9℃ / 48


  • Mon
    15℃ / 59
  • Tue
    16℃ / 61
Boating along the waters of Banff National Park, AB
Paul Zizka
The Real Banff / Published: Thu, 04/29/2021 - 15:01

Things To Do in Banff and Lake Louise in May

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Every month in Banff National Park has its own unique qualities and May has the perfect cross-section of seasons! While slopeside activities go out with a bang, the summer’s best experiences begin to trickle in.

Here is your guide to exploring Banff National Park in May:

Lace Up Your Hiking Boots

As the snow continues to melt, some of Banff National Park’s best hiking trails start to open up. Ease into summer hiking and get those mountain legs working with lower-elevation hikes. You'll still discover scenic viewpoints and mountain lakes that are the first to thaw. Check out 10 Early Season Hikes for some great options and A Guide to Spring Hiking to prepare.

Just off the side of the highway, the Johnston Canyon is a great, short hike in Banff National Park.
Johnston Canyon

Spot Some Wildlife

Did you know Banff National Park is home to 53 different species of mammals? Springtime is one of the best times to spot wildlife in the park according to celebrated local photographer Paul Zizka. Keep an eye out for mountain goats grazing by the roadside or grizzly bears waking from their winter slumber. Remember to view wildlife from a safe distance and check out our blog about how you can be a more responsible visitor in Banff National Park!

Take a Swing At It 

Every golfer knows the smell that sends tingles down their spine when they step onto the course. Around here, the fresh-cut grass is enhanced by the fresh mountain air. The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course (opens May 7) goes unrivalled when it comes to its scenic backdrops and thoughtful layout. A round here is the perfect way to spend a spring day.  

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

Pick Up a Paddle

Springtime means the waterways are melting. One of the best ways to experience the beautiful Bow River is right from the docks of the Banff Canoe Club right when it first opens. You will find it's quieter on the river than in peak season and higher water levels mean you may be able to paddle all the way to Vermilion Lakes! 

Canoeing on Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park
Dan Evans

Gear Up for a Great Adventure

Perhaps you’ve put some of Banff and Lake Louise’s larger attractions at the top of your bucket list? Be sure to linger long enough to tick more attractions off your list while you’re here. Take a cruise on Lake Minnewanka aboard the Lake Minnewanka Cruise, or get up-close-and-personal with icefields and canyons on the Columbia Icefield Adventure and Glacier Skywalk.

view of glacier skywalk banff
Neil Zeller, Travel Alberta

Early season horse riding

Discover more of Banff National Park on the back of a horse. Join Banff Trail Riders for either a relaxing one-hour ride along the Bow River or a thrilling three-hour river crossing adventure. With tours running throughout May, experience Banff from a new perspective.

Horseback Riding in Banff


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 on our Purchase a National Park Pass page. 

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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.