Banff is a beautiful town located in Alberta, Canada, known for its stunning natural scenery and outdoor activities. From hiking to skiing, there’s something for everyone in Banff. In this article, I will share the perfect 4 day Banff itinerary to help you make the most of your visit to the gorgeous Canadian Rockies, Banff!
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4 Day Banff Itinerary: Exploring the Best Of Banff
Looking for the perfect four-day Itinerary for Banff? I’ve got a 4 day itinerary to Banff with all the highlights and must-see spots in a quick and efficient itinerary. Looking for a what to do in Banff, where to stay, what to eat? See my curated Banff travel guide.
- Day 1: Explore The Town of Banff, Banff Gondola, and Upper Hot Springs
- Day 2: Visit Lake Moraine & Lake Louise
- Day 3: Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, Johnston Canyon
- Day4: Drive the Icefields Parkway to Columbia Icefield
day N O . 1
EXPLORE BANFF TOWN, BANFF GONDOLA, & UPPER HOT SPRINGS
The morning of arrival:
Once you arrive, pick up your rental car at Calgary aiport (YYC). Your Canadian Rockies itinerary officially begins! On your first day in Banff, take some time to explore the town.
- Start your day with a coffee and pastry at Wild Flour Bakery
- Take a stroll through the town of Banff
- Take a ride on the Banff Gondola to get a bird’s eye view of the town and surrounding mountains
- Relax in the natural hot springs at Upper Hot Springs
The town of Banff & Downtown Banff is cute and the architecture is reminiscent of a European alpine village. Banff is a charming destination, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes to explore. Start the day by taking a stroll through the town, down Banff Avenue. This charming street is lined with more boutique shops making it the perfect place to explore and get a feel for the town!
Next, head to the Banff Gondola, which takes you up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. From the top, you’ll be able to see panoramic breathtaking views of the town, Bow River, and surrounding mountains. The gondola ride itself is an experience not to be missed, with stunning views at every turn!
After the gondola ride, head to Upper Hot Springs for a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs. The hot springs are located at the base of Sulphur Mountain, surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains. It’s only $10 for the entrance and you can stay as long as you like. They are open until 10 pm. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of exploring. And lastly, finish your first day in Banf with dinner at the unique and fun Grizzly House restaurant.
day N O . 2
Visit Lake Moraine & Lake Louise
Morning: Explore Lake Moraine
Start your day with a visit to Moraine Lake for sunrise, one of the most picturesque lakes in the world. Watch the alpenglow paint the surrounding mountains with a warm, golden hue, and marvel at the lake’s turquoise waters. The brilliant blue water is set against a backdrop of towering mountains After taking in the views, hike the nearby trails for a closer look at the lake.
- Explore the turquoise waters of Lake Moraine
- Take a easy hike around Lake Louise and admire the stunning scenery
Lake Moraine and Lake Louise are two of the most beautiful destinations in Banff! They are also the most popular, to make sure you have a great experience read my 20 tips on visiting Lake Moraine.
Next, head to Lake Louise, which is equally stunning. Take a hike around the lake, or head to the Lake Louise Ski Resort for some winter activities. In the summer, you can go canoeing on the lake or take a horseback ride through the surrounding mountains.
For a Lake Louise canoe experience on the lake. Paddle through the clear waters and marvel at the towering glaciers and snow-capped peaks in the distance! It costs $145 per hour for 2 people. After, enjoy a picnic lunch by the lake or enjoy afternoon tea & lunch at the Fairmont Banff Lake Louise (make reservations in advance!). Finish the afternoon with an easy 3-mile hike to Lake Agnes Tea House.
In the evening, head to Banff Avenue for a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants.
Read: My List of Recommended Restaurants in the Banff Travel Guide
day N O . 3
Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, Johnston Canyon
- Take a Lake Minnewanka Cruise/ boat tour
- Relax at Two Jack Lake
- Hike to the Johnston Canyon waterfalls
Lake Minnewanka is the largest lake in Banff, and a boat tour is a perfect way to explore its beautiful scenery. After the boat tour, head to Two Jack Lake for a relaxing afternoon by the water. Enjoy a picnic here and relax.
In the evening before sunset 5 pm, take a hike to Johnston Canyon, one of Banff’s most popular destinations. When we went there were barely any people and we had the place all to ourselves. The trail follows Johnston Creek, leading to a beautiful series of waterfalls. It’s an easy hike suitable for all ages and abilities, with plenty of opportunities for stunning photos along the way.
Day N O . 4
Drive the Icefields Parkway to Columbia Icefield
Drive the scenic Icefields Parkway
- Stop By Bow Lake
- Visit Peyto Lake
- Visit the Columbia Icefield and take a tour of the Athabasca Glacier
The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world, with breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies. The drive takes you through Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the scenery along the way.
One of the prettiest lakes is Peyto Lake! It’s one of the first stops after Bow Lake. The trail is well paved and there’s plenty of parking.
The highlight of the drive is the Columbia Icefield, a massive sheet of ice that stretches over 200 square kilometers. Take a tour on the Athabasca Glacier, where you can walk on the ice and learn about the history and geology of the glacier. It’s an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss!
Banff is a stunning destination with plenty of natural beauty to explore. With this four-day itinerary, you’ll be able to experience some of the best that Banff has to offer, from relaxing in natural hot springs to hiking through beautiful mountain scenery. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget.
Tips for Visiting Banff
Rise Early: Waking up early to make the most of your time in Banff is crucial! Especially if you are visiting Lake Moraine and Lake Louise. If you don’t want to deal with traffic and restrictive parking (since personal vehicles are no longer allowed on Moraine Lake) Book a Parks Canada shuttle (advance reservations required) or sunrise tour!
Carry Bear Spray: If you are planning to hike, you absolutely need to have a can of bear spray. It’s better to be overprepared or go with a group that will carry bear spray.
Purchase your Canada National Parks Pass: Instead of paying for a day pass each day, avoid the lines and pre-purchase multiple days on one trip! Or you can purchase the early pass ahead of time online.
Get International Data: Or get a handy pocket wifi and you can share your 5G service with up to 10 other persons!
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