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A Summer Trip for Everyone in Banff National Park

Published Date
Jul 14, 2021
Hikers stand on a catwalk near the lower falls of Johnston's Canyon.

Let us take the stress out of planning your much-needed Summer getaway. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, or delicious meals with a view - this selection of summer itineraries has got you covered for your trip to Banff National Park.

A Week of Hiking in Banff and Lake Louise

To become a fluent Canadian Rockies hiker, you just need to spend a week on the trails of Banff National Park. Find your perfect hiking itinerary here.

Looking to explore at your own pace? Stroll through downtown Banff to fill your hiking pack with the essentials like sturdy boots, bear spray, and hiking poles. Appreciate a local’s perspective? A guided hike will provide you with invaluable knowledge about flora, fauna, safety, and making the most of your time on the trails. No matter how you choose to explore the trails, give yourself a week to truly get off the beaten path.

Summer hiking in Banff and Lake LouiseSummer hiking in Banff and Lake LouiseSummer hiking in Banff and Lake Louise

4 Days to Canoe, Kayak, or SUP in Banff National Park

Vibrant blue and turquoise lakes are a hallmark image of Banff National Park, so what better way to explore the park this summer than from the water? This four-day itinerary is sure to make a splash!

Take advantage of the Banff Canoe Club nestled at the edge of town and rent a canoe or kayak to paddle the Bow River or out to the stunning Vermilion Lakes. When you are ready to venture further you can rent a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and take a tip from the locals - leave your car and hop on Roam Transit’s Route 6 bus to either Two Jack Lake or Johnson Lake. For iconic beauty, catch the first bus and enjoy the stillness of Lake Louise in the early morning. Rentals are available on-site at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Two friends canoeing on Lake LouiseTwo friends canoeing on Lake LouiseTwo friends canoeing on Lake Louise

A 3 Day Family Adventure in Banff National Park

This three-day itinerary is perfect for families with kids and teenagers and will leave you daydreaming of your next trip to the Canadian Rockies. It can be completed over a weekend or a quieter midweek visit.

As you arrive at the park gates, be sure to grab a Parks Xplorer booklet. It will guide the kids' discovery of the park through engaging activities. For families with younger children, enjoy the playground right downtown in Central Park with fun nature-inspired features.

Happen to be here on a rainy day? You can find great indoor activities in the town of Banff, like water slides, bowling, or several museums suitable for kids of all ages. No matter the weather, there are plenty of options for family fun!

Three young girls on a picnic blanket and parents on the cabin porch behind themThree young girls on a picnic blanket and parents on the cabin porch behind themThree young girls on a picnic blanket and parents on the cabin porch behind them

4 Days of Love and Romance in Banff and Lake Louise

Whether it is a weekend getaway or a longer stay; take time to reconnect to one another in the serenity of nature surrounding you. This summer, enjoy a four-day romantic escape to the Canadian Rockies together.

Enjoy special moments together such as picnics under the stars, scenic drives throughout the destination, and perfect patios featuring hearty Alberta beef paired with global wines. Tantalize your eyes and your tastebuds as you celebrate your time together in nature.

Couple enjoying sunset on a patioCouple enjoying sunset on a patioCouple enjoying sunset on a patio

5 Days of Adventurous Activites in Banff National Park

Adventure is abundant in Banff National Park, for the experienced thrill-seeker and the curious explorer alike. Find an itinerary suited to any adventurous spirit here.

Take a tour into an underground world that remains untouched by civilization for thousands of years. Take advantage of the chance to get up close and personal with powerful waterways on a whitewater rafting experience or a thrilling ride through a canyon with a veteran canyoneer. Finally, go further and higher at the wheel of your own adventure while exploring old mountain roads and alpine meadows on All-Terrain Vehicle tours.

Whitewater Rafting GroupWhitewater Rafting GroupWhitewater Rafting Group

3 Days of Relaxation and Bliss in Banff National Park

Close your eyes and breathe in deeply. Exhale. Let your worries drift away and vanish into the air. Where does your mind wander to bask in a moment that’s all about you?

Wherever your imagination takes you, find that place and discover many more with this 3-day guide to wellness and rejuvenation in Banff National Park.

Let Forest Fix put you at one with nature as you learn how to reap the benefits of “forest bathing” —or Shinrin Yoku, a Japanese practice translating to ‘taking in the atmosphere of the forest’. Book in for a “Wake Up Flow” yoga class to start your day or enjoy a morning rooftop yoga session. Reward yourself with some pampering and enjoy a massage, facial, or body treatment at a range of inviting locations in Banff and Lake Louise.

Forest FixForest FixForest Fix

4 Days of Discovery for Wildlife Lovers in Banff National Park

Banff National Park is home to 53 species of mammals. Take your time when planning your Banff itinerary and discover the wildlife that makes this place so special.

Enjoy an evening wildlife safari as you take in the sights of Banff while learning about the local animals. Start your day on the Lake Louise Summer Sightseeing Gondola and keep your eyes peeled for grizzlies on the slopes below. Don’t forget a visit to the Banff Park Museum, where you can learn about the park's natural history. The museum has more than 5,000 specimens, from bird eggs to taxidermied bison.

Couple riding open chairlift at Lake Louise Sightseeing GondolaCouple riding open chairlift at Lake Louise Sightseeing GondolaCouple riding open chairlift at Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola

3 Days of Pet-Friendly Adventures in Banff National Park

Now that we’ve established that the perfect vacation exists (think: mountains, glaciers, and delicious food all side-by-side with your furry friend), here’s how you can make dreams come true.

Many of the trails in the Rockies are pet-friendly, and you can check with Parks Canada before you head out to be sure that you’ve chosen the right one. Aside from the iconic photo atop Tunnel Mountain or on the shores of Lake Louise with your pooch, your dog deserves to bring home some souvenirs from Banff Doghouse. For dinner, head over to one of the man pet-friendly patios such as Bear Street Tavern, where you can tie your dog up while you sip on a locally brewed beer and eat your weight in pizza drizzled with their signature honey and chilli oil.

Dog in front of the fireplace at Emerald Lake LodgeDog in front of the fireplace at Emerald Lake LodgeDog in front of the fireplace at Emerald Lake Lodge

3 Days of Foodie Heaven in Banff National Park

The lively culinary scene in the Canadian Rockies doesn’t differentiate between those who are drawn here for adventure or rejuvenation, for connection or escape. Combining a weekend in the mountains with mouthwatering cuisine is a recipe for the ultimate nourishment.

Work up an appetite with a hike up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse or Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse which are open from early June (bring cash for tea and homemade cakes) followed by luxurious Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

A weekend isn’t complete without brunch, so visit Wild Flour Bakery or head up to Juniper Bistro - one of several local restaurants to land a coveted spot on Open Table’s “100 Most Scenic Restaurants in Canada 2019” list.

Plain of Six Glaciers Tea HousePlain of Six Glaciers Tea HousePlain of Six Glaciers Tea House

Bike Banff and Lake Louise in 5 Days

Travel authentically and immerse yourself in Banff and Lake Louise’s culture by seeing the sights by bike. What are you waiting for? Don your best biking shorts and get ready for five days of non-stop biking adventures.

There are plenty of rental options available as well as guided tour options – guaranteeing you can explore at your own pace. Enjoy a leisurely cruise around the Banff Springs Golf Course Loop (paired with a pit stop at the Waldhaus Pub). Work your way up to a full-day route along the historic Bow Valley Parkway connecting Banff to Lake Louise.

Couple Biking towards Fairmont Banff Springs HotelCouple Biking towards Fairmont Banff Springs HotelCouple Biking towards Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

4 Days of Chilling and Sightseeing Around Banff National Park

Get your camera ready to snap all the moments you experience in Banff National Park. Here are four days of adventures for you to hit the road and see the sights.

Consider a scooter rental for a fun way to get around the town of Banff. If chilling is more your style, and you want someone to do the driving for you, you’ll find plenty of tour options that will deliver you to the best scenic spots around Banff.

As you venture outside of Banff you’re encouraged to head north to one of the highest highways in Canada (the Icefields Parkway), south through the lesser-known Kootenay National Park, and everywhere in between. You’ll find no shortage of scenic routes paired with picture-perfect stops.

Scenic Drive along Minnewanka LoopScenic Drive along Minnewanka LoopScenic Drive along Minnewanka Loop
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.