One Day Tour of Banff


One Day Tour of Banff National Park

An itinerary for one day tour of Banff National Park . This article covers activities to do in Banff town and around Lake Minnewanka. Get the trail guide so that you can do the easy trails along the attractions listed below. Pack some quick eats so that you can do most of the itinerary.

This itinerary can be easily be tailored for a two day trip by adding few summer activities.

Download 3D Map or from official parks Canada map from here.

Click on the attraction name to know more about the attraction, including hours, direction, and location. The itinerary is planned for Summer Days when nights are longer and attractions are open till late in the evening.

View One Day Tour of Banff – Itinerary Idea in a larger map


Mt. Norquay Chairlift & Via Ferratta

North American Chairlift & Sightseeing, Mt. Norquay

North American Chairlift & Sightseeing, Mt. Norquay

Enjoy the magnificent views of Banff town, and Bow Valley from up above from 2 person open historic chairlift at Mt. Norquay.

A trip up Mt. Norquay is the first activity of the day. The first chairlift up is at 09:00 AM.

Mt. Norquay road, lies on an important part of the wildlife corridor and you have a better chance of sighting wildlife in the morning hours. Allocate 2 hours for Mt. Norquay visit, and 3 hours if you plan to dine here.

If you like to do Via Ferrata, plan for 08:30 AM trip, so that you can have the afternoon to explore Banff.

Banff Fairmont Springs & Bow Falls

Go to Banff Fairmont Springs (405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB , T1L 1J4) by around 12:15pm. Park the car there and take in the grandeur and fascinating history of the Banff Springs hotel. Explore the gorgeous building and take in the antique furniture, paintings, and tapestries. Revel in the atmosphere of Mont Stephen Hall admiring the architecture. (by 1:00 PM). You can also eat from here, but it is a little expensive.

Walk to Bow Falls. See the falls and then join for the guided float tours to Hoodoos from Bow falls, which starts at the base of the falls. If you are early for the tour @ 1.20PM, walk along the Bow Falls trail. Otherwise do this after the float tour.

Cascade Gardens, Cave & Basin National Historic Site

Cave & Basin National Historic Site

Cave & Basin National Historic Site ©Kimpayant

Take the car and visit Cascade Gardens (skip this if you do not like gardens or if you are visiting Banff, during off season, when flowers are not in bloom).

Next on the itinerary is Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Walk along the Marsh Loop trail (skip this, if want of time) and go inside to see the cave, the mineral springs and Interpretive displays.

Allocating time at Cave and Basin depends on your interest.

You may consider visiting BuffaloNations Luxton Museum or Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies instead of the historic site.

Surprise Corner & Hoodoos

Enjoy the majestic view 0f the Banff Springs Hotel from Surprise Corner.If you did not take the float tour continue along Tunnel mountain drive and see the hoodoos.


Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive

Lake Minnewanka Scenic Driveis the last part of the tour.

Start the loop counter clock wise (see the link above) and stop at Cascade ponds, Johnson Lake, Two Jack Lake. You may be able to spot wild life. Big Horn sheeps are a common sight at Two Jack Lake to Lake Minnewanka area.

Stop at Lake Minnewanka. If you are up to it, you may hike the Stewart trail. If you are early, you can join for the boat cruise. Last cruise is at 5.00 PM/06:00 PM depending on the season.

Another option is to visit Vermilion Lakes instead of Lake Minnewanka. Enjoy the alpine scenery with the Mt Rundle on the back ground highlighted with the evening sky. You may be able to see wild life here. In case you are staying at Banff or Canmore, watch the starry night sky at Vermilion Lakes (do not forget your mosquito spray) on a clear summer day. If you are lucky, you might ( just might!), be able to see Aurora Borealis on an active night.


See the article Rainy Day Activities In Banff to know what to do if it rains during your trip.

You may also be interested in Banff in a Day to get another itinerary idea which includes Johnston Canyon.

See Banff and Lake Louise Tour in One Day to also include Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

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    1. Kim Poole

      This is fabulous info!! Wish I had found it 2-3 months ago. We leave tomorrow from Washington State. Knowing the “lay of the land” with your great interactive map will be a huge help. Thanks for putting all this info together!!

      July 25, 2017 at 12:28 PM

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