10 Things To Do in Banff This Fall

Blink & you’ll miss it! Fall in Banff National Park is short but sweet.

We’ve listed the top 10 things to do in Banff this fall.

With the summer season reaching its end in this stunning corner of the world – the town of Banff and its surrounding playground seems to let out its collective breath. After all, it’s survived the summer rush, and as nature prepares for another dramatic turn – winter, the autumn season sneaks into perspective. Fall in Banff encompasses the best of both worlds – warm days with glimpses of the magic that lies ahead.

Our best true local tip – fall in the Rockies happens from the beginning of September to the beginning of November.

Before we get to our list – check out the wonderful Fall Events we have happening at the Castle!

(C) Paul Zizka
couple hiking in autumn

10. Larch Hikes

A term synonymous with fall in Banff – larch season. As Mother Nature takes her turn on the fashion catwalk, she starts displaying bright yellows – one her best colours – on the surrounding mountain slopes. Larch season is not a myth, but it is such a short window that you can miss some incredible views by delaying your plans by days. To catch the best of larch season, we recommend the following hikes: Sentinel Pass, Sunshine Meadows, Pocaterra Ridge & Taylor Lake.

Taken high in the mountains of Banff National Park in Larch Valley in autumn as the needles change color and the trees become like yellow torches.
Taken high in the mountains of Banff National Park in Larch Valley in autumn as the needles change color and the trees become like yellow torches.
(C) Kalen Emsley
Reflection of autumn trees and mountains in a still lake

9. Relax & Unwind

Summer is always a flutter of activity – swimming, hiking, patio, bike rides & more. While being active and social is always great, sometimes a little downtime is what’s needed. Fall in Banff is the time and the place to accomplish just that. Prepare your skin and body for the dry seasons ahead by heading to the Fairmont Spa at Fairmont Banff Springs. This Banff Spa offers indulgent massages (because everyone deserves to treat themselves), luxurious facials, salon services and more.

Pro Tip – Click here for the best Banff Spa Offers we could find!

8. Go For A Paddle

Known for its crystal blue lakes – Banff National Park has a plethora of fall activities that can be done on its lakes and rivers. Before the temperature drops, head out for one last adventure on these fantastic bodies of water. Whether canoeing at Lake Louise, paddleboarding around Vermillion Lakes or even kayaking down the Bow River – soak up the scenery and catch glimpses of wildlife before hibernation mode hits.

Hint – The Banff Canoe Club is home to some great water sports gear!

blue water lake surrounded by mountains
people canoeing on a lake

7. Patio Season

Flanked by warm days and cooler nights – patio season in Banff lasts until the very first snowfall. A true local will try to soak up as much warm weather as possible before it’s over. Home to some truly incredible restaurants and bars, Banff has no shortage of patios in the downtown core or at the surrounding hotels. So if you’re in the mood for Alberta beef or tacos with a view – enjoy the best Banff patios this fall.

Pro Tip – Want to get away from the crowds and feel like a VIP? Fairmont Banff Springs is home to not one but FOUR different (but equally noteworthy) patios. STOCK Food & DrinkRundle PatioWaldhaus Pub & Biergarten & Stanley’s Smokehouse!

7. Icefield Parkway

Who says that road trips are best left to the summer?! With one of the most scenic highways in the world in our backyard, exploring Banff National Park and all it has to offer is not very hard. Grab your friends, some snacks and hit the open road – chances are you’ll catch some wildlife, gorgeous views and lakes along the journey.

close up of a waterfall
(C) Finn Gerkens
four lane road leading to the mountains

5. Gondola

Catch bird’s eye views of fall in Banff National Park with a trip up the Gondola. Promising eye-catching scenery at the top allows you to take a mindful moment or capture some fresh content for the gram! If you are able, the hike up the trail is relatively moderate. It’ll make views at the top so much sweeter!

Pro Tip – Hit the Lake Louise Gondola before they close to prepare for the ski season!

gondolas taking people to the top of the mountain

4. Wildlife Watching

As the summer season draws to a close – the wildlife starts to emerge again. With the winter months nearing, wildlife in Banff National Park is getting ready for their winter’s now. One doesn’t need to venture too far from town to see elk roaming around or a bear looking for the last of the mountain berries. This fall, pick a trail, bring some bear spray and head out to see the wildlife in action!

Please note – respect the wildlife and their habitat. Please keep your distance.

3. Golf, Golf, Golf

Home to Banff National Park’s only golf course, The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course is a dream course. Boasting some of the best views, golfers of any level can keep it casual on the driving range, up-the-ante on the Tunnel 9 Course or really lean in and play all 18 holes on the Stanley Thompson Course.

(C) Jacob Sjöman. [email protected]
aerial view of a golf course

2. Johnston’s Canyon

Banff is home to waterfalls that you will want to chase – sorry, TLC! If you want an outdoor activity that provides beautiful landscapes – Johnston’s Canyon has it all. Rushing waterfalls, an easy path and thin crowds allows you to feel like you have the place to yourself.

Stretch Your Legs: Extend your walk past the falls to the Ink Pots just further up the trail! We promise you won’t regret it!

The hiking trail of Johnson Canyon in Banff National Park of Canada
The hiking trail of Johnson Canyon in Banff National Park of Canada

1. See One of the Shows Happening at the Hotel

This fall, Fairmont Banff Springs will be hosting various events – some signature events like our new Murder Mystery show or Drag Brunch require tickets, and other events like Oktoberfest are all about celebrating the mild fall weather!

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