This itinerary provides a perfect introduction to what the beautiful Banff National Park has to offer. This 3-day road trip includes stops at the famous Moraine Lake, and Lake Louise. You are sure to be fascinated by the deep blue waters, the mountaintops covered by eternal snow, and if lucky, the majestic wildlife. There is a lot to discover in the Canadian Rockies, so for those with more time, check out our 6-day itinerary: The Canadian Rockies and their Blue Lakes.
Before you go to Banff
When to go:
MTD (UTC – 6)
Type A/B – 110V/60Hz
Canadian Dollar (C$)
Tipping / VAT:
Customary / Not Included
Day 1: Banff National Park
130km/80mi – 1h25min
On the first day of this itinerary, drive from Calgary to Banff National Park. Take it easy by visiting Banff village and some nearby attractions. It is recommended to land in Calgary the day before and stay there overnight to get an early start on Day 1. We recommend staying near the airport at Hotel Clique.
- Stretch your legs after the drive by exploring the charming Banff Village.
- Discover your first lake of the trip: Lake Minnewanka, and do the short 40min hike to Stewart Canyon.
- Ride the Banff Gondola up to Mount Sulphur. Once at the top, follow the boardwalk to reach the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station.
- Have lunch in Banff Village and/or indulge in a snack at BeaverTails — a must try in Canada. We recommend the Chocolate and Banana BeaverTail.
- We enjoyed dinner at Sky Bistro, on top of Mount Sulphur. Make sure to try the Bison Tartare.
- We recommend staying in Banff Village for the first two nights of this itinerary. We stayed at the Brewster Mountain Lodge.
- Purchase your Park Pass in advance (here) to avoid potentially long lines at the Banff National Park entrance. The Pass is valid for all Mountain National Parks, including Banff and Jasper National Park.
- It might be cheaper to pick up your rental car in downtown Calgary instead of the airport.
- Many accommodations tend to sell out quickly, driving up the prices in the area – book early.
- Bison and elk meat are specialties in the area, make sure to try them!
Go to the next page to see the next day of this itinerary. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or want to share your recommendations with our fellow readers!