Exploring the Beauty of Banff: Your Ultimate Itinerary Guide

Growing up at sea level, I never thought I would call myself a mountain girl, however, I have been drawn to the mountains from skiing in the winter to hiking in the warmer months. The beauty of Banff is a bucket list trip for many adventure seekers and nature lovers. Come here to be to be surrounded by the dramatic Canadian Rockies. Banff National Park is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those craving a scenic escape. If you have one day or a whole week to spare, Banff offers a multitude of experiences for adventure seekers and foodies. Let’s dive into the perfect Banff itinerary for 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, and an extended 1-week itinerary in Banff.

Read more: Exploring the Beauty of Banff: Your Ultimate Banff Itinerary and Guide

*Disclaimer:This Post May Contain Sponsored Content And Or/ Affiliate Links. This Is A Way I Make An Income From My Blog. I Am A Participant In The Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. An Affiliate Advertising Program Designed To Provide A Means For Sites To Earn Advertising Fees By Advertising And Linking To. I went on a press trip with Pursuit Collection to check out their restaurants as well as hotels. This was not a required for me to write, but I think this will help you plan a Banff National Park trip to the Canadian Rockies.

Exploring the Enchanting Beauty of Banff 

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those craving a scenic escape. Whether you have just one day or a whole week to spare, Banff offers a multitude of experiences that will leave you in awe. Let’s dive into the perfect itineraries for 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day Banff Itinerary. 

1-Day Banff Itinerary Adventure

If you only have one day in Banff, you cannot miss Lake Louise, and eating at one of the best Banff restaurants. Banff is as much of a foodie town as it is an adventure town. 

Morning:

Begin your Banff adventure by waking up to the crisp mountain air and the promise of a day filled with exploration. Head to the charming Banff town and kick-start your day with a hearty breakfast at one of the local cafes. I suggest heading to Evelyn’s Coffee Shop which has been brewing coffee since 1992. Another option is Good Earth Coffeehouse. After you grab your coffee take a walk to enjoy a stroll on Banff Avenue and don’t forget to take an epic shot of the pedestrian avenue while it still feels like you have it all to yourself. 

Banff Coffee shop
Good Earth Coffee house outside of Elk and Avenue Hotel

Late Morning:

With your energy replenished, it’s time to embark on a scenic drive to the iconic Lake Louise, a mere 40-minute journey from Banff. The road unfolds, revealing glimpses of the majestic Rockies. Arriving at Lake Louise, you’ll be greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the turquoise waters mirroring the surrounding peaks. If you don’t have a car rental you can also arrive here by public bus check out Banff Lake Louise Tourism for information on how to get to and from Lake Louise from Banff. Take a stroll along the shoreline, breathing in the fresh mountain air and absorbing the serene beauty that Lake Louise is renowned for. If time permits, consider renting a canoe and gliding across the crystal-clear waters, getting up close and personal with this natural wonder.

If you don’t have a car a day tour to Lake Louise and the Icefield Parkway a group trip could be a hassle free way to see the area.

Lake Louise Alberta Canada in Banff National Park add this to your Banff Itinerary.
Lake Louise Banff National Park

Afternoon:

As the day progresses, make your way to Moraine Lake, be sure to get a ticket for the shuttle in advance.  a short drive from Lake Louise. Surrounded by towering mountains and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is a postcard-perfect destination. Settle down for a delightful picnic lunch by the lakeshore or explore the network of hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The Rockpile Trail, in particular, provides an elevated vantage point, offering a breathtaking panorama of Moraine Lake and its awe-inspiring surroundings. If you don’t get lucky enough to grab the shuttle explore the grounds surrounding Fairmont Lake Louise. 

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park - Banff Itinerary
Moraine Lake

Evening:

Return to Banff as the sun begins its descent, casting a warm glow over the Rockies. For dinner, treat yourself to the culinary delights that Banff’s diverse restaurant scene has to offer. Whether you’re in the mood for gourmet cuisine or craving local favorites, Banff has something to satisfy every palate. I recommend eating at Brazen. I had one of the most creative and inspiring meals during my time in Canada at this restaurant! Brazen is an ode to the explorers and mountaineers who have come to places like Banff. My hot take try the Ginger Beef, Pork Belly, and Pavlova for dessert. 

After your meal, take a stroll along Banff Avenue, absorbing the vibrant atmosphere and perhaps indulging in some souvenir shopping. 

Later in the evening soak in the hot tub on the roof of the Mount Royal Hotel (if you are staying here). 

For a 2-Days in Banff  

Banff Downtown

Day 2:

While the main highlight of people’s visits to Banff is usually Lake Louise, I was truly excited about the town of Banff, and other adventures in the area such as riding the Banff Gondola, and more. 

Morning:

Start your second day in Banff with breakfast at the Mount Royal Hotel if you stay here like I did. Brazen makes a great breakfast as well. I got the grilled cheese eggs benedict. While I felt guilty eating it for my diet, this got me through a long day of adventures. If you have a rental car head to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, 

Perched on the side of Sulphur Mountain, these thermal springs offer a unique and rejuvenating experience. Soak in the warm waters while surrounded by the breathtaking panorama of the surrounding mountains. It’s the perfect way to relax and recharge before another day of exploration.

Late Morning:

Venture into Johnston Canyon for a morning hike that combines the beauty of nature with a touch of adventure. The trail takes you along catwalks and bridges, offering stunning views of waterfalls and captivating limestone formations. The Lower Falls and Upper Falls are particularly captivating, and the moderate difficulty level makes this hike accessible to all skill levels.

Afternoon

With a renewed sense of energy, embark on a scenic gondola ride at Banff Gondola. Take in the sight of Banff from up above, and roam the pathways to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. If you get hungry no worries you can dine at Sky Bistro at the top! 

Evening:

As the sun begins to set, return to Banff for another delightful dinner. Consider ending your day by catching a sunset at Vermilion Lakes. Just a short drive from Banff, these serene lakes offer a picturesque setting with the reflections of the mountains in the calm waters. It’s a tranquil way to conclude your second day in the Rockies. As you venture back into the heart of Banff, take a day to immerse yourself in the local culinary scene. Farm and Fire, a celebrated restaurant in Banff, is a haven for food enthusiasts. 

Farm and Fire are known for amazing wood-fired pizza, however, their whole menu is amazing when I visited we had a variety of dishes. There is also live music on Wednesdays so be sure to catch that from 6 pm-9 pm if you happen to be there that day. This is located at the Elk and Avenue Hotel which I stayed at on the way back from Jasper National Park before heading to Calgary. 

For A 3-Day Banff Itinerary

Day 3:

Whether you only have 1, 2, or 3 days for your Banff itinerary, this will help you plan a visit to Canada’s first national park. Also, I left you off exploring the Icefields Park Way as many people may wish to continue on their journey to visit nearby Jasper National Park. 

Morning 

On the last morning in Banff round off your Banff Itinerary for three days, head to Wild Flour Bakery to enjoy delectable desserts, baked items, and sandwiches to start your day before heading off to explore the IceFields Parkway. This is dubbed as one of the most scenic drives in the world. 

Late Morning: 

After checking out of your hotel, head to hide the road early as there are many must see stops along the Icefields Parkway, and quite a journey if you aim to hit Jasper National Park. 

As you start the drive from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park, you will find many amazing stops where you could spend days exploring the area. However here are some of the must-visit stops that you should visit along the way. 

Bow Lake is located 94 km from Lake Louise and is the first stop along the drive from Banff to Jasper. The lake is below the Bow Glacier and has the most beautiful turquoise waters. Next, take a top at Peyto Lake with one of the shortest yet most rewarding hikes. It looks like a wolf from the viewpoint. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way, as the park is home to a diverse array of animals, including elk, bighorn sheep, and even the occasional grizzly bear.

Afternoon 

After you take the hairpin turn up the big hill, you will make it to the awe-inspiring Columbia Icefield. There is an off-roading experience where you can take the Columbia Icefield Adventure to stand on top of the glacier. The season for this experience is May 5, 2024 – October 13, 2024. 

This expansive field of ice feeds eight major glaciers, including the famous Athabasca Glacier. Consider taking a guided tour of the glacier for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or simply admire its grandeur from the designated viewing platforms with a coffee from one of the highest-elevated Starbucks in Canada. 

Tip: If you love the area and want to experience the Glacier all to yourself in the morning stay at the Glacier View Lodge or if you are getting hungry grab lunch at Altitude Restaurant or Chalet.

Glacier View Lodge

Columbia Icefield Skywalk

The nearby Columbia Icefield Skywalk offers a jaw-dropping experience with a glass-floored observation deck, providing a unique perspective on the stunning landscapes along the Icefields Parkway. This drive is by far one of the most spectacular highways in the world. The journey takes you past glaciers, waterfalls, and towering peaks.

Banff Itinerary take your third day for a drive to visit Columbia Icefields
Columbia Icefields

Athabasca Falls 200 KM from Lake Louise 

Before you arrive at Jasper National Park get ready to experience one of the most powerful waterfalls in Canada- Athabasca Falls. This is one of the most picturesque spots in the Canadian Rockies located just 30 km from Jasper Town. Athabasca Falls offers some beautiful walking paths and is nice for a quick stop. This class 5 waterfall is a part of one of the largest river systems and is something to behold on your road trip from Banff National Park to Jasper.

More time in Banff: If you are looking to add a few more days in Banff it is possible because there are so many things to do in Banff year-round. 

Days 4-7 (Continued):

Banff Via Ferrata 

For an adrenaline-filled day, explore the possibilities of rock climbing or join a guided Via Ferrata tour on the cliffs of Mount Norquay. The Banff Via Ferrata offers a thrilling combination of rock climbing and scenic views, providing an unforgettable adventure for those seeking a more active pursuit.

As your week in Banff unfolds, consider adding a touch of adventure with activities like dog sledding or snowshoeing in the winter, or horseback riding and mountain biking in the warmer months. These activities allow you to experience Banff’s natural beauty more intimately and interactively. Nearby in Cranmore you can explore the three sisters, enjoy another cute town, and even take a scenic helicopter tour. 

Visit Lake Minnewanka and Sundance Canyon

Take the time to explore lesser-known treasures within Banff National Park, such as Lake Minnewanka and the Sundance Canyon. Lake Minnewanka offers a serene escape with opportunities for boat tours, fishing, and lakeside picnics. Sundance Canyon, with its network of trails, unveils a different perspective of the Rockies. It is a more secluded and contemplative atmosphere. Pursuit Collection also offers a boat tour at Lake Minnewanka .

Experience Banff Nightlife 

To truly embrace the spirit of Banff, explore the town’s vibrant nightlife. From lively pubs to cozy lounges, Banff offers a diverse range of establishments. Join locals and fellow travelers in celebrating the day’s adventures, sharing stories, and enjoying the warm hospitality that defines Banff’s social scene. Many suggested High Rollers for a fun after-dinner bar, bowling, and relaxed fun night. 

Where should you stay in Banff, Canada?’

Mount Royal Hotel

Mount Royal Hotel Banff National Park Itinerary

I stayed in two places during my time in Banff, Canada. If you are looking for a great stay the Mount Royal Hotel was a great option for foodies and the rooftop. They offer a picturesque rooftop lounge, as well as jacuzzis with mountain views. Also, the hotel has a great restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They also greeted me with cookies so of course I fell in love with them. 

The room was quite spacious and they used a local company for their shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. 

Elk and Avenue Hotel

Elk and Avenue Hotel is a contemporary hotel that still offers the mountain accommodation vibes in Banff. The best part about this property is not only the spacious rooms with a Nespresso machine but the amazing restaurant located at the hotel with live music at Farm and Fire. 

How long should you stay in Banff? 

Whether you have one day or a full week, Banff National Park is a destination that promises to captivate your senses and leave you with a profound appreciation for the untamed beauty of the Canadian Rockies. As you embark on each day’s adventure, savor the moments, embrace the unexpected, and let the magic of Banff unfold around you. I hope my Banff Itinerary guide helps you plan you next adventure.

Save This For Later! Want to learn about other Canadian Destinations check out my articles in Toronto and the heart of Ontario.

Banff Itinerary GuideIf you are looking for a Banff Itinerary whether it is 1 day, 2 day or 3 day itinerary or a week this Banff guide will help you plan.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This