5 key things you absolutely have to do in Banff National Park

West of Calgary, and the best zoo in Canada, in the Rocky Mountains, visitors to Alberta will find Banff National Park. The natural beauty of the region has to be seen to be believed. Dense forest. Stunning lakes. Ice fields. And a seemingly endless array of wildlife.

This is a park that offers so much to do that it appeals to pretty much everyone and anyone. That’s probably why a virtually endless stream of visitors visit Banff throughout the year. It’s a top spot in North America for vacationers of all kinds.

The Town of Banff

At the economic center of the park is the town of Banff. It is one of the top tourist destinations in Canada, which is probably why the bulk of the community is devoted to tourism. And it has a wide range of things to do.

Naturally, there are a lot of hotels, shops and restaurants to choose from. On top of that, there are a variety of art galleries and museums as well as several unique historical sites to be enjoyed. When you go to the park, there’s a good chance that Banff will be your base of operations.

Take a ride the Sulfur Mountain Gondola

Overlooking the town of Banff is Sulfur Mountain. That’s not odd considering Banff is literally surrounded by mountains. But what sets Sulfur Mountain apart is that you can take a gondola ride up the side of it to the interpretive center near the top.

Once there, the views of the region are impeccable. In addition to the interpretive center, there’s also a marvelous restaurant as well as a mountain boardwalk that can lead you all the way to the peak. Banff Upper Hot Springs is also nearby if you need to relax.

Head to Lake Louise

Lake Louise, Banff

LAKE LOUISE, CANADA – DECEMBER 8: A general view during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Super G on December 8, 2019 in Lake Louise Canada. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Often referred to as the jewel of Banff National Park, Lake Louise is vacation destination all on its own. Lake Louise village is always an interesting spot to visit. And the immediate area has some absolutely superb hikes around it, not to mention some world class skiing.

But the main event is the lake itself. Surrounded by mountains and an endless field of gorgeous evergreen trees, the impossible color of Lake Louise pops that much harder. There are a lot of lakes in this park, but this is the top one for a reason.

Enjoy Sunshine Village Ski Resort

Sunshine Village Ski Resort, Banff

iBANFF, ALBERTA – NOVEMBER 18: Skiers on a slope at Ski Resort Sunshine Village on November 18, 2014 in Banff, Canada. (Photo by EyesWideOpen/Getty Images)

A large percentage of Banff National Park’s tourism is related directly to skiing, and for good reason. This park has some of the best in the world. A great place to experience it right near the town of Banff is the Sunshine Village Ski Resort.

Their exceptional facility boasts being “Banff’s only ski-in, ski-out hotel” which can be quite advantageous to visitors. The resort also has a magnificent, well maintained runs with difficulties suitable for any and all experience levels.

Soak in Johnston Canyon

There are a lot of life changing views along the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park. But Johnston Canyon is special among them. Following the hiking trail through the canyon can be incredibly rewarding to visitors who put the effort in.

Johnston Canyon has a pair of stunning waterfalls as well as marvelous trail that leads to the Ink Pots. The longer hike to the Ink Pots can be a little strenuous, so many visitors hang around the lower levels. But there’s so much beauty there, it’s still worth taking it all in.