You must be one of two things if you’re planning a visit to Banff Canada in the winter, either really brave or a winter lover. We personally think it’s a little it of both. Now hopefully that doesn’t freak you out at all saying ‘we hope you are brave.’ It’s not like you need to worry about bears and mountain lions in the winter when we say you’re brave we mean you’re brave for wanting to deal with our frigidly cold temperatures. Sometimes we can reach -40C! Or get over 2 feet of snowfall overnight. Maybe that’s part of the reason people say winter is in the blood of Canadians. Realistically…we have no choice. If you grew up in Canada you know, winter isn’t an option it’s an inevitability.
However, it’s an exceptionally beautiful and spectacular one. There is nothing quite like walking on a frozen river hearing the water rush beneath your feet. Or watching as ice climbers scale a 100-foot waterfall that has been frozen in time. Maybe you’re more interested in snowboarding or skiing through fluffy powder so deep if you fall it’s like falling into a cloud. Whatever you find you love about winter, Canada has it. And we embrace it perfectly.
Banff is one of those winter destinations that every person should experience at least once. It really is like taking a step out of reality, through the closet door into Naria (or just a winter wonderland).
FUN FACT: Canada is roughly 9.98 million square kilometers and has the longest coastline in the world, a large portion of that, however, is arctic tundra. In fact, over 26% of the country is arctic tundra! There is a ‘turf war’ over who owns the north pole as well, but we vote Canada. Which makes Santa Claus Canadian, no wonder he’s so nice!
If you just read all that and you’re like…holy crap that doesn’t sound like something I would be interested in then you can read our 72 Hours in Banff National Park Summer Guide here.
No matter what time of the year you visit Banff you want to make the most out of it, which means making the most out of your time. Especially when perhaps you have as short as 72 hours in the area. That’s exactly why we have created this winter guide, to ensure you make the most out of your short trip to Banff. If you have more than 72 hours to spend here feel free to use this guide as a way of planning out activities, or if you have less time maybe pick a few things that interest you the most to fill up your days. A lot of people may move on from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway (and honestly we highly recommend it) you can read our post about what to see along the Icefield Parkway here.
In this guide, we have included everything we can think of that would help you plan a visit, where to eat, where to rest your head at night (hotels listed at the bottom of the post) and activities to full your day. When you get to the end if you still have questions, shoot us a message! We absolutely love hearing what you guys have to say. Especially when it’s about our home and native land!
Before we dive in, we think you should know a little bit about Banff first because it has such a rich and important history for Canada…
Banff was discovered in the late 1800’s as workers built the Canadian Pacific Railway. The first spot that they discovered was the Cave & Basin (natural hot springs), immediately Banff was identified as a tourism destination. Very quickly the Canadian Government took the appropriate steps to protect the park so that they can use it as a Mountain Getaway to help bring in profits for the Canadian Pacific Railway. It became the first National Park in Canada and only the third in the World. About 100 years later it would be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Banff Springs Hotel helped a lot with the growth of the park, the hotel itself was built just after it was discovered and helped bring tourist to the area, which it continues to do today! If you want to learn more about the area the Canadian Encyclopedia has a great article you can read here.
Now that you’re prepared to wow your friends or others you meet along your travels with your knowledge of Banff, let’s jump into making the most of your time!
Arrive at Calgary Airport – 7:00am
Calgary International Airport is the closest airport to Banff, so make sure your flights land in YYC. Not Edmonton! If you plan on going through Jasper National Park first, then Edmonton is a good airport to land in. But for Banff, stick with Calgary. There are a few shuttles that will take you from Calgary to Banff and back, but honestly for this guide we recommend renting a car. Two reasons, buses don’t give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to utilizing your time and with a rental car it’s easier to get to a few of the destinations on our list. Rental cars can be pretty inexpensive so it won’t add a huge cost anyways, sometimes they are even cheaper than taking the bus. Just be warned that visiting winter means (obviously) driving in winter conditions. So make sure you are comfortable with that before booking a trip in the winter and using a rental car.
Brewster Shuttle Bus: Calgary > Banff Round Trip > Adults $118pp Children $60pp
Banff Airporter: Calgary > Banff Round Trip > Adults $130pp Children $65pp
Car Rentals: Expedia has car rental prices as low as $17 per day!
Drive To Banff – Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes – Grab Breakfast/Snack – 9:00am
If you aren’t used to cold weather, you’re probably wondering at this point why you made the decision to visit Banff in winter. But don’t worry, grab yourself a delicious cup of coffee or hot chocolate (or whatever you feel like) from Evelyn’s Coffee Bar. This little gem of a cafe will help warm your body from the inside out! Don’t forget to grab yourself an in-house baked treat and a breakfast sandwich!
Check Out The Cave & Basin – 10:00am
There is no better place to start your adventure in Banff than at the Cave & Basin. The birthplace of Canada‘s National Parks. This iconic area might not be the most thrilling place to visit, it is an important one. And even though it’s not ‘thrilling’ it still is actually really cool. The colours of the water, the strong sulphur smells and the legit cave you walk through, make it a unique experience. That sulphur smell can be a bit overwhelming, you’ve been warned. The Cave & Basin also has a little museum area where you can learn more about the start of Banff itself. Cave & Basin is one of nine sulfurous hot springs that are clustered in groups in the side of Sulphur Mountain. There are two pools you can view, one ‘inside’ through a cave and one outside. There are also two separate interpretive trails that you can walk through behind the building that offer more insight into the area along with its planets and animals.
Please do not touch the water, there are endangered snails who live in the hot springs. Don’t worry you’ll get to relax in some hot springs soon enough!
Explore The Banff Springs Hotel – 11:00am
The Banff Springs Hotel was a major catalyst for the growth of this National Park. The hotel itself is full of history, mystery and discovery. Filled with grand ballrooms, lounges, halls and spectacular staircases, this hotel is something to marvel at. Not to mention the ridiculous view it offers patrons who stay here (or visit). Interestingly enough, the hotel is known to be haunted! Not just by one ghost but by many different ghosts. It’s pretty interesting to learn about. But do yourself a favour and follow the self-guided tour that you can get here.
Once you’re done with the interior, make sure you give yourself enough time to explore the exterior. Bow Falls is located just outside of this Castle in the Rockies, make sure not to miss seeing that!
Grab A Late Lunch – 1:00pm
By this point, you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite. You deserve some pizza. Head down to one of our favourite pizza places in Banff, Bear Street Tavern. This Tavern had their pizza featured on Food Networks You’ve Gotta Eat Here and for a very good reason, it’s DELICIOUS. And that chilli oil…oh.my.god. So good. The pizzas are pretty large so you could get away with sharing one with someone else or just get your own and save the leftovers for a late night snack.
Check Bags Into Hotel – 2:30pm
Most hotels let you start checking in around 1pm, so now might be a good time to settle into your new ‘home’ for the next few nights. Drop off your bags and get ready for adventure! Some of the hotels in Banff actually offer coupon books for its guests (mainly hotels owned under the Banff Lodging Company). Give the book a quick look through (if you got one) and see if any of the coupons could help you during your stay. Hostels typically won’t offer any sort of coupon book, sorry backpackers!
Walk Main Strip Of Banff Townsite – 3:30pm
If you’re anything like us the first day you arrive somewhere you love to just check out the town itself, now is the perfect time to do that. The main town strip has tons of shops for you to check out, gift shops, candy stores, fudgeries, jewellery shops, art galleries, you name it! Even the Christmas Store, where you can indulge in the Christmas Spirit year round. This would also be a good time to pick up a warmer coat if you failed to bring one that was warm enough, or perhaps a toque to keep your head warm!
If you are a sweets lover you’re going to want to check out The Fudgery. Through the window, you can watch the fudge artisans create this delicious treat right in front of your eyes on a huge marble slab. They make over 50 flavours in house! They also make a huge selection of chocolates, we highly recommend the bear claws and the peanut butter squares.
If you’re more of a candy apple kinda person, you can head across the street to watch the candy man in the white chef hat dip granny smith apples in a giant tub of caramel and decorate them with a variety of toppings. Perhaps you’re more of a chocolate lover? Well, Banff has a lot of hand-made chocolates too! Try a bear claw (one of our absolute favourites) which is made from rich caramel, pecans and milk chocolate. Maybe you want a mixture of pretty much all of these in one, then head to the Beaver Tails Pastry shop, where you can get pastries with deliciously sweet toppings. Lastly, if you’re more of a salty lover head over to Mary’s popcorn shop and grab some of this savoury treat.
Other stores worth visiting are the Banff Sweet Shop, which features hundreds of different candies from around the world. Plus a selection of Canadian treats and real Canadian Maple Syrup.
Dinner/Supper – 6:00pm
If you’re anything like us you’re all about that delicious food everywhere you go. The Grizzly House will deliver on that love of food. This super Canadian restaurant is a tad expensive but it honestly worth every single penny you’ll spend. The interior has a very rustic wood cabin feel that is warm and extremely welcoming. The food is AMAZING. Make sure to get their fondue meal (requires two people) so that you get a very filling dinner along with a really cool experience. This dinner option will give you a cheesy bread fondue followed by a selection of meats (of your choice) that are cooked on a hot stone, followed by melted Toblerone with fruit and wafers. You honestly can’t go wrong.
After Dinner – 8:00pm
The sun sets pretty early in the Winter in Banff (and really all of Canada). So by 8:00pm, the sun is probably already fully set (but if you can get to Vermillion lakes before sunset you’re in for a real treat). The moonlight shines off the snow and does help light up everything a little so it won’t be completely dark. Perhaps you just want to take this time and relax in your hotel or maybe you want to explore a little more. If you want to explore a little more or perhaps try your hand at a little night or long exposure photography head down to Vermillion Lakes or Lake Minnewanka anyways to see the stars (if they’re out and there are no clouds). Alternatively, if you’re not ready to completely turn in yet and want another unique experience take a look at what the Banff Centre has to offer. You can view their calendar here.
Early Riser – 7:00am
Are you thinking right now, why on earth am I waking up at 7:00am when I am on vacation? Well, it will be worth it if you catch an epic sunrise! Now obviously there is no guarantee the sun will agree but seeing the sun rise above Vermillion lakes is a sight you won’t soon forget. Vermillion Lakes has a beautiful view of the peak of Mount Rundle and will give you some epic photos to take home and show off. If you’re like ‘meh’ then you can certainly sleep in and skip this part or go any other time! There are quite a few places along the Vermillion Lakes road that offer great views and perfect photo opportunities. If you’re lucky there may even be breaks in the ice where the water peaks through and gives you beautiful reflections of Mount Rundle.
Breakfast – 8:30am
Now that you’re (hopefully) mind blown by the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, it’s time to eat! The Wild Flour Bakery on Bear Street (yes that is a real street) is the perfect place to grab some breakfast, perhaps a pastry or maybe a breakfast frittata and a nice warm latte. They can sell out fast so if you are finished with catching the sunrise early it might be not a bad idea to head here a bit early as well. They open at 7:00am so even if you skip sunrise, head there and have a relaxing breakfast. If you plan on skiing or snowboarding, get your breakfast to go and start heading to the mountain so you can get good parking and maybe even first chair!
Go On An Ice Walk OR Skiing/Snowboarding – 9:30am
If you love to ski or snowboard, you have come to the right place. Banff is world renowned for our awesome ski hills and incredible snow. There are two resorts we recommend going to do enjoy a day of shredding. Lake Louise Ski Resort or Sunshine Village. Sunshine Village is a little bit closer to Banff itself considering Lake Louise Ski Resort is in Lake Louise itself. Between the two, we would recommend going to Sunshine Village if you plan on staying closer to Banff, but if you don’t mind an extra 30-minute drive head to Lake Louise. Lake Louise tends to have more difficult runs than Sunshine does but Sunshine typically receives more snowfall than Lake Louise (due to their location in a bowl) and has more park features. So between the two, check out their websites and runs and see which suits you and your abilities best. Expect to pay over $100 at each resort for a day lift ticket not including rentals. Parking at both resorts is completely free.
If you aren’t a skier or snowboarder then you will benefit from taking an epic ice walk through Johnston Canyon! You’re going to want to buy (or bring if you already own) some crampons. These are little pieces that attach to your boots and help you grip onto the ice so you don’t slip. The entire trail is VERY icy so you can do it without crampons (I have done it in Ugg boots but I would never recommend that I almost died a few times I’m sure) but we don’t necessarily recommend it considering it can be dangerous.
Johnston Canyon is just outside of Banff townsite and has free parking. A lot of tour buses tend to take tourists here so the parking lot may be full but don’t let that deter you, it’s worth your time! The trail itself should take you about an hour to the Upper Falls (a total of 2.7kms with a 217-metre elevation gain). You’ll walk through the canyon on boardwalks that jet out from the rocky walls of the canyon on top of a crystal clear blue river that carved the canyon out years ago. Towards the end, you’ll get amazing views of huge waterfalls that are frozen in time. If you get close (there are special areas to get close to the waterfalls, PLEASE be careful) you can hear as the water rushes behind the frozen walls of the falls. Perhaps you’ll even see a few brave ice climbers tackling the giant waterfalls.
No matter which option you decide to do, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies and experiences you can take home that will last a lifetime. How do you pick which one to do? That’s completely up to you and what else you want to see in Banff. Hitting the slopes will likely take you all day, so if you are keen to see other things in the park, you may want to skip this.
Lunch Time! – 12:00pm
Depending on what you are doing during the day, whether you head to the mountain to spend a full day there or not your lunch options may vary. If you decided to head up to Sunshine Village or another ski resort for a day on the slopes you’ll be grabbing lunch up there. If you did go to Sunshine Village head to Trappers for a mid-day pint and some tasty pub food. Keep in mind, any food you buy on the hill will always be a little more expensive, so prepare to pay extra.
If you’re still in the townsite, we recommend Banff Ave. Brewing Company, one of our favourite post snowboarding lunch spots. We say post snowboarding because we tend to do half days on the hill, living so close allows us to go more so we tend to only do half days. Banff Ave. Brewing Company brews their own beer in-house and has a variety of options, not only is their beer good but their food is too. Banff Canada certainly doesn’t have a shortage of beer with your lunch if that’s what you’re interested in.
Banff Gondola – 1:30pm
Taking the gondola in Banff Canada during winter is an especially unique experience. It’s not often are you able to go to the top of a mountain during winter without having to worry about triggering an avalanche. The boardwalks on the peak of Sulphur Mountain eliminate that safety risk for you. At this point, you have already been inside Sulphur Mountain when you visited the Cave & Basin (birthplace of Banff Canada) but being on top of it is much more rewarding (sorry hot springs).
The view of Banff Canada from above covered in snow is a beautiful site. Banff’s world-famous mountain vistas stretch across the horizon on all sides, giving you a true 360 view. It can be pretty windy at the top, so make sure you prepare for the weather and the wind appropriately.
Tickets are not cheap, they will typically run you around $56 per adult (these prices were as of 2018). None the less, the Banff Gondola is worth it!
Banff Upper Hot Springs or Museums – 3:30pm
It’s finally time to hit up the hot springs and soak in the magic that is 100% natural mineral water. The Upper Hot Springs are the only hot springs pool in Banff Canada and sit at an elevation of 5,2000 feet above sea level, which means its the highest hot springs in all of Canada. Water temperatures typically sit around 40C and are all natural, regardless of the man-made pool. Mountain views from the pool make it an even more rewarding experience. So pack your bathing suit and get ready to literally soak in everything Banff Canada has to offer.
INTERESTING NOTE: If it’s really cold outside your hair will start to develop ice crystals and eventually frost over, turning you into some sort of living snowman. But it is really cool to see your hair change as your body stays toasty and warm.
Some people may opt to save visiting the hot springs for a little later in the day. If this is the case you can either walk around the townsite a little more or visit some of the museums in the area. The Whyte Museum usually has some great exhibits and history. You can also check out the Banff Park Museum which will put you face to face with some of the wildlife that live in Banff Canada. Don’t worry they aren’t living. The Banff Park Museum is located in a 1903 log cabin that is also the oldest surviving federal building in any National Park in Canada. If you’ve always wanted to see how big a Grizzly Bear is without actually getting up close and personal then head to the Banff Park Museum! Please note that during the winter the Park Museum is typically closed during the week, opening on Saturdays and Sundays.
Dinner Time – 5:00pm
Honestly, how do you pick one place to eat when Banff Canada has so many amazing places? Well, don’t skip out on the Park Distillery. This sort of pub but not pub goes out of their way to ensure their food options are based on classic campfire cooking. Their foods are full of rich smokey flavour and can easily be paired with a variety of in-house beers. You can even do a distillery tour if you want to, free ones happen every day at 3:30pm. The interior of the Park is truly Canadian with a cozy wood cabin feel filled with historical looking pieces of wall art and taxidermy.
Free Time or Upper Hot Springs – 7:00pm
Feel free to do whatever you would like with your evening. Maybe do a little more shopping down the strip, head to a local pub like Wild Bill’s to get some late night snacks, beers and to play some pool or book an evening massage at Red Earth Spa and find a little relaxation in Banff Canada.
If you haven’t visited the Upper Hot Springs yet now would be a great time to do so. Studies say that taking a dip in 38C-40C two or three hours before sleep can help improve your sleep as the hot water relaxes your muscles and body. So after a long day of adventuring and walking, jumping in those hot springs would be a great idea!
Drive To Lake Louise – 9:00am
It’s finally time to head to Lake Louise, a very famous and popular area in Banff Canada. It’s also the perfect place to spend your last day in. While the lake will be frozen and you won’t get a chance to see the blue colour that makes the lake so famous, you will get the chance to skate on it! That’s coming. For now, start the drive to Lake Louise early and skip breakfast until you get to the townsite of Lake Louise. Why? Two words. Laggan’s Bakery. Located at the far end of the only strip mall in Lake Louise this hidden-not-so-hidden gem will hit the breakfast spot. Their plethora of baked goods and coffee options are sure yo wake you up and fill your belly.
Ice Skating on Lake Louise And Exploring The Ice Sculptures – 10:00am
One of the main reasons a lot of people tend to come to Banff Canada, more specifically Lake Louise is because of the world-class Ice Magic Festival. Where ice sculptors from around the world come to compete and show off their talents. On top of that, skating on the famous Lake Louise is a huge highlight or any winter trip to Banff Canada. Did we mention an Ice Castle gets built on the lake that you can skate on? We will get to that a bit later.
Each year an ice castle is built from large blocks of ice in order to highlight the beauty of Lake Louise in the winter. And it really does. The castle is beautifully built and not something most people get to see often let alone skate around, making your skate even more special.
Not only is the castle amazing the ice sculptures are MIND-BLOWING. They are so good it’s hard to believe that someone carved them out of massive blocks of ice. During the festival itself (you can view schedules and more information here) you can actually watch as these specialists take blocks and turn them into art. The sculptures stay in Lake Louise throughout the winter, so if you don’t attend the festival itself don’t worry.
Lunch – 12:00pm
At this point, there’s no way you haven’t worked up a bit of an appetite and are looking for the next perfect meal in Banff Canada. Look no further than the Lakeview Lounge within the Lake Louise Fairmont Hotel. This little lounge offers amazing views of the lake from the warmth and comfort of the beautiful Fairmont. While the Lakeview Lounge may be a bit more expensive, the view is worth it.
But if you want a slightly more cost-effective lunch option head to the Chateau Deli, which has a selection of soups, sandwiches, and other deli-style options.
Skate On The Lake/Snowshoe Around The Lake – 1:30pm
Of all the things to do in Banff, skating and snowshoeing are two of the most iconic. Lake Louise transforms into a true winter wonderland and it’s super easy to rent some skates and enjoy the ice castle on the famous frozen lake or hike around the perimeter and find some frozen waterfalls. Spend your afternoon enjoying the snow and taking in how beautiful this area becomes when it’s covered in a white blanket. Walking around the lake is one of our favourite things to do in Banff during the winter, we love how it seems to transport you to a different place, a quiet, relaxing and illustriously beautiful place. Seeing the hotel from across the lake covered in snow with people enjoying their free time is also extremely heartwarming. Don’t forget to dress warm and perhaps grab a delicious cup of hot cocoa to take with you.
Skate rentals are pretty cheap and are usually less than $15 per two hours (which is much cheaper than renting a canoe in the summer). You can even skate in the evening if you want under a blanket of stars with a nice evening campfire nearby to keep you warm when you need it. Don’t forget the marshmallows! If you choose to do an evening skate, we recommend booking accommodation in Lake Louise instead of trying to drive back to Banff in the dark.
If skating or winter walks don’t interest you, spend your afternoon shredding the slopes at the world famous Lake Louise Ski Resort. They do offer discounted afternoon tickets so it’s a win-win if you haven’t shaken off the snowboard/skiing bug quite yet.
Drive The Bow Valley Parkway Back To Banff – 4:00pm
Banff Canada is very well known for having one of the most scenic highways in the world, The Icefields Parkway. But this isn’t the only scenic highway that Banff Canada has to offer its visitors, there is also the Bow Valley Parkway. A highway that connects Lake Louise and Banff and runs parallel to the Trans Canada highway but on the opposite side of the Bow River. The highway has a low-speed limit and we highly recommend following the speeds, in the winter the roads are very icy and the Bow Valley isn’t always maintained as well as the Trans Canada. Not to mention the Bow Valley Parkway doesn’t have fences to keep wildlife off the road, which means two things: more chance to see wildlife and more chance to hurt wildlife. So drive slow and always follow the speed limits while in National Parks. The drive should take around an hour and a half.
There are quite a few places you can stop along the Bow Valley Parkway to snap a few nice photos and take in a few more beautiful views before you leave. One of the more famous locations is Morant’s Curve, which was named after the photographer that made it so famous – Nicholas Morant. Its panoramic views of the mountains with a curving railroad and river explain why it’s such a photogenic area.
SIDE NOTE: There is a travel restriction placed on the highway from 8:00pm to 8:00am between March 1st – June 25th so that animals can roam freely to feed and do whatever they need. So if you plan on driving during those times you may want to drive the parkway on the way to Lake Louise instead of the way back.
Final Dinner in Banff – 6:00pm
At this point, you are either broke AF or ready to drop that last little amount of money you brought on a really nice meal. Well why don’t we give you three options for your last dinner and you can decide how you want to spend it.
The first option is the more expensive option, Waldhaus. Located at the Banff Springs Hotel, this higher end Bavarian eatery offers a collection of fondues, sausages, desserts and many more options. The exterior of Waldhaus is reminiscent of a fairytale castle while the interior is taken straight from Europe. There is a dress code in effect – resort casual, so no hats, sportswear or torn jeans. Now, when we say expensive we mean expect to pay somewhere around $100 a person by the end of it all.
The second option is the medium expensive option, Tooloulou’s. The first time we visited Tooloulou’s we were a little concerned about how it would turn out because the interior is a little all over the place, but the flavours are not! This hidden gem is a little taste of Louisiana in the heart of Banff Canada. Expect to pay somewhere around $30 per person.
Lastly, the cheaper option, Squish Sandwich Cellar. This basement (it’s literally in a basement hence why cellar is in the name) sandwich shop is so underrated. Their sandwiches are complete with piles of delicious meat, perfect complimentary sauces and a side of chips. Our personal favourites are the Chicken Club and Montreal Smoked Meat. Expect to pay around $15 per person.
Explore At Your Leisure Or Take Another Dip In The Hot Springs – 7:00pm
What is a better way to end off your visit in Banff Canada than another dip in the Upper Hot Springs? Or perhaps you ate all your chocolate and need to pick up a few more pieces or last-minute gifts. Take these last few hours to soak up Banff and explore at your leisure.
Drive Back To Calgary – 7:00am
Well, your adventure in Banff Canada has now come to an end and it’s time to head home. Check out of your hotel and start your journey back to Calgary to catch your flight. Maybe even stop at Evelyn’s for a final coffee and breakfast sandwich or treat!
Visiting Banff Canada in the winter can be just as rewarding as seeing it in the summer. While you may end up seeing a few of the same things along the way (if you do both our summer and winter guides) we promise you that you will get two completely different experiences. Banff Canada in the winter is a completely different world than in the summer. It’s stepping into a winter wonderland and stepping out of reality. There is just something about snow-covered mountains that makes everything a little more special. This guide is meant to help highlight a few things to do and see along your trip, there are obviously a ton of other things you can do that we recommend like dog-sledding, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, tubing or tobogganing, and so many other things. But ultimately, do your research and plan the vacation that works for you and hopefully, this guide helps. If you do plan on visiting in the summer you can check out our guide for that here.
Hostels and Hotels
Hostel International Banff Alpine Centre: The hostel itself isn’t located off or near the main strip of Banff, but don’t let that deter you! They offer a Banff transit pass with your stay so getting to and from is easy. The hostel has a really cozy vibe and is well taken care of! Rates start around $35/night for a bed in a 6-bed dorm.
Samesun Backpackers: Located at the very edge of the main strip of Banff townsite, this hostel is great if you want to just be closer to the action. It has been labeled a little more of a ‘party-hostel’ so maybe keep that in mind as well. But rates here start at $38/night for a bed in a 14-bed dorm.
Caribou Hotel: Located just off the main ‘strip’ of the Banff townsite, this hotel is cozy, warm, clean and far enough from the action that it’s quiet. And yet, not too far that walking to and from town isn’t an option. They also have a parking lot for your rental car!
Fox Hotel: Just down the street from the Caribou is the Fox. This hotel is a popular option so book early! It’s popular (in our opinion) because of their Cave & Basin themed hot pool (also called their Grotto).
Banff Springs Hotel: Now this one is the ultimate place to stay in Banff National Park. If you’ve always wanted to stay in a castle in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, look no further! Just be warned, these rooms typically start around $350/night.