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8 of the Best Viewpoints Around Banff and Minnewanka

Published Date
Mar 23, 2023|
Active Travel
The northern lights over Vermilion Lakes and Mount Rundle in Banff National Park.

Banff has some beautiful viewpoints, and this is your guide to finding all the best ones near the Banff townsite and around the Minnewanka Loop.

Banff Townsite

Check out some of our favourite viewpoints in the Banff Townsite where you can take that glorious photograph and see some of the most magnificent views in the town.

  • Banff Avenue
  • Cascade of Time Garden
  • Sulphur Mountain
  • Surprise Corner

Banff Ave

Banff Avenue was built to give visitors the perfect view of Cascade Mountain. Located in the heart of the Banff townsite, you can find the classic views of the town and Cascade Mountain along this street. Take advantage of the summer pedestrian zone (which opens after the Canadian May Long weekend every year) when you can walk and stop along the car-free zone to get that perfect photo.

Cascade of Time Garden

Across the Bow River from downtown Banff is the historic Cascade of Time Garden, where you can get the perfect view of the townsite with Cascade Mountain in the background and the historic Parks Canada building. In the summer, the gardens are filled with hundreds of different types of flowers, and over the holiday season, you can experience the immersive light and sound experience of In Search of Christmas Spirit.

Surprise Corner

Located just down the hill from the Banff Centre on Buffalo Street, Surprise Corner overlooks Bow Falls and Banff's Castle - the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Try walking to Surprise Corner from the Pedestrian Bridge along the Bow River (stick to the North-East side of the River). This is also the start of the Hoodoos Trail, a beautiful hike through the forest and above the river to Banff's hoodoos.

Sulphur Mountain

Take Roam Transit Route #1 up Mountain Ave to the base of Sulphur Mountain to start your journey to a sky-high view of the Banff townsite. Hike your way to the top of Sulphur Mountain - it's about 700 meters of elevation gain and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours - or ride the Banff Gondola to the top. Once you're at the top explore the boardwalk and enjoy a snack from one of the mountain top restaurants like Sky Bistro.

Just Outside the Banff Townsite

Just outside of the Banff townsite, you'll find gorgeous views that let you look back at the town or towards the majestic Mount Rundle and hang out in the shadow of the giant Cascade Mountain. These photo stops along the Minnewanka Loop and Mt. Norquay Road will make you want to explore even more.

  • Vermilion Lakes
  • Cascade Ponds
  • Two Jack Lake
  • Lake Minnewanka

Vermilion Lakes

The three lakes on the west side of the Banff townsite are easily accessible by foot, bike, or canoe - if the season is right. The three lakes are a popular destination for watching the sunrise over Mount Rundle or sunset after biking the Bow Valley Parkway. To find the lakes, head down Mt. Norquay Road - past the Banff Sign - and turn up Vermilion Lakes Road.

Cascade Ponds

The perfect place for a family picnic and great views. Sit lakeside and be surrounded by two of Banff's biggest mountains - Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. The simplest way to get here is to take Roam Transit Route #6 in the summer. If you are in your car - be aware that parking is limited in the summer - head north on Banff Ave under the Trans Canada Highway and take your first right after the animal guard in the road.

Two Jack Lake

The perfect place for a day on the water, Two Jack Lake is on the Minnewanka Loop. Take Roam Route #6 in the summer, or follow Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive to the Two Jack Lake parking lot just a few minutes north down the road from the Two Jack Lake Lakeside campground. Please be aware that parking can fill up and remain full most days in the summer. To ensure you can see the lake, take transit.

Lake Minnewanka

Banff's largest body of water - Lake Minnewanka, has so many beautiful viewpoints that you'll need a full day to explore them all. One of the best ways is to hop on a boat tour with Lake Minnewanka Cruises. They'll take you down to the end of the lake and back and tell you all about the area. Parking can get busy, so take Roam Transit Route #6 to ensure you can see the lake.

Plan Your Trip

Are you ready to go see these amazing viewpoints? Plan your trip using our intuitive trip planner today. With the trip builder, you can see all the experiences Banff has to offer, keep your trip on track and even see how long it will take you to get between locations and how long to expect to be there. It's the perfect way to start planning, so try it today.

Robert Massey

Robert Massey

Robert loves being outdoors, in particular hiking, trail running, and anything out on the water. You can frequently find him on the trails or the waters of Banff, camera in hand.