Top 10 Reasons to Visit Banff in Summer

There are countless reasons to visit Banff National Park but here are our top 10 reasons to make a trip to the Canadian Rockies this summer!

The days are longer, the temperatures are warmer and the lakes are bluer. Summer in the Canadian Rockies is a bucket list experience that can’t be missed. Whether you come to Banff National Park for a quick weekend away or an epic 10-day mountain road trip, it’s worth the visit – we promise!

The spectacular beauty of Banff National Park is world-renowned for a reason and it truly shines in summertime. Summer is the perfect season to connect with nature and break away from the everyday in the Canadian Rockies. Here are our top 10 reasons to come to Banff this summer. It’s time to start planning your Banff getaway today!

two people walk outside in summer

1. Room to Breathe

If there were ever a time to get out and breathe that fresh, mountain air – it’s now! It’s a proven fact that being in nature boosts our mood so why not connect with nature in one of the most beautiful places in the world? Enjoy the wide-open spaces, roll the windows down, breathe it all in. We promise it’ll do you good.

Photo Credit: Noel Hendrickson

The Great Outdoors

2. Hiking

Banff is a hiker’s paradise and summer is the best season to get out on the trails. Whether you’re a beginner hiker or an experienced mountain lover — Banff has something for everyone. Our favourite hike to start with is Tunnel Mountain Trail; a beginner hike that offers amazing views overlooking the town of Banff and surrounding areas. This short hike is the perfect way to start or end your day as it only takes about 1.5 – 2 hours.

To learn more about hiking in Banff National Park, visit the Parks Canada website.

Grizzly Bear in Jasper National Park, Canada

3. Local Wildlife

Okay, we can’t exactly promise that you’ll see wildlife if you come to Banff but there’s a really good chance. From the elk and deer that roam around the town of Banff to coyotes, grizzly bears, and maybe even moose — you’re bound to catch a glimpse of some of the incredible wildlife that calls Banff National Park home. If you are lucky enough to encounter any local wildlife, be sure to keep a safe distance at all times and remember that while it’s common to see animals in the area, they are still wild! Keep a generous distance between you and any animals, do not feed them, and brush up on your wildlife safety knowledge before you enter the national park so you’re prepared!

4. Epic Golf

There are endless outdoor activities to fill your time with here in Banff but don’t forget about golf! Golf enthusiasts probably already have the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course on their bucket list but if you’re new to the game, why not pick up a club and try your hand at the sport while you’re in the heart of the Canadian Rockies? Even if you, sadly, will never be on the PGA tour, you’ll still get to enjoy the day with a cold drink in hand while taking in the majestic mountain views that surround the course. It’s truly a win-win, regardless of what’s on the scorecard at the end of the day.

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

5. Getting Out On The Water

So water sports might not be the first activities that come to mind when you think of Banff National Park but summer is the best time to get out on the water (or in the water if you’re feeling brave!). Up for an adventure? Try whitewater rafting! For a more relaxed pace, give canoeing or kayaking a go with help from the Banff Canoe Club. Let someone else take the wheel and hop aboard a Lake Minnewanka cruise! New this year, try the Beer Voyage cruise and enjoy local brews while you take in the views!

Vacation Mode: Activated

6. The Incredible Food Scene

Breweries, distilleries, farm-to-table menus, bakeries, local Alberta beef; you name it, it’s here in Banff National Park. While you might come for the views, you’ll definitely come back for the culinary scene. We could write an entirely separate blog just on where to eat & drink in Banff but for now, we’ll suggest a few spots that you really can’t miss. Start your day with a coffee and pastry at Wildflour Bakery, have pizza for lunch at The Bear Street Tavern, then quench your thirst with a local beer at Banff Ave. Brewing Company. For an upscale night out, have a pre-dinner drink on The Lookout Patio and take in the best views in Banff before your divine steak dinner at 1888 Chop House.

two people touch their glasses together while sitting at a table on a balcony

7. Rest & Relaxation

We love an adventure-filled, jam-packed mountain trip as much as the next person but we also love taking the time to pamper ourselves and rest while we’re on vacation. Banff is the perfect place to sit back, relax, and recharge at one of the many spas in the area. For everything from massages and facials to manicures and hair services, we recommend a visit to the renowned Fairmont Spa. The alpine surroundings, the healing mineral waters, and a moment of tranquillity make the spa a perfect addition to any Banff trip.

Treat your self! Click here to book a spa treatment at Fairmont Spa.

Views for Days

8. The Unbelievably Blue Lakes

You have to see it to believe it! The glacier-fed lakes in the Canadian Rockies are incredible and pictures don’t do them justice (although, a shot of Moraine Lake may just bring in more likes on your Instagram than ever before!). The breathtaking turquoise colour is a result of sunlight reflecting off the silt or rock flour that flows into the lakes with the glacier run-off. The lakes in this area start melting in late spring and the farther into summer you go, the more vibrant the colour of the lakes. We recommend visiting in July or August to see the lakes in their prime!

Our top 3 recommendations: Lake Louise, Peyto Lake and Moraine Lake. Talk about postcard-worthy!

Peyto Lake during summer in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
peyto lake in banff national park
9. Scenic Mountain Drives

Windows down, music up, mountain views, and sunny skies — does this sound perfect to you because it does to us! We know that driving doesn’t exactly sound like a top tourist attraction but driving through the mountains in the summertime is! For the ultimate Rockies road trip, go beyond Banff and travel up to Lake Louise and then onto Jasper. The journey along the world-famous Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives on earth and it’s a must-do while you’re in the area. Hint hint: we know the perfect places to stay along the way! The Canadian landmarks of Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge will bring your Rockies road trip to the next level!

In need of travel inspiration? Visit This Is Canada to start planning the ultimate Canadian road trip!

10. Reaching New Heights

Hiking is one of the most popular summer activities in Banff for locals and tourists alike but we know that sometimes you want to reach that peak without strapping on the hiking boots and working up a sweat. Lucky for you, there are so many different ways to see those incredible mountain top views that aren’t by foot! Check out the Banff GondolaNorquay Chairlift, or the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola to take in the natural beauty of Banff National Park from above.

view of banff from the gondola

Click here for the best Banff Hotel Offers.

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