Vacation In Banff for Breathtaking Views of Nature 

Oct 16, 2022

Located in the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is a Canadian national park that covers parts of Alberta and British Columbia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Canada’s most famous national parks. The park features spectacular scenery including mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes, rivers, creeks, and forests. There are hiking trails in the park that take you to some of these beautiful places.

A field and forest in the fall, with the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the background.

The town of Banff itself is located at the base of the mountains and is home to many hotels, shops, restaurants, and attractions. There are three ski resorts nearby, Banff, Sunshine Village, and Norquay, offering skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and mountain biking in the summer. 

Banff Avenue in Banff, Alberta, with the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the background.

For a spectacular trip to Banff, here are the experiences you can have and where you should stay for a modern vacation in the mountains. 

A few of the Bow River from the Banff pedestrian bridge in Banff, Alberta.

Rent a Canoe to Get a View of Banff’s Beautiful Lakes

The Banff Canoe Club, just 5 minutes from downtown Banff, is the perfect place to rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard for a peaceful Banff National Park expedition.

People paddling a canoe down the Bow River, near Banff, Alberta.

Paddlers can choose from two routes as they disembark at the scenic Bow River Canoe Docks in Banff National Park. The calmer section of the Bow River or the forty-mile Vermilion Lakes Creek awaits them.

The majestic Rocky Mountains and the Bow River near Banff, Alberta.

You can enjoy a wildlife viewing experience or the amazing scenery at the Vermilion Lakes, which is located immediately west of Banff in the Bow River Valley. Mount Rundle, one of Banff’s most recognizable mountains, offers a chance to relax in the sun and admire the view.

The jagged Rocky Mountains and the Bow River near Banff, Alberta.

To rent a canoe for your upcoming trip visit Banff Canoe Club’s website.

A rack full of canoes at the Banff Canoe Club.

Giddy Up and Take a Horseback Trail Ride

See some of the best views and Banff and the Rocky Mountains on horseback. There are one- and two-hour trail rides that are specifically designed for beginner riders, with no previous experience necessary. 

People horseback riding on a fall afternoon in Banff, Alberta.

Your adventure begins with getting to know some of the 300+ horses at Warner Stables, located just minutes from downtown Banff along the Bow River. Guests are allowed to pet the horses. 

A trailside through the fall forest near Banff, Alberta.

Riding groups will then participate in a short education and safety lesson, guiding riders with the commands and information on how to ride their assigned horse. Riders are then introduced to their horses and helped into the saddle. 

A cowboy leading a horse in Banff, Alberta.

Seasoned cowboys and cowgirls will lead the group of riders on the tour, along trails specifically for horseback riding. The trails offer fantastic scenic views of the Rocky Mountains, the Bow River, and opportunities to potentially see wildlife. 

A horse-drawn covered wagon ride with Banff Trail Riders near Banff, Alberta.

There are also opportunities for wagon and carriage rides, cookouts, and in the winter, sleigh rides. Book your adventure with Banff Trail Riders

Take a Guided Tour to Know Banff Like The Locals

The Banff Springs Hotel, Bow Falls, Surprise Corner Lookout, Hoodoos Viewpoint, and Lake Minnewanka are some of the most photographed and historically significant sites. You can see all of these by booking a Discover Banff Tour. 

Banff Falls on the Bow River near Banff, Alberta.

You’ll receive hot chocolate or freshwater (depending on the season) and maple cookies at one of the scenic stops. This is a comprehensive introduction to Banff and a wonderful chance to see wildlife along the way.

A view from the cliffs high above the Bow River near Banff, Alberta.

Build a connection with a World Heritage Site as you visit Banff’s landmarks, learn about its history, and view wildlife in their natural habitat.

A view of peaceful mountain lake in the fall with the Rocky Mountains in the background, near Banff, Alberta.

To book an unforgettable tour and learn everything there is to know about the natural beauty of Banff you can see the Discover Banff Tour website to learn all the details of these tours. 

A scenic fall day at a lake in the Rocky Mountains near Banff, Alberta.

Learn About Banff’s Ever Evolving Culture and Heritage At The Whyte Museum

The Whyte Museum brings people and the Rocky Mountains together to inspire discovery and wonder. Peter and Catharine Whyte, local artists, and philanthropists, established the museum to provide a place where people could gather and appreciate the area’s culture and beauty.

Paintings hanging in a gallery at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is devoted to exploring the multifaceted nature of mountain cultures and their history, environment, and societies.

A rock carving by a local First Nations artist at the Whyte Museum in Banff, Alberta.

The museum is a must see on your trip to Banff. Learn more about the museum and all it has to offer on the Whyte Museum website.

A diorama at the Whyte Museum in Banff, Alberta.

Discover The Region’s Natural History at The Banff Park Museum

Parks Canada runs the Victorian-era “University of the Hills” natural history museum, which houses over 5,000 plant, animal, and mineral specimens. You’ll gain unique insight into the Rocky Mountains’ unique wildlife and natural history here.

The Banff Park Museum on Banff Avenue, in Banff, Alberta.

You don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy this museum. It is an incredible, historical experience. The Banff Park Museum was built in 1903 and is the oldest surviving federal building in Canada’s national park system. It is an awe-inspiring structure with gorgeous architectural design features.

Animal specimens on display in the Banff Park Museum.

Visiting this museum will help you understand the flora and fauna of Banff and the ecosystem that supports the area. Get up close and personal with the unique environmental diversity Banff has to offer at The Banff Park Museum

Animal specimens on display in the Banff Park Museum.

Learn About First Nations People and Culture at The Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum 

Enter into a log fort on the banks of the Bow River, honouring and preserving the culture and history of all indigenous people of Canada. Inside there are educational displays filled with historic First Nations art and artifacts and recreations of traditional scenes of Aboriginal peoples lives. 

A diorama of a First Nations gathering inside the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum in Banff, Alberta.

The Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum will take you back in time to discover the heritage of the First Nations people of the northern plains and the Canadian Rocky Mountains, to a time when European settlers were exploring the area. 

First Nations clothing and headdresses on display at the Buffalo Nations Museum in Banff, Alberta.

The cultural display celebrates and preserves the rich and diverse history of ceremonies, dances, songs, and legends of the First Nations people, and their resilience.  

A diorama of a buffalo hunt at the Buffalo National Museum.

Travel High Above Banff Aboard a Beautiful Gondola Ride For Breathtaking Views

A ride aboard the Banff Gondola is a quintessential part of every visit to Banff. Located just a few minutes’ drive from the downtown core, the Banff Gondola in one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have during your time in Banff.

A Canada flag flying over the town of Banff, Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Board at the base of the mountain, and then be whisked up Sulphur Mountain. As you make your way up the mountain there are phenomenal views. 

A view of Sulphur Mountain.

Once you’re at the summit of Sulphur Mountain you’ll find sweeping views of six mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains, the Bow Valley, and the town of Banff. 

A view of the Bow Valley from the peak of Banff Mountain in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

You can take a walk across to Sanson’s Peak and learn about the history and culture of the area in the mountain top discovery center. 

The peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains from the top of Banff Mountain.

To view the beauty in person, book your experience with the Banff Gondola

Two Banff Gondolas passing on Banff Mountain.

Modern and Fine Dining Experiences in Banff

When visiting Banff, you’ll want to elevate your experience with fine dining that’ll hit the spot when you’re hungry. Here are our recommendations for a fine dining experience you won’t forget. 

Park Distillery Restaurant

Would a mountain retreat be phenomenal without campfire inspired meals? The Park Distillery has taken inspiration from the campfire and turned it into amazing and delicious fine dining meals. All the ingredients used are sourced locally. Enjoy a sip on the distillery’s small batch in house spirits to end your meal on a high note.  

The Park Distillery on Banff Avenue in Banff, Alberta.

Eddie Burger and Bar

You haven’t tried Banff if you’ve not gone to Eddie burger and Bar. The bar is well known for cooking its burgers with Banff Angus beef. Here you can wind down after a long hike and enjoy a delicious burger that you can wash down with a shake. The Eddie uses is hormone free and grass-fed beef.  

A local Banff restaurant patio with Pride flags during Banff Pride 2022.

Bluebird Restaurant and Lobby Bar 

Happiness embodies itself in this restaurant. The slogan is, “Happiness is bluebird. Bluebird is happiness.” Have a blast going back to the past at Bluebird Restaurant and Lobby Bar, where you can enjoy hearty dinners and steakhouse classics. Comfort foods are there to fit your mood. The lounge bar is inside the restaurant where you can end your evening out with a nightcap your delicious meal.  

Steak and red wine dinner at Bluebird Restaurant and Lobby Bar in Banff, Alberta.

Three Bears Brewery and Restaurant 

Satisfy your comfort food craving as Three Bears Brewery and Restaurant. Choose from a great selection of on-tap beers made on-site in their brewery. The menu choices range from hamburgers to flatbread pizzas. You’ll find amazing wood carved wildlife status and a live pine tree! This is beer country.  

Three Bears Brewery in Banff, Alberta.

Amplify Your Experience by Staying at The Banff Aspen Lodge

The Banff Aspen Lodge is one of the freshest accommodations to come to Canada’s first National Park. Guests can enjoy authentic Canadian hospitality and service in the charming town of Banff, Alberta. 

The Banff Apsen Lodge in Banff, Alberta.

The property is a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ travelers. The doors are open to the LGBTQ+ community can rest and treat all guests with respect and privacy, says General Manager Chris Barr of the Aspen Banff Lodge. Here you can enjoy an exceptional environment and live the true hospitality of Banff. 

The courtyard of the Banff Aspen Lodge in Banff, Alberta.

The Banff Airporter Will Take You to and From Banff

Banff airporter is a veteran in the game of Banff travel. The shuttle has been running for 20 years and they offer frequent transportation you can count in. They guarantee their departures, so no matter if the airporter is completely full or if you’re the only one riding, you’ll be sure to arrive at your destination on time.  Book your shuttler service now with Banff Airporter.  

Plan Your Trip to Banff and Lake Louise Today for an Unforgettable Vacation

The elements that make the Canadian Rockies a year-round dream destination converge in perfect harmony in Banff National Park. Established after railway workers stumbled onto a thermal hot spring, Banff became Canada’s first national park in 1885 and today is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

People canoeing on a lake in the Canadian Rocky Mountains near Banff, Alberta.

Explore more than 1,600 km (1,000 mi) of maintained trails on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. Come back in winter and ski and snowboard some of the finest powder anywhere or visit in the summer for these and many more amazing adventures. The alpine towns of Banff and Lake Louise have all the amenities and everything you need to stay and explore this magical place. 

A scenic fall day at a lake in the Rocky Mountains near Banff, Alberta.

Start planning your trip to Banff and Lake Louise today.

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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