier-top experience, you’ll continue down the parkway to walk along the glass-floored Skywalk and take in awe-inspiring views of one of the world’s most stunning natural phenomena.
Following the adventure, head inside the Glacier Discovery Centre for a relaxing meal overlooking the glacier at Chalet. Take a drink out to the patio to soak up the views before heading back to Banff.
Hopefully you'll spot some wildlife on your return trip, and then be back at the Mount Royal Hotel for dinner at Brazen. Don't miss a soak in the rooftop hot tubs to mark the end of another incredible day in the Rockies.
Today is about slowing down. Start by heading out to the picturesque Lake Minnewanka — Banff's largest lake. The Lake Minnewanka Cruise takes you places you can’t reach on foot, as guides share stories you won’t hear anywhere else.
Learn about the sacred lands of Indigenous peoples, about artifacts buried on the shores of Lake Minnewanka up to 13,000 years ago and about the nature and wildlife of the Fairholme Range. All the while, you’ll soak in the stunning scenery beyond the shoreline.
When your boat returns to the dock, grab some lunch at the Black Anchor Snack Shop and head to a lakeside picnic table. Spend as much time as you'd like enjoying the view, hiking to Stewart Canyon or even renting a kayak and going for a paddle. You'll wrap up your Banff visit with a cool head, a happy heart and a camera full of memories to cherish.
A Pursuit Pass is the best way to experience this three-day itinerary in the mountains. Book in advance to save up to 40% on these iconic adventures. See you in the Rockies this summer!