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Adventure Guide: Banff National Park


From turquoise-blue waters to majestic jagged peaks, Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. While the breathtaking scenery is a great reason to visit, the local activities are also a special treat. If you’re thinking of planning a trip to Banff National Park, consider traveling in a campervan! This allows you to camp where you want, spend more time in the great outdoors, and be close to all the action!

In this post, we’ll discuss the many benefits of traveling to Banff in your campervan. You’ll learn where to stop on the drive over, what outdoor activities to enjoy this time of year, and so much more!

About Banff National Park

Banff National Park is located in the resort town of Banff, which is in southwestern Alberta, Canada. Established in 1885, Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park.

With the mesmerizing beauty in the region, this area brings in people from all over the world. Whether it’s the stunning waters of Lake Louise or the magnificent mountains along Icefields Parkway, nature is on full display in this magical park.

Where to Stop Along the Way

A road trip to Banff National Park can be an experience you’ll never forget! However, to make the most of your trip, be sure to make a few stops along the way.

Depending on the direction you’re coming from, here are some recommendations:

Driving North

Banff is located directly north of Idaho and western Montana. No matter where you begin your northern drive, epic scenery and awesome activities are found all over. If you find yourself in the Southwest, be sure to stop at a few national parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. Also, you can’t pass up the hiking in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, both located in California. If you pass through Colorado, a few of our favorite areas include Telluride, Crested Butte, and Breckenridge.

Heading West

Situated along the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is surrounded by jaw-dropping mountains. If you’re coming from the west, you’ll see several other incredible peaks. We recommend stopping at Glacier National Park of Canada, which rivals the famous park here in the U.S. We also suggest stopping at Mount Revelstoke National Park, Shuswap Lake, or Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort.

Driving South

If you’re headed south towards the area, we recommend stopping in Jasper National Park. Here you’ll find a vast wilderness with amazing lakes, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures. If you’re looking to hop on a boat or kayak, be sure to visit Peace River, Utikuma Lake, or Athabasca Lake up to the north. These waters are also great for fishing!

Heading East

Headed east? If so, be sure to make a few stops in Saskatchewan. Our favorite areas in this Canadian Province include Prince Albert National Park, Turtle Lake, Douglas Provincial Park, and Grasslands National Park. If you find yourself further east near Winnipeg, consider stops at West Hawk Lake, Asessippi Ski Area & Resort, or Riding Mountain National Park.

Activities in this Mountain-Filled Wonderland

Banff National Park is made for the outdoor lover. If you enjoy crystal-clear lakes, sky-scraping mountain tops, and an abundance of unique wildlife, this area is for you. Also, as the late fall months bring cooler air and fewer crowds, it’s the perfect time to visit!

Check out some of the best activities in Banff National Park during this time of year:

Fall Hiking

Nothing beats a fall hike in Banff National Park. With changing leaves, fewer people, and snow-capped mountains, it’s the most gorgeous time of year for exploring. While the peak period for fall colors is usually from late September to early October, you may still get a glimpse of the fall beauty.

If you want to see the changing fall colors and other incredible scenery, check out the following hikes:

  • Sentinel Pass
  • Lake Agnes Trail
  • Tunnel Mountain
  • Plain of Six Glaciers Trail

As you’re planning your fall hiking adventures, be sure to pack extra layers!

Wildlife Viewing

As you’re gazing in awe at the astonishing scenery in Banff National Park, you may come across a number of different animals. While you want to experience the raw beauty of these creatures, always make sure to keep your distance and never get too close. Your best bet for seeing the local wildlife is to venture early in the morning or late in the evening. We recommend driving along Bow Valley Parkway, Vermilion Lakes Drive, or Icefields Parkway. You could catch a glimpse of elk, deer, bears, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and much more!


While the temperatures start to really dip during the autumn months, you can still have a fantastic time on the water. Just be sure to bring your jacket, gloves, beanie, and some extra layers. Also, as Banff National Park is known for its crystal-blue lakes, this is something you can’t pass up! Whether you have a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, we recommend paddling along Lake Louise, Vermillion Lakes, or the Bow River. This could be a ride you’ll never forget!

Hot Springs

Relaxing in a hot spring is always enjoyable, especially after a long day of hiking. Luckily, Banff National Park has your solution! Known as Upper Hot Springs, this establishment is the perfect place to relax and unwind. And while the hot mineral water is satisfying enough, the views are out of this world!

Scenic Drives

If you get tired of hiking and running from one activity to the next, consider a scenic drive! Here in Banff, you have several options to choose from. If you enjoy staggering mountain peaks, crystal clear waters, and lush forests, then be sure to check out the following scenic routes:

  • Bow Valley Parkway
  • Icefields Parkway
  • Vermilion Lakes

Make sure to bring your camera along for the journey! You’ll get the chance to see some of the most stunning views on earth!

Travel Tips

Visiting Banff National Park is always an amazing time. However, follow these tips to make the most of your trip:

  • If it’s a rainy day, take a scenic drive or soak in the hot springs.
  • Bring various clothing options; it’s hard to predict the weather this time of year.
  • As this season is less busy, it’s a great time to see the area’s most popular attractions.
  • Some hiking trails could be wet and slushy, so bring proper hiking boots.
  • While Banff can get very chilly at night, pack multiple jackets and layers.

Follow these tips to enjoy your Banff road trip to the fullest!


Here are some links and locations of the area’s top attractions:

Hiking Trails

Scenic Drives
Hidden Gems

Check out these less busy, off-the-beaten-path areas in Banff National Park:

  • Tunnel Mountain Reservoir
  • Morant’s Curve
  • Bankhead Ghost Town
  • Mt. Norquay Lookout

Visit Banff National Park in a New Campervan Today!

If you’re ready for a life-changing road trip to Banff National Park, Rec Van is here to help! We’re proud to be a leading provider of new and used adventure vans.

Check out our van inventory today, and give us a call with any questions!