5 Must-Try Outdoor Activities at Banff National Park

Banff National Park camping

Banff National Park Camping

Banff National Park is part of Canada’s most valuable national treasures and on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. The Banff National Park is a dream destination for many because of its spectacular mountains and breathtaking lakes. It’s so postcard-perfect, especially during the winter season.

It’s just so beautiful that even the most-jaded travelers with sky-high expectations will be impressed.

Castle Mountain in Banff National Park
Castle Mountain in Banff National Park. Photo by Jakub Fryš / CC BY-SA 4.0

The park, which encompasses a portion of the Rocky Mountains, is home to beautiful forests and glaciers. There are turquoise lakes that mirror the snow-covered peaks. When you roll into town, you’ll see how close the mountains are. So close that it feels like you can almost touch them —and that’s just the first impression.

A Piece of Heaven in Canada

Its a place With easy access to endless outdoor adventures, jaw-dropping sights and pristine wilderness. It boasts a vibrant culture and history. There is a lifetime’s worth of things to do in Banff. Hence, it can be a challenge sometimes to decide where to go first and what to do.

Don’t worry. We got you!

We listed down five must-try activities that you shouldn’t miss while visiting this paradise. Check them out.

Ski at Banff Sunshine Village

Banff National Park camping

This dreamy village is located 11 miles west of Banff. It has a peak elevation of 7,200 feet and offers more than 3,300 ski acres.

The Sunshine Village sees more snow than its neighbors, which means the ski season here is long. It starts from early November to late May. All thanks to its location that straddles the Continental Divide.

Its powdery terrains are proven irresistible to many skiers of all levels. After skiing all day at the slopes, you can go to Sunshine Mountain Lodge for some food and drinks.

If you’re not after the ski season, the other best time to visit Sunshine is from mid-June to early autumn, as this is when the hiking activities open. Visitors can have the chance to marvel at the beautiful alpine views of the surrounding peaks, such as Mount Assiniboine.

Oh, by the way, it’s free to hike, so is the shuttle from town that usually operates from 7 A.M up to 5 P.M. If you plan to visit Sunshine village soon, make sure to catch the trip for a free ride!
National Park camping

Take a Banff Gondola Ride

If you fancy a cableway ride to experience the bird’s eye view of hiking trails and viewing decks of six Canadian Rockies mountain ranges in all of their glory, take a Banff Gondola ride.

The ride itself is quite fun and entertaining, and once you get to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, you will be greeted with another spectacular view.

You can hike your way to Sulphur Mountain too. It’s just an easy trail that everyone can traverse as it’s only a boardwalk until you get to the very top. There’s also a museum at the Gondola building that you can visit to learn more about the area’s history and its mountain.

Of course, there’s a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and other mementos.

If you’re hungry, there’s a cafeteria-style restaurant that offers reasonably priced options plus wine and beer. There are also a couple of eating choices with a nice sit-down restaurant. The floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the restaurant area makes it a great place to soak in the panoramic views of Banff while grabbing some refreshments.

Play at Lake Louise Ski Resort

Banff National Park camping

This famous ski resort is one of the top ski locales in Banff and one of North America’s biggest ski areas!

Lake Louise encloses three mountains, some lodges that house top-notch eateries, a terrain park, and 145 runs, including a 3,250-foot vertical rise. Plus, it hosts one of the longest ski seasons in Northern America.

The first chair starts as early as November and ends in mid-May. Apart from being a skier’s paradise, Lake Louise also offers other fun activities, such as tubing and snowshoeing. The resort provides a wildlife interpretive center, guided hikes, and a sightseeing gondola during sunny days.

With its knowledgeable and accommodating staff, a variety of manicured trailers, of après-ski venues —such as the eateries in the Temple Lodge, it’s no wonder why many visitors well applaud this resort.
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Banff Hiking

Banff National Park camping

Banff may be best known as one of the world’s best ski destinations due to its stellar slopes. But its hiking trails are just as impressive, and best of all, free to access.

You’ll likely stumble upon fields of wildflowers, indigo-tinted waters, and stunning alpine vistas, no matter which trail you choose to tackle.

Aside from Sunshine Meadows in the Sunshine Village, the Parker Ridge Trail is also a must-visit spot for hiking. There, you’ll find the national park’s Icefields Parkway Area. Though the climb up to its trail can be steep, you can also gush about the Saskatchewan Glacier, which can be seen at the peak.

Camp at Moraine Lake

Banff National Park camping
Banff National Park camping

A visit to Banff wouldn’t be complete if you will miss Moraine Lake. This picturesque spot is tagged as a must-visit bucket list item by many visitors and a visual highlight of any Banff National Park camping trip.

Its bright blue waters are just so ethereal it would be a waste not to visit it.

This lake nestles in the Valley of the Ten Peaks and is enclosed by backcountry hiking trails. The Moraine Lakeshore path is the most accessible trail you can take. It takes 45 minutes to complete (round-trip) and starts near Moraine Lake Lodge. You’ll also spot stunning views of the Fay Glacier and Mount Fay while walking along the lakeshore.

If you’ve got more time, consider visiting Consolation Lakes, which is nearly two miles away and takes about two hours to complete. For this one, you must weather through elevation gains. It’s okay, however, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the enormous talus slopes, high alpine meadows, and the Quadra Glacier.

You can also try canoeing if you wish to have a better interaction with the lake. Rental canoes are available at the nearby Moraine Lake Lodge from mid-June until mid-September. Its the same place where you’ll find restrooms and parking areas.
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Whether you’re into rafting or hiking, shredding the slopes on the way down, or taking the easy way up a mountain, visiting Banff is an unforgettable experience. It could easily top the list of anyone’s must-visit national parks in the world. If you want to experience it for yourself, the list above will help you plan your first or next visit. Have fun!


Zad IngarZad Ingar

Zad Ingar is a Davao-based content writer and editor with serious wanderlust issues. This self-confessed bookworm loves to bask in the sun whenever her time permits. Zad also finds joy in reading her fave whodunit classics, and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is one of them.

Banff National Park camping

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