Top Leisure Activities and Attractions in Banff, Alberta

Banff National Park is the place to sit back and enjoy everything from ice to hot waters.

As Banff National Park celebrates the 125th anniversary of its opening in 1885, it still offers many rigorous outdoor activities. However, those who are interested in enjoying the outdoors in a more leisurely atmosphere will find that the town of Banff is a mountain resort area where visitors can set up camp in a “castle” to use as a jumping off point for a variety of activities.

Banff Activities

The area adjacent to the town of Banff is known for two things, a tour that takes visitors onto a glacier, and hot springs. The Columbia Icefield Glacier Experience takes visitors up into the Canadian Rockies in “Brewster Ice Explorers,” which might best be described as buses outfitted with incredibly huge snow tires. Part of the 80-minute tour includes a section where guests can actually get out and stand on the glacier.

The Banff Upper Hot Springs, located just outside of town, are the attraction that first put this area on the map. For decades, people have been coming to soak in these mineral waters that come through a thermal spring at an enjoyable temperature. Guests can even get a sense of the history of the place by renting 1920s-style swimsuits.

Two more activities that vacationers will enjoy during the summer are riding the Banff Gondola and taking a boat tour of Lake Minnewanka. The gondola climbs over 2,000 vertical feet and offers beautiful views of the valley, including the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Cruises around Lake Minnewanka leave several times per day. Banff is also located 37 miles from Lake Louise, which offers many enjoyable activities.

Fairmont Banff Springs

For those who appreciate both beautiful outdoor scenery but also a beautiful place from which to view it, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel alone is worth making a visit to Banff. As visitors drive north from the main area of town, coming around a bend in the road the “Castle in the Mountains” suddenly looms above like something out of a movie. The hotel opened in 1888 and was one of many beautiful hotels in western Canada available to be visited thanks to the completion of the transcontinental railway.

Once inside, visitors will enjoy amazing views of the Bow River from many areas of the hotel, including the Willow Stream Spa where they can enjoy treatments or get a day pass that allows them to experience indoor thermal pools or outdoor pools that are surrounded by mountain scenery on one side with the castle looming above on the other. Another beautiful view of Bow River can be found while dining at the Bow Mountain Grill.

Banff is a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it in luxurious surroundings or while doing relaxing things.

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