A weekend will give you a flavor of Banff National Park and time to visit all its must-sees. While you’re unlikely to experience real brushes with wilderness, you’ll still be stunned by peaks, amazed by beautiful lakes, witness wildlife and truly understand what all the fuss is about. It’ll undoubtedly whet your appetite for another visit.
Lake Louise and Moraine Lake
Get to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake as early as possible, when they are most idyllic, before the crowds arrive. That’s what makes them iconic Canadian Rockies landmarks. Have a quick look at either; pick a hike that starts from one lake and go to that as your second stop. Rewarding hikes spread out from both lakes, from short and obvious lakeshore strolls to respectable hikes (Lake Agnes) and summit ascents (Fairview Mountain) that take most of a day (in which case skip the next stop).
If you’re not doing a harder hike but want scenic rewards, head back to Lake Louise Village, pick up coffee and a picnic lunch at Laggan’s Mountain Bakery, head down picturesque Hwy-1 towards Banff, and turn off to Sunshine Meadows. Shuttle buses from the valley parking lot climb the ski resort. Easy hikes fan out across pretty high-alpine surroundings from here.
Dine in Banff
Drive to the town of Banff, settle in to your accommodation and explore the main drag Banff Avenue, where a broad range of dining choices vie for your attention – including St James Gate pub, Saltlik steakhouse and Le Beaujolais, a fine dining option.
Follow our Banff in 1 Day itinerary until you run out of time.
If you have the luxury of a long-weekend, check programs at the Banff Centre for something that catches your eye for the evening.
Cycle, paddle or explore heritage
A long weekend offers a chance to see Banff from a new perspective. Try mountain biking on dedicated trails, taking out a canoe or visiting the Cave and Basin Hot Springs for a rewarding look at the town’s origins.