Is there anything better than summer in Banff National Park? The air is like fresh magic, you’re surrounded by million-dollar views, and your choice of restaurants is almost as varied as your opportunities for adventure.
Plan your mountain summer while you are safe at home, getting ready for your future adventures. Let these unexpected delights inspire your daydreams of Banff and Lake Louise.
Treat yourself on a sweet shop crawl
Banff and Lake Louise boast six sweet shops between them, each more delectable than the last. You could visit one every day of your vacation, or hit them all in one go – you’re on holiday, after all.
Watch through the window as the artists at The Fudgery pour sweet slabs of fudge, or browse the local sweet treats from Mountain Chocolates. The Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe in Lake Louise is a candy-lined haven straight from the dreams of your childhood – pick up some novelty sweets before you board the Roam bus to Banff.
Check out the world’s most scenic skate park
It is possible that there are more scenic skateparks in the world, but Banff’s offering must be high on the list. Nestled in the Banff Recreational Grounds, the skatepark boasts panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies and air so fresh that it makes you feel younger. The bowls and features themselves are clean and well maintained, and talented local skateboarders happily share space with kids on scooters. Keep an eye on the field behind the skatepark for a possible wildlife sighting – it’s the favourite hangout for a large gang of elk.
Sit back and sip on a beer cruise
From June 5, you can combine beer and beautiful views on Pursuit’s Lake Minnewanka Beer Voyage Cruise. Lean into the long summer evenings as you glide across Banff National Park’s largest lake, enjoying incredible vistas of the Canadian Rockies while relishing locally-brewed beer.
This 90-minute voyage departs at 5:00 p.m. daily throughout summer, with an interpretive tour guide on board to help you learn more about your stunning surrounds. They also may have a word to say about your micro-brewed beer – every local has their favourite.
E-biking – the chill way to cycle epic roads
Banff National Park is a cyclist’s happy place – especially this year, when a scenic section of the Bow Valley Parkway is once again closed to cars. The Minnewanka road will also be closed to cars from Monday-Thursday during summer 2021, providing wide-open spaces for two-wheelers to do their thing. E-bikes mean that anyone can enjoy the epic mountain views from Banff’s famous cycling roads. What was once a challenging hill gets eaten for breakfast thanks to the power of an e-bike.
You can rent e-bikes from Ultimate Sports, SkiBig3 Adventure Hub, Banff Cycle, Banff Adventures, Snowtips-Bactrax, Chateau Mountain Sports and Wilson Mountain Sports (Lake Louise) , but book in advance – the secret is out.
Get a little cowboy on a horseback ride
You can get as cowboy as you like with Banff Trail Riders, which operates out of the impressive Warner Stables at the south end of Banff town. Whether you’re riding out for a leisurely hour along the river or saddling up for a six-day quest to Halfway Lodge, you’re in for an authentic adventure. Banff Trail Riders is the largest horse outfit in Canada, and its cowboys and cowgirls are the real deal.
Get the best Instagram shot of Cascade Mountain
This quick stroll through Banff town offers Cascade Mountain photo ops for days.
Start on Banff Avenue in the pedestrian zone, head north across the traffic bridge, and then take a left turn along the river. Once you reach the pedestrian bridge, you’ll see Cascade waiting for you at the other end, framed by a border of evergreens. Cross the bridge and continue to walk down Muskrat Street, towards the majestic bulk of Cascade Mountain. You’ll take a hundred photos to try and capture its sheer immensity, but nothing is as good as the real thing.