Banff National Park is full of amazing year-round adventures. Millions of visitors come every year to create a lifetime of memories, and there are many Banff tours to help you make that happen.
While there are many fun things to do in Banff you can plan on your own, some activities require gear or guides that know what you’re getting yourself into. Whether you’d like to try a via ferrata climb, whitewater rafting, an epic helicopter tour, or watch wildlife, our list of Banff tours got you covered.
In this blog post, we cover the best:
- Top 3 best-selling Banff tours
- Banff tours in summer
- Banff tours in winter
- Wildlife tours in Banff
- Adventure tours in Banff
- Banff tours from Calgary
Top 3 best-selling Banff tours
These are the three most popular activities for visitors of Banff National Park. They’re all great options, especially for first-time visitors. My favourite is Lake Louise & Moraine Lake, the most beautiful lakes in Canada.
- Banff Gondola – Take in the views of Canada’s most popular mountain town while admiring the panoramic views of the surrounding mountain peaks (read about our Banff Gondola experience).
- Lake Minnewanka Cruise – sail across the beautiful glacier-fed Lake Minnewanka while learning about its history and wildlife.
- Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing Tour – Enjoy the most beautiful lakes in Canada on a guided tour. You get to explore the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel, Lake Louise with Victoria Glacier in the background, and then Moraine Lake with a walk along its shoreline.
Banff tours in summer
Sunshine Sightseeing Gondola
Sunshine Sightseeing Gondola with a chairlift takes you to the mountain peaks of the Canadian Rockies at 2385 meters. There are several hiking trails from the top with alpine lakes, meadows of wildflowers and lots of wildlife-watching opportunities.
Bow River Horseback Ride
The 1-hour Horseback Ride takes you along Bow River in Banff to Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the birthplace of Banff National Park.
Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour
A full-day Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefields tour features unforgettable glacier and lake viewpoints. Ride in a giant bus towards Columbia Icefield, where you can walk and even drink right from the Athabasca Glacier, followed by a walk on a glass-floored Glacier Skywalk with magnificent views, and ending with a walk along the picturesque Bow Lake.
Banff tours in winter
Johnston Canyon Icewalk
Johnston Canyon is a beautiful place year-round. In summer, you can admire the bustling waterfalls with colourful mineral springs at the end. In winter, it’s a magical winter wonderland where you hear waterfalls behind the ice walls and watch ice climbers as they conquer the giant ice columns.
Family-friendly Horse Drawn Sleigh
Take your kids on a fun ride on the horse-drawn sleigh, where you can learn more about Banff from the guide as you watch for wildlife, followed by a fireside hot chocolate drink. You can choose this tour in Banff or another in Lake Louise that takes you along the frozen lake.
Scenic Helicopter & Snowshoe Tour
Similar to the Heli Hike tour described below, the helicopter takes you on an exciting journey above the winter wonderland of the Canadian Rockies, followed by a 1-hour snowshoe tour to a frozen waterfall.
Wildlife tours in Banff
Evening Wildlife Guided Tour
Watching wildlife in the evening is the best time. When the temperatures go down, animals leave their hiding to feed. The most commonly seen animals are elk and bighorn sheep. If you’d like to see bears, come to Banff in June when they feed close to roads before the snow melts higher in the mountains.
Wildlife on the Bow River Big Canoe Tour
A truly unique way to watch wildlife is from a big canoe going down Bow River. The tour starts in town, and as you near Vermilion Lakes, you can see bald eagles, elk, beavers, and even bears sometimes.
Grizzly Bear Refuge Tour with Lunch
Image courtesy of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
This tour starts in Banff and takes you to the neighbouring Yoho National Park to see Takakkaw Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Canada, followed by visiting the orphaned grizzly bear Boo at the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge in Golden, British Columbia.
View the full blog post: Wildlife in Canada: 14 Canadian Animals You Can See (& Best Places to See Them)
Mount Norquay 2.5 or 4-hour Guided Via Ferrata Climb
Try climbing the Italian way (via ferrata = supported climb with steel holders), suitable for beginners and all adventurers. Starting with a suspension bridge, you can soak in the panoramic mountain views as you climb toward the summit of Mt. Norquay.
Helicopter Flight with a Hike
While you can book a scenic helicopter flight, why not combine it with an epic hike? You can choose between 20, 30, and 55-minute flights over the waterfalls, alpine lakes, and glaciers, followed by a hike to Twin Falls.
Beginner Canyoning Half-Day Tour
Heart Creek Canyon is near Banff and Canmore and is a perfect place for beginners. You learn how to rappel down a waterfall with a rope and keep increasing the length as you go down the canyon. The (optional) 18-meter slide at the end is a cherry on top!
Banff tours from Calgary
Moraine Lake & Lake Louise
Enjoy Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, the prettiest lakes in Canada, on a half-day tour when you don’t have to worry about driving or long lines.
Banff National Park Day Trip
A full-day trip to Banff includes visiting the town and its beautiful corners – Bow Falls, Tunnel Mountain, Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, Moraine Lake & Lake Louise.
Banff & Yoho National Parks Day Tour
See the best of the two stunning national parks – Banff and Yoho. You explore Yoho’s iconic places – Emerald Lake, Natural Bridge, and Takakkaw Falls. You stop at Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Banff Town on the way back.