Planning a Banff Rail Vacation? This thriving resort town is cradled among the mountains of Banff National Park and is a perfect base to explore the Canadian Rockies.
A place of stunning scenery, wildlife and tranquil nature, it's home to creatures like grizzly bears, cougar and lynx alongside three shared ski hills with Lake Louise: Mount Norquay, The Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village.
The most spectacular way to reach Banff National Park is to take a Banff train tour from Vancouver to Jasper.
Continuing by car along the scenic Icefields Parkway to the town of Banff itself, you'll find that the incredible scenery inspires not only amazing sightseeing, but also sight-doing. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers and history buffs alike, and each year attracts visitors from all over the world. In summer, Banff National Park offers a colourful palette of indigo blue rivers and lakes, stunning wildflowers, grassy slopes, icy white glaciers and jutting peaks that pierce a bluebird sky. Discover it on your own or enhance your experience with the help of a knowledgeable guide. At the end of it all, relax and unwind at one of Banff’s premier spas or hot springs.
Guided Sightseeing & Tours/Scenic DrivesBanff National Park boasts some of the most scenic roads in the world, and the Icefields Parkway has been rated one of the world’s great scenic highways by National Geographic. Rent a car and journey through expansive mountain wilderness, ancient glaciers, sweeping valleys and mountain lakes ranging every shade of blue. Popular stops include Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake and Peyto Lake, or you can continue north from Lake Louise towards the Columbia Icefield, home to the Athabasca Glacier and stunning Glacier Skywalk. There are top tour operators that offer fully guided day tours for those wanting to avoid renting a vehicle, and in summer you can enjoy a Lake Minnewanka boat cruise, trail hikes and biking, kayaking and canoeing. For aerial views, go for the Banff Gondola or a helicopter flight over the Rockies.
Wildlife EncountersEstablished in 1885, Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A safe haven for wildlife, sightings are a common and frequent occurrence. Wildlife corridors were created along the Icefields Parkway and major highways to minimize animal fatalities, and many tour operators can take you to places you would likely otherwise miss. Wildlife sightings vary year-round from elk, moose and mountain goats to bears, eagles and a variety of birds.
Outdoor ActivitiesSummer's blue skies and long days bring you a plethora of outdoor activities. Try hiking or mountain biking, or embark on a cruise across the fjord-style Lake Minnewanka. Other adventures include white water rafting, golfing, horse backing riding and, of course, helicopter flightseeing. Even in winter there is plenty to do, from embarking on ice walks through frozen canyons to ice climbing and snowshoeing. You don't have to ski or snowboard to enjoy the outdoors of this mountain town!
GolfingIn Banff National Park, the game gets even better with world-class holes and amazing views. Here, mountains create optical illusions for golfers, making these courses uniquely challenging yet accommodating for many levels of ability. Courses are open from May through October (depending on conditions) and golfers can choose to simply play a round or sign on for an exciting golf package (these vary but generally include 9 or 18 holes, a golf cart and a delicious meal).
Spa & WellnessFor more than 100 years, health-conscious visitors from around the world have indulged in the soothing hot springs of Banff National Park. The tradition continues with many opportunities to rejuvenate and recharge: full-service luxury spas (Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs is a must!), therapeutic massage, yoga, pilates and more.
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Graham Perth, Australia
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Emily Tennessee, United States
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Kim Pennsylvania, United States