7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, Canada

7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, Canada @mapleleopard

Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor Destination, North America, Travel Guides 1 Comment

Last Summer was my first time to visit Banff National Park, even though I was born just a few hours from it. What a stunning wonderland it is!! Here you will find some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Travelers come from all over the world, every season of the year- to explore and this wilderness paradise.

7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, Canada

All the elements of heaven surround Banff National Park in Alberta. I have traveled to many beautiful locations in the USA and Canada. This is probably one of the most beautiful displays of nature I have ever experienced.

My visit to the park was very short-just 4 hours. Whether you are planning a vacation here or just a day trip- there is plenty to accommodate your schedule either way.

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Travel Tips

If you only have a short time to spend at the park, these are the spots I recommend you take in on a limited schedule:

Bow Falls and Bow River Trail

Bow Falls doesn’t look like most waterfalls; they are short and wide.  This is one of the more popular attractions in Banff.  It’s amazing to view the valley that was eroded by glaciers and by the river over the years.

There is also a trail you can access by climbing a flight of stairs. It wraps around the back of the falls. You can also enter from the town of Banff, along with the south side of the river.

 

I thought the weather might be on the cool side since we were nestled in the middle of the Canadian Rockies. The weather was perfect, and we were quite toasty in the August sun. It was surprising to see the snow was completely melted off the mountains.  The water is so crystal clear and sparkles like glass. It almost seems as if the water is not real, the turquoise color is just stunning.  It reminded me of the beautiful waters of Oahu, Hawaii.

This vast Wonderland is Canada’s oldest national park, it was established in 1885. The park is  110 km west of Calgary. Included in the  6600 square km of mountainous terrain are several glaciers,  ice fields, forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields stretch from Lake Louise, and on to Jasper National Park.

Tunnel Mountain

It’s a short drive from Bow River Falls to Tunnel Mountain.  There are two different view points, and several hiking trails up this way as well. The mountain is surrounded by the entire grounds of the Banff Springs Hotel and the town of Banff.

It’s a short drive up the hill from the falls, to get these views. Just when we arrived on the higher ground, it clouded over and started to drizzle. The weather did not help at all with getting clear shots of the mountain.

7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, Canada

Nonetheless, the view from up high was breathtaking. On a clear day, you can get an unobstructed view of the back of the Banff Springs Hotel and Sulphur Mountain. There is a Gondola Ride you can take up this mountain, and hot springs to enjoy at the base of the hiking trail.

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Where to Eat

The Balkan

A Greek restaurant that is a favorite for a girl’s night out. This food dive is known to have fine hospitality and offers a super fun dining experience with belly dancing and wait for it…plate smashing!

Coyote’s Southwestern Grill

You will love this small charming eatery located just a few minutes off the main street in Banff. They serve great tasting, healthy, feel good food that reflects the mountain lifestyle of the owner. Everything here is made from scratch, and you can catch culinary action sitting at the counter.

Cascades Shop Food Court

For cheaper dining options, a food court is available on the main street inside the shopping mall.  An inviting atmosphere with a rocky mountain feel awaits you. Rock floors, a fireplace, and a beautiful domed atrium make for a relaxed dining experience.

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Travel Budget

A travel budget is going to vary greatly, of course, depending on where you are traveling from. I will share a sample budget for travel from Seattle, WA where I live.

Hotel for 3 Nights: ( Budget price 66.00 per night)                     $200.00

Food and snacks for two for three days:                                                   $300.00

Gas return trip from Seattle to Banff:                                                $140.00

(Airfare-If you choose this option instead)                                   ( $250.00)

Entertainment and Activities( Skiing etc. )                                       $300.00

Estimated total cost:                                                                    $1000.00        

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Visa Requirements

If you are traveling from the USA to Canada, no visa is required. A passport is needed if you are flying into Canada from any US destination. If you arrive in Canada via land or sea, you can enter with a passport or an enhanced driver’s license. In the pas, the enhanced license was significantly cheaper to obtain, not so anymore. I would suggest a passport over an enhanced license.

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Where to Stay

Banff Springs Hotel by the Fairmont

7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, Canada

The Banff Springs Hotel is a like an old-world castle.  This castle in the mountains is considered one of Canada’s grand railway hotels from the 19th century. This beautiful property is operated by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.  It was amazing to look all around the grounds and inside, everything is so ornate and beautiful.  If you want to reserve accommodations here, six months out is best.

Fox Hotel and Suites

Floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a mounted flat-screen TV are part of the Fox Hotel’s on-site gym. Guest laundry facilities are also available.

7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, Canada

The Banff Park Museum is 1.5 km from the Banff Lodging Fox Hotel and Suites. The mineral springs of the Cave and Basin National Historic Site are within a 10-minute drive of the property.

Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

Featuring an a la carte breakfast, this resort is situated along the Banff Rocky Mountain National Park and features spacious all-suite accommodation. Only moments from the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort are top-rated ski trails, scenic hiking paths, golfing and much more. The resort also offers free shuttle service to the charming town center, filled with shops, restaurants and entertainment options.

7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, Canada

Guests can enjoy the benefits of our Mountain health and fitness club, including the full gym, squash courts, outdoor tennis courts, 15 m indoor swimming pool, plus indoor and outdoor hot tub. Alpha Bistro is located in in the main building and offers Canadian cuisine in a cozy atmosphere. Large screen TV’s and a spacious outdoor patio is available.

It’s not far to get to Tunnel Mountain road from Bow Falls.  There are two different view points, and several hiking trails up this way as well. The mountain is pretty much surrounded by the entire grounds of the Banff Springs Hotel and the town of Banff.  It’s a short drive up the hill from the falls, to get these views.  Just about the time, we arrived on the higher ground, it clouded over and started to drizzle, which did not make good conditions for getting pictures.

Nonetheless, the view from up high was breathtaking. On a clear day, you can get an unobstructed view of the back of the Banff Springs Hotel and Sulphur Mountain. There is a Gondola Ride you can take up this mountain, and hot springs to enjoy at the base of the hiking trail.

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Things to do in Banff

SUMMER ACTIVITIES:

  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Fishing
  • Cycling
  • Skateboarding
  • Gondola Ride
  • Swimming
  • Hot Springs -at the base of Sulphur Mountain

Guided Summer Adventures:

  • Boat tours
  • Scuba diving
  • White water rafting
  • Carriage rides
  • Horseback rides

Summer days are warm, with cool evenings. Banff also enjoys extended daylight hours.

WINTER ACTIVITIES:

  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Ice skating
  • Curling
  • Sledding
  • Snowboarding

Banff, of course, has a much longer winter season than summer.  It is a totally amazing place to enjoy every winter sport.  Although the temperatures are mostly below freezing, on occasion a warming trend called a “Chinook”- helps relieve the cold and brings more snow.

Also available are community classes, arts & culture activities, and events for youth.
The Banff Arts Center for Arts is a place that inspires artists to make their unique contributions to society.

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About the Writer

7 Tips for Visiting Banff National Park, CanadaI ‘m Valerie, originally from Vancouver, B.C. Canada. The Seattle area has been my home for many years. I’m a reading teacher by day, and a blogger by night. My love of fashion started in the early teens. I learned to sew in middle school at age 13. It’s my goal to design my own collection someday! Travel is another passion of mine. I’m always planning the next adventure and researching destinations. I like to learn as much as possible about the places I visit so that I can share the best tips for travel here on the blog.  My idea of the perfect getaway is lounging on the beach in a tropical place. My favorite vacations spots are Oahu Hi, San Fransisco, The Canadian Rockies, and Southern CA.

Social Media:
Facebook: MAPLE Leopard
Twitter: @mapleleopard
Instagram: mapleleopard
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Comments 1

  1. I would love to visit this part of the world it looks so beautiful and can’t wait to share this experience with my fave people.

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