9℃ / 48


  • Fri
    14℃ / 57
  • Sat
    15℃ / 59
Kayaking Vermilion Lakes Banff National Park Noel Hendrickson
The Real Banff / Published: Fri, 03/06/2020 - 16:14

7 Off-The-Beaten-Path Adventures in Banff National Park

Add to my moments

Banff National Park has so much to offer, but if you’ve seen all the main attractions you might want to get a little off the beaten path to see some of the hidden gems that the locals love. Check out a few of these locations and activities that will get you away from the crowds, while still giving you the true Banff experience.

1. Sunsets and Sunrises at Vermilion canoe

Start or end your day with views of Mount Rundle that will take your breath away. An easy walk or bike through the wooded Fenland Trail will take you to this series of connected lakes that boast Instagram-worthy shots on the regular (just check #VermilionLakes for proof). To avoid the popular shoreline, consider renting a canoe from Banff Canoe Club and heading to the lakes. 

2. Cruise Highway 1A (The Bow Valley Parkway) 

Hop on your bike or lace up your walking shoes and make your way along The Bow Valley Parkway to Johnston Canyon. This is a unique opportunity in 2020, with a section of the 1A recently closed to vehicles. It's a wildlife hot spot and a photographer's dream, and now you're invited to make this journey at your own pace. Don't forget to pack your water, bear spray, and some snacks to be prepared for your 24-kilometer journey. 

Family Hiking Johnston Canyon
Johnston Canyon

3. Stargaze at Lake Minnewanka

While Lake Minnewanka is certainly a tourist spot, not so many people go there after dark. Surrounded by mountains, and with an expansive swath of sky to behold, it’s the perfect place to check out the night’s stars in all their glory.  

4. Take a dip in Mosquito Creek

Up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper you’ll find a little gem in Mosquito Creek. Don’t let the name fool you, this lovely little spot on the way to the must-see (but popular). 

5. Walk down the backside of Sulphur Mountain

If you want an unparalleled view of the whole town of Banff, riding the gondola up Sulphur Mountain is a great way to get it. But instead of riding down with everyone else, try walking your way down the backside for a chance at seeing local wildlife like pikas, marmots, and even more stunning vistas. 

Banff Gondola, Sulphur Mountain, Banff National Park

6. Explore The Banff Springs Golf Club Road

It’s not many golf courses that are local attractions in their own right, but the path through Banff’s golf course is a lovely walk, bike, or drive. Go in the right season and you’re sure to see herds of elk. In the summer you can even canoe around Bow Falls along the course’s path for an aquatic view of the scenic area. 

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

7. Hike Taylor Lake

Between Castle Junction and Lake Louise is a hike that has it all: a crystal clear green lake, a waterfall, and meadows full of wildflowers — and you’re more likely to have it to yourself. This moderate hike has got it all for those who’ve already conquered Tunnel Mountain and Johnston Canyon.

More from the Blog

You may enjoy these articles:

Guide to scenic drives in Banff National Park

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
Mar 12, 2020

Hit the open road and visit these three classic drives for yourself.

7 Scenic Restaurants in Banff and Lake Louise

Jonny Bierman
Mar 25, 2021

Insider tips on the best restaurants with a view in Banff National Park.

7 Winter Adventures To Try in Banff & Lake Louise

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
Aug 19, 2020

Winter in Banff and Lake Louise is full of adventure! Here's a guide to favourite Canadian winter activities

7 Summer Adventures in Banff and Lake Louise

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
Apr 11, 2019

Here's your guide to bucket list summer adventures in Banff National Park.

Guide To Your Cozy Cabin Holiday in Banff National Park

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism
Sep 1, 2019

Your complete guide to a cozy cabin vacation.

Plan Your Stay

Browse and book accommodation and lodging packages with our trip planning tool. To learn about the different types of accommodation available in Banff and Lake Louise, visit our Places to Stay page or Contact Us to speak to a local expert.