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How to be a Responsible Visitor in Banff National Park

Published Date
Jan 17, 2020|
Sustainable Travel
Two people walk onto a dock at Vermilion Lakes in Banff National Park.

Whether you spend your visit hiking through impressive mountain vistas, contemplating the tumultuous waters of Johnston Canyon, or chasing adrenaline on the ski slope, it’s clear that Banff National Park is a special place.

So special in fact, that it is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

As visitors, it is our responsibility to treat the park with the care it deserves, so future generations will be able to experience the wild beauty of this place.

Sustainable transportation

The Banff townsite is very walkable. If you’re visiting for the day, consider parking your vehicle at the Fenlands parking lot or the Banff Train Station public parking lot (available May - October) and walking the 10-15 minutes into town. Not only will you benefit from a longer parking time limit, but the walk along the river into town also provides extra opportunities to soak in the glorious mountain views.

Lots of Banff locals use bicycles to get around town and you’ll notice bike racks everywhere once you start looking for them. There’s even a Bike Fix-It station in Central Park if you need to pump up your tires or make a minor repair. Bring your own bicycle or rent one from Banff Adventures, Snowtips-Bactrax, or Ultimate Sports.

In Banff, Roam Transit is a great option to travel locally, but also further afield to Lake Louise and Canmore. Buses run regularly to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, Banff Gondola, and Tunnel Mountain campgrounds.

In the winter, SkiBig3 offers free shuttles when you purchase a lift ticket. Shuttles run from Banff and Lake Louise to Banff Sunshine Village, Mt Norquay, and Lake Louise Ski Resort.

For more great tips on transportation within the park, visit Getting Around.

Reducing waste

In addition to wildlife-proof garbage bins, you’ll find compost and recycle bins throughout the Town of Banff. Follow the pictures on the side of the bin to learn what goes into each receptacle. And don’t forget to pack out your garbage when you’re hiking.

Make sure to bring your reusable water bottle and cups to help eliminate the use of single-use items in the park.

Respecting wildlife

Banff National Park is home to many incredible species, from the tiny Banff Springs snail to the towering moose.

Respect and keep a safe distance away from wildlife to protect both yourself and the animal. Never feed, entice, or disturb a wild animal. Parks Canada have provided ten tips to respect wildlife and keep both you and wildlife safe!

Be bear-aware! Make lots of noise when hiking, carry bear spray and keep your dog on leash. Bear spray is available to rent or buy in Banff and Lake Louise. Please note that you cannot fly with bear spray.

To learn more about experiencing Banff's wildlife responsibly, visit our wildlife page.

Eat Locally

Whilst staying in Banff and Lake Louise, enjoy an authentic food experience by consuming local and regional ingredients. Many of the Banff and Lake Louise restaurants practice in farm-to-table, ensuring the use of local and regional ingredients. Try out The Bison or Chuck's Steakhouse in downtown Banff or head out to 1888 Chop House, Eden or Sky Bistro on the outskirts of Banff. For a warm, log cabin dinner surrounded by the national park, Storm Mountain Lodge offer exceptional cuisine that is locally sourced.

In the summer, the Banff Farmer’s Market is an excellent source of fresh produce from local and regional farmers. Remember to pack a reusable bag for your delicious finds.

Banff Mountain MarketBanff Mountain MarketBanff Mountain Market
Alyssa Friesen

Alyssa Friesen

Alyssa is an ecologist and communicator with a passion for sharing conservation stories. She is based in the Bow Valley, where she completed a master’s degree studying grizzly bears. She loves exploring wild places while backpacking, skiing and paddling.