1. Moraine Lake
We start off the list with the icon of Canada, Moraine Lake. You simply cannot visit Canada and pass by this amazing Lake. The brilliant blue-green coloured beauty is one of the most visited places in Canada, and so unsurprisingly, the crowd there does get overwhelming at times, especially during the peak summer months. The climb up the rock piles for the view takes about 5 minutes and is well worth it.
We highly recommend using the Shuttle Bus service that gets you to Lake Moraine and Lake Louise without having to stress out over getting parking lots as they fill up as early as 7am. Unfortunately, Moraine Lake is closed for visitations during the winter months due to risk of avalanche.
2. Lake Louise
Similar to Moraine Lake, Lake Louise is another one of Canada’s icons. A hotspot for many visitors, the lakes incredible popularity can be credited to its gorgeous turquoise colored waters and the stunning mountain backdrop makes it an obvious reason as to why its so popular. Accessible both in the summer and winter months, canoeing here costs CAD135/hr in the summer and allows for 3 people at a time, while renting ice skates for costs CAD $10/hr in winter.
3. Lac Des Arc Scenic Highway Pullover
This amazing scenery is easily accessible, especially if you’re coming into Banff from Calgary. Just stop at the pullover and snap some amazing shots of the beautiful mountainous views.
4. Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka is just about 20 minutes drive away from the town of Banff. Lots of activities are done here such as fishing, diving, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and boating. In the winter, Lake Minnewanka is one of the best places in Banff National Park to view the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).
5. Two Jack Lake
Right after finishing at Lake Minnewanka, if you continue on the road Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive, you will get to Two Jack Lake.
6. Johnson Lake
Just a 5 minute drive away from Two Jack Lake, you will get to Johnson Lake. A great place to swim, kayak and even ice-skate during the winter.
7. Mount Norquay Lookout
Just on the outskirts of Banff, and a short drive up some curvy roads, awaits the Lookout from Mount Norquay. Stunning views to be seen without any hiking or walking. In the winter, Mount Norquay is open for skiing and tubing. And in the summer, it has a sightseeing chairlift that takes you up to 7000ft in elevation. Find out more here.
8. Banff Pedestrian Bridge
There’s lots to see within the town of Banff. But our favourite of the lot would be the Banff Pedestrian Bridge. We’ve made life easy for you to explore the many wonderful sights within the small beautiful town of Banff right here.
9. Fairview Lookout (Lake Louise Hike)
If you had to choose one hike to do at Lake Louise, we would recommend this one. Fairview lookout is a short trail with a steady incline the whole way up to the lookout.
Distance: 2.4 km
Elevation gain: 167m
Duration: 1.5 hour return
10. Lake Agnes (Lake Louise Hike)
The Lake Agnes trail is right in front of Fairmont Château. The hike up is a gradual sloped trail, with great views of Lake Louise on your way up. Believe it or not, there’s a tea house all the way up the mountain beside Lake Agnes where you can soak in the views and sip on some soothing tea.
Distance: 7.4 km
Elevation gain: 435m
Duration: 3 hour return
11. The Beehive (Lake Louise Hike)
After enjoying the short break at Lake Agnes with that refreshing cup of tea, head on up just another 100m elevation to Little Beehive, where you would be able to see the views of the Bow Valley. Get the views of all the 3 lakes in sight, Lake Louise, Lake Agnes and Mirror Lake.
Distance: 9 km
Elevation gain: 535m
Difficulty: Very Hard
Duration: 4 hour return
12. Morant’s Curve
Morant’s Curve is a beautiful place where the Canadian Pacific Railway passes through right along the Bow River. If you want to capture the train alongside with the beautiful view, its best to do so on a weekday. The train service is most frequent then and goes by almost every hour. There is no guarantee tough as there isn’t a schedule where timings can be viewed due to security reasons. Parking can be found opposite the viewpoint, where about a dozen vehicles can park there at a time.
13. Bow Lake Viewpoint
Bow Lake, found within the Icefield Parkways, boasts some of the best views of the majestic mountains here in Canada. The water boasts a stunning blueish green colour with the reflection of the afternoon sun, creating a serene sense of beauty.
14. Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint
After wrapping up at Bow Lake, head over to the Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint. With the increasing threat of global warming, lots of glaciers in Canada are disappearing. So catch them while you still can.
15. Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure
The Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure is a great place to explore and learn about the glaciers in the Icefield Parkway. Get up close and personal with the Athabasca Glacier with the guided tour where you get to ride specialized vehicles to reach the glacier. Bring some empty water bottles and fill them up and get a taste of fresh glacier water.
16. The Big Bend
If you’re heading to Banff from Jasper or vice versa, this is definitely a must see. An easy pullover on the road with some marvelous views of the Rockies.
17. Parkers Ridge trail (Hike)
One of the best hikes we’ve been on. The views on this one are simply spectacular. We were truly lost for words. The views were stupendous not just at the end of the hike, but along the way as well.
Distance: 5.1 km
Elevation gain: 269m
Duration: 3-3.5 hour return
18. Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake is one of the most underrated Lakes in Canada, especially since Moraine Lake and Lake Louise have captured most peoples’ attention. This Lake, in our opinion, is just as remarkable if not more.
The canoeing costs $75 for 3 people which is a lot more cheaper than at most lakes. Highly recommended!
19. Mount Robson
Mount Robson is the first mountain that welcomes visitors driving in from BC and thus kick starts the obvious terrain changes. It’s most famous for the starting point of the Berg Lake Trail, a popular backcountry hike that boasts some of the most magical views of the Rockies.
20. Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is a great place to stop by. It takes 20 minutes of an easy hike up to the viewing platform, and the views you are rewarded with are breathtaking. Trail gets slippery in winter, and crampons are highly recommended.
21. Abraham Lake
An amazing lake to discover in the summer and winter season. The campsite nearby makes it worth the stay while you plan on the various activities that can be done here. In the winter you can see the methane bubbles under the ice. The David Thomson Highway (no.11) has some fantastic views on the way to Abraham Lake.
22. Howse Pass Viewpoint
An impressive and gorgeous viewpoint to stopover if you are on the Banff-Jasper route. Definitely a good rest stop to have lunch or a picnic with the benches available there.
23. Marble Canyon
Marble Canyon is an astounding canyon that can be looped within 30 minutes. The canyon is narrow and deep, and the canyon stones are very distinctive. The surrounding forests burned by mountain fire help compose a unique atmosphere to the place.
24. Wapta Falls (Hike)
An easy flat ground hike, Wapta Falls is an incredible waterfall with beautiful mountainous backdrops. The trail is well maintained and easy to navigate, and the rewarding views from the hike are amazing.
Distance: 4.8 km
Elevation gain: 125m
Duration: 2 hour return
Drive through viewpoints
Here is a collection of the best drive-by views that we have handpicked. If you want to get those Instagram-worthy shots, enter the GPS co-ordinates given to get there.