Discover Banff Canada in Photos

Written By: The Planet D

There is something that draws me to icy landscapes and Banff, Canada is the perfect destination for ice and snow. When the mountains are covered with blankets of snow, it amplifies the beauty of a scene by creating stark shadows and jagged lines. Colors pop through the winter haze creating beautiful patterns of intense hues.

To me, there is nowhere more arresting in winter than in Banff, Canada. Winter in Alberta can be harsh as the temperatures plunge to well below zero, but if you are brave enough to face the Canadian cold, a trip to Banff in winter will leave you with lasting memories that you will cherish for years to come.

Discover the Beauty of Banff Canada

An aerial view of the Spray Lakes in Banff Canada
Nothing compares to the mountain scenery of Banff

From backcountry lodges to high mountain scenic hikes, Banff, Alberta is beautiful. If you really want to take in the scale and scope of the Rocky Mountains, take a scenic flight over Banff National Park, you will discover a beauty that you’ve never seen before. If you are visiting Alberta, make sure to add Banff to your list

Vermilion Lakes

sunrise over vermillion lake | banff alberta
Mount Rundle over Vermilion Lakes

Sunrises are incredible in the Rockies and there are a few places that are popular for sunrise. The Vermilion Lakes is one of the top spots for sunrise in Banff. This spot is located just outside Banff and a short drive from Lake Louise in Canada.

Get there early as there will be a lot of photographers lining the banks of the Vermilion lakes. Enjoying our photo journey of Banff Canada? Check out more at The Best Hotels in Banff

Lake Louise

early spring on lake louise

Lake Louise is the most popular attraction in all of Banff. It attracts visitors from around the world. In the summer it is a bucket list item to canoe on Lake Louise.

Mount Rundle

banff canada

Each time we visit Banff, we make a stop at the Vermilion Lakes. It is different every time! There is a reason it is the most photographed lake in all of Banff, Canada, it is stunning. The Vermilion Lakes attract photographers from around the world each morning and night to capture magnificent sunrises like this!

Pond Hockey on Lake Louise

hockey on Lake Louise in Banff Canada

Ice skating is in every Canadian’s blood. Dave and I both spent many winters in a hockey rink skating around the arena practicing our skills. For a truly Canadian experience, take the game outdoors and play some pond hockey on Lake Louise.

Get all your winter gear and rent your pond hockey skates and gear at Wilson Mountain Sports

Lake Minnewanka

Stargazing on Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park in Canada
Stargazing on Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada

Lake Minnewanka is one of the more famous lakes near Banff Canada and it is the perfect spot to go stargazing and photographing the dark skies.

Winter is the perfect time for dark sky photography because the sun goes down at 4:30 and you can be home from a night photography session by 9 pm. Read more: Where to Stay in Banff

Secret Bend

Taking the train in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta in Canada is an adventure
Taking the train in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta is an adventure. It cuts right through Banff, Alberta in Canada.

We took a photography tour with Rocky Mountain Adventures and it was an excellent way to discover hidden gems.

Their professional guides know Banff Canada inside out and can take you to many a photography haunt frequented by local photographers. By hiring a local guide, you can capture unique angles from a different perspective. Check out 12 Best Hikes in Banff National Park

Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

Don't miss the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary Banff Canada
Don’t miss the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary just outside of Banff Canada.

People think it is cool to own a dog that is half-wolf, half-dog, but they are a lot of work and a very special animal that remains partly wild. If you decide to adopt a wolf dog, do your research and know what you are getting into beforehand.

Johnston Canyon

Ice Climbing in Johnston Canyon
Try your hand at Ice Climbing in Johnston Canyon

The Johnston Canyon walk is a sight for sore eyes in winter. This winding path takes you through deep canyons covered in icy waterfalls. Each view just keeps getting better and better until you reach the end where massive waterfalls plunge into a whirlpool of icy water. See our Ice climbing Adventure in Canmore, Alberta

Sleigh Ride at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Get to know the locals in Banff National Park
Get to know the locals in Banff Alberta by taking a sleigh ride on Lake Louise.

There is nothing more romantic than taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride on a Lake Louise trail. The clydesdale horse pulls your sleigh along the lake’s path to view the glacier as you sip hot chocolate while wrapped up in a warm blanket.

Sundance Lodge

Explore a backcountry lodge in Banff Canada
Explore a backcountry lodge in Banff National Park

A backcountry lodge is a magical experience. Banff Canada has some of the best Astrophotography in the world with clear crisp skies and zero light pollution. Especially when you get away from it all at a backcountry lodge.

The only way to access a place like this, Sundance Lodge, is to hike, cross country ski, or snowshoe in. Once you arrive you have the place all to yourself. In the summer you can ride horses into this lodge.

Bow Lake in Winter

bow lake in winter
Enjoy the winter landscapes offered throughout Banff, Canada

Winter offers views like this with every turn you take in Banff, Canada. We drove up the Icefields Parkway to view Bow Lake in winter. The path is closed during the winter months, but it is worth hiking out for a photograph.

Bow Lake in Summer

bow lake

We have seen it in the summer too and it is even more stunning. A drive up the icefields parkway is a must any time of the year. With more than 100 glaciers lining the route, there are several viewpoints to stop and take in the extraordinary views.

Helicopter Tour of the Rocky Mountains

helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountains in Alberta
View from our helicopter ride over the Rockies.

The best way to see Banff National Park is to fly over it. A helicopter tour is a spectacular way to really understand just how massive the Rocky Mountains are. We have never witnessed such a beautiful helicopter ride as we did in winter in Banff. Each turn took our breath away.

Helicopter Tours can be booked at Rockies Heli

Snowshoe to a Mountain Peak

heli-snowshoeing in the Rocky Mountains
Go heli-snowshoeing in the Rocky Mountains

During our helicopter ride, we were treated to a snowshoe excursion in the mountains. It’s one thing to snowshoe in the Canadian Rockies, it’s quite another to snowshoe above the Rockie Mountains. Our helicopter landed on a remote mountain top and we hopped out for a hike to take in the views of spectacular Banff, Canada.

Skiing in Banff

 ski hills inside Banff National Park
Jump on one of the 3 ski hills inside Banff National Park

Banff is a unique national park because it houses three ski hills. Lake Louise, Mount Norquay, and Sunshine Village.

Lake Louise is host to world cup downhill events and the hill is just outside the park is Nakiska Ski Resort, home of the ’88 Winter Olympics alpine events. See our video and check out our snowboarding adventure at Lake Louise

Cave n’ Basin

banff canada

Banff is Canada’s first national park founded in 1885. It was at the National Historic Site known as Cave and Basin. This was the original Banff Hot Springs. Today there is no swimming in Cave n Basin, you have to go up to the upper hot springs, it is a fascinating place to visit.

You can tour the old pool where people bathed at the turn of the 20th century and learn about Canada’s National Park System.

Views from the Banff Gondola

Banff Gondola View
views from the Banff Gondola

One of the most popular views in Banff is from the top of the Banff Gondola. If you don’t ski, this is a great way to view Banff from above. There is a museum and a restaurant up there as well as several different lookouts.

The Great Divide, Banff Alberta

dogsledding banff Canada
Dogsledding is a must-do when you are in Banff Canada.

The only place to go dogsledding in Banff National Park is just outside the town of Lake Louise at the Great Divide Trailhead. Read all about our experience Dogsledding in Banff

This trip takes you through The Great Divide Trail where you journey across the border from Banff Canada, into British Columbia. The Alaskan Huskies of KingMik Dogsled Tours love to run.

Cross Country Skiing in Banff

It is easy to stay warm in Banff National Park. Just throw on your cross-country skiis
It is easy to stay warm in Banff National Park in winter. Just throw on your cross-country skis

When winter comes, Banff residents don’t hide indoors. They celebrate the snow getting active outside. There are many cross-country ski trails that are groomed daily for snow lovers.

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

overlooking banff springs hotel
Take in the view of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel near the town of Banff Canada

Probably the most famous sight in Banff Canada is the Banff Springs Hotel. This is known as the castle in the Rocky Mountains.

We’ve never stayed at the Banff Springs Hotel, but whenever we are in Banff, we stop in for a peak and a tour. The hotel was built in 1888 as accommodation for people traveling along the CP Rail lines. It has undergone many renovations and is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Banff.

Banff Backcountry

The Banff National Park backcountry has some of the most beautiful views.
The Banff National Park backcountry has some of the most beautiful views.

When visiting Banff Canada make sure you go into the backcountry. We snowshoed into a backcountry lodge and what made it so special was all the incredible views of ice and snow like this!

Just outside of Banff near Canmore Alberta is the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. This sanctuary rescues wolfdogs that have been abandoned or abused. The dogs are beautiful, but they are wild and timid of humans.

About Banff

louise louise morning

Banff, Canada is beautiful to visit any time of year. It is located in The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site that consists of not only Banff but also Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho as well as parks in British Columbia.

You must have a Parks Canada pass to visit Banff as it is a National Park. You can pick it up as you drive into Banff along Highway 1.

Lake Louise is 57km (35 miles) from Banff. It is an easy drive along Highway 1 or The Bow Valley Parkway which snakes along the Bow River, offering excellent scenic stops.

Banff is 130 km (80 miles) west of Calgary or an hour and a half drive. It is 145 km (90 miles) from the Calgary Airport.

Summer is the busiest and most popular time of the year to visit Banff, but if you give winter a chance, you will discover that Banff is magical when it’s covered in snow.

Just make sure to dress properly, pack your layers, and head outside to embrace the snow. You’ll fall in love with winter in Banff.

When to visit Banff?

Banff can be visited year-round but the weather is extreme. It is most beautiful in the winter. Summers are very crowded but shoulder season can still have pleasant weather with fewer crowds.

Where is Banff?

The town of Banff is located in Banff National Park in Alberta Canada. It is 120 km (75 miles) from the Calgary airport where most people will fly in to.

Where can you see the Northern Lights in Banff?

The northern lights can be seen from Banff National Park. We had amazing night skies at Lake Minnewanka. Get away from the town of Banff’s light pollution and go out to one of the many surrounding lakes.

Read More About Banff and Visiting Alberta

discover banff canada in photos

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

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Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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12 thoughts on “Discover Banff Canada in Photos”

  1. We had the opportunity to travel from Calgary to Seattle on our Rocky Mountaineer journey in 2016. I had heard of Banff’s beauty but you have to see it to believe it. We spent but one day in Banff but it returned to my bucket list as soon as we left.

    As for the whole Rocky Mountaineer experience, it was First Class all the way.

    With the world as it is at this moment, I still can relive my memories of the Canadian Rockies.

  2. I fell in love with Banff when I went a few summers ago. I’m not a snow-type of person after living in it for many years, but you may have just tempted me to consider a winter visit. It’s such a truly beautiful place! And your post made me fall in love with it all over again. Even in the winter. 🙂 (and that’s saying a lot! 🙂

  3. Just want to say thank you for the incredible write up about Banff.
    Our family is heading there in a week and looking for things to do.
    I’ve just booked with Mark for the photography tour.
    The Wolfdog Sanctuary looks like the perfect day out for the family.
    Now I just need something special for my husband to do for a day out.
    Great photos too.

  4. Banff National Park is one of my favourite parts of the world. Love your photos. They’re really inspiring. Well done.

  5. HI Dev,these all pics are awesome.As usual the way you describe your trip its just like make every day a travel adventure trip.thank you for this post.keep it up.

  6. I really want to visit such Cool places, Relax, full of fun, Adventurous and beautiful like here ….. Superb pictures and all feeling Good !! Joyous !!