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15 MOST Instagrammable Places to Visit in Banff National Park

Last updated : October 22nd, 2020

Lake Moraine just after sunrise in Banff National Park


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Banff National Park is arguably the most beautiful place to visit in all of Canada. Situated within the Canadian Rockies, both the park and town are surrounded by picture-perfect places. With stunning lakes, an abundance of wildlife, sprawling pine trees, and of course the huge mountain peaks, there’s plenty of places to get amazing photos and the perfect Instagrammable shot!

Bailey and I have visited Banff multiple times and we’ve been able to get many incredible shots at some of the most famous places in Banff. Some have ended up on Instagram, and others even printed and framed.

It’s true though, no matter where you look in Banff National Park you’ll be able to get amazing shots. However, if you’re looking for those magical Instagram-worthy spots that should be on everyone’s Banff Itinerary, this blog is perfect for you!

So without further ado, here’s our list of the 15 most Instagrammable places to visit in Banff National Park!

What are the most Instagrammable places to visit in Banff?

1. The Bannfedestrian bridge
2. Banff Ave
3. Sulphur Mountain
4. Vermillion Lakes
5. Mt Norquay
6. Morant’s Curve
7. Lake Louise
8. Lake Agnes Tea House
9. Lake Moraine
10. Lake Minnewanka
11. Icefields Parkway
12. Peyto Lake
13. Bow Lake Viewpoint
14. Policeman’s Creek
15. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Instagrammable Places to Visit in Banff

1. The Banff Pedestrian Bridge

A lady walks along the Banff Pedestrian Bridge taking a photo for Instagram
Was happy with how these photos turned out! Just remember you need to use your zoom to make the mountain look bigger!

To kick off this list of the most Instagrammable places to visit in Banff I’m starting with a few places in Banff town, and first up is the Banff Pedestrian Bridge.

Although the bridge itself isn’t the most beautiful, its perfect backdrop of Cascade Mountain makes this Instagrammable spot so amazing. With the right technique and lens, the Banff Pedestrian Bridge can be transformed into a picture-perfect location.

Bailey and I headed there one sunset to capture some amazing shots. Using our zoom on the lens to make Cascade Mountain appear not only closer, but even bigger, we got what I’d call a perfect shot for Instagram.

It can be tricky to find the bridge empty like we did, however with a little patience and with the help of some nice pedestrians, we were able to get the shot.

Where and when: You can find the Banff Pedestrian Bridge from the Bow River trail that connects to Banff Central Park. This attraction is best at any time of the day, but sunset provides some great lighting.

2. Banff Ave

Photo of Banff Ave in Banff Town howing how beautiful the street is wioth the surounding mountains
You don’t even have to leave the main street to get a great Instagram shot!

Banff Ave is easily one of the most photographed places in Banff National Park. Despite being the main walking street of Banff, the views of the mountains from the road are so breathtaking that Banff Ave is definitely Instagram-worthy.

The most famous view is, of course, of Cascade Mountain towering over Banff Ave (pictured above.) This iconic shot is plastered all over postcards around Canada and for any photography enthusiast, it’s a bucket-list shot.

Of course, on a busy day, it can be hard with the crowds so I personally recommend shooting at sunrise or even at night! Regardless, Banff Ave is a great place to start your photography adventure in Banff National Park!

Where to take the shot: The best angle of Cascade Mountain can be found at the south end of Banff Ave closer to the Bow River. From here, the street aligns perfectly with Cascade Mountain!

3. Sulphur Mountain (Banff Gondola)

A sunny day at the top of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola during winter
I’ve personally been up Sulphur Mountain in every season, but winter is my favorite!

Next on our list is one of the most famous things to do in Banff and that’s taking the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain. From the top, the views are absolutely stunning!

To me, the Banff Gondola is the most spectacular gondola ride in Canada. And even though the ride isn’t very long, the uninterrupted views from the top always blow me away.

One of the best things about taking the gondola up Sulphur Mountain is the boardwalk at the top. From this short boardwalk, you can enjoy spectacular views in just about every direction. The boardwalk gradually climbs to the summit of Sulphur Mountain and finishes at an old weather station. From here, the 360-degree view is a bucket list experience that everyone should see.

The Banff Gondola isn’t a free attraction and to take the gondola to the top you’ll need to pay around $60 for adults (depending on the time of day and week). In the busy months of summer, it’s best to book your ticket in advance.

With that said, you can also hike up if you want to save some money. The Sulphur Mountain trail is 5.5 kilometers each way and takes around 4 hours up and back not factoring in time at the top. This trail starts from the bottom of the gondola and zig zags up the mountain below the gondola.

4. Vermillion Lakes

Reflections at Vermillion Lakes in Banff National Park
Head to the end of the road for the best reflections.

If you love reflections then you simply must visit Vermillion Lakes just outside of Banff town! These large shallow lakes are pretty spectacular, however, it’s the famous backdrop of the Rocky Mountains that makes this place so special.

The entire lakes area is accessed by the Vermillion Lakes Scenic Drive and along the way, there are so many great photo opportunities. For me personally, I love the far end of Vermillion Lakes Road. From here the shallow water is guarded against the winds and the still water reflects the mountains for your Instagram photo.

At sunset, you’ll usually find plenty of photographers at this spot as its close proximity to Banff make it one of the best photo opportunities nearby. If you want to avoid the crowds be sure to go at sunrise. Or, if you’ve got a DSLR camera, go at night and capture the beautiful Milky Way!

Related Read:   30 EPIC Things to do in Whistler, BC, Canada (all year round!)

5. Mt Norquay Chairlift

View for the Mt Norquay cairlift of Banff Town and Mt Rundle
Still one of my favorite views in Banff!

One of the most surprising places I’ve visited in Banff National Park was Mt Norquay. In the winter, Mt Norquay is a famous ski hill in the Banff area, but in the summer, they open the chairlift for sightseeing so people can enjoy a meal, drink, or just the views from their restaurant the Cliffhouse Bistro.

But it wasn’t the food or drinks that made me fall in love. Instead, it was the breathtaking views of Banff town and the surrounding mountains including Mt Rundle that had me never wanting to leave.

This amazing viewpoint has become one of my all-time favorite photography spots in Banff National Park. It’san off the beaten path experience I recommend to all.

The Mt Norquay chairlift costs $40.95 per person and is a much less busy attraction than the Banff Gondola. The chairlift is only open for sightseeing from June to October.

6. Morant’s Curve

Morant's Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park
We were lucky enough to see the train come by!

Moving further out of Banff takes us to the Bow Valley Parkway. This breathtaking scenic drive has many amazing viewpoints and attractions with my personal favorite being Morant’s Curve.

Located around 60 kilometers from Banff, Morant’s Curve was made famous by Nicholas Morant who was sent to the area to discover amazing tourist attractions along the Canadian railway many years ago. Nicholas fell in love with the viewpoint and it became his favorite in Banff National Park.

The curve in the name comes from the train tracks that curve there way along the Bow River. This, along with the stunning mountain backdrop, makes it one of the most beautiful photography locations in Banff National Park.

In the summer you’ll enjoy the amazing colors of the Bow River, and in the winter, Morant’s Curve becomes a winter wonderland that’s even more photogenic! So, no matter what season your visiting in, add Morant’s Curve to your Banff Instagram bucket list!

7. Lake Louise

A lady sits on a rock at Lake Louise looking out over the water at the glacier and mountains
The water really is that blue!

Lake Louise is without a doubt one of the most scenic lakes in all of Canada. The lake has the perfect amount of rock flour (the dust that gives alpine lakes their color) which makes Lake Louise literally shine blue. So blue in fact, every time I visit I question if what I’m seeing is real!

Lake Louise is accessed via the Lake Louise carpark and it only takes a short 5-minute walk to enjoy the main boardwalk. From here you can get amazing photos with glaciers and mountains as a backdrop.

If you want a more unique view you can hike around the lake on the Lake Louise Shoreline Trail. The 4-kilometer return trail takes around 1 hour to complete and is relatively easy. Canoes can also be rented if you want to explore the lake and start at $115 for half an hour.

One thing to note about Lake Louise is how busy it gets. Being so accessible and popular means getting parking can be almost impossible. To ensure you get a spot, arrive before 8 am! Honestly, if you arrive at lunchtime you’ll likely be turned away by staff.

8. Lake Agnes Tea House

A dog poses for a photo at Lake Agnes
How cute is Polly?!

From Lake Louise, there are plenty of different hiking trail options. If you only have time for one though, I’d personally recommend making it the Lake Agnes Tea House hike. This medium difficulty trail takes you high above Lake Louise offering breathtaking views along the way.

With that said though, the main attraction here is Lake Agnes and the cute tea house that sits on the lake. From the edge of the lake, the views are out of this world and it’s almost impossible not to get a great Instagrammable shot!

On a calm day (pictured above) the lake reflects the mountains perfectly and with a cute tea house only meters away, you can refuel with some tea made with glacier water from the lake. Because the trail isn’t super difficult it’s dog friendly and as you can see from the photo above, we brought our friend’s dog, Polly, along for the journey!

The Lake Agnes Tea House is a 5.4 kilometer round trip with a pretty decent elevation gain of 333 meters. Despite this, it only takes around 4 hours to complete at a medium pace.

9. Moraine Lake

Lake Moraine at sunrise in Banff National Park
Sunrise is the best time to go to Lake Moraine to get a great photo for Instagram!

Another Instagramble spot in Banff National Park located near Lake Louise is of the famous Moraine Lake. Moraine Lake is arguably the most photographed lake in all of Canada and after visiting for myself, it’s not hard to see why!

Bailey and I loved Moraine Lake so much I actually proposed to her here. There’s something about Moraine Lake that feels so romantic. So much so, it made our blog about the top things to do on a honeymoon in Banff.

Moraine Lake offers many amazing views, however, few compare to the magnificent view from the Rockpile. The Rockpile is a short hike from the carpark that takes you to a vantage point overlooking the lake. From here you can truly see just how amazing the lake and surrounding mountains are.

If you plan on visiting Moraine Lake you need to be prepared for the crowds. Because the lake is so popular the car parking lot is often full and the staff closes the road to the parking lot at the turnoff near Lake Louise. Because of this, it’s extremely hard to get a parking spot at Moraine Lake. My recommendation is to visit at sunset or sunrise.

At sunrise be sure to arrive at around 5:30 am to ensure getting a spot. The parking lot is usually full by 6 am (even on days when it’s still dark!)

Hot tip: If you’re planning on visiting Banff in the fall, be sure to hike the Larch Valley Trail from Lake Moraine – it’s absolutely stunning during this time of year!

10. Lake Minnewanka

A calm day at Lake Minnewanka during fall
You don’t have to do the cruise to enjoy the views!

The lakes in Banff National Park are really some of the most beautiful places to visit. Lake Minnewanka is no different and everyone who comes to Banff to get amazing photos should visit.

Lake Minnewanka is located only 15 minutes from Banff town and is most famous for the Lake Minnewanka cruise. I’ve personally done the cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lasting for around one hour, the cruise takes you to the other side of the lake while your guide explains all about Lake Minnewanka’s history and some other interesting facts. Of course, the cruise is only available in summer as the lake freezes in winter!

With that said, you don’t need to do the cruise to enjoy the views. From the edge of the lake, you can stare out at the surrounding mountains and even take a short hike. If you want to really stretch your legs and get some great photos then consider hiking the Lake Minnewanka Lakeside Trail. The trail is 16 kilometers out and back and is a great free way to enjoy spectacular views without paying for the cruise.

Related Read:   8 Best Things to do at Maligne Lake, Jasper, Canada

11. Icefields Parkway

A bird flys over the road on the Icefields Parkway with the mountinas and trees in the background.
This photo did really well on Instagram!

The Icefields Parkway is considered one of the top 10 most scenic drives in the world by National Geographic. It’s not only one of the most Instagrammable places in Canada, but also a bucket list experience you just have to do!

There are plenty of amazing places to stop along the Icefields Parkway with some of the best including Big Bend, the Athabasca Glacier, Waterfowl Lakes, and Athabasca Falls. Below I’ve specifically mentioned two places I love. With that said though, I personally find the best photo opportunities aren’t actual attractions, and like the photo above, are simply taken along the road with the huge mountain backdrops.

This scenic drive travels between Banff and Jasper National Park and takes around 2.5 hours to drive without stopping. With that said, you’ll need an entire day if you want to truly explore this spectacular stretch of road.

Related blog: If you plan on driving the Icefields Parkway then don’t go without checking out our 1 day Icefields Parkway itinerary first! It includes 15 stops you can visit in just one day!

12. Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake from the Peyto Lake viewpoint
Arguably the best view on the Icefields Parkway

I mentioned some of the best stops of the Icefields Parkway above, however, two of the best stops will be getting their own special mention. And the first is the Peyto Lake viewpoint!

This Instagrammable lake sits in a deep valley surrounded by mountain peaks and literally glows blue. The viewpoint, which overlooks the lake, is the perfect vantage point to get that picture-perfect Instagram shot.

One of the things that make Peyto Lake so amazing is the fact that you can drive right to the viewpoint. No long hike up through the mountains is required. Because of this, Peyto Lake can be visited at sunset, sunrise, and even at night to get amazing astro shots.

Peyto Lake provides a very unique opportunity to get some great photos without having to hike!

13. Bow Lake Viewpoint

A lady jumps from rock to rock on the edge of the Bow Lake in Banff National Park
It was a moody day but the place is still so beautiful!

My next favorite Instagrammable spot in Banff National Park is also located on the Icefields Parkway – Bow Lake! Bow Lake is one of the closest attractions along the Icefields Parkway to Banff and it’s truly spectacular.

Visiting Bow Lake can be done in minutes as there is a pullover bay on the side of the road for cars to stop at. From here, the views are pretty nice, however, to see the full magic of the Bow Lake you need to continue up the road further and turn left just after the lake towards the Bow Lake car parking lot.

From this parking lot, you can take a short hike to the shoreline and enjoy even more spectacular views. What I love particularly about this spot is the views down the Bow Lake through the valley that you miss from the road. This section of the mountains is truly impressive and easily one of the best Instagrammable spots in Banff National Park!

14. Policeman’s Creek

An astro shot of the Milky Way above the Three Sisters Mountain Range at Policemans Creek
This is one of my favorite astro shots I’ve ever taken!

Ok, so this next Instagrammable spot isn’t technically in Banff National Park, but it’s definitely worth a mention! Policeman’s Creek is not only one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever shot, but it’s only a stone’s throw away from Banff in Canmore.

Located a short hike from the dog park in Canmore, the Policeman’s Creek viewpoint of the Three Sisters Mountain Range is the perfect place to get the perfect photo! What makes this viewpoint so famous is the reflections of the Three Sisters you get on the calm waters. On a clear and calm day, this spot is truly out of this world!

Finding the exact spot can be hard, however, we outline exactly where you can find it in our blog on the best attractions in Canmore.

Related read: If you want a really epic view in Canmore, check out the Heart Mountain Hike, it’s a challenging but beautiful trail!

15. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

One of the magnificant rooms in the Fairmont Banff Hotel
Walking around the hotel is lake taking a step back in time!

Last but certainly not least on our list of Instagrammable places to visit in Banff is the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. I know what your thinking, really, a hotel? Well if you’ve never been to the Fairmont Banff Hotel you won’t know just how Instagrammable this place really is.

The hotel could be a museum and the architecture is truly out of this world. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel has preserved the hotel’s history and they’ve done a great job at it.

The best part though is that you don’t have to stay at the hotel to visit the grounds. Simply head to the front desk and they’ll give you a self-guided map to visit some of the most beautiful places. After, enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes or spoil yourself at their spa and wellness center.

To put it simply, if you want some great photos in an elegant setting you simply must visit the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Where to Stay in Banff

The views of the Rimrock Resort in Banff, Canada
Photo Credit: Rimrock Resort Hotel

There are so many great hotels in Banff that it can be overwhelming to know where to stay. I’ve personally stayed in a handful over the years and I actually compiled that knowledge into a complete guide to the best hotels to stay at in Banff.

The guide breaks down each hotel giving you the best options from budget to luxury to location. It’s really a great in-depth guide that will take the guesswork out of booking your hotel in Banff!

Or, head to booking.com to check out all the hotels available!

Also, be sure to book well in advance. It’s kinda crazy how fast Banff books up. And as you can imagine, it’s the best hotels that go first!

Before you go…

Taking a selfie while Bailey shows off her engagement ring
Thanks for reading!

When it comes to Instagrammable places to visit in Canada, Banff truly is one of the best. It’s safe to say you won’t be short on epic photos from your trip and I hope this blog has helped you get a few more!

Thanks so much for reading! Bailey and I hope you found this blog helpful. If you did, be sure to check out all our Canada blogs or these related articles below!

How to spend Christmas in Banff

30 amazing activities to keep you busy in Jasper

All the best things to do in Vancouver

-Daniel

About the Author - destinationlesstravel

We are Dan and Bailey, just your typical thrill-seeking travelers! You will likely find us hiking, scuba diving, catching public transport, or just drinking beer at a hostel.

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