The smart, half-timbered Banff Information Centre houses Banff’s town tourism bureau; that of Parks Canada and is the shop of Friends of Banff National Park (friendsofbanff.com), a charity devoted to park enjoyment. If there’s any information you’re short of, one of these organisations is sure to be able to help.
The town info counter provides all the usual free handouts, but be sure ask for their local walking and driving maps for a good overview of local park facilities. They also maintain an accommodation vacancies board with free phone for local hotels and have a list of private rooms and B&Bs in town; typically $100–150, but often fully booked.
The Parks Canada info counter (403-762-1550; or online), is the best place to run through plans before you strike out into the wilds – at the very least check the daily list of trail conditions and closures posted on the wall. Their Backcountry Visitors’ Guide provides an invaluable overview of backpacking trail, campgrounds and regulations; while Biking Trails in the Banff Area details all mountain-bike trails. The counter will also be able to advise on availability in local park-run campgrounds, which can also be booked in advance (1-877-737-3783; pccamping.ca).
The centre also has many maps and guides you can consult for free; while the Friends of Banff National Park sell topo maps – which are only really necessary for backcountry trips. The Friends also offer various guided walking tours (some free) for which you can register here.