68 Best Sights in Banff National Park, Alberta

Sunwapta Pass

Marking the border between Banff and Jasper national parks, Sunwapta is the second-highest drivable pass—2,034 meters (6,675 feet)—in the national parks. Wildlife is most visible in spring and autumn after a snowfall, when herds of bighorn sheep come to the road to lick up the salt used to melt snow and ice. Be prepared for hairpin turns as you switchback up to the pass summit.

Icefields Pkwy. (Hwy. 93), Banff National Park, AB, Canada

Surprise Corner to Hoodoos Viewpoint

This 4.8-km (3-mile) trail begins with a view of a waterfall on Bow River, leads through meadows and forests and past sheer cliffs, and ends at the hoodoos (spirelike rock formations formed by erosion) in the eastern part of Banff Townsite. Easy.

Banff, AB, Canada

Tunnel Mountain Drive

On the east side of Banff, Tunnel Mountain Drive makes a scenic 5-km (3-mile) loop. It's closed in winter, but just off the drive, the hoodoos—fingerlike rock formations created by erosion—are accessible year-round (signs on Banff's main street direct you there).

Recommended Fodor's Video

Tunnel Mountain Trail

If you want to summit a mountain in the Canadian Rockies, this 4.8-km (3-mile) round-trip hike is a good bet. The trailhead is a short walk from downtown Banff and the hike leads to a low summit with incredible views of the town, the Bow Valley, and surrounding mountains. Moderate. 

Banff, AB, Canada

Vermilion Lakes Road

Off the Trans-Canada Highway close to the town of Banff, this 4.3 km (2.7 mile) roadway passes the tranquil Vermilion Lakes, a network of marshlands and lakes. The lakes have wonderful views of Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain and they are a popular spot for picnicking, paddling, relaxing, and reflection photography. It's also common to spot birds and other wildlife in this area. The road is quiet and it's a good place to ride a bike. The 2-km (1.2-mile) Fenland Trail is a lovely walk through the marshlands near the Vermilion Lakes. In some seasons, insect repellant is a must.

Victoria Glacier

Victoria Mountain and Victoria Glacier were named after Queen Victoria; Lake Louise was named after the queen's fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. The lake is fed by Victoria Glacier which sits near the top of Mount Victoria at the western end of the lake. Glacial rock flour (a.k.a dust) gives the lake its remarkable turquoise color. From the shores of the lake you can see the mountain and glacier.

111 Lake Louise Dr., Banff National Park, AB, T0L1E0, Canada

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Founded by the late Peter and Catharine Whyte, two Banff artists, this museum exhibits artworks, artifacts, and other items relating to the cultural heritage of the Canadian Rockies. Many of the earliest photos of Banff National Park can be found here, either on the walls or in the archives.

Wonder Pass

This 3.1-km (2-mile) trail leads to Wonder Pass and the spectacular views that inspired the name. The trail begins at Assiniboine Lodge and goes past the Naiset Huts to Gog Lake. From there it climbs past a lovely waterfall to reach Wonder Pass, which lies between Wonder Peak and the Towers. Moderate

Assiniboine Lodge, Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, BC, Canada