What to See in the Beautiful Town of Banff?

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The town of Banff is a very popular place to visit for tourists. Therefore, booking hotels or tours in advance is a must. This town was founded in 1883 when the Canadian Pacific Railway ran alongside the Bow River. The town is within the Banff National Park boundaries.

Therefore, you need a pass to enter. The pass costs around $10 for a day. We were on our road trip meaning we had a year pass for around $70 per person. The year pass is more cost-effective if you are visiting different National Parks and visiting for consecutive days.

Vermilion Lakes – The Lakes that Border Banff Town

Mountainous Backdrop at Vermillion Lake Outisde Banff Town
The Marshland Lakes

These lakes are a network of marshlands. They sit just outside of the town of Banff. These lakes are not glacier-fed like so many in Banff National Park. In the backdrop, you see Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle. Also, with the sun in the right direction, you can see the reflection of Mount Rundle on the water. This is home to a short boardwalk through some marshlands and a perfect place for a relaxing sunset.

The Historic Banff Town – Shopping and Restaurants

The town of Banff offers a range of restaurants, bars, and shops mixed with some art galleries. Also, many mountains surround the town giving you incredible views no matter which way you look. If you like a good keepsake, you can find these along Banff Avenue or Bear Street.

BeaverTails – Trying One of Canada’s Most Famous Foods

We had to try BeaverTails, a popular dessert or sweet snack. I opted for the Oreo flavour (I had an Oreo obsession at one point). If you Google foods to try in Canada, these pop up on your search. I am one for having a sweet tooth therefore I was in heaven. These were so tasty and a perfect afternoon treat. It was the sugar fix that I required. Yes… this fix is basically needed daily for me.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site – Banff Town

Sulphur Cave Basin a National Historic Site in Banff Town
The Cave Basin

The Sulphur Mountain Cave and Basin was where the National Park began. There is a mini-museum which is very informative detailing information about the area. It doesn’t take much time to wander around. This hot spring cavern is one of nine on Sulphur Mountain yet the only one that can fit people in. It’s called Sulphur Mountain for a reason so expect a smell when entering the cave.

A Short Trail Hike to Sundance Canyon

A Rocky Sundance Canyon with Flowing Water, Banff Town
The Sundance Canyon

There are many trails to do around this site. We decided on the Sundance Trail which was 4.3 km with a small elevation of 145 metres. Perfect. We didn’t want to be scaling any mountains today. The walk was causal and eventfully entered a small forest alongside the Bow River. Then you head down into the small canyon. The walk is the same way back to the car.

The walk was a good stretch of the legs. However, as we started the walk back big black clouds replaced the blue skies. We weren’t planning on going so far. So, we didn’t have our waterproofs with us. We raced back to try and beat the rain. Yep! You probably know how this ended.

We didn’t make it back to the car before the heavens opened… we got absolutely soaked. You can always count on the weather… not!


Banff Upper Hot Springs

When I think of hot springs in Canada, I am picturing a pool in the middle of nowhere. Not a ‘Spa’ facility. The Banff Upper Springs is quite small but a very popular stop with everybody. I refused to go in as it was too full but my friend did and she enjoyed the experience. The evening time was quieter and a little more relaxing (fewer people less noise). However, still, something that I wouldn’t enjoy.

Viewing the HooDoos at Tunnel Mountain

Hoodoo's at a Tree lined Bow Rvier,
The HooDoo’s

In the end, we chose to drive up Tunnel Mountain Road to take a look at The HooDoos. Although, there is a hike you can do that takes you closer to the hoodoos. HooDoos contain sedimentary rock covered by a harder rock which makes it harder to erode. Once softer sediment erodes rock needles or tower-like natural obstacles form known as Hoodoos.

Bow River – The River Runs from Bow Lake to Calgary

The Bow River is breathtaking and a marvellous bit of nature here within the National Parks. It flows for an impressive 587 km from the source at Bow Lake to Calgary, Alberta. There are many things to do along the river such as kayaking. In the town of Banff near Fairmount Hotel, there is Bow Falls.

Bow Falls into The Bow River Which Runs To Calgary
Bow Falls, Bow River

This waterfall is short and wide yet still so powerful. From mid-summer, you can feel the mist on your face due to the high water levels. The high water level is due to all the snowmelt in the region. The undisturbed view back down the valley is breathtaking. The river winded its way into the distance. There are no words to describe the sheer beauty of the Bow River.

Summary of a Day Visit in Banff Town

Banff is well worth the visit. A day can be well spent visiting all the major spots on offer. We planned which hikes we wanted to do in advance and none of them were in Banff. There are plenty of hikes in and around Banff however you need more than one day!

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