Skip to main content

How To Spend a Summer Day in Banff

Published Date
Jun 5, 2019
Two Jack Lake, Banff National Park

Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a picture-perfect mountain town surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, turquoise lakes, and home to some of Canada’s most iconic animals. If you only have one day to spend in this mountain paradise, here is a list of must-see activities.

Soak up the serenity of the mountains

Rise early and take to the trails to experience the most peaceful time of day. Follow the river path to the spectacular Bow Falls or make the short hike up Tunnel Mountain for magnificent views over the town.

The morning is also the best time to soar above the town on a scenic gondola or chairlift ride. The Banff Gondola and Mt. Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift both offer spectacular panoramic views of the town of Banff and surrounding mountains.

As you experience the majesty of the mountains, keep an eye out for iconic wildlife such as deer and elk, or spot some of the 260 bird species found in Banff National Park.

Mount Norquay Summer Chairlift, Banff National ParkMount Norquay Summer Chairlift, Banff National ParkMount Norquay Summer Chairlift, Banff National Park

Fuel up for adventure

Now that you have worked up an appetite, it’s time to indulge in some classic Canadian cuisine. If you’re looking for breakfast with a view, head to the Juniper Bistro for panoramic views and a locally-inspired menu. If it's comfort food you're after, Coyotes Southwestern Grill has you covered, and for the authentic Canadian brunch experience head to The Maple Leaf in the heart of downtown Banff. For more recommendations, check out Best of Brunch in Banff National Park.

The Juniper BistroThe Juniper BistroThe Juniper Bistro

Discover your adventurous side

You’re acquainted with the town and now it’s time to get your blood pumping with an afternoon adventure. If gentle exploration is your thing, try a horseback adventure or scenic float tour. For adrenaline junkies, choose from the Via Ferrata, whitewater rafting, or cave tours.

Via Ferrata Mt NorquayVia Ferrata Mt NorquayVia Ferrata Mt Norquay

Indulge in the best of regional cuisine

The perfect way to celebrate a day of adventure is to relax and unwind at one of the many scenic restaurants or picturesque patios in Banff. If you're looking for a fine dining experience try the award-winning Eden at the Rimrock Resort Hotel. If you're looking to enjoy dinner with a view then head up the Banff Gondola to Sky Bistro or enjoy breathtaking views over the valley at the Juniper Bistro.

Eat Drink Sky Bistro Banff National ParkEat Drink Sky Bistro Banff National ParkEat Drink Sky Bistro Banff National Park

Stargaze the night away

Make the most of the dark skies over Banff National Park and gaze at thousands of stars overhead. Learn how to navigate the night sky with interpretive guides at the Banff Gondola and enjoy an evening under the stars.

Stargazing in Banff National ParkStargazing in Banff National ParkStargazing in Banff National Park

Getting around the Banff area

It has never been easier to access top attractions in the Banff area. There are various shuttle and transit options to get to main areas including Lake Minnewanka, Johnston Canyon, Banff Gondola, and Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Roam Transit in Banff National ParkRoam Transit in Banff National ParkRoam Transit in Banff National Park


Make sure you purchase your Parks 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.

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Real Banff is an inside look at the events and activities around the park, brought to you by Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Our mission is to have a post on pretty much everything that is available for you to do in Banff, Lake Louise and beyond.