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view of glacier skywalk banff
Neil Zeller, Travel Alberta
The Real Banff / Published: Wed, 03/13/2019 - 16:18

13 Summer Attractions in Banff National Park

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With the change of the seasons, comes the change of attractions in Banff and Lake Louise. Each diverse in location, experience, and accessibility, Banff’s summer attractions open along with patios featuring outdoor mountain views. Wondering when the best of Banff and Lake Louise starts up for summer? Here’s your guide to summer attractions in Banff National Park.

Columbia Icefield Adventure & Skywalk - Open Mid-April

Giving visitors the closest accessible experience to a glacier possible in the Rockies, the Glacier Adventure brings guests directly on to the Athabasca Glacier for an up-close and personal glacial interaction. Complement this with the Glacier Skywalk for a view of the Rockies’ glaciers like no other. The glass-bottom skywalk brings visitors out and overtop the mountains for a different perspective.

Tip: Tours fill quickly, book online to reserve your time before you visit.

Horseback tours - Open April

Ranging from one-hour to full-day and overnight excursions, horseback riding in Banff and Lake Louise takes guests around the area the same way the pioneers travelled. Exploring via horseback is peaceful, engaging, and an immersive way to explore the Rockies at ease. Trot around for one hour to a full day in Banff with Banff Trail Riders, or take advantage of their overnight backcountry hut trips and pack trips. Explore Lake Louise and its tea houses or take advantage of glacial and alpine exploring with Timberline Tours or Brewster Adventures

Lake Minnewanka Cruise - Open Mid-May

Banff’s only lake cruise sets sail giving visitors an experience found nowhere else in the Park. The Lake Minnewanka Cruise makes its way around the historic and beautiful Lake Minnewanka. Knowledgeable interpretation from your captain about how the lake came to be, what’s underneath it, and Banff National Park itself compliment an incredibly scenic cruise.

Tip: Cruises fill quickly, book online​ to reserve your cruise departure time before you visit.

Banff Canoe Club - Open Mid-May

Canoeing on Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park
Dan Evans

Banff’s only canoe rentals start paddling on the turquoise glacial waters of the Bow River and the Vermilion Lakes mid-May, offering a calm, quiet, and relaxing perspective of town. Wildlife like beavers, muskrats, elk, and deer are most commonly seen in and around the river and lakes. Rent a canoe, kayak, or SUP from Banff Canoe Club

Whitewater Rafting - Open Mid-May

The snow is melting, the rivers are filling, and the rapids are ready to paddle! Whitewater rafting trips with Hydra River Guides, Chinook Rafting, Canadian Rockies Rafting, or Wild Water Adventures start as the season progresses with the first tours opening mid-May. Raft gentle Class 2-3 rapids with the family on the Kananaskis River, get more adventurous on Class 3-4 rapids on the Horseshoe Canyon, or go deeper and bigger with up to Class 5 rapids on the Kicking Horse River.

Lake Louise Gondola - Open Mid-May

Renowned for its natural grizzly and black bear viewing, interpretive centre, hikes, and some of the best patios in Lake Louise, Lake Louise’s only gondola will open once again along with Whitehorn Bistro, Kuma Yama, Bears Den Smokehouse BBQ, and the cafeteria.  

Moraine Lake Road - Open May Long Weekend

Starting May Long Weekend, venture back up to Moraine Lake. For optimal viewing times, visit outside of peak hours in the early morning or evening, or join a Hop On Banff tour for a guaranteed chance to view of the lake. 

Hop On Banff - Open May

Hop On Banff continues its unique and interpretive hop-on, hop-off services throughout Banff National Park, exploring areas like Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and other areas not serviced via public transit. Additionally, receive knowledgeable facts and tips from the guide while exploring with Hop on Banff.

Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course - Open May

Golf Fairmont Banff Springs Banff National Park Chris Amat
Fairmont Banff Springs / Chris Amat

The world-famous Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course once again opens its fairways and clubhouse patio in May. Known for its jaw-dropping mountain views, wildlife, course technicality, and the Fairmont Banff Springs itself, you'll want to be sure to check out the entire property.

Rocky Mountain Raft Tours - Open Late May

Gentle and interpretive, the Rocky Mountain Raft Tours float down a calm and gentle section of the Bow River. Under the Hoodoo’s and along the base of Mount Rundle, the tour gives guests of all ages an interpretive experience from a vantage point not otherwise seen. Experience Banff from the river with a Rocky Mountain Raft Tour starting late May. 

Mt. Norquay Via Ferrata - Open Mid-June 

Can you hike? If the answer is yes, then you can do Banff’s only via ferrata. The Mt. Norquay Via Ferrata has four routes to choose from ranging from 2.5 to 6 hours. All trips start and end at the Cliffhouse Bistro, the perfect après spot to get Banff Ave Brew Co beer on tap while overlooking the stunning Rockies in summer.  

Banff Sunshine Summer Sightseeing - Open Late June

Banff National Park’s most accessible alpine hiking is at Sunshine Meadows. At the top of the gondola, ride the Standish Chair to the Standish Lookout and choose from long or short hikes that take guests to alpine lakes, mountaintop valleys, and across the border into British Columbia. For an added experience, book a night at Banff’s highest hotel - the Sunshine Mountain Lodge.   


Are you coming to Banff National Park?

Make sure you purchase your Parks Canada Pass in advance for express entry into the park. All of the details, including frequently asked questions can be found in our Guide To The Parks Canada Pass.

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