Banff is a town of extraordinary diversity and excitement.We in Banff are intimately connected to the lush environment around our fair town and show great pride in acting as ambassadors for guests from around the globe.
Casting a Line: FishingNothing says summer quite like spending time around the water. Glacial runoff from surrounding giants which stand sentinel around the town allow for some of the most singular visual feasts imaginable. Milky blue hued rivers and lakes not only present a stunning backdrop, but offer rich and plentiful possibilities for fresh water anglers looking for the ultimate catch. There are a number of popular locations for enthusiasts to cast their line including the Bow River, Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake and Bow Lake where if lucky, you might find yourself reeling in a Brown Trout, Rocky Mountain Whitefish, Cutthrout, Brook, or Bull Trout. Before setting out however, just be sure to check local regulations and licencing requirements from the Parks Canada website.
Getting Gritty: ATV ToursWhen visiting a destination such as Banff, one of the absolute musts is to get out and explore some of the expansive and stunning backcountry so close at hand. Doing so is possible a number of ways, but if you are looking for means of exploring via adrenaline pumping adventure then your best bet is to check out one of Banff’s many ATV operators found easily through a number of websites such as ENJOY BANFF. With outfits offering tours spanning from two hours to overnight excursions, you are bound to find a package that suits your particular skill level and desire. Companies such as Banff Adventures and Banff Travel will help you develop an intimate understanding of our local environment, all while being guided along terrain you would have never otherwise seen without an experienced guide and naturalist on hand.
Riding Towards the Heavens: The Sulphur Mountain GondolaLooking for an activity that will give you a thrilling panorama of Banff and the Bow Valley with unequalled views that stretch towards the horizon? Not to be missed on your next trip is the Sulphur Mountain Gondola which after great anticipation reopened on May 1st of 2016 after undergoing a $26 million facelift to its upper mountain terminal. The upper terminal building, originally constructed in 1980 was demolished in September of 2015 and was partially reopened to the public at the beginning of May with the full world class facility coming online as of August 1st, 2016. The SMG has been one of Banff’s highlight attractions for decades offering epic views of the town as well as the six inspiring local mountain ranges. Situated just five minutes from the southern end of Banff Avenue, this one of a kind adventure will whisk you up the dominating peaks surrounding Banff and give visitors access to the inspiring sky-walk upon reaching the summit. Tickets can be purchased in advance, or upon arrival at base station. Be sure not to forget your camera!
White Water and Blue Skies: River RaftingRiver rafting offers some of the most heart pounding adventure a person could hope to experience while on holiday. Thrill seekers come from around the world to get a first-hand glance at some utterly spellbinding runs all while trying to leave their mark amongst formidable glacial runoff. Big water in Alberta has been inspiring travellers for years and will continue to do so by luring newcomers towards the Kicking Horse and Kananaskis rivers. Outfits at both locations offer experts who are more than willing to show you the ropes all while teaching about navigation of local fresh water arteries. There are numerous well established facilities on hand with skilled and knowledgeable guides and long histories of safety as well as impeccable customer service. Get in contact with any of them and they will be eager to assist you in putting together the adventure package of your dreams.
Banff in the Saddle: Horseback RidingA horseback adventure is a one of a kind experience that will have you marvelling at an amazing natural backdrop all under the guide of trained ranch hands and naturalists. Trips can last from anywhere between a couple of hours for the inexperienced to overnight forays for the more stout of heart. Popular routes surrounding the area include the Sundance Canyon Trail and the Spray River Loop, both of which will give riders an exceptional look at the very best of Banff. Many different outfits exist, all of which will go out of their way to make your experience a memorable one. Horseback riding has been a long standing mode of transportation in and around Banff dating back to when the area was nothing more than a trade outpost servicing the Canadian Pacific Railroad. As far as technology may have taken us, it is still our four-legged travelling companions that are able to transport us into secluded areas that conventional vehicles are unable to reach. Despite your previous experiences with horses, it is a guarantee that such a tour will leave a lasting memory of your holiday in your mind for years to come.
Above the Clouds: Local Helicopter ToursIf you have ever had a friend who has taken a helicopter tour while on holiday, you are probably aware that there is little else they seem to talk about when they get back home. Truly, sky tours of your holiday surroundings offer an experience quite unlike any other, and the more dramatic the landscape, the more rewarding that experience seems to be. This is why a Banff helicopter tour weighs in on our list of “summer musts”. With flight plans that include the “Three Sisters Peaks”, “Mount Assinboine”, “Mount Lougheed”, “Mount Sparrowhook”, “The Bow Valley” and The Kananaskis Valley, you had better be sure to have a full memory card for your camera before setting off. The Canadian Rockies have spent the better part of a geologic age shaping some of the world’s most inspiring peaks and vistas. Some of our guests make their way to our little town from the other side of the planet just to see what we are fortunate enough to have at hand every day of the year, and it is our hope that they get to experience every inch of the supernatural surroundings which make Banff as beautiful and singular as it is.
Up for some Spelunking? Cave ToursFrom high in the sky to subterranean adventure, we want to show it all off here in Banff. Unbeknownst to most visitors are the network of caves and possibilities for unique exploration while visiting us both above and below ground. The Cave and Basin historical site will get you and your guests trekking downwards after a collection of elevated boardwalks skirting our cherished thermal hot springs. If you are looking for something even more intense, while also expertly monitored, we highly recommend a short drive out of town to discover the Canmore Rat’s Nest Cave. Here you will climb through more than 4km of inspiring features and find yourself negotiating rappels and passageways all while listening to the captivating sounds of water trickling its way through cracks, crevasse, and drop-offs.
Glacial Delights: The Columbia Icefield & Icefield’s Parkway
Coming to Banff without paying a visit to the Columbia Icefield would be like a trip to Paris without a stroll along the Seine or jaunt to Istanbul that forgets to include the Hagia Sophia. Listed as one of Condé Nast’s top drives in the world, running between Lake Louise and Jasper, you will be utterly floored by the 230 km Icefield’s Parkway. A drive along the parkway (Highway 93) is an experience all to itself, and you would be advised to make a day out of your journey by packing a lunch and lots of water. Doing so, affords visitors the chance to stop whenever they feel inspired by a particularly beautiful vista or milky blue glacial lake (There are lots of them). As you are in one of Canada’s great national parks, be on the lookout for local wildlife which is healthy and abundant. Just be mindful to always keep a safe distance if you happen to see one of the park’s residents off to the side of the road and to respect their space. Upon reaching the Columbia Icefield you can make your way to the iceflow solo or as part of a guided adventure tour on a big wheeled Ice Bus! Do not miss the stunning 1 km cliff-edge walkway which culminates on the glass bottom Glacier Skybridge hanging nearly 1,000 feet above the valley floor, for those who have mastered their fear of heights.