Banff and Lake Louise Travel Guide

Scene along the Icefield Parkway near Lake Louise, CanadaScene along the Icefield Parkway near Lake Louise, Canada

Located to the west of Calgary, Alberta, is Banff National Park, Canada's first national park, along with the adjacent Kootenary National Park and Yoho National Park. Further to the northwest is Jasper National Park. These parks offer unparralled scenic views year round, plus a vast number of lakes, rivers, forests, and glaciers.

The town of Banff is accessed from the Trans Canada Highway 1, and is located about 127km from Calgary, and 58 km from Lake Louise to the west.

The peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, part of the Rocky Mountains, dominate the Banff skyline.

Banff and Lake Louise are located within the confines of Banff National Park.

What makes Banff National Park so special is its easy access and close proximity to the vast unspoiled wilderness of the Canadian Rockies. The park includes 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles) of mountainous terrain, with spectacular valleys, scenic peaks, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers. It is home to black and grizzly bears, wolverines, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, bald eagles and many other mammal and bird species.

Getting There ... and Getting Around

Calgary International Airport (YYC) is serviced by major national and international carriers with multiple flights arriving daily. From the airport, it’s a scenic 90 minute (140 kilometre or 87 mile) drive to Banff & Lake Louise. There are regular shuttle bus connections from the airport directly to your hotel in Banff & Lake Louise, or you could rent a car or hire a private car service.

From the airport, rent a car and take Trans-Canada 1 west from Calgary straight into the park, through Banff and Lake Louise. A direct bus service from the airport or downtown Calgary is also available to Banff and Lake Louise, as are shuttle services through tour operators.

 

If you are coming from the west, Banff & Lake Louise is a scenic day’s drive (850 kilometers or 530 miles) from Vancouver, travelling through the Coast Mountains, wine country of British Columbia and then the spectacular Canadian Rockies. 

The town of Banff and hamlet of Lake Louise are great for getting around by bike or foot, with lots of sidewalks and dedicated bike paths. You can rent bikes from several places in Banff & Lake Louise. In the town of Banff, “Roam” is a hybrid bus with regular services throughout the town and the Bow Valley.

Aerial view of Banff as seen from the top of the Banff Gondola
Aerial view of Banff as seen from the top of the Banff Gondola
The well known "Banff" sign just outside the town
The well known "Banff" sign just outside the town

 

 

Scene on Banff Avenue downtownScene on Banff Avenue downtown

What to See and Do in Banff

Banff has attractions and things to do for all ages, and interests. Some of the popular attractions include the following:

  • Banff Visitor Information Centre, 224 Banff Avenue ... phone 403.762.8421
  • Banff Gondola
  • Tunnel Mountain Drive
  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Johnson Canyon Trail
  • Day trip to Lake Louise
  • Drive the Bow Valley Parkway
  • Banff Avenue shopping
  • River rafting and tubing
  • Vermilion Lakes
  • Spas
  • Nature and wildlife tours
Banff Avenue, looking north, with the red roofs of the Moose Hotel on the left in the distance
Banff Avenue, looking north, with the red roofs of the Moose Hotel on the left in the distance

 

 

Banff Travel Information from TripAdvisor

All Hotels in Banff

Downtown Banff Hotels

Hotels in Near the Banff Gondola

Vacation Rentals in Banff

Downtown Banff B&Bs

Restaurants and dining options in Banff

Things to Do in Banff

Banff Travel Guide

Click to review hotels and restaurants, read reviews and make reservations at TripAdvisor

Views Around Banff

Snowy day in September of 2017, at the top of the Banff Goldola
Snowy day in September of 2017, at the top of the Banff Goldola

 


One of the finest lodging options in Banff ... the Moose Hotel
One of the finest lodging options in Banff ... the Moose Hotel
Vermilion Lakes Parkway in Banff
Vermilion Lakes Parkway in Banff
Wildlife crossing overpass on the Trans Canada Highway near Banff
Wildlife crossing overpass on the Trans Canada Highway near Banff
Elk crossing the road ... near Banff, Alberta
Elk crossing the road ... near Banff, Alberta

 

What to See and Do in Lake Louise

  • Fairmont Chateau Hotel at Lake LouiseFairmont Chateau Hotel at Lake Louise
    Lake Louise Visitor Information Centre, Samson Mall... phone 403.522.3833
  • Lake Louise
  • Moraine Lake
  • Peyto Lake
  • Plain of Six Glaciers
  • Sentinel Pass
  • Lake Louise Ski Resort
  • Lake Louise Gondola
  • River rafting and tubing
  • Nature and wildlife tours
  • Day trip to Banff
  • Drive west from Lake Louise on the Icefield Parkway
  • Columbia Icefield Tours
  • Althabasca Falls
Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise
Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise
Glacier-fed Lake Moraine, offering spectacular lake and mountain views, and lined with man hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.
Lake Moraine
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Lake Louise ... Deep, Cold and Beautiful
Lake Louise ... Deep, Cold and Beautiful
Post Hotel in the Village of Lake Louise
Post Hotel in the Village of Lake Louise

 

Lake Louise Travel Information from TripAdvisor

Hotels in Lake Louise

Post Hotel and Spa in Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Restaurants and dining options in Lake Louise

Things to Do in Lake Louise

Lake Louise Travel Guide


Click to review hotels and restaurants, read reviews and make reservations at TripAdvisor

 

Post Hotel in the Village of Lake Louise

 

What to See and Do Along the Icefield Parkway and Jasper

  • Jasper Information Centrer, 500 Connaught Drive... phone 780.852.6236
  • Jasper SkyTram
  • Glacier Skywalk
  • Pyramid and Patricia Lakes
  • Marmot Basin Ski Area
  • Ice Explorer tours
  • Columbia Icefield
  • Maligne Canyon
  • Athabasca Falls
  • Jasper National Park ... camping, hiking, wildlife tours
  • River rafting and tubing
Early season snowfall along the Icefield Parkway ... September, 2017
Early season snowfall along the Icefield Parkway ... September, 2017
Snow-covered high peak along the Icefield Parkway
Snow-covered high peak along the Icefield Parkway
Quiet lake reflection along the Icefield Parkway
Quiet lake reflection along the Icefield Parkway
Simpson's Num-Ti-Jah Lodge along the Icefield Parkway
Simpson's Num-Ti-Jah Lodge along the Icefield Parkway
Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre
Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre
When planning your trip to the incredible Columbia Icefield, be advised that crowds are to be expected. It's a popular destination, and rightfully so!
Crowds at the Columbia Icefield in Canada
Entering Jasper National Park of Canada
Entering Jasper National Park of Canada
Welcome to Jasper. Wonderful. Formidable.
Welcome to Jasper. Wonderful. Formidable.

 

Interactive Map of the Banff - Lake Louise Area

More Information about Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper

Banff and Lake Louise Tourism

Parks Canada

Banff National Park

Jasper National Park

Kootenay National Park

Travel Alberta

Alberta Road Conditons and Cams

 

Banff Travel Guide from TripAdvisor: Hotels, Restaurants, Things to Do

 

Lake Louise Travel Guide from TripAdvisor

 

Jasper Travel Guide from TripAdvisor