Only have 3 days in Banff to explore the Canadian Rockies? Follow the best 3 day Banff summer itinerary in this guide and you will see all the highlights during your 3 days in Banff.
Banff National Park is located in the Canadian Rockies mountain and it is one of those post card famous places that you must see before you die. I have always dreamed of visiting the turquoise lakes and snow capped mountains in Banff. One thing I was worried about was whether Banff is over hyped by social media; there are many places that look better in photos than in real life. Fortunately Banff is even more beautiful in person and one of the most stunning and relaxing places you can visit in the world.
3 days in Banff is not enough to see everything, but 3 days in Banff is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights of the region. Banff offers a little bit of everything for everyone: from avid hikers to families to nature lovers to girls on bachelorette trips and to the elderly. Since I visited Banff in the summer, I will outline the best 3 day Banff summer itinerary below. Visiting Banff in the winter is completely different because the lakes are frozen and most people visit Banff in the winter for activities such as skiing and snowboarding. In addition, check out my 4 days in Jasper National Park guide if you are heading up to Jasper.
The Best 3 Days in Banff
Day 1 of 3 Day Banff Summer Itinerary
Overview of Day 1 in Banff
Morning: Johnston Canyon
Afternoon: Banff Gondola or Tunnel Mountain Hike or East of Rundle Hike (In Canmore)
Evening: Dinner in Banff (the Town)
If you are driving to Banff in the morning from Calgary, then you can push the activities above to later in the day since Banff in the summer has a lot of day lights and the sun does not set till 10pm or so at night.
Day 1 of your 3 days in Banff will give you an introduction of Banff National Park and you get to do a range of activities from walking to hiking or just relaxing and exploring the town of Banff.
Morning: Johnston Canyon
Start your 3 days in Banff bright and early to visit Johnston Canyon. Johnston Canyon is located 25km (about 30 minute drive) northwest of the town of Banff in the Canadian Rockies. The Canyon is formed by erosion of Johnston Creek as it approaches the Bow River. The creek has cut through limestone rocks to form the canyon walls over thousands of years. The main activity at Johnston Canyon is an easy and short “hike” that allows visitors to see the beauty of 2 waterfalls (Lower and Upper falls). For the more adventurous they can hike down to the “hidden Cave” located near the Upper Falls.
Parking At Johnston Canyon
You should visit Johnston Canyon as early as possible during the day because parking tends to fill up fast. There are 2 parking lots at Johnston Canyon and if those fill up, you will need to park on the side of Bow Valley Parkway or take a shuttle bus. There are daily shuttle bus service between Banff train station and Johnston Canyon from May 18 – October 8. The journey is 45 minutes for CAD 5 roundtrip (free for youth 17 and under). The first bus leaves Banff Tran Station at 7:45am and the last bus leaves Johnston Canyon at 7pm.
Visiting Johnston Canyon
You can hike to both the lower falls and upper falls at Johnston Canyon, as well as access the Johnston Canyon “hidden cave”. It is a 1.1km walk to the lower falls and 2.7km walk to the upper falls at Johnston Canyon and the path is mostly paved with metal handles. During the walk to the lower falls at Johnston Canyon, the well-made trail suspends from the Canyon Walls that allows you to get close to the stream and running water. Most people stop at the Upper Falls and turn back, but for the adventurous or avid hikers, you can continue your hike to the Ink Pots at Johnston Canyon. The Ink Pots are 5 pristine pools and is about a 3km hike from the Upper Falls.
Johnston Canyon is an easy walk so it’s suitable for families with small children and the elderly.
After visiting the beautiful Johnston Canyon, you can either grab lunch at the café in Johnston Canyon at the beginning of the hike or get lunch back in the town of Banff.
Afternoon: Banff Gondola or Tunnel Mountain Hike Or East End of Rundle Scramble
After lunch, you may want to stay in the town of Banff to explore the different shops or head uphill for a nice view of town. For those who do not wish to hike, you can take the famous Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain for a panoramic view of Banff as well as the surrounding mountain peaks. The Banff Sighting seeing Gondola is an 8 minute ride that takes you 2281m (~7500ft) above ground to the summit of Sulphur Mountain in a 4 people cabin. There are restaurants, cafes, an interpretive center and short hiking trails at the Sulphur Mountain Board Walk. The price for adults is CAD 58 per ticket, and for children aged 6-15 is CAD 29. Kids age 5 and under are free to ride the Banff Gondola. If you want to challenge yourself and save the CAD58 per ticket, you can actually hike up Sulphur Mountain. The Sulphur Mountain hike takes about 2 hours, covering 3.4 mile one way with rather steep switchbacks. Many people who are moderately fit opt to hike up Sulphur Mountain and take the gondola back down.
Another short hike you can possibly do in Banff is the Tunnel Mountain Hike. The Tunnel Mountain hike is a short 2-3 hour hike (2.7m round trip) with a panoramic view of the town of Banff, Bow Valley and Mt. Rundle.
If you feel like challenging yourself for an amazing view, then head south to the town of Canmore for a relatively short but difficult and steep hike called East End of Rundle. This hike involves rock scrambling but you will be rewarded with breathtaking view of Mt. Rundle.
Day 2 of 3 Day Banff Summer Itinerary
Overview of Day 2 in Banff
Morning: Lake Louise
Day: Lake Agnes Trail or Plains of the Six Glacier Trail
Afternoon: Lake Minnewanka and Banff Upper Hot springs
Evening: Dinner and Stay in Banff (the Town) or Canmore
Day 2 of your 3 days in Banff is probably going to be your longest and most tiring day due to all the walking around and hiking.
Morning: Lake Louise
Lake Louise is one of the highlights in Banff National Park. If you do not know Lake Louise by name, you can probably recognize it in a photo. It’s a turquoise glacier fed lake surrounded by the Victoria Glacier, high peaks and the famous Fairmont Chateau. In the summer time it’s perfect for a morning sunrise canoe and in the winter there is ice skating on the frozen lake. Lake Louise is located about 1 hour away by car from the town of Banff so unless you are staying near Lake Louise the night before, I would recommend getting up no later than 6am on the day you are visiting Lake Louise to avoid crowds.
Best Time to Visit Lake Louise In the Summer
Since Lake Louise is one of the most famous spots in Banff National Park. The best time to visit Lake Louise would be from mid June to mid September when the lakes are melted and weather is pleasant.
As Lake Louise is on everyone’s Banff summer itinerary so getting there early is a must. If you are not planning to do the sunrise canoe, you should aim to visit Lake Louise around 8am or earlier. All the tour buses arrive at Lake Louise around 9am, and parking lot (2 big parking lots) get filled up really fast. We arrived around 8:10am and had to park in the 2nd lot. If the parking lot at Lake Louise is filled up, you will need to either park in the town of Lake Louise or in the Lake Louise overflow parking lot and take a shuttle bus in. There are also shuttle bus services that connect Banff and Lake Louise for those without a car.
Visiting Lake Louise early in the morning has another benefit: the postcard perfect reflection. In order to get the reflection on Lake Louise, the sun has to be low so early morning or late afternoon is the best and the water has to be extremely calm. You will not be able to see the reflection on Lake Louise if there is wind or when the sun is high in the sky. When we visited around 8am, there was a perfect reflection and just some visitors (not enough to ruin the experience thank goodness).
Best Things to do about Lake Louise
The majority of visitors to Lake Louise take photos of the lake and leave. But there are many great activities at Lake Louise that you should add to your 3 Day Banff summer Itinerary.
Canoeing at Lake Louise
As I mentioned earlier, you can canoe on Lake Louise to enjoy the scenery and being away from the crowds. Canoe rental is about $115 regardless of time limit if you are not a hotel guest.
Walk Around Lake Louise
There is a path on the right side of Lake Louise that you can take to walk to the other side of the lake. It’s about a 2-3km walk each way but you get to go away from the crowd and see the lake from the back.
Climbing at Lake Louise
Rock climbing is also a popular activity at Lake Louise. We saw some young people climbing up rocks near the end of Lake Louise.
Hiking Lake Agnes Trail to the Tea House
Lake Agnes Trail is one of the hiking trails at Lake Louise that leads to a stunning lake as well as a nice tea house. It’s a relatively short yet steep trail that starts near the Fairmont Chateau and takes you up to the Lake Agnes Tea house. The trail is 2.2 miles long and takes about 1-2 hours each way for most hikers.
Hiking the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail to the Tea House
The Plain of Six Glaciers Trail is the longer of the two tea house trails at Lake Louise. It’s a 3.4km trail starting at the end of Lake Louise that takes you up a moderately steep path to see all the surrounding glaciers (6 of them, hence the name). During the hike you will be able to see Lake Louise from high up and at the end of the hike you can enjoy a sip of tea and other food and drinks at the tea house.
For both hikes at Lake Louise, I would recommend starting early because they are on many people’s Banff summery itinerary. The tea house tends to get filled up later during the day and the trail can get crowded as well. The tea house only takes CASH but they do take USD at a 10% fee.
Hike the Beehive Trail to See Both Lake Agnes & Plain of Six Glaciers
If you are pretty fit and have a lot of time, you can do the Beehive Circuit Trail at Lake Louise to see both Lake Agnes and the Plain of Six Glaciers.
Other hikes at Lake Louise include the Saddleback Trail and Fairview Mountain trail.
Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola
There is a Lake Louise sightseeing Gondola that takes you to an elevation of 2088m (6850ft) with the panoramic view of Lake Louise, Rocky Mountain, and other amazing sights. You can choose an 4 person open air chair lift or an enclosed gondola going up to the viewing platform. The summer sightseeing gondola is CAD 35.95 per adult and CAD16.95 per child.
Afternoon: Lake Minnewanka & Banff Upper Hot Springs
After getting a bite at the tea houses or in the town of Lake Louise, I recommend driving back to the town of Banff to relax.
One of the lakes near Banff is Lake Minnewanka, it is located about 3 miles from the town of Banff. The lake is 13 miles long and 142 meter deep, popular for picnicing, mountain biking, canoeing, and cruise tours. There are many brides who take wedding photos at the shore of Lake Minnewanka as well. Lake Minnewanka is the only lake in the Banff region that allows the use of power boats so I recommend getting a power boat if you have time. Many people also come to Lake Minnewanka in the summer for scuba diving.
If you do not feel like looking at more lakes, then you can stay in the town of Banff and relax at the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
The Banff Upper Hot Springs was accidentally discovered in 1883 by railroad workers and since then, 8 more hot springs were discovered in the region. The Banff Upper Hot Springs however is now one of the only hot springs open for public use and it is the highest operating hot spring in Canada.
There is one big pool at the Banff Upper Hot Springs and also a café, locker rooms, and towel and bathing suit rental. The hours of operations are 9am to 11pm in the summer time and the ticket price is CAD 8.3 for Adults and CAD 6.3 for youth. The water temperature at the pool is between 37-40C (98-104F), which makes it an amazing treat for your body after a long day of exploring and hiking at Lake Louise.
Day 3 of 3 Day Banff Summer Itinerary
Overview of Day 3 in Banff
Morning: Moraine Lake
Day: Icefield Parkway & Peyto Lake
Afternoon: Vermillion Lake and explore the town of Banff
Evening: Stay in Banff (the Town) or Drive out to Calgary
After a whole day of hiking on your 2nd day of your 3 days in Banff, Day 3 will be mostly lake viewing and relaxing before you have to leave or catch your flight from Calgary.
Morning: Moraine Lake
Lake Louise may have already taken your breath away but Moraine Lake is another gem that you cannot miss in Banff. In my opinion Moraine Lake is even more stunning than Lake Louise because of the drastic backdrops of glaciers and mountains. Moraine Lake is located slightly under 1.5 hours from the town of Banff; Moraine Lake is actually not far from Lake Louise. On your drive to Lake Louise from Banff, you will see signs pointing to Moraine Lake.
Parking at Moraine Lake
Parking at Moraine Lake is a pain. Unlike Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise, Moraine Lake only has one parking lot and if that is filled, you cannot even enter the road to drive towards Moraine Lake. On your way to Lake Louise, you will notice an entrance towards “Moraine Lake”. When we were driving there around 8am, the road was open but that doesn’t mean cars were not already waiting to park on the road. However later during the day, as the parking lot at Moraine Lake fills up, there will be workers blocking the road for you to even drive to Moraine Lake. It will say the parking lot is full and ask you to visit later during the day or come another day. Throughout the day, the workers will open up the road letting 10-15 cars in every 20 or so minutes depending on how many cars leave Moraine Lake. To avoid having to wait around and trying to get in, I highly recommend that you visit Moraine Lake early in the morning no later than 5:30-6am to get a parking spot. Honestly the earlier you get there the better!
After you turn into the road that leads to Moraine Lake, it’s about another 15 km drive to get to the actual lake. As you drive towards Moraine Lake, you will start seeing peaks of mountains and glaciers. It always amazes me how alpine lakes are discovered in the middle of nowhere.
The Best Activities at Moraine Lake
Hiking Up to the View Point
Immediately before you walk to the Lake, there is a small hill full of rocks that you see people climbing. Many will try to scramble the rocks to get to the top for a perfect view of Moraine Lake. But in reality, it’s actually a well-built stair “trail” going up to the viewpoints. The trail starts near the public bathroom in the parking lot and takes 5 minutes to walk to the top.
Similar to Lake Louise, Moraine Lake offers canoe rentals for both guests who stay at Moraine Lake Lodge or those who are visiting. Canoe rental costs CAD105 per boat (seats 2 or 3) for unlimited amount of time. In the summer canoe rental starts at 9am and finishes at 7pm. Therefore you cannot do a morning sunrise canoe rental at Moraine Lake.
Hiking Trails at Moraine Lake
Aside from the hike to the view point, there are several other day hikes at Moraine Lake ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the hikes requires a minimum of 4 hikes due to bear risk (more on that later).
Consolation Lakes Hike: 6km return easy hike starting at the rock pile trail to Consolation Lakes
Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail: easy 3km return hike walking along the shorelines of Moraine Lake
Eiffel Lake Hike: 11km round trip moderate hiking trail starting near the Moraine Lake Lodge that takes you high along the valley for a panoramic view of Eiffel Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks
Larch Valley/ Minnestimma Lakes: 8.6km round trip moderate hiking trail that takes you to a higher point to see Moraine Lake and the ten peaks.
Sentinel Pass: 11.6km round trip difficult hike with steep switchbacks that lead to Larch Valley and Paradise Valley. This hike requires at least 4 people per group due to bear risk.
Wenkchemna Pass: 20k round trip difficult hike that travel the entire valley of the Ten peaks. The Wenkchemna Pass and the Eiffel Lake hike share the same trail as the Larch Valley Trail for the first 2.4km. There is a group size restriction due to bear risks.
Day: Icefield Parkway & Peyto Lake
After you visit Moraine Lake and get some lunch, you can either go back to the town of Banff or continue on to Icefield Parkway. Icefield Parkway Way is a 232 km stretch of road from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park that’s ranked as one of the most beautiful drives in the world. There are numerous stops on the Icefield Parkway such as Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefield, Athabasca waterfalls and hiking trails.
You won’t have enough time to drive the entire Icefield Parkway and most people drive an hour to the Peyto Lake viewing point before they turn back to Lake Louise. Peyto Lake is another alpine glacier fed lake located off the Icefield Parkway, about 40km northwest of Lake Louise. Most people don’t visit the lake itself but rather walk up to the view point to admire the lake from above.
How to See Peyto Lake
As you drive towards Jasper on Icefield Parkway, after about 50 minutes from Lake Louise, you will see a stop called “Bow Summit”. Exit into Bow Summit and you will come across a huge parking lot with maps and public bathroom. The viewpoint of Peyto Lake is about a 10 minute walk on paved road although some part of the path is a little steep. Peyto Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and you definitely should add Peyto Lake to your 3 day Banff summer itinerary. The lake is so blue that I often thought people photoshopped their pictures but after seeing it myself, I learned that what makes the water so blue is the large amount of glacier rock flour that flows into the water in the summer. The viewing platform during the summer months can be quite crowded but there are some makeshift trails going slightly lower than the viewing platform that offer a more empty viewing experience.
After seeing Peyto Lake, on your return drive to Lake Louise and Banff, you can stop by “Bow Lake” to take some photos and walk around another beautiful lake.
Afternoon: Vermillion Lake and Banff
As you drive back towards the town of Banff, you will inevitably come across Vermillion Lake with a backdrop of several peaks in the region. It’s a short resting stop to take photos or to relax. Vermillion Lake is only about 1.5 miles from Banff town so it takes it an easy spot to chill outside of town.
You can also hike on the Fenland Trail, a 1.2 mile loop around the lake.
If this is your last day in Banff, you will continue to drive 1.5 hours to Calgary to catch your flight back or spend the evening in the town of Banff before you leave the next morning.
Optional Day Trip from Banff: Yoho National Park
Yoho National Park is a much smaller national park next to Banff National Park. Most visitors do not know about Yoho National Park but it has some amazing lakes and waterfalls such as the Emerald Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Wapta Falls, and Kicking Horse River. If you were able to do more each day during your 3 days in Banff and have extra time, then you should definitely try to add Yoho National Park to your Banff summer itinerary.
One of the most famous lakes in Yoho National Park is Lake O’Hara. What makes Lake O’hara unique is that it is one of the most pristine lake and the park limits the number of visitors unless you take a bus to visit the lake. Only very few people get the opportunity to take the bus and to get the bus ticket to Lake O’hara, you have to try to get it online a few months ahead of time. There are 2 daily buses, one at 8:30am and another at 10:30am. The bus tickets tend to get reserved within 10 seconds. After visitors get off the bus, they will have the opportunity to hike other long and length trails. If you do not get the bus, you will have to first hike 6 miles uphill to the Lake O’hara area then start your lengthy hikes, making it almost impossible to visit without the park bus service.
Things to Know Before Visiting Banff National Park
Regardless of whether you are spending 3 days in Banff or 2 weeks in Banff and Jasper, you will for sure fall in love with the region and the friendliness of the Canadians. The information below might be helpful towards your planning your 3 Day Banff summer itinerary and maximize your 3 days in Banff.
When is the best time to visit Banff?
The best time to visit Banff is between mid June to mid September when the lakes are melted and hiking trails are open. Even at the end of May some of the lakes are frozen so you will not be able to see the turquoise colors that Banff lakes are so famous for. Another advantage of visiting Banff in the summer is the long days. Sunrise in Banff is round 5:30am and sunset is around 10pm. The long days mean you can see way more things and do longer hikes without having to worry about it getting dark.
The weather in the summer in Banff is also more pleasant, with high of 70s-80sF (23-28C) and low of 40s-50sF. You will get more sunny days and dry weather in the summer, which makes it great of all outdoor activities on your Banff summer itinerary. However keep in mind that most visitors go to Banff National Park in the summer, so all the lakes and hiking trails can get very crowded. Hotel prices during the summer also tend to be 1.5-2 times what they cost in low season and rental cars get booked up fast. I highly recommend you book all the rental cars and hotels at least 3 months in advance to avoid disappointment. As mentioned earlier, you should also aim to start your day no later than 7am and arrive at the lakes before 8am to make sure you get parking.
Many people also choose to visit Banff in the winter for winter sports and frozen waterfalls at Johnston Canyon.
How to Get To Banff
Banff is located in Alberta, along the Trans Canada Highway, about 126km (78 miles) west of Calgary. The closest airport to fly in to visit Banff is Calgary International Airport; after you land in Calgary, Banff is another 1.5 hour drive. Banff is a 9 hour drive from Vancouver.
Purchasing Banff National Park Pass For 3 Days in Banff
Once you are about to enter Banff National Park, you will need to buy a multi-day Banff National Park Pass either at one of the booth on the road or in the visitor center in the town of Banff. You can also purchase the Banff National Park Pass online. The Banff National Park Pass costs CAD 9.80 a day for adults and CAD 19.80 per “family” or “group” per day.
The Park Pass will need to be taped to the inside of your windshield. If the police finds your car without a valid park pass, you will be given a warning ticket first then a real ticket. The fees are used to help conserve and maintain the park, so please make sure you buy the pass.
How to Get Around Banff
Renting a car to drive around Banff is probably the easiest and most convenient way of traveling. There are rental car agencies located in Banff or you can rent a car from Calgary after you land and drive to Banff. There are numerous parking lots in the town of Banff as well as at all the touristy sites and hiking trailheads. However, parking can be an issue during summer peak season unless you visit early morning.
Many visitors to Banff also rent RVs to drive around the park. There are many designated RV Parking lot for those who wish to stay overnight or camp.
Within the town of Banff, there is a local bus ran by the company Roam. Check their official website for schedules and timetables.
Park Canada offers shuttle bus between Banff, Lake Louise, Lake Louise Gondola Johnston Canyon and Moraine Lake.
Hop on Hop Off Bus offers services between Banff, Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon, and Moraine Lake.
Many hotels offer complimentary shuttles to different areas in Banff, check with your hotel for more information on that.
There are also complimentary shuttle bus that take visitors from overflow parking lots (especially at Lake Louise) to Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Johnston Canyon.
Where to Stay in Banff
There are a ton of accommodation options from budget to luxurious in both Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise.
Budget Accommodation near Banff
Banff International Hostel: Hostel located in the town of Banff, 10 minute walk to the center of town. Tends to get booked up fast
Alpine Club of Canada (Canmore): a cute hostel located in the town of Canmore, 20 minute drive from Banff. I stayed there personally and loved the view from the deck. Very quiet place.
Medium Budget Accommodations near Banff
High Country Inn: Each room has two beds and a balcony! Really surprised at how spacious the room is.
Luxurious Accommodation Near Banff
Delta Hotels by Marriott Banff Royal Candian Lodge: Located right in the center of Banff, offers luxurious rooms and fitness center
Fairmont Banff Hot Springs: Luxury hotel that offers golf course in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Where to Eat In Banff
Banff is a pretty big resort town compare to its neighbors Canmore, Lake Louise and Jasper. I was actually surprised at the large number of stores, bars, and restaurants in Banff. During the summer month, the town of Banff is very lively and popping even late night and restaurants and bars are open till midnight (depends on the place). Here are some of the restaurants that I tried and would highly recommend
Tooloulou’s: more known as a brunch place, but they also have sit down dinners that offer Cajun seafood and burgers. I’ve only gone there for brunch and the line is always out of the door starting at 10:30am. It has an extensive brunch list that ranges from Canadian specialties (poutine) to French toasts to sandwiches to eggs.
Eddie Burger & Bar: a cute burger joint not far from Tooloulou’s. They offer some specialty burgers as well as beers. When you walk by the restaurant you will definitely be drawn in by the delicious smell of their truffle fries.
Elk and Oarsman Kitchen and Bar: We stopped by this place because it had a rooftop but we were not disappointed by the food. They offer a variety of burgers, pizzas and salads as well as drinks.
Cows: If you want ice cream in Banff then Cows is the place to be. There is usually a line out of the door but for good reasons. Cows offers many traditional as well as unique flavors and our favorite was the Wowie Cowie (Vanilla ice cream with English toffee marble, chocolate flakes & moo crunch) in a chocolate dipped cone. There is a gift store attached to the ice cream shop that sells cow themed souvenirs (shirts, mugs, stuffed animals, etc).
Beaver Tails: Beaver Tails is a Canadian pastry shop that basically puts different toppings on fried dough. There are a couple of stores in Banff so out of curiosity we tried it. There were a few different topping combination to choose from and I ended up trying to Nutella one with banana which was extremely rich and delicious. The fried dough is a bit salty, which went well with the sweetness of Nutella.
Whitebark Café: The best café in Banff with free wifi and lots of pastries. You can sit indoors or outside under the umbrellas.
Bear Safety in Banff and Jasper
There is a lot of wild life in Banff and Jasper and many visitors actually don’t know about the risk of encountering a bear during their visit to Banff. There is a huge population of grizzly bear and black bear in Banff National Park and the number of bears double in Jasper National Park because Jasper National Park is further up so it receives way fewer visitors a year compare to Banff National Park. Generally you will not see a bear during your visit because bears tend to avoid people. However, every year there are reports of hikers encountering bears or injuries and death during a bear encounter. Therefore even though the chance of you encountering a bear is slim, it is still important to understand how to protect yourself in case you see a bear.
If you are hiking, you should be hiking with others people and not alone. There are many trails near Moraine Lake that require a minimum of 4 in a group because of the risks of encountering bears. During the hike, make sure you are loud, that means talking and laughing loudly or play some music during your hike. Generally when bears hear unfamiliar sounds, they will run away. Unfortunately many incidents occur when a bear cub unknowingly runs across a hiking trail and the mama bear sees humans as a threat and starts to attack.
To avoid getting injured during a bear attack, make sure to buy a bottle of Bear Repellent (a really strong version of human mace) and learn how to use it. The Park’s official website has a demonstration on how to use a bear repellent as well as other safety information regarding bear encounters. You can buy the Bear Repellent at the visitors center in the town of Banff.
What to Pack For 3 Days in Banff
The weather changes drastically throughout a day in Banff. You should pack layers because the evening temperature drops quite low while it’s hot and dry during the day. If you plan to hike, bring athletic gear and hiking shoes as well as water bottles or a hydration pack.
The sun can be quite strong during the day especially if you are hiking, make sure to pack a hat and plenty of sunscreens to avoid being burned.
There are a lot of bugs and mosquitos during the hikes and near the lakes, so make sure to pack insect repellent (or get 10 mosquito bites like me).
If you are an avid photographer, definitely pack a wide angle lens in order to capture the peaks and mountains.
Other Useful Information Before You Visit Banff National Park
- Most stores take credit cards and offer bill splitting services. But bring cash to all the tea houses on the hikes near Lake Louise
- Most restaurants, hotels and shops offer bilingual services (English & French)
- There are bathrooms EVERYWHERE in Banff, usually in parking lots or at the start of a hike
- Toilet papers are provided in these public bathrooms, sometimes there are also hand sanitizers
- Some parking lots in Banff offers 2 hour parking, find the parking structure that allows you to park for unlimited amount of time on Bear Street
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