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Top Things to Do in Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff National Park in Alberta Canada needs no introduction. For most of you, you’re already aware of the Park’s beauty and have seen photos of stunning turquoise in locations such as Moraine Lake, Lake Minnewanka, and Peyto Lake shared on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. What you might not be aware of are all of the other great things to do while in the area. I’ve also included Yoho National Park at the end because you have to visit Emerald Lake while you’re in the area.

Oh oh, I should have ironed that umbrella before taking the photo. LOL

Banff Gondola

Once I checked into my hotel, the Rimrock Resort Hotel, I freshened up and headed up to the Banff Gondola. The views are spectacular from the top of the mountain, but give yourself enough time to have lunch or dinner at the Sky Bistro with a view! They usually have something special to check out, too—right now, it’s the Sunset Festival, which provides entertainment while watching the setting sun from the observation deck.

Lake Minnewanka

A short drive from the town of Banff is Lake Minnewanka. You can book lake cruises with knowledgeable and entertaining hosts, and the shuttle will take you to the lake, where you can join a cruise or drive yourself if you have a vehicle. Either way, you will probably see some wildlife along the way!

Bow River Float

For something different to do, go on a float down the Bow River! You’ll have an experienced guide who will expertly take you down the river.

Moraine Lake

One of the most photographed lakes, Moraine Lake, is an hour’s drive from Banff and near Lake Louise. This glacier-fed lake is nestled in the Valley of The Ten Peaks.

2024 update: You can now only access Moraine Lake by shuttle; car traffic is no longer permitted.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise is just over an hour’s drive from Banff. The photos below are from a visit in October, with a little bit of snowfall to make everything clean and pretty!

Emerald Lake

Just a bit of a drive outside of Banff National Park is Field, BC, in Yoho National Park, and Emerald Lake. Stunning water and the gorgeous Emerald Lake Resort…high on my bucket list of places to stay! Here are a few photos from my fall and summer visits. Once off the highway on the road to Emerald Lake, make sure to stop at the Natural Bridge for another spectacular view!

Emerald Lake, Field BC Yoho National Park

So much more

There is so much more to do and see in Banff that I did not get to. For one, on my next visit, I’d like to spend time at the Banff Hot Springs and soak in the magical water. Banff also has a number of restaurants, museums, and hikes through beautiful wilderness. I would recommend extending your time in Banff instead of cramming it all into a few days, as I did.

I also recommend getting up just before sunrise on at least one day to take sunrise photos over the lakes or to go wildlife stalking. The animals tend to search for food just after sunrise, just like us! There are no drive-throughs in Banff, so beat the rush if you want to pick up breakfast to go and eat during your drive and Timmy’s coffee.  🙂

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