Day Trips


For the Nature Lover
One of Banff National Park’s best kept secrets is the rich wetland area of the park that is home to its smaller wildlife. Stroll along the shallow lakes of Vermilion where elk, beaver, muskrat, waterfowl, ospreys and bald eagles live. Take in the Marsh Loop trail next to the Bow River which offers good bird watching opportunities and excellent views of Mount Norquay and the Bourgeau Range. Complete your day with a drive along Lake Minnewanka Road to bumpy meadows, a large open area where impressive views of the surrounding mountains and a small marsh offers a chance to view ducks and geese, elk, deer and coyotes.

For the Biker

One of the most spectacular scenic, must-do mountain bike rides is Surprise Corner to Hoodoos. This moderate trail, close to town and across from Tunnel Mountain campground, has some sustained climbing and descending, passes through open meadow; and meanders along riverside pathways. The trail features astonishing views of iconic Mount Rundle, the Bow and the Spray Valley, and over Bow Falls to the renowned Fairmont Banff Springs. Bring a camera and your lunch.

For the Hiker

For the hard core hiker, Banff is a mecca of opportunity. From the dramatic view of Dolomite Peak along Helen Lake trail to golden leaves of the Larch Valley in the fall, to the strenuous uphill trek of Cory Pass, Banff National Park has terrain for all adventure types. To choose a hike that matches your level of ability, pick up a hiking guide at a Parks Canada Visitor Information Centre or download an electronic copy from Parks Canada’s website.

For the Culture Seeker

From the discovery of the cave and basin hot springs by three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers to the oldest natural history museum in Western Canada, the park is rich with heritage. For the more ambitious cultural explorer hike up Sulphur Mountain to the historic Weather Observatory built in 1902.

For the Water Enthusiasts

Rivers, streams, lakes, waterfalls and glaciers; water in all its forms is abundant in the park. Start a mid morning stroll up Johnston Canyon along the Bow Valley Parkway, timing your arrival at the Bow Falls for a picnic lunch. Take in an afternoon soak at the Banff Upper Hot Springs where you have all the amenities of a modern facility set within a splendid historic spa and bath.