Hey there! So, let me take you on a journey through the mesmerizing Banff National Park. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Imagine turquoise lakes, towering mountains, and pristine wilderness – that’s Banff in a nutshell. Established in 1885, it’s not just a national park; it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in Canada.
This place is not just about scenic beauty; it’s also steeped in history. The indigenous people, the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, have called this region home for thousands of years. And let’s not forget the charming town of Banff itself, surrounded by the grandeur of the mountains. The town boasts a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cozy cafes, and a vibrant arts scene.
Now, why plan a Banff Itinerary 5 days, a 5-day itinerary in Banff, or spend 5 days in Banff? Well, Banff is like a treasure trove, and if you want to uncover all its gems, you need time. Five days give you the chance to delve into the wonders of Lake Louise, conquer Sulphur Mountain, soak in Banff Upper Hot Springs, and discover the hidden gems only locals know about.
This isn’t just a visit; it’s an experience. It’s about immersing yourself in the rhythm of nature, exploring at a pace that lets you truly appreciate the diversity of landscapes and activities Banff has to offer. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a history buff, or someone seeking tranquility, Banff’s got something for you.
Best Time to Visit
Now, let’s talk about timing – a crucial factor in ensuring you get the most out of your Banff experience. The best time to visit? I’d say it’s a toss-up between summer and early fall. From June to September, the weather is pleasant, and the hiking trails, lakes, and attractions are open and buzzing with life.
Summer is fantastic for outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, and wildlife spotting. But if you prefer fewer crowds and stunning fall foliage, September might be your sweet spot. Just keep in mind that winter transforms Banff into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for skiing and snowshoeing. So, the best time depends on your preference, but I’d say aim for those warm summer days for a bit of everything!
Must Know Travel Tips Before Visiting Banff National Park
Visiting Banff is a trip of a lifetime, but now more than ever, it’s important to plan ahead. It’s busy, it’s expensive, and you want to be prepared for the weather. As someone who lives just three hours away, I consider myself pretty lucky to be able to visit as often as I do. This has given me some valuable insights and tips to share with you, so here are my essential travel tips to know before visiting Banff National Park, Canada.
How to reach there
For most visitors, you’ll fly into the Calgary International Airport (code YYC), and from there, it’s a 90-minute drive to Banff. It’s along a double-lane highway on a flat road, and it gets more scenic as you go. If you don’t have a car, you can take a bus or a shuttle from Calgary, starting from around eighty dollars per adult each way from the airport. This is on the Banff Airporter or about forty dollars from departure points within Calgary. This includes your luggage too. It’s cheaper to book a round-trip ticket, so consider that if you already know your departure dates.
every visitor to Banff National Park and all national parks in Canada needs a park pass to visit. It costs 21 dollars per day for a family or a group, so basically 21 dollars per car. If you’re solo, it’s going to cost ten dollars and fifty cents. When you come to the park entrance, there’s a gate at the highway where you’ll purchase your pass. The attendant will ask you how many days you’ll be in the park to determine how much you’ll pay. So, if you plan to be there for three days, it will cost you 63 dollars. But another option is buying a Discovery Pass, which is valid for 12 months and gives you access to not only Banff but all national parks and historic sites in Canada. So basically, if you plan to be touring around for seven days or more, it makes sense to buy this type of park pass. And if you buy a pass in advance, you don’t have to wait in the busy lines of the park gate. You can stick to the right lane and drive right through.
Where to Stay in Banff
The thing about accommodations in Banff is it’s going to be expensive. I mean, look at these prices for a two-night stay in July 2023. But you do have options, so let’s go over those. Most people stay in the town side of Banff, which is small, compact, picturesque, and very walkable. If it’s your first time, I do recommend staying in town. It’s stunningly scenic, and this way, you’ll have the best access to all the major sites and attractions, whether you have a car or if you’re taking shuttles or transit.
The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is the iconic landmark here, nicknamed the Banff Castle. It’s a hotel full of history and luxury charm. If you can afford it, stay here. But if not, you’re definitely not missing out. I like the Fox Hotel because it’s reasonably priced and has this really cool underground Grotto hot tub. Other options include the Moose, which is a bit nicer and has a great rooftop hot tub.
I also like staying at the Elk and Avenue. It’s right in the heart of downtown, and it’s very pet-friendly. The Dorothy is at the end of town, but it’s renovated and inexpensive. I do have a full blog post about the cheapest places to stay in Banff that are actually nice. I don’t cover any of the ones that are run down, so check that out for more options.
My biggest tip about saving money on accommodations in Banff, though, is to book your hotel as early as possible. This is when you’ll get the best rates. You can also consider staying in the town of Canmore, which is 20 minutes outside of Banff. It’s just as beautiful and sometimes a little cheaper, but not always. Either way, it’s a great mountain town vibe here too.
There are also some hotels in Lake Louise, which is about a 40-minute drive from the town of Banff. Of course, there’s the famous Chateau Lake Louise, but there’s also the hamlet itself, which has about five other hotels to choose from.
Transportation in Banff
When you’re in the town of Banff, it’s very pedestrian-friendly, and in recent years, it’s become a really nice walkable community with a couple of the main roads being shut down to traffic in peak summer months. So within the town site, you can pretty much walk anywhere you need to go. However, to see all the major sites outside of town, having a car is the easiest way to get around and do things on your schedule. But if you don’t have a car, don’t worry.
The vast majority of tourists can get to all the hot spots just by using shuttles or the public transit system. This is called Roam Transit, and actually driving within the town itself is becoming very hectic, and finding a parking spot is a nightmare.
So even if you do have a car, you’re encouraged to park at the train station lot in Banff and take the shuttle to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. More on that in a minute. From Banff, you can take the Roam Transit bus to the following locations: Canmore, the Cascade Ponds, Johnson Lake, Lake Minnewanka, the Cavin Basin (from there, you can find trailheads to multiple hikes), the gondola, and the hot springs. Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake. And many hotels actually offer free transit passes for guests, so be sure to look for those when booking.
Moraine Lake and Lake Louise
Moraine Lake and Lake Louise are the two most popular glacial lakes to visit within Banff National Park, so they deserve their own section in this article. Let’s talk about Moraine Lake first. New for 2024, the road to get to Moraine Lake is closed to personal vehicles. This means that the only way to get there is to reserve a seat on the Parks Canada shuttle, book a guided tour, or take Roam Transit or cycle the 28 kilometers from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake. So if you want to get there for sunrise, you’ll have to book a spot with the Moraine Lake Bus Company. This is the only company providing sunrise shuttles to Moraine Lake. It departs at 4 am to get you there just after 4:30 in the morning.
For visiting Lake Louise, vehicle parking at the Lake Louise Lakeshore parking lot is extremely limited, and finding a parking spot is challenging throughout the summer months. You’ll probably have to get there before 7 am, and they will turn you away once it’s full. So basically, you’re better off taking the shuttles if you can.
Weather in Banff
Weather in Banff can vary and be unpredictable. In the summer months, it can be scorching hot, with temperatures reaching into the low to mid-30s (Celsius), or it can be as cold as 10 degrees and raining or even snowing on a summer day. So, I recommend dressing in light layers. And because of the mountains, clouds can get soaked in, and there’s a chance that you could have cloudy skies blocking views of the mountain peaks. But even still, misty mountain peaks are still beautiful in their own way. And keep in mind, even in summer, you can encounter snow.
For example, we stopped for a little hike along the Icefields Parkway, and this footage was taken at the end of June. It was warm and sunny; I was wearing shorts, but there was still a decent amount of snow along the trail. Some summers are extremely dry, so there’s always a risk of forest fires that create smoky air. These are just some of the things to be aware of that most people don’t realize when planning a trip to Banff. For way more detail about weather in Banff throughout the seasons and what to expect, I do have a much more thorough article that covers all of this.
Money and Tipping
If you’re an international visitor, you can plan to pay for most things on your credit card, debit card, or using tap technology like Apple Pay. Visa and MasterCard are accepted everywhere, while American Express is not as widely accepted, but some places do take it. You won’t really need to worry about using cash, except for some tips. If you want to tip hotel housekeeping, the bell desk, tour guides, etc., it would be a good idea to have some cash on you.
When you dine out at a restaurant, tips are not included in the price of your meal, and most people tip anywhere from 15 to 20 or more. Since there is only one tax in the province of Alberta, where Banff is located, the tax is GST, and it’s at five percent.
So an easy way to figure out a tip is to multiply the tax by three or four, and you have a reasonable tip amount.
The Icefields Parkway is arguably the most scenic road in Canada. It connects Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. It will take you about three hours to drive the entire length. The drive is absolutely majestic with lots of beautiful stops along the way. But if you’re short on time, you only have to drive a portion of it to experience its splendor. There are great pull-off spots for photo opportunities, picnic areas, hikes, and even viewing glaciers. Just remember, though, if you’re planning to go for a cruise along this Parkway, make sure you have enough fuel, as it will be a long time before you find a service station.
Wildlife at Banff
Besides the breathtaking scenery, one of the most magical sites in Banff National Park is spotting bears and other wildlife like elk, moose, deer, and mountain goats. While encountering these animals can be a highlight of your trip, it’s essential to respect their space and safety. Always stay a safe distance away from wildlife and never attempt to feed or approach them. And please don’t get out of your car to take closer photos. When hiking, make noise to alert bears of your presence and carry bear spray. Remember to store your food and trash properly to avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite or picnic area.
There are these bear-safe garbage bins everywhere throughout the park to dispose of your garbage safely. If you do want to get up close and personal with wildlife and have a higher chance of seeing some animals, I do recommend you book a wildlife viewing tour with professional guides.
Things to do in Banff
Now that we’ve covered essential travel tips, you probably want to know what to do and what’s worth doing and what you can realistically fit into your trip itinerary. For that, I’ll go over a more detailed list in a our article. But for now, here’s my quick list of what’s worth seeing and doing. Obviously, we’ve covered Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, but we’ve also got Bow Falls, which is a lovely walk from the Banff town site. Johnston Canyon is pretty majestic, and it’s a really easy walk, so it’s good for kids or seniors.
Only in the summertime, though, and it does get crowded. Lake Minnewanka and Vermilion Lakes are great spots for sunrise or sunset and especially beautiful in the fall. As for activities, I recommend the Banff Gondola for sightseeing and the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Along the Icefields Parkway, the most famous attraction is the Columbia Icefield. Doing the snow coach on the glacier is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it is expensive. So if money is of concern, it’s just as impressive to drive up to the toe of the glacier and take the ten minutes to walk up to the glacier. You can walk on it and try sipping some of the runoff. It’s majestic, and photos don’t do the immensity of it justice.
The Skywalk is mostly an upsell gimmick, and you can only do this if you pay for it. Honestly, it’s not really worth the money in my opinion. Peyto Lake is a nice spot for low-effort views. So we stopped for a quick little stretch break at Peyto Lake. I used to think it was called Pedo Lake, but apparently, it’s pronounced Peto. This is one of the most famous lakes along the Icefields Parkway, definitely worth a stop. It’s only about a five-minute hike to get up here, and the views are amazing. This is just showcasing a little Instagram versus reality. It definitely gets busy here, but please don’t be like these people and jump fences just to get a better photo. Barricades are there to protect the fragile environment, and everyone is usually pretty good about taking turns at the best viewing spots here.
Other favorite hikes are Tunnel Mountain, Sulfur Mountain, Larch Valley and Citadel Pass, Stanley Glacier, and Boom Lake.
So as of now we have got the whole idea about Banff National Park. We have 5 days in Banff so we are going to explore every corner of Banff in these 5 days, so without wasting any time lets start our 5 Days Banff Itinerary.
5 Day Banff Itinerary Overview
Day 1: Banff town & Cave and Basin, hike Sulphur Mountain, soak in Upper Hot Springs. Dine at Fairmont Springs or Pinocchio’s. (Stay: Fairmont Springs, Rocky Mountain Lodge, or International Hostel)
Day 2: Hike Rockpile Trail at Moraine Lake, picnic lunch, canoe on Lake Louise. Fondue dinner at The Keg. (Stay: same as Day 1)
Day 3: Hike Cosmic Ray Station Trail, lunch at The Lunchbox. Scenic boat tour on Lake Minnewanka. Dinner at The Grizzly House or Sky Bistro. (Stay: same as Day 1)
Day 4: Spelunking at Johnston’s Canyon Grizzly Creek, picnic lunch. Hike Grassi Lakes. Upscale dinner at Buffalo Mountain Lodge. (Stay: same as Day 1)
Day 5: Scenic drive on Bow Valley Parkway, lunch at Banff Sunshine Gondola mid-station. Explore Canmore, hike Grassi Lakes. Farewell dinner at The Maligne Room. (Stay: same as Day 1)
Bonus: Visit Yoho or Kootenay National Parks, take a helicopter tour.
Hey adventure buddies! Welcome to the Banff escapade, where the mountains call your name, and the hot springs are practically waving at you. Today’s all about tossing those itineraries aside and letting the charm, history, and breathtaking views of Banff guide our day. So, throw on those comfy shoes, and let’s dive into the Banff Bonanza!
Breakfast at Eddie Burger & Bar
The journey will be long, so let’s have breakfast first. Visit BANFF’s famous restaurant, Eddie Burger & Bar. You will get both food and drinks in this restaurant. I like the Spiced Veggie Burger here. Keeping in mind your pocket, we have chosen this restaurant for you. Here, you get burger options from 20$. Find it on Google. 4.4 ratings have been given, and cleanliness is also quite good.
Address: 137 Banff Ave #6, Banff, AB T1L 1B7, Canada
Phone: +1 403-762-2230
The Cave and Basin National Historic Site
Hey! Wanna travel back in time and check out Banff National Park’s remarkable history? The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is the spot to do it. Imagine this: in 1883, some explorers found a super cool hot spring, and bam, Canada’s first national park was born!
Now, let’s peek into the cave – it’s like a magical place with blue-green water from the hot spring. Think of those old-time explorers starting the whole Banff National Park thing.
Walk around the old bathhouse – like a museum – with pictures and stuff showing why hot springs are essential and how Banff became a big deal. Check out old things, photos, and stories that make the park’s past enjoyable.
Here’s a fun part – you can put your feet in the same warm water that those first explorers liked. It’s an excellent way to feel the park’s start.
But there’s more! Take a tour and learn even more about the park. Play with cool stuff and do activities that make history fun for grown-ups and kids. And the view from the top? Awesome!
Before you leave, grab a souvenir from the gift shop to remember your visit. It’s just $9.80 for adults; if you’re a student or a bit older, there’s a discount. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go on this incredible adventure!
Now we will explore one of Banff’s most breathtaking experiences – the Banff Gondola. Offering panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies, the Bow Valley, and the charming town of Banff, this iconic gondola ride takes visitors to the summit of Sulfur Mountain effortlessly, providing an unparalleled perspective of the stunning surroundings.
Located just a few minutes outside Banff’s town center, the Banff Gondola is a must-visit attraction. During the summer, the area can get congested, making the complimentary shuttle service a convenient option. Route 1, departing from downtown Banff, offers a quick and affordable $2 one-way journey.
Situated at the base of Sulfur Mountain, 1583 meters above sea level, the Banff Gondola base station is equipped with a gift shop, ticket window, bathrooms, and even a Starbucks. The gondola cabins, with expansive windows, provide a 360-degree view during the 8-minute ascent to the summit, reaching an elevation of 7486 feet above sea level.
What sets the Banff Gondola experience apart is the rich array of facilities at the top. The Banff Gondola Museum and Interpretive Center offer insights into the region’s geological history. In addition, two restaurants, a coffee shop, and a gift store cater to the needs of visitors, ensuring a memorable and comfortable visit.
For those seeking a more immersive experience, a half-hour walk from the Banff Gondola Center to Sanson Peak is highly recommended. The elevated boardwalk provides stunning views of the Sundance Range to the West, culminating in Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Observatory.
The geological wonders of Sulfur Mountain are unveiled at the interpretive center, revealing its ancient sea origins 75 million years ago. Tectonic plate collisions beneath the sea eventually shaped the mountains and valleys around Banff National Park.
Lunch at Sky Bistro
Sky Bistro, an award-winning restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows, offers stunning mountain views. The menu and dining packages change so Menu link is here. Highly recommend Sky Bistro for delicious food and beautiful scenery.To get to the Sky Bistro, you have to take the Banff Gondola all the way up to the top.
Hot Springs Basin cave
This is the Hot Springs Basin cave, and it is one of nine hot springs on Sulphur Mountain here in Banff National Park. This was actually the beginning of the National Park System here in Canada, the very first protected area.
Originally, the cave was discovered and accessed via this hole in the ceiling, the skylight above. Eventually, to make better access, they blasted this tunnel through the rock here.The water looks beautiful; however, you can’t touch the water or go in the water due to the fact that there is an endangered species present – a protected snail.
The Banff Springs snail resides in only seven of the nine springs here, and it’s the only place on the planet where that snail is found. As it controls the growth of bacteria and algae here in the hot springs, swimming was actually discontinued in the 1990s.
Before they even discovered the snail, only seven percent of the visitors that came here actually bathed in these hot springs; 93 percent would go to the upper Hot Springs, which we’ll be visiting later on today.
Dinner Delights (Without Breaking the Bank)
Now, let’s talk dinner! If you’re in the mood for elegance and gourmet dishes, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel has your back, although be ready for a fancier price tag. If Italian is your jam, Pinocchio’s dishes out authentic pizzas and pastas in a cozy, budget-friendly atmosphere.
Here’s the lowdown for saving some cash:
- Grab combo tickets for the gondola and hot springs in advance for a sweet deal.
- Pack a lunch for Surprise Corner to keep those restaurant costs in check.
- Hop on the free public transit in Banff – saves you some extra spending.
- Hunt for online deals on activities and attractions – your wallet will love you for it.
- Time your meals right to snag those wallet-friendly lunch specials.
- Reservations are your golden ticket, especially during peak season dinners.
- Layer up for that unpredictable mountain weather.
- Comfy shoes are a must – whether you’re strolling or hiking.
- Respect wildlife and the environment – leave no trace behind!
Bonus Tip: Download the Banff National Park app for maps, trail info, and real-time updates – it’s like having a personal guide in your pocket. Alright, fellow adventurers, your Banff day is calling – go soak it all in!
Hiking Bliss at Moraine Lake’s Rockpile Trail
Begin your day with an invigorating hike along Moraine Lake’s Rockpile Trail. This easily accessible path leads you to a vantage point that unveils the stunning turquoise waters of Moraine Lake, cradled by the majestic Valley of the Ten Peaks. The trail’s well-marked route ensures an enjoyable experience for hikers of all levels, with a moderate elevation gain of approximately 300 feet. However, be mindful of the popularity of Moraine Lake; arriving early or in the late afternoon can help you avoid the crowds, and parking spaces are limited.
Picnic Paradise Along Moraine Lake
Following your hike, find a peaceful spot along Moraine Lake’s shoreline for a delightful picnic lunch. You can grab some local favorites such as sandwiches, fruits, and snacks from a local grocery store. This could cost you around $15 to $20 per person. As you savor your meal, the awe-inspiring views of the glacial lake and surrounding peaks serve as the perfect backdrop. The experience is nothing short of enchanting, providing a moment of tranquility amidst the natural wonders of Banff.
Next on the itinerary is the world-renowned Lake Louise. Spend a leisurely afternoon canoeing on the emerald waters, surrounded by towering mountains and glaciers. While the lake’s beauty is undeniable, be aware that Lake Louise can attract significant crowds, especially during peak tourist seasons. To enhance your experience, consider planning your canoe adventure during off-peak hours to enjoy a more intimate connection with this iconic Canadian destination. Canoe rentals at Lake Louise typically cost around $60 to $80 per hour.
Conclude your day with a visit to The Keg, a renowned restaurant in Banff offering a warm and inviting atmosphere. Delight in their signature fondue dinner, a culinary experience that perfectly complements the day’s outdoor adventures. The Keg is known for its exceptional cuisine, but reservations are recommended, particularly during peak dining hours. Keep in mind that this fine dining experience comes with a higher price tag; the fondue dinner at The Keg ranges from $50 to $70 per person. It offers an upscale culinary indulgence in the heart of Banff.
As you reflect on your Moraine Lake and Lake Louise escapades, you’ll find that day two of your Banff itinerary seamlessly blends outdoor exploration with culinary delights, setting the stage for the adventures yet to unfold in the coming days.
Hike Cosmic Ray Station Trail
Perched on Sulphur Mountain in Banff National Park is the Cosmic Ray Station, a site rich in history and mystery. Built in 1956 as part of Canada’s role in the International Geophysical Year, this station delved into the secrets of cosmic rays—enigmatic particles from outer space.
Although no longer active, the remnants of the station serve as a tribute to the scientists who, for over two decades, studied these cosmic messengers, unraveling their mysteries and understanding their impact on Earth.
To reach the station, embark on a scenic 0.7-mile hike along a well-maintained trail. Along the way, interpretive panels share the station’s history, functions, and scientific significance. The journey itself offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and Banff town, turning it into a historical exploration, imagining the dedication of those scientists who faced harsh winters to collect data.
Beyond its historical significance, the Cosmic Ray Station serves as a gateway to understanding the universe. Local astronomy clubs often host stargazing events near the station, providing an opportunity to witness the very phenomena that were once studied here.
Lunch at The Lunchbox
After your hike, head to The Lunchbox for a satisfying midday meal. This local gem is known for its diverse menu, featuring delicious sandwiches, salads, and other savory options. The casual and friendly atmosphere makes it a great spot to relax and refuel. Prices at The Lunchbox are reasonable, with an average cost of $15 to $20 per person.
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Scenic boat tour on Lake Minnewanka
Before setting sail on Lake Minnewanka, prioritize safety. Operating your boat without caution can be perilous. Always adhere to safety guidelines, including wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and having essential boarding safety equipment on board. Additionally, possess a Pleasure Craft Licence, and remember, your safety is paramount.
For over a hundred centuries, Lake Minnewanka has been a focal point for hunters and campers. Known as “Min Walkie” or “Lake of the Spirits” by the indigenous Stony people, the lake held a deep spiritual significance. Early European settlers, in 1886, referred to it as Devil’s Lake. Discover the remnants of the past, submerged beneath the lake’s surface, including the historic Minnie Walk and Landing.
The lake underwent significant transformations through damming. Initially dammed in 1895 to enhance the shoreline, it was later dammed in 1912 to store water for a downstream hydroelectric plant. The final dam construction in 1941 marked the end of a 20-year struggle between power development advocates and those championing Park resource protection. Learn about this fascinating history as you navigate the waters of Lake Minnewanka.
Lake Minnewanka isn’t just a reservoir; it’s a recreational haven. Enjoy scenic trails, guided boat cruises, and both powered and non-powered boat rentals. Indulge in the convenience of a snack bar for those mid-adventure cravings. The historic Minnie Walk and Landing, once a bustling summer village, now rests underwater, accessible only to scuba divers.
Despite its industrial history, Lake Minnewanka remains a gem in Banff National Park. The lake offers ample parking and an excellent boat launch. However, visitors are reminded to purchase and prominently display their Park Pass on the windshield. Let’s collectively strive to preserve the beauty of this natural wonder.
Dinner at The Grizzly House or Sky Bistro
For your evening meal, Banff offers two distinctive dining experiences. The Grizzly House is a unique fondue and grill restaurant known for its cozy ambiance and eclectic menu featuring exotic meats like rattlesnake and kangaroo. The lively atmosphere and interactive dining experience make it a memorable choice. Prices at The Grizzly House can range from $60 to $80 per person.
Alternatively, if you prefer dining with a panoramic view, consider Sky Bistro. Located atop Sulphur Mountain, this restaurant provides unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The menu features a blend of Canadian cuisine with a modern twist. Prices at Sky Bistro are in the higher range, with an average cost of $70 to $100 per person.
Both options offer unique culinary experiences, so choose based on your preferences for atmosphere and cuisine. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak dining hours.
As you wrap up Day 3, you’ll find that the Cosmic Ray Station Trail, Lake Minnewanka boat tour, and your choice of dining venue provide a diverse and enriching Banff experience, leaving you eagerly anticipating the adventures that lie ahead in your itinerary.
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Spelunking at Johnston’s Canyon Grizzly Creek
Johnson Canyon is easily one of the most popular hikes in B National Park, if not the most popular. Johnson Canyon is a beautiful canyon hike and it takes you to two waterfalls. You have a lower waterfall, which is quite accessible for many people who do travel to this area, and then an upper waterfall which requires a little bit more incline and time to get to.
Johnson Canyon is about 30 minutes from the town of Banff. Now in winter, you only have two options to get out here. The first one is that you drive your own vehicle or a rental vehicle, and the second is that you sign out for either a group or guided tour to the area. Both are really good options. If you come on a tour, they’ll do a guided hike with you, and you get a little bit more information, but doing this walk by yourself is completely achievable, and that is how I have always done it.
Following your spelunking expedition, find a serene spot to enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the natural beauty that surrounds Johnston’s Canyon. You can pack a hearty picnic from a local deli or choose to bring your own selection of sandwiches, fruits, and snacks. Taking time to relax and refuel amidst the picturesque scenery adds a delightful touch to your cave exploration.
Hike Grassi Lakes
In the afternoon, lace up your hiking boots for an invigorating hike to Grassi Lakes. This trail, with its vibrant turquoise lakes and stunning mountain views, provides a picturesque escape into the Canadian wilderness. The relatively moderate trail is suitable for hikers of various skill levels. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas and the crystal-clear waters of Grassi Lakes. Be sure to bring water, wear comfortable hiking gear, and be mindful of the trail conditions. The Grassi Lakes trail is free to access.
Dinner at Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Conclude your day with a touch of rustic elegance at Buffalo Mountain Lodge. This upscale dining establishment offers a cozy and intimate setting, perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure. The menu features a range of delectable dishes, often highlighting locally sourced ingredients. Indulge in dishes like Alberta bison tenderloin or roasted Rocky Mountain trout, complemented by an extensive wine list. Prices at Buffalo Mountain Lodge are on the higher end, with an average cost of $80 to $120 per person. Reservations are recommended to secure your spot in this sought-after mountain retreat.
Scenic Drive on Bow Valley Parkway
Begin your day with a leisurely scenic drive along the picturesque Bow Valley Parkway. This charming route offers breathtaking views of the Rockies, showcasing the natural beauty of the region. Keep an eye out for wildlife, as the parkway is known for its opportunities to spot animals like elk and bears. Take your time to enjoy the journey and make stops at scenic viewpoints along the way.
Lunch at Banff Sunshine Gondola Mid-Station
As you continue your exploration, make your way to the mid-station of the Banff Sunshine Gondola for a delightful lunch. The mid-station offers a unique dining experience with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Choose from a variety of options, including sandwiches, salads, and hearty mountain fare. Prices for lunch at the mid-station typically range from $20 to $40 per person.
Canmore Exploration and Hike at Grassi Lakes
In the afternoon, venture to the charming town of Canmore for a relaxing exploration. Stroll through the town’s quaint streets, browse local shops, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere. Later, embark on another adventure with a hike to Grassi Lakes. The vibrant turquoise lakes and lush surroundings make this a captivating hike suitable for various skill levels. The trail is free to access, offering a perfect blend of nature and exploration.
Farewell Dinner at The Maligne Room
Conclude your Banff journey with a memorable farewell dinner at The Maligne Room. This cozy and inviting restaurant is known for its warm ambiance and delectable cuisine. Indulge in a range of dishes featuring local flavors, from Alberta beef to fresh mountain-inspired creations. The Maligne Room offers a welcoming setting for a relaxed evening. Prices for dinner typically range from $50 to $80 per person. Ensure you make reservations in advance to savor your last evening in Banff in style.
so here we conclude our 5 day banff itinerary.Please comment in the comment box if you have any questions about our Banff 5 day itinerary