We can all agree the Rocky Mountains deserve a spot on every Canadian bucket list. But it can be hard to determine what you need to do and see while you're there.
We've rounded up a list of things to see in Banff and nearby that are basically a rite of passage for visiting the area. If you've checked off all or most of these places on your list, you can pride yourself on knowing that you've hit up the most iconic spots around.
Editor's Choice: 7 Secret Things To Do In Banff That Tourists Don't Know About
The Banff Springs Hotel
Address: 405 Spray Ave., Banff, AB
Why You Need To Go: The majestic Banff Springs Hotel is a destination in its own right. From the castle-like exterior to the endlessly elegant interior, the place is bursting with history and charm. There are also tons of places to eat and drink within and the place turns into a holiday dreamland in the winter.
Address: 43-kilometers northwest of Lake Louise, AB
Why You Need To Go: Here we have one of Banff National Park's breathtaking turquoise lakes. Located along the Icefields Parkway, this truly unbeatable lookout is a must-see for everyone visiting the Rockies.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
Address: 1 Mountain Ave., Banff, AB
Why You Need To Go: Kicking back in this beautiful hot spring is not only relaxing, but it's also the perfect way to get a whole new view of Banff from above. Look across at Mount Rundle and soak the day away.
Address: Lake Louise, AB
Why You Need To Go: You've missed out big if you've never seen Lake Louise in person. The stunning, bright-blue water is a sight to behold, and whether you want to rent a canoe or go hiking around the lake, there's nothing but activities to keep you busy.
Sulphur Mountain Gondola
Address: 100 Mountain Ave., Banff, AB
Why You Need To Go: You can ride an enchanting gondola over Banff and up to the top of Sulpher Mountain. There you will find beautiful views, a boardwalk and even a restaurant.
Address: Bow Valley Parkway, Improvement District No. 9, AB
Why You Need To Go: There is a beautiful 5-kilometre hike that takes you through a canyon, over bridges, and to a gorgeous waterfall in Banff National Park. This place is picture perfect and suitable for all hiking levels.
Address: 14-kilometres outside of Lake Louise, AB
Why You Need To Go: Located in The Valley of Ten Peaks, this jaw-dropping lake needs to be on everyone's bucket list. Surrounded by beautiful hikes and viewpoints, you really shouldn't miss it.
The Icefields Parkway
Address: Highway 93, AB
Why You Need To Go: A visit to Banff or Alberta, in general, should absolutely include a drive along the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. Rated as one of the top drives in the world, buckle up and get ready for some unforgettable scenery.
Address: Canmore, AB
Why You Need To Go: If you're already in Banff, you simply can't miss a visit to Canmore. The cute little mountain town is about a 20-minute drive from Banff and offers even more mountain views, hikes, food and drink options and wonderful local businesses.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.