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Banff National Park: 2017 Excursions Guide!

As you’ve probably heard all over social media by now, Canada has recently been named the World’s #1 Travel Destination in 2017 by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, The New York Times, and more!

As you’ve probably heard all over social media by now, Canada has recently been named the World’s #1 Travel Destination in 2017 by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, The New York Times, and more!

The icing on the cake? 

…It is also Canada’s 150th Birthday this year!

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In honour of this exciting news, I decided to embark on a winter road-trip adventure to visit Banff National Park, located in the beautiful and scenic province of Alberta*.

*I should probably also mention that Alberta happens to be my home province… but I promise I’m not being biased! Just wait until you see the pictures, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. 😉

And, without further ado…

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(PS, Be sure to keep your eyes open for an awesome freebie & contest located somewhere within this post…!)

exploreoutdoors.pngFeaturing five of Banff National Park’s most amazing outdoor activities, along with several fun photo highlights and more!

1. Johnson Canyon Icewalk

 Operated by Discover Banff Tours

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While on the Johnston Canyon Icewalk tour, you will have the opportunity to see many spectacular views of the canyon’s lower and upper icefalls! Along the way, you can also enjoy hearing about Banff’s natural history & local wildlife from your group’s knowledgeable and friendly outdoor guide. To top it all off, you’ll also get to enjoy a hot chocolate drink and Canadian maple cookie snack. Tip: Be sure to be mindful of where you step, as the walking paths are often extremely icy!

  • Single Adult Admission: $68 CAD*
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  • Total time: 4-4.5 hours (Morning or Afternoon)
  • What the tour includes: RT bus transportation from your hotel to and from Johnston Canyon, Ice cleats (to wear with your boots to prevent slipping), hiking poles, a hot chocolate and maple cookie snack, and your friendly & certified tour guide of course!
  • *Receive an additional 10% off admission if you book online!

2. Scenic Snowshoeing Tour

Operated by Lake Louise Ski Resort

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As someone who had never previously gone snowshoeing before, I was definitely looking forward to having the chance to try it out for the first time. Plus, what better way to do so than by learning to snowshoe right at the top of a mountain? Upon my arrival to the lodge, all of the staff were super friendly and welcoming, which made me even more excited for the tour. Shortly after registration, we were soon on our way up the Lake Louise Gondola! My guide named Lydia was super awesome, and throughout the tour, she shared many interesting stories with us about the history of Banff National Park, facts about the local wildlife and environment, and she also pointed out several animal tracks on the mountain, which was all very cool to see up close! The views on this tour are absolutely breathtaking, and the photo opportunities are pretty much endless. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is open to trying new experiences, or anyone who is looking for a fun alternative to skiing or snowboarding!

Check out Lake Louise Ski Resort’s website for a 15% off coupon.

  • Single Adult Admission: Ranges from $45-$75 (Full Day Tour: $159)llsr_logo_rgb
  • Total time: 2-2.5 hours (Morning or Afternoon)
  • What the tour includes:  A sightseeing lift ticket on the Lake Louise Gondola (where you will also get to skip to the front of the line!), snowshoe rental, hot chocolate and a snack, and an experienced snowshoe/nature guide!

3. Snow Tubing

Located at Mt Norquay Ski Resort

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norquay_logoCalling all adrenaline fans! The next time you’re in Banff, you’ve definitely got to try Snow Tubing! I would describe it as a much more thrilling form of tobogganing, plus this time you’ll also get to ride up the hill on a magic carpet. 😀 I had such a blast at Mount Norquay’s Snow Tubing park, where they have specially designed tracks just for the tubes. If you’re feeling brave… you can even ask the staff to spin you on the way down, and you can also connect with up to 4 other tubes to go down even faster! It was such a fun experience, and I found it to be a great way to spend the afternoon on the mountain.

  • Single Adult Admission $30 
  • Recommended time: 1-3 hours (Morning or Afternoon)

4. Banff Upper Hot Springs

Operated by Canadian Rockies Hot Springs (Parks Canada)

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 272canadianrockieshotsprings22363At an elevation of 1,585 meters (about 5,200 feet), Banff Upper Hot Springs is Canada’s highest natural hot springs! With a history of over 130 years, these relaxing mineral waters have been consistently popular with both the locals and visitors for generations. It’s a perfect place to go, especially at the end of a long day outside in the cold! (*If you want to avoid crowds, then a better time to visit would be in the morning.)

  • One Adult Admission $7.30
  • Recommended time: 45 min- 1.5hrs (Morning, Afternoon or Night)

5. Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Operated by Parks Canada

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parkscanadaThis National Historic Site celebrates the birthplace of Canada’s National Park system, which dates back all the way to the year 1885! While here, feel free to check out the fun and interactive exhibits, and explore the inside of the cave to find naturally occurring warm mineral springs. (Be aware… the sulphur smell from the springs can be quite potent!)

  • Single Adult Admission: Free with 2017 Discovery Pass, or $3.90 
  • Recommended time: 1-2 hours (Morning or Afternoon)

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  • Moose-logo-2.jpgDuring my visit to Banff, I was invited to stay as a guest at the Moose Hotel & Suites, which is Banff’s newest hotel (it recently opened in June of 2016)! Upon entering the lobby, I was so amazed by all of the incredible architectural features and its’ beautiful stone fireplace. Plus… The view of the mountains from our room was absolutely gorgeous! One of my favourite parts was getting to end the day by relaxing in one of the hotel’s rooftop hot pools during sunset.

    Stay tuned for a full hotel review & room tour in my next post coming out in one week! 😉 ❤

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  • Dress for the weather! Our Canadian weather during winter months is known for being notoriously cold, so be sure to bundle up if you’re planning a winter visit (The snow usually doesn’t begin to melt until mid to late April…. and sometimes there’s still snow in May!)
  • Book your visit early! Banff National Park is expecting a super busy year with a record amount of visitors in 2017, so save yourself the disappointment of missing out on a great tour or hotel deal by reserving your stay in advance!
  • The nearest International Airport is located in Calgary, which is approximately a 1.5hr drive to Banff (via the Trans Canada Highway).
  • Before you arrive, be sure to order your FREE Parks Canada 2017 Discovery Pass by clicking on the image below! 😀
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This pass will grant you free access to all of Canada’s National Parks in 2017 along with many other perks!

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Want to win a luxury stay in Canada’s Rocky Mountains?

Check out Ski Big 3’s Luxury Ski Vacation Contest!

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  • Enter to win on: SkiBig3.com/contest
  • Entry deadline: May 1, 2017
  • See website for all rules & regulations

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A super huge thank you to Discover Banff Tours, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Ski Big 3, Canadian Rockies Hot Springs (Parks Canada), and Moose Hotel & Suites for supporting this post! As always, all opinions are 100% my own. 🙂

Thank you very much for reading! 

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31 comments on “Banff National Park: 2017 Excursions Guide!

  1. WOw, Looks beautiful! I must explore my fellow neighbor country more often.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve just upped my need to visit Canada by about a billion per cent. Those activities all look like so much fun! I would love to try snow shoeing and snow tubing, and that hot springs is something that I wouldn’t want to miss too. Awesome travel inspiration – I am pinning this for later!

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  3. There is so much to do in Banff National Park, the hot springs in the altitude look amazing! Your pictures are incredible and I’ sure on the snowshoeing walk there are so many photo opportunities, I’ve never tried snowshoeing! I love your photo highlights at the bottom, great photography. The Moose Hotel & Suites looks like the perfect base for a stay in Banff National Park.

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  4. I think Canada is a great destination for travel. I used to live in Toronto back in the 90’s (my brother still lives in Canada – Port Perry, Ontario, and I have a cousin Vancouver). I keep threatening to go back over but have yet to make it. Your pictures are great and Banff National Park looks so beautiful. I’d love to soak in the hot springs after a day of snowshoeing. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Oh i love that selection! Thanks a lot for sharing. The photos are great

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  6. Lake Louise looks fantastic. I would love to visit Banff for a good long time and go snowshoeing and definitely take a dip in those thermal waters! I didn’t know there were thermal springs there. Great destination!

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  7. Wow! Incredible pictures!! I am SO itching to get to Canada during the winter, but curious if the weather ever gets too bad that its not advisable to visit during certain times? Also, I’m all about the tours that offer snacks!! haha

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  8. Wow, incredible pictures! I am SO itching to visit Canada during the winter but does the weather ever get bad where its not advisable to make the trip? Also, tours that offer snacks?!? Yes please!

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  9. Your photos make winter look desirable! So amazing! I desperately want to visit Banff

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  10. rhiydwi

    I have a friend in India who’s currently torn between applying to study in Canada or New Zealand. I’ve been subtly pushing him towards Canada simply because I’ve always wanted to go to Alberta and could use visiting him as an excuse to finally go! I’m not so keen on wintersports so not sure if winter season is best for me, but the landscape and general views in Alberta look absolutely incredible whatever the season!

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  11. Banff national park has always been on my bucket list. Well, correct that, most of Canada is on my bucket list. This country is so blessed when it comes to natural beauty! That Johnson Canyon Icewalk and the photos you took were surreal – so much beauty!

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  12. Snowshoeing! Last time we lived in a location where snow was a common sight in winter (3 years ago in the Pacific Northwest, USA), it was one of my favorite weekend activities. Leaving the city (Seattle) and going to the mountains for a day of climbing up and down in those funky looking devices on your feet :). I would do it again in a heartbeat. I am glad that you had a good time trying snowshoeing for the first time. Frankly, Hot Springs look a bit crowded and, unfortunately, I am not a morning person. I wonder if it would get even worse as the year progresses. I am pretty sure due to becoming the 2017 destination, Canada will see an influx of tourists this year. The Cave I would love to check. After visiting sulphur baths in Tbilisi, the smell should be a piece of cake. I love your first photo from the Johnston Canyon – fantastic looking icicles. Banff looks like a worthy place to visit. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. My husband and I have been tossing up between doing a working holiday in Iceland and Canada so this is not helping!! Everything is so beautiful!! No idea how we’ll decide. All of these activities and sights are right up our alley, thanks for sharing and making our decision harder!! Haha!

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  14. OMG! I’ve been wanting to go to Banff foreverrrr because Lake Louise looks like the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen but I didn’t know about most of the things you included here. The cave is unreal and the hotsprings looks to die for! Thanks for sharing this — I’m adding some of the items to my Banff list for sure!

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  15. Love to experience the Hot Springs and winter skiing experience. Brilliant photos. Maybe I plan a snow escape one day! Thank your for sharing

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  16. WOW! The snow is so tempting! Would love to do a winter ski here. Adding it to my bucket list 🙂

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  17. Hey girl hey!!! Fellow Edmontonian, kinda! Love this guide to Banff, I’m so guilty of not exploring enough og Canada and for sure should take some time to see Banff. Will keep it mind for the warmer weather

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  18. Wow that’s a great list. I’ve always wanted to go snowshoeing and snowtubing seems fun too. I’d love to visit Banff one day.

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  19. Wow you have sold me! Banff looks amazing as I have heard throughout the years. When I think about Banff I think about just the hiking, but I love how yo incorporated so many fun and cool things to do like tubing, the caves and thermal baths!

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  20. Banff has been getting a lot of play in social media in the last couple of years so it’s no surprise Canada was rated a #1 travel destination by all the publications you listed. It must also be great to call Alberta home and to be able to share your love for your home province! Thanks for sharing the prices to go to these destinations. I’m sure they will help travelers better prepare for any trip to the national park.

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  21. This is really cool, I like that you put together a post about things to do if you’re not a skier. I’d love to try showshoeing! The cave too looks awesome, I can’t wait to visit here! I got my free Parks Canada pass in the mail last month and plan to visit in the later summer/early fall. I do worry about the crowds but, I’ll just be happy to go see it 🙂

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  22. Great tips on what to do in Banff in the winter. I live in Alberta too so I’ve gone to the mountains a couple times this winter. There is so much to do there. Even though most people come during the summer months when the weather is warmer, winter is beautiful too with a great variety of activities and places to explore!

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  23. Canada’s birthday is so exciting! I live in Toronto and the 150 buzz is all around. Alberta is of course going to have huge celebrations all year and the activities you have showcased look incredible. I would love to do the hot springs! They look awesome. The hot and cold sensation would be really neat and I would love to go snowshoeing!

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  24. I’ve got to admit, Banff sounds like the best destination I could ever imagine visiting! I’d love to try all those activities – of course, I’d be planning skiing every day I was there too! Gorgeous.

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  25. Banff National Park is one of my favourite places in the world! I spent 6 weeks there back in 2014 ski instructing! Although it was during winter, it was still so beautiful and I can vouch for the Banff Upper Hot Springs, I miss that! I also did the snow tubing at Norquay and it was tonnes of fun! Even just writing this Im having major fomo!

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  26. Banff is such a beautiful area! I didn’t get to do everything you mentioned when I went there but it just makes me want to go back. I’d love to try snowshoeing too! Definitely time to start thinking of a trip back 😀

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  27. We are so sad we can’t take advantage of the pass for Canada’s National Parks this year! I have always wanted to go to Banff and am convinced we will go there one day. Gotta check out that cave and those hotsprings!

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  28. Oh Canada!! You are beyond amazing and one day I’ll get to visit you! Love all your great photos. Thanks for the great guide.

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  29. Banff looks jaw dropping awesome, I really want to get here soon. The fact that I can go snow tubing follow by a huge hot tub, only make me yearn more! Thanks for sharing and hopefully I’ll be writing about Banff myself soon!

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  30. I love Banff National Park, it is simply breathtaking. The landscape photography opportunities are incredible. I’m heading to Canada in July, and you can bet I’ll be paying Banff another visit.

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  31. I have a college buddy who’s a ski instructor in Banff. He’s always inviting me but I resist because I typically prefer warm holidays. Wow, your awesome photos and guide are really changing my mind. It’s not just a winter wonderland. It’s just stunning natural beauty regardless of the weather. At least I can warm up in the hot springs. 🙂

    Like

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