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Explore the Park

Make the most of your visit during Canada 150

The best Banff National Park experience happens when you step out of your vehicle and explore the park. Plan ahead to get the most of your trip. Use the guides below to explore the park vehicle-free, learn about RV access, discover hidden gems within the park, and find real time parking information.

Transit and Shuttles

Banff National Park's many transit and shuttle options can bring you to the park and help you explore Banff, Lake Louise, and the many attractions. Use these tips to plan a car-free trip while enjoying the incredible scenery.

Use the information below to find transit and shuttle options that will take you:

Between Calgary and Banff National Park

On-It Regional Transit - This weekend transit service provides transportation between Calgary (Crowfoot LRT Station) and the town of Banff. There are numerous morning and evening runs that include stops in Okotoks, Cochrane and Canmore. At least one morning run and one afternoon run stop at Calgary’s Somerset-Bridlewood LRT Station.

  • Frequency: 10 arrivals to and 13 departures per day from Banff on Saturdays, Sundays and stat holidays June 17 to September 4.
  • Cost: $10.00 one way, includes transfer ticket to ride Roam Transit for the remainder of the day
  • Schedules and reservations: View the schedules, reserve seats and purchase e-tickets in advance online or by calling +1 (403) 938-3966. Travellers can buy tickets on the bus if seats are available, using credit or debit card only.

Banff Airporter - This coach and shuttle service transfers visitors between Calgary International Airport and the Banff/Canmore area. Visitors can request a drop off or pickup at home addresses or hotels in Banff, or the Coast Canmore Hotel.

  • Frequency: 10 daily departures from Banff and Calgary International Airport.
  • One-way prices:
    •  Adult (13+): $63.99 
    • Senior (65+): $57.59 
    • Child (2-12): $31.99 
    • Infants (0-2): free
  • Return prices: 
    • Adult (13+): $127.98 
    • Senior (65+): $115.18 
    • Child (2-12): $63.99
    • Infants (0-2): free
  • Schedules and reservations: http://www.banffairporter.com/, or call +1 (888) 449-2901.

Brewster Banff Airport Express - This deluxe motorcoach service provides transportation to destinations including Calgary (downtown and airport), Kananaskis, Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper.

  • Frequency: 10 daily departures from Calgary International Airport and Banff.
  • Cost: Adult one-way fares from Calgary start at $69.00 and $35.00 for children. Return fares start at $117.30 for adults and $59.50 for children.
  • Schedules and reservations: http://www.brewster.ca/transportation/brewster-banff-airport-express/, or call +1 (888) 285-0376.

Greyhound - Greyhound offers bus service between many locations in North America, including Calgary, Banff, Canmore, and Lake Louise. 

  • Frequency: 4 daily departures from Calgary and Banff (subject to change).
  • Cost: Prices vary. 
  • Schedules and reservations: https://www.greyhound.ca, or call +1 (800) 661-8747. Tickets purchased by phone must be paid with a Canadian credit card.


Between Banff and the Village of Lake Louise

Parks Canada Shuttle - This shuttle provides service between the Banff Train Station and Samson Mall in the Village of Lake Louise. It links with the shuttles connecting the Village with Lake Louise (May 19 to September 10) and Moraine Lake (September 11 to October 9).

  • Frequency: Hourly service every day between May 19 and October 9.

Starting 7 a.m. from the Banff Train Station to the Samson Mall in the Village of Lake Louise. Starting 8 a.m. from the Samson Mall in the Village of Lake Louise to the Banff Train Station.Last pick up from the Banff Train Station heading to Samson Mall at 5 p.m. Last pick up from the Samson Mall heading to the Banff Train station at 6 p.m.

  • Cost: Free in 2017.
  • Schedules and reservations: 
  • Find public transit schedules at: http://pc.gc.ca/banff-transit 
  • Banff Visitor Centre: +1 (403) 762-1550
  • Lake Louise Visitor Centre: +1 (403) 522-3833


Banff Transit 

Roam Transit - This regional public transit system offers six bus routes with service through Banff, Canmore, and area attractions. These routes cover much of Banff townsite, and there are bus stops near almost any place a visitor might want to go.
 
$5.00 unlimited day pass for adults, $2.50 unlimited day pass for kids 6 to 18 and seniors (65+). Purchase on the bus, cash only.
 
One-way fares are $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for seniors (65+) or kids (6-18). Children under 6 ride for free.  
 
Purchase fares or passes at the Roam Transit customer service centre, participating partners, or on the bus with exact change. Bus transfers are valid for 45 minutes. Many Banff hotels offer free Roam passes to their guests. Check with your front desk. 

Where to purchase Roam Transit passes and get refunds:

  • Bow Valley Regional Transit Customer Service Centre (221 Beaver Street, Banff).
  • Banff Town Hall (110 Bear Street, Banff).
  • Rundle Gift Shop (319 Banff Avenue, Banff).
  • Wild Rose (127 Banff Avenue, Banff).
  • Elk & Avenue Hotel (333 Banff Avenue, Banff).
  • Canmore Civic Centre (902 7 Avenue, Canmore).
  • Shoppers Drug Mart Canmore (933 Railway Avenue, Canmore).
  • Rusticana Grocery (933 Railway Avenue, Canmore).
  • The Market Bistro (102 Dyrgas Gate, Canmore).
  • Trail Sports Inc. (Canmore Nordic Centre, Canmore).
  • Fergies Bakery @ Convenience (1001 Cougar Creek Drive, Canmore).

Find schedules, fares, maps, a trip planner, and live bus tracker at: http://parkandroam.ca/
Or, call Roam Transit at +1 (403) 762-0606.
 
Get current bus arrival times for any Roam stop at http://nextbus.com, or download the Nextbus app for iOS or Android devices.

Roam Transit Routes

Banff Avenue to Sulphur Mountain / Banff Upper Hot Springs: Roam Route #1
Runs from Banff Avenue up Sulphur Mountain to the historic Banff Upper Hot Springs, Rimrock Resort Hotel, and Sulphur Mountain Gondola.

  • Frequency: Every 40 minutes daily. Every 20 minutes beginning June 24.
  • Cost: Regular fares (see above).

Tunnel Mountain to Banff Springs Hotel: Roam Route #2
Runs from Tunnel Mountain Village 1 and Village 2 campgrounds to town centre and Banff Springs Hotel. Tunnel Mountain Village 1 begins June 23. Tunnel Mountain Village 2 operates year round. 

  • Frequency: Every 40 minutes daily.
  • Cost: Free from campgrounds to town while campgrounds are open. Regular fares apply from town to campgrounds.

Regional service to Canmore: Roam Route #3
Connects the towns of Banff and Canmore, from downtown to downtown.

  • Frequency: Every 30 minutes from Monday to Friday. Every 60 minutes on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
  • Cost: Regional fares are $6.00 for adults (19+) and $3.00 for seniors (65+) and kids (6-18). Children under 6 ride for free.
  • Unlimited regional day pass is $15 for adults and children, $7.50 for seniors.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site: Roam Route #4
Runs from the Banff Train Station to Cave and Basin National Historic Site, with stops at Luxton Museum and Banff Recreation Grounds.

  • Frequency: Every 30 minutes from Friday to Sunday and holidays from April 19 to October 28.
  • Cost: Regular fares (see above).

Canmore local service: Roam Route #5
Provides service throughout the town of Canmore, including downtown, The Three Sisters, and Cougar Creek. 

  • Frequency: Every 33 to 60 minutes from Monday to Friday. Every 37 minutes on Saturday. Every 75 minutes on Sunday and holidays.
  • Cost: Regular fares (see above).

Minnewanka Road: Roam Route #6 and Parks Canada shuttle
Connects Lake Minnewanka with the town of Banff and links to all other Roam services in the Banff and Canmore area. Parks Canada is augmenting this service with a shuttle on Lake Minnewanka Road. The shuttle increases the frequency of Route #6.  

  • Frequency: Every 30 minutes from Banff High School daily from May 19 to September 11.
  • Cost: Free in 2017 to downtown.


Within Banff National Park for sightseeing

Banff Gondola - Brewster Travel Canada offers a complimentary shuttle service from downtown Banff to the Banff Gondola.

  • Frequency: Departs Elk + Avenue Hotel (333 Banff Avenue) every 20 minutes from 9:20 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. daily from May 19 to September 3.
    Departs Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (405 Spray Avenue) every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays until June 30 (operating on a trial basis until June 2017 and subject to change).
    Departs Banff Gondola to return downtown every 20 to 30 minutes daily until 5:55 p.m.
  • Cost: Free with admission to the Banff Gondola. 
  • Schedules and reservations: https://www.brewster.ca/attractions-sightseeing/banff-gondola/getting-here/, or call +1 (866) 606-6700.


Hop On Banff - This sightseeing bus service offers two bus routes that take visitors to major Banff National Park attractions.Stops include Banff (Train Station and Moose Hotel), Lake Louise (Village, Gondola, and Chateau), Johnston Canyon, and Moraine Lake. Knowledgeable onboard hosts answer questions about the park and assist with additional travel planning.

  • Frequency: Four times per day in each direction from May 25 to October 2.
  • Visitors can begin their travel at any of the listed stops at any time during the schedule beginning at 7:45 a.m. All buses return to Banff after their last stop.
  • Cost: $50.00 for a day pass.
  • Schedules and reservations: https://www.hoponbanff.com/, or call +1 (403) 609-5242. Visitors are guaranteed a spot, but tickets are limited each day, so book ahead of time.


Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola Shuttle - This complimentary bus service transfers guests between Chateau Lake Louise, Samson Mall, and the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola.

  • Frequency: Daily departures from and return trips to Chateau Lake Louise and Samson Mall every 30 to 45 minutes between 8:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
  • Cost: Free for guests going to the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola.
  • Schedules and reservations: https://www.skilouise.com/getting-here/lake-louise-bus.php, or call +1 (877) 956-8473.


Mount Norquay Shuttle - This shuttle service offers transportation between downtown Banff (Banff Train Station, Banff Avenue at Elk Street, Banff Park Lodge), the Juniper Hotel, and Mount Norquay. From Mount Norquay, guests can explore the Sightseeing Chairlift, Via Ferrata, and hiking adventures. 

  • Frequency: 10 shuttles daily from June 10 to October 9. Shuttles depart hourly from Banff Train Station from 7:55 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Additional shuttles run between Juniper Hotel and Banff Train Station between 5:27 p.m. and 7:35 p.m.
  • Cost: Free for 2017.
  • Schedules and reservations: https://summer.banffnorquay.com/plan-your-visit/shuttle-service/, or call +1 (844) 667-7829. Reservations are not required.


Sunshine Village Sightseeing Gondola and Banff to Sunshine Shuttle - The Sunshine Village shuttle bus operates between Banff and Sunshine Village Resort. There are pickup points convenient to all Banff hotels. The shuttle offers return trips to Banff throughout the day.

  • Frequency: Eight shuttles run daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. from June 30 to September 24.
  • Return prices:
    • Adult (16+): $12.00
    • Child (6-15): $12.00
    • Toddlers (0-5): free
  • One-way prices:
    • Adult (16+): $10.00
    • Child (6-15): $10.00
    • Toddlers (0-5): free
  • Schedules and reservations: http://www.sunshinemountainlodge.com/sunshine-gondola-and-sightseeing, or call +1 (877) 542-2633. Reservations are recommended. 


White Mountain Adventures Bike and Hike Shuttle - Shuttle service from Banff to popular hiking and cycling trails within Banff National Park.Stops include: Sunshine Village, Banff Train Station, Canmore (Downtown, Legacy Trailhead, The Nordic Centre) Goat Creek/Ha Ling, Spray Dam, Mt. Buller Trailhead, and Mt. Shark Trailhead.

  • Frequency: One to three daily stops at each site. 
  • Cost: From $5.00 one-way to $85.00 return, depending on destination.
  • Schedules and reservations: http://www.bikeandhikeshuttle.com/, or call +1 (403) 762-2282.


Lake Louise shuttles

Parks Canada Shuttles in Lake Louise

These seasonal shuttles provide service in the Lake Louise area.

Lake Louise route: Travels to the Village of Lake Louise and to Upper Lake Louise. Shuttles leave the Lake Louise overflow parking lot located on Highway 1, 5.5 km east of the exit to Lake Louise.
Frequency: Daily from May 19 to September 10. Departs the parking lot every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., returning every 15 minutes until 6 p.m.
 
Moraine Lake route: Travels to the Village of Lake Louise and to Moraine Lake. Shuttles leave the Lake Louise overflow parking lot located on Highway 1, 5.5 km east of the exit to Lake Louise.

  • Frequency: Daily from September 11 to October 9. Departs the parking lot every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: Free in 2017.
  • Schedules and reservations: http://pc.gc.ca/banff-transit, or call the Lake Louise Visitor Centre at +1 (403) 522-3833.

Parking

When you drive into the park, use these tools to plan your route and find parking in advance. 

Visit Parks Canada’s Banff Now page to check the current parking capacity of many destinations within Banff National Park: http://pc.gc.ca/Banffnow
 
Parking in Banff
Find a Banff parking map (including RVs), current capacity at Banff parking lots, and traffic cameras with estimated travel times on the Town of Banff’s parking page
 
Parking in Lake Louise
See Parks Canada’s map of parking lots in the Lake Louise area.
 
For RVs, roadside parking in Lake Louise is limited. Find RV parking in two locations: Behind the Husky gas station in the Village of Lake Louise, and the Lake Louise Overflow parking lot (located on Highway 1, 5.5 km east of the exit to Lake Louise).

RV and Camping

Once you arrive at your campsite, you’ll be ready to explore. Use these tips to make the most of your visit.

Essential RV Tips

  • Use transit and shuttles to explore the park, so you can spend more time sightseeing and less time driving.
  • Leave your RV at your campsite or at designated RV lots, as marked.
  • Check http://www.banffparking.ca/ for designated RV parking locations in Banff.
  • If you are camping at Tunnel Mountain or Two Jack campground, start your adventure by hopping on transit to downtown Banff. It's free.
  • Take a scenic 15- to 20-minute walk from Lake Louise Campground to Samson Mall in Lake Louise village to access shuttles.
  • If driving through the Banff or Lake Louise townsites is necessary, head out before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
  • Walk or bike the trails in Banff and Lake Louise. Bicycles are available to rent at local shops.
  • Please respect closures and warnings as marked on trails. Wildlife also use the trails, so be alert and enjoy the park safely.

Best times to visit key attractions during summer

Key attractions in Banff National Park may be exceptionally busy this year. Visitors may want to consider seeking out some of the lesser known attractions in the park and/or visiting the park later or earlier in the day given the long summer day light hours in Alberta.

For the following attractions, check out pc.gc.ca/Banffnow to receive real time information on parking capacity, camping, major traffic events and more.

Cascade Ponds
With limited parking, this day-use area gets exceptionally busy on weekends. Visitors may want to consider picnics at Upper Bankhead, Muleshoe, Valleyview or Fireside day-use areas. Roam transit is available to some of these areas.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site
There is ample parking available here, but the lot can get busy between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Arrive early or take Roam Transit (Route 4), walk or bike. It is a 15- to 20-minute walk from downtown Banff. The nearby recreation grounds are a great spot for a picnic dinner.

Johnston Canyon
Parking is limited. When P1 is full, park in P2 and enjoy a short walk along Johnston Creek to reach the Canyon trailhead. Both parking lots are often full between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially on weekends. Parking on Bow Valley Parkway is prohibited. Arrive early or later in the day or consider nearby Marble Canyon in Kootenay or the Inkpots hike via Moose Meadows trailhead as close-by alternatives.

Lake Louise
Free Parks Canada shuttles run between Banff and the village of Lake Louise and through the Lake Louise region. You can also park at the Lake Louise Overflow lot (5.5 km east of the village) and take a shuttle to Upper Lake Louise or into the village. Lake Louise shuttles run every 15-minutes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., returning until 6 p.m.  

Lake Minnewanka
On weekends, parking may be full between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so park at the convenient Minnewanka Park and Ride and take Roam Transit (free), a shuttle or your bike to the lake.

Moraine Lake
Parking is limited at Moraine Lake. Arrive before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

Banff Gondola
Parking may be full on weekends between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Arrive early and leave before 2 p.m. or take Roam Transit (Route 1) or the Brewster shuttle (free with a ticket).

  • Go early. 8 a.m. is when it opens and is an ideal time.
  • Evenings after 6 p.m. are also great. We have long summer nights, and you can take the gondola until 8:30 p.m. or soak in the hot springs after a day of hiking or biking.

Hidden Gems

Find lesser-known adventures for your next day trip, including these hidden gems near Lake Louise: 

Peyto Lake (Easy alpine hike)
One of the most stunning places along a road world-renowned for its beauty. A short walk to an ultimate Rocky Mountain experience.
 
Parker Ridge (Hike)
An easy hike that rewards you with some of the most remarkable scenery in Canada’s park system. 5.4 km return, 250 m elevation gain, 2.5 hours easy hiking.
 
Crowfoot Glacier (Viewpoint)
The premiere spot to marvel at one of over 100 glaciers along the incredible Icefields Parkway.
 
Bow Lake (Easy alpine lake)
Another emerald gem on the incredible Icefields Parkway. Go for a paddle or visit historic Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.
 
Bow Glacier Falls (Hike)
Every step an indelible memory – Bow Lake, Crowfoot Mountain and Bow Glacier. 9 km return, 155 m elevation gain, 3 hours moderate hiking.
 
Herbert Lake (Easy alpine lake)
Surrounded by majestic mountains, this inviting lake packs an unforgettable punch. Bring your swimsuit (it’s a favourite swim spot for the locals).
 
Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93N scenic drive)
Rated one of the top drives on the planet. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better, it does.
 
Lake Louise Gondola (Viewpoint)
See the park the way eagles do. Soar serenely over the Rockies and see Lake Louise from 2088 m.
 
Moraine Lake
The Valley of the Ten Peaks is at its absolute peak before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Grab a seat on the Rockpile and enjoy the bliss.
 
Morant's Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway (Viewpoint)
A favourite spot of legendary Canadian Pacific Railway photographer Nicholas Morant. Every shot is screensaver worthy.
 
Taylor Lake (Hike)
A waterfall cascades 50 metres into a crystal clear lake surrounded by meadows of wildflowers. Brilliant. 12.6 km return, 585 m elevation gain, 4-5 hours difficult hiking.
 
Castle Lookout (Hike)
A journey up one of the Rockies’ iconic mountains to breathtaking views of the Bow Valley. 7.4 km return, 520 m elevation gain, 4 hours moderate hiking.
 
Boom Lake (Hike)
An easy one. Starts high up near the continental divide and delivers a pristine alpine lake beneath snow-capped peaks. 10.2 km return, 175 m elevation gain, 3.5 hours easy to moderate hiking.
 
Arnica Lake (Hike)
A mountain rimmed beauty that is famous for the Arnica flowers that flourish here. 10.2 km return, 580 m elevation gain, 5 hours difficult hiking.

Silverton Falls (Hike)
Just down the Parkway from Johnston Canyon, equally spectacular falls less travelled. A short, flat hike leads you to the lower falls, climb the switchback to the upper falls. 

Bow Valley Parkway (Scenic drive)
Take the road more marveled. Countless scenic pullouts, gorgeous hikes, and your best chance to see wildlife in the park.
 
Banff-Windermere Highway
An incredible journey through yet another national park (Kootenay) will show you why the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop at Vermilion Pass, where the Continent Divides. Stand in two provinces (Alberta and BC) and two national parks (Banff and Kootenay) at the same time. Spill a few drops of water and see if they flow to the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans. Fireweed Loop is a short, easy interpretive trail.

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