3-Day Fall Banff Itinerary
A guide for what to eat, do & see in Banff National Park!
Often heralded as one of the most scenic places in Canada and North America, Banff National Park is a beautiful destination year-round. Still, fall in Banff National Park is a special time to explore this charming piece of the Canadian Rockies.
Fall in Banff is, simply put, magical. With the temperatures dipping slightly, the trees turning a vibrant yellow and the summer crowds dispersing, you will feel like you have Banff all to yourself. To put an exclamation mark on an already perfect picture – guests of Fairmont Banff Springs will have exclusive offerings available only in the fall. As a result, they can enjoy a quiet sanctuary in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
We have put together what we think is the best 3-day Banff Itinerary for fall. Enjoy!
Know Before You Go
An Introduction To Banff National Park
Located in the Canadian Rockies and the province of Alberta, Banff National Park covers around 6641km2 of land. Filled with snow-covered peaks in every direction you look in, diverse wildlife, rushing rivers, and much more, Banff National Park is a spectacular place to spend your fall vacation! Below we’ve listed some things you should know ahead of your itinerary:
Location: Alberta, Canada
Nearest City & Airport: Calgary
Available Transportation to the Park: Car Rentals, Shuttle Buses
Available Transportation in the Park: Shuttle Buses, Car Rentals, Bikes, Public Transportation etc
Park Pass Costs: Can be found here.
Buying a Parks Pass
Explore soaring peaks, paddle across turquoise alpine lakes or find a place to soak up the view – since Banff is a National Park, purchasing a Parks Pass is mandatory. Think of this as your passport to adventure and one that helps Banff stay protected!
You will find more information here.
What To Pack
Weather in the Canadian Rockies can be unpredictable so packing the right things is essential! The weather in Banff in fall is generally on the chillier side, particularly in the mornings and evenings. Packing layers is your best bet – so you can add or remove layers as the day switches temperatures. If you are planning alpine hikes – prepare for some light snow, so a waterproof jacket and hiking boots are great for those doing more challenging hikes.
Respecting The Wildlife
One of the most exciting things about visiting Banff National Park is its diverse wildlife, and it’s not uncommon for wildlife to be spotted in the town of Banff and around Banff National Park. To keep wildlife safe, all visitors are asked to keep a safe distance from nature and never to feed them. More information can be found here.
3 Days In Banff National Park in Fall
Morning: Banff Gondola
Afternoon: Oktoberfest @ Waldhaus Pub
Evening: 360 Dome
Rise and shine, throw back the curtains and soak in the views of Banff National Park! If you are not in a hurry this morning, browse the newly launched in-room dining breakfast menu – and enjoy some coffee and breakfast in bed!
Once you’ve had your fill of breakfast, grab your things and head down to the Concierge Desk, who can help you book your tickets for the Banff Gondola. After that, you’ll have to either walk into town or take the Roam Bus (which guests of the hotel get for free) to the Pursuit Hub, located at the Elk & Avenue Hotel, to grab the shuttle up on the Gondola.
From there, enjoy the ride into the sky! At the top, enjoy grand views of 6 different mountain ranges in Banff National Park – seriously, the views from the top are incredible! The Banff Gondola also offers an interpretive exhibit, gift shops and places to grab a snack before heading down to enjoy Oktoberfest at Waldhaus Pub.
OUR TIP – Can’t wait to see the views, IRL? For a sneak peek into the views at the top of the Gondola, check out their 360 camera!
After your gondola adventure, head down to the Waldhaus Pub & Biergarten for some amazing patio views, great beer and all the Bavarian pub food you can handle; the Waldhaus Pub is also home to “Das Boot” beer served in a boot-shaped glass that holds about 64 oz of beer. Beware, though, that much beer is not for the faint of heart.
OUR TIP – If your fall trip to Banff lands between the dates of September 17 – October 3, you get to enjoy The Waldhaus’ annual Oktoberfest celebration. Enjoy authentic German beer (the only place in Banff serving it), a footlong bratwurst, a DJ spinning some tunes, prizes and oh, did we mention amazing views?
After your afternoon at the Waldhaus Pub & Biergarten, grab your pool gear and head to the Aquatic Centre for a dip – enjoy a relaxing swim in the indoor and outdoor pools and the hot tub.
Once the splishing and the splashing is done, head to your room to freshen up before your 360 Dome dinner experience.
One look at the 360 Dome, and you know you’ll be in for a treat. Besides serving a sunrise breakfast, brunch, and a royal tea menu – the five-course chef’s special dinner is a dining experience you won’t soon forget. This is the perfect way to end your first day in the Canadian Rockies, starting with an amuse bouche and ending with a delectable dessert and Rocky Mountain views.
Morning & Afternoon: Larch Season Hike
Evening: Dinner at 1888 Chop House
Morning & Afternoon
Instead of navigating this hike alone, Fairmont Banff Springs offers a guided private experience of Sentinel Pass or Effiel Lake. This tour includes transportation, picnic-style lunch and snacks, one non-alcoholic drink, use of a Go-Pro and keepsake memory card, water, equipment and a guide! This allows visitors more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Banff National Park.
OUR TIP – Here’s a sneak peek of the views!
Now that your big day of hiking and adventuring is nearing a close, why not indulge in a delicious and authentic dinner at 1888 Chop House? After all, you’ve earned it.
Dining at 1888 Chop House is a real treat – from exceptional service to food made with local ingredients (hello, Alberta beef), the evening even starts with a champagne cart rolling by!
OUR TIP – Calories don’t count in the mountains – so if you were thinking of that luscious dessert in 1888 – go for it!
Afternoon: Cocktail Classes at Rundle Bar
Evening: Dinner and Drinks at Rundle Bar
After all that eating and all those adventures, it’s time to enjoy some downtime. It’s time to hit the Spa at Fairmont Banff Springs. Enjoy the quiet lounge, mineral pool or the three different temperature waterfalls; there are even saunas, steam rooms and indoor and outdoor hot tubs and more!
Are you looking for more? Of course, with an extensive treatment list – rejuvenating facials and relaxing body treatments are just part of the Banff spa experience.
OUR TIP: There’s more to the spa at the Castle – there’s even a fully equipped salon which offers makeup applications, hair styling (and cutting) and the opportunity to get that mani/pedi!
After your relaxing afternoon at the spa, head to the Rundle Bar to enjoy a cocktail class – hosted by one of our famed mixologists. During the cocktail class, you’ll be treated to not one, not two, but three of our delicious regional cocktails. Spend the next hour tasting the different liquors and ingredients that make up these drinks, sampling the finished product and watching as the mixologist creates fabulous concoctions right in front of your eyes!
You won’t have to travel far to enjoy the rest of your evening! Once your cocktail class wraps, head down the stairs to the main bar area and find the perfect spot to perch and watch the evening go by. If your stay overlaps on the weekend – enjoy the sounds of a DJ setting the atmosphere for a great evening.
Once seated – scan the cocktail menu (so many to try, so little time) and indulge in some beautiful eats as the evening and your stay draw to a close.