Banff
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended Banff Outdoor Activities

From Banff: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing Tour

1. From Banff: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing Tour

Enjoy the drive from Banff in a modern minibus after your friendly guide picks you up from the meeting point. Keep your eyes peeled for animals such as deer, elk, and bears as you drive along the scenic, winding Bow Valley Parkway. Your guide will share stories about Banff National Park, its history, and the local animals on the way. Arrive at iconic Lake Louise after a scenic stop along the Bow Valley Parkway to admire the views of Castle Mountain. Your 30-minute visit at the lake gives you plenty of time to wander the famous shoreline, take photos of the lake against the backdrop of the mountains and Victoria Glacier, and admire the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel. Next, your guide will take you to Moraine Lake, set in the rugged Valley of the Ten Peaks with waterfalls and rock piles. Enjoy a short guided walk to the famous Valley of the Ten Peaks viewpoint, or relax and take in the lake from the shoreline. After a 30-minute stop here, your guide will transport you back to Banff and drop you at your hotel.

Banff National Park: Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Day-Pass

2. Banff National Park: Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Day-Pass

Maximize your time in Banff National Park with this Hop-On-Hop-Off Pass and see all the main sights at your own pace. The stops include Johnston Canyon, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and the Lake Louise Gondola (admission is not included). There are 3 departures from Banff, so you can start early and see everything, or sleep in and enjoy a tour along the famous Bow Valley Parkway to Moraine Lake before your return to Banff. • Stop 1 - Banff - The tour departs at 07:45 AM, 9:30 AM, and 12:15 PM daily • Stop 2 - Johnston Canyon - Hop off here to hike up to the beautiful Upper and Lower Falls or even go all the way up to the famous Ink Pots • Stop 3 - Lake Louise Gondola - Soar by gondola or chairlift to the most stunning views on the Lake Louise Gondola • Stop 4 & Stop 5 - Lake Louise - Make sure to hop-off here to enjoy Lake Louise and all that it has to offer. Check out Lake Agnes Teahouse and the breathtaking Plain of Six Glaciers • Stop 6 - Moraine Lake - the most stunning lake in the Rockies. Experience the absolutely breathtaking Valley of the Ten Peaks that surround the lake. Return to Banff as early as 1:45 PM or enjoy all the stops and come back to the town at 6 PM. On your way back to Banff open the windows and watch for wildlife along the famous Bow Valley Parkway. Grizzly bears, black bears, elk, bighorn sheep have all been spotted here. Your bus will stop for photos at any sighting. Enjoy your tour on the original yellow school bus style with a professional driver and a tour guide. All the buses all guaranteed to be 5 years old or newer. Guides on board each bus will help you plan your day on a 1 on 1 basis and give you a personalized itinerary that matches what you want to do. They also have extensive knowledge of nearly everything you would ever want to know about Banff and can help you with hiking suggestions, or even just great places to eat.

Kicking Horse River: Whitewater Rafting Half-Day Trip

3. Kicking Horse River: Whitewater Rafting Half-Day Trip

Enjoy an exhilarating whitewater rafting tour on the Kicking Horse River as you brave Class 2 to Class 4/4+ waters with a guide. Take on rapids such as Hopi's Hole, Cable Car, Table Saw, and the famous Portage and Shotgun. Your experience begins at the local partner's day lodge, conveniently located on the TransCanada Highway. After a warm welcome, your crew distributes top-of-the-line rafting gear (wetsuit, wetsuit booties and gloves, spray jackets, life jackets, and helmets). In the comfort of heated change rooms, change into the provided gear before taking a quick shuttle to the "put-in" (starting point), where you receive your extensive safety briefing before jumping in the river. This is the biggest whitewater river in the Rockies. Prepare to hold on and get wet. Enjoy the canyon environment and possibly get a glimpse of a mountain goat, wolf, or bear. Following your trip, another quick shuttle returns you back to the warmth of the base. Once changed back into dry and comfortable land clothes, enjoy snacks and a selection of hot and cold beverages. Stop by the gift shop for a souvenir or photo of the trip to take back home.

Banff: Mount Norquay 2.5 or 4-Hour Guided Via Ferrata Climb

4. Banff: Mount Norquay 2.5 or 4-Hour Guided Via Ferrata Climb

Join this fun alpine climbing tour that's perfect for all abilities, including those with no previous experience. Experience the thrill of climbing a via ferrata with an expert guide and delight in bird’s-eye views of Banff National Park. Choose between a 2.5-hour Explorer Route or a 4-hour Ridgewalker Route. Upon arrival to Mount Norquay, located just 10 minutes from Banff, check in and meet your guide. Get equipped with a harness, lanyards, and helmet, then ride the sightseeing chairlift to where your adventure begins. After an equipment check and training is complete, a short 5-minute walk takes you to your first via ferrata buttress to climb. The 2.5-hour Explorer Route is a great choice for those who are slightly limited on time or looking for an introduction to via ferrata. Spend some time with your guide and get introduced to the equipment before heading up a few pitches and crossing the suspension bridge. You will reach 2,235 meters (7,332 feet) above sea level. The tour lasts 2-2.5 hours, covers 1 kilometer (3,280 feet), and involves an elevation gain of 145 meters (475 feet). Select the 4-hour Ridgewalker Route to get a greater feel for heights and experience the via ferrata in full. Get comfortable with the equipment on a practice wall, then continue on the Norquay cliffs, climbing the memorial, sunrise and vista buttresses — and, of course, traversing the suspension bridge. The route heads up to the Ridgewalker Summit, 2,300 meters (7,545 feet) above sea level. At the top, enjoy incredible views and snap some photos before descending back to the starting point. The tour lasts 3.5-4 hours, covers 1.4 kilometers (4,593 feet), and involves an elevation gain of 260 meters (853 feet).

Banff National Park: Big Canoe River Explorer Tour

5. Banff National Park: Big Canoe River Explorer Tour

Enjoy the serenity of the Bow River on a family-friendly canoe tour. Get ready to be amazed by extraordinary views of Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies around you. This sightseeing tour is perfect for the whole family and doesn't require any previous experience. Meet at the Banff Canoe Club, just a 5-minute walk from downtown Banff. As you journey upstream, your expert guide will entertain you with stories of the past, history of canoeing, and interesting local facts. Admire the scenery around you, while learning how to paddle as a team. After 1 and a half hours of fun, enjoy a complimentary, refreshing lemonade on the shore.

Banff National Park: Guided Signature Hikes with Lunch

6. Banff National Park: Guided Signature Hikes with Lunch

After being picked up you up from your Banff hotel in a modern minibus by your friendly guide, get ready for a day of exploring the backcountry of Banff National Park on foot. Your guide will give you an introduction to Banff National Park and today's hike as you head towards the trailhead. Choose between 4 hiking routes representing the best trails in Banff: Sundays & Thursdays - Hike to Stanley Glacier; Mondays & Saturdays - Hike to Larch Valley; Tuesdays - Hike to Consolation Lakes; Wednesdays & Fridays - Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers. Hike to Stanley Glacier Journey through a land sculpted by fire and ice in Kootenay National Park. The trail switchbacks moderately for the first half of the hike, through regrowth from the most recent fire, allowing for unparalleled views down over Vermillion Pass back to Castle Mountain. Follow the trail between sheer towering walls of Mount Stanley and Storm Mountain until you leave the forest behind to emerge in a land of ice and rock where you may even find some fossils. Be treated to views of Stanley Glacier creeping down the side of Mt. Stanley towards the valley bottom. Rated: Moderate; Hiking time: 3-4 hours; Return distance: 8.4kms (5.25 miles); elevation gain: 395m (1,285 ft). Hike to Larch Valley Trail restrictions due to bear activity make this an ideal hike to take with a guided group. Beginning from the Valley of the Ten Peaks at Moraine Lake, the trail climbs, really climbs, up 10 switchbacks to Larch Valley on a well-maintained trail. After reaching the Valley, the trail easily ambles through a larch forest and then begins to gain elevation again towards Sentinal Pass and the Minestimma Lakes. Towards the Pass, views of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake and gigantic Mt. Temple (3,543 m/11,625 ft) will complete your experience. Please note that this hike does not continue to the top of Sentinel Pass. Rated: Moderate; hiking time: 4-5 hours; distance: 9.0kms (5.6 miles); elevation gain: 535m (1,500 ft). Hike to Consolation Lakes This trail begins in the Valley of the Ten Peaks at stunning Moraine Lake. The drive alone to this location is worth it in itself. We’ll spend our time hiking leisurely to Consolation Lakes, and upon our return explore around Moraine Lake, including a trip to the top of the Rockpile. Due to bear restrictions, this is a great trip to do in a guided group. Rated: Easy; Hiking Time: 3-4 hours; return distance: 5.8kms (3.6 miles); elevation gain: 255m (837 ft). Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Your hike starts by the Lake Louise shoreline to the back of the lake before ascending up an ancient glacial valley. As you get higher, the colour of the lake becomes even more stunning and the crowds begin to disappear. Just past the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse you will be treated to views of the six glaciers feeding into the valley and Lake Louise, with cakes and tea served at the teahouse (optional). Rated: moderate; hiking time: 5 hours; distance: 10.6kms (6.6 miles); elevation Gain: 340m (1,100 feet)

Banff: Wildlife on the Bow River Big Canoe Tour

7. Banff: Wildlife on the Bow River Big Canoe Tour

Discover life on the Bow River in a 12-seat Canoe. Start the tour in the evening and learn fun facts about animal habitats, behaviors, and conservation in the region. Escape the bustling Banff streets and get back to nature. Enjoy paddling up the scenic Bow while keeping your eyes peeled for some of the locals like bald eagles, elk, muskrats, and maybe even “Barry” the resident beaver. Let our informative guides share the best practices for wildlife encounters and discover the challenges they face with increasing human interaction.

Kicking Horse River: Half-Day Intro to Whitewater Rafting

8. Kicking Horse River: Half-Day Intro to Whitewater Rafting

Get a perfect introduction to whitewater rafting on Class 1-3 rapids starting in Yoho National Park of Canada. Experience moderately-challenging rapids and the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rockies.  Check-in at the lodge conveniently located on TransCanada Highway #1. Be fitted with top-of-the-line gear and transported to the starting point of the rafting experience. Receive a thorough safety briefing before setting off on the river. Embark on a 90-minute downstream journey starting with the "Alarm Clock" rapid, which is sure to wake everyone up. In between the exciting rapids, take in the beautiful scenery surrounding you on all sides. Learn about the wildlife in the area, how the Kicking Horse River got its name, and how the river gets its beautiful blue color. Finish the rafting trip at "Hopi's Hole", which serves as an exciting grande finale. After the rafting, be taken back to the lodge to relax and warm up in the heated changing-rooms. Once back in warm, dry clothes, enjoy freshly baked goodies and seasonal fruit along with a selection of hot and cold beverages. Browse through the gift shop to pick up a souvenir t-shirt or photos from your experience.

Banff: Johnston Canyon Evening Icewalk

9. Banff: Johnston Canyon Evening Icewalk

Get picked up by your friendly guide from the meeting point in Banff, then enjoy the drive in a modern minibus. Take the Bow Valley Parkway to Johnston Canyon, a scenic drive through a wildlife-rich habitat. On arrival at the Johnston Canyon trailhead, your guide will show you how to put on ice cleats over your winter boots, as well as give you some tips on winter hiking. From here, start the easy 1.1km hike with 65m elevation gain to the lower falls, walking along the steel catwalks built into the canyon walls which allows a spectacular view down the canyon walls to the ice and river below. Along the way, your guide will highlight unique features by powerful flashlight and pause for moments of darkness and quiet to foster an appreciation for spending time in the canyon at night. At the turn around point, your guide will illuminate the expanding ice that encases the rushing water. Have the option to walk through a natural cave feature for a unique view of the lower falls while also enjoying a refreshment break with hot chocolate and a maple cookies snack. The return journey is your opportunity to travel without your headlamp (should you wish). Be amazed as to how quickly your eyes adjust to the darkness, enough for you to travel through the pine forest guided only by the ambient light of the moon and the stars above your head. At the end of the tour, your guide will then transport you back to Banff and drop you at your hotel.

Banff: Morning or Afternoon Johnston Canyon Icewalk

10. Banff: Morning or Afternoon Johnston Canyon Icewalk

Start with pickup from Banff and travel in a modern minibus along the Bow Valley Parkway to the Canyon. On arrival at the Johnston Canyon trailhead, your guide will show you how to put on ice cleats over your winter boots, as well as give you some tips on winter hiking. From here, start the moderate 2.7 kilometer hike with 135 meter elevation to the Upper Falls. Walk along the steel catwalks built into the canyon walls which allows a spectacular view down the canyon walls to the ice and river below. Along the way you'll learn the clues to how Johnston Canyon was formed and stop at the Lower Falls, where you'll have the option to walk through a natural cave feature for a unique view. At the Upper Falls, enjoy a brief stop on the upper deck with a small refreshment break to enjoy the views. These gigantic pillars of ice are the tour highlight and ice climbers can often be seen scaling the frozen columns. Once you've finished your hot chocolate, hike back down and your guide will transport you back to Banff and drop you at your hotel.

Frequently asked questions about Banff Outdoor Activities

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Other Sightseeing Options in Banff

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What people are saying about Banff

This tour is both informative and full of great stories. Jacob our tour guide was able to bring visual pictures of the past, so we were able see changes in the landmark. Also he is very passionate in telling stories of the "Cowboys" Legends then and now. The walk was no problem and kept on schedule.

Thanks so much to Jacob for taking us on a guided walk even though I know how busy all the guides have been. We absolutely loved the walk and got to see parts of Banff that we otherwise wouldn't have seen and learnt so much too. Brilliant way to spend an afternoon

Our tour guide Hugh was very knowledgeable and had lots of cool facts to share about the area.

Very good experience, nice guide, clear instructions and the entire trip was really fun!

Where comfortable shoes and have layers. Warm and cool depending on where you stand.