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11 BEST Stops on the Drive from Revelstoke to Banff

11 BEST Stops on the Drive from Revelstoke to Banff

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Two of the most popular mountain towns in Canada, Revelstoke and Banff, are conveniently located quite close to each other. It’s a short and scenic 3.5-hour drive between the two and as you can imagine, it’s one of the most popular road trips to take in Western Canada.

These two scenic towns are home to epic ski resorts and are often included in the top 10 lists of the best ski resorts in North America. In the warmer seasons, there’s heaps to do in both destinations too including hiking, dining out, and even adrenaline-pumping activities like downhill mountain biking.

So, not only will you be starting and finishing this road trip in two of my favorite towns in Canada but you will also be spoiled with views of turquoise-blue canyons, mighty waterfalls, and two of the most spectacular lakes around Banff and truly in the entire world on your way.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the drive from Revelstoke to Banff as well as listing no less than 11 places you must stop at along the way! This road trip also works in reverse order if you’re driving from Revelstoke to Banff.

About the Drive from Revelstoke to Banff (or Banff to Revelstoke)

The drive from Revelstoke to Banff is short at just 287 kilometers (178 miles) and will take approximately 3.5 hours without stops. But there are so many awesome stops on this route that I advise allowing at least a full day for this road trip. Ideally, and if time allows break the journey up with a night in Golden or Lake Louise and truly take your time to enjoy one of the most scenic drives in Canada.

The route follows the Trans-Canada Highway BC-1 N and is considered an easy drive, although it can get pretty busy especially at weekends during the winter and summer so allow sufficient time for traffic delays. The route passes through several National Parks including Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, and Banff National Park. You’ll also pass through some beautiful “touristy towns including Golden and Lake Louise.

In the winter it is essential to have winter or all-weather tires for this drive, as it can get pretty icy around Yoho National Park and as you drive into Banff. During the summer, you will need to watch out for wildlife – deer, elk, and even bears can sometimes venture onto the highway!

Important Note: Until winter 2024, there are significant roadworks on a section of the road east of Golden. It is called the Kicking Horse Canyon Project, and delays can be up to 30 minutes during the day, and this 5 km section is closed at night so you will need to take an alternative route via Radium Hot Springs. You can read all about the roadworks here.

BEST Places to Stop when Driving between Revelstoke and Banff

1. Revelstoke

A snowboarder stands at the top of Revelstoke Mountain Resort in BC, Canada during winter
Ready to hit one of the longest ski runs in the world!

Revelstoke is a small town between the Selkirk and Monashee mountains and it’s where you will start your epic road trip to Banff.

There’s so much to do in this mountain town and it’s a nice spot to visit year-round, but Revelstoke in the winter truly transforms into a winter paradise. The town holds the record for the most snowfall in Canada in a single winter with 80 feet of snow!

The Revelstoke Mountain Resort is a must-visit and is literally right in town, so it’s easy to get to. The skiing is fantastic and the ski hills aren’t too busy when compared to other hills in Canada.

It has steep mountainous terrain that could challenge even the most skilled. But, if you’re like me and are more suited to green or blue runs then they have that too!

If you’re here in the summer, the ski hills transform into downhill mountain biking courses. You can rent bikes right from the resort for a fun activity in Revelstoke. Also, try out the Pipe Mountain Coaster – a cool gravity-fed roller coaster that flies down the hill. It feels like a real roller coaster and was super fun!  

At Revelstoke Mountain Resort, they also have a gondola ride up to the top of the resort to give you an amazing view. Make sure to take both gondolas to see a panoramic view of the valley – it’s incredible!

The gondola costs just $35 CAD. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking but sometimes you just want to take it easy.

If you want to enjoy the cool glacier water of the Illecillewaet River there is an opportunity to book a whitewater rafting adventure for $141 CAD. Or opt for a more gentle river float tour for $77 CAD on the Colombia River – one of Canada’s most famous rivers! Either way, the abundance of natural scenery in either location is sure to make you feel alive!

Where to stay in Revelstoke

Stoke Hotel is a very good budget option that includes breakfast. It’s located right in town and has really good reviews!

Another option is Coast Hillcrest Hotel is a highly rated hotel that offers guests a comfortable stay at a reasonable price. They have an onsite fitness center, sauna, and hot tub, as well as a restaurant. The location is central and the large selection of room types means there is something suitable for everyone including families.

For more ideas check our guide to the best places to stay in Revelstoke.

2. Mount Revelstoke National Park

Sitting on a viewpoint in Mount Revelstoke National park
Mount Revelstoke National park is stunning!

Mount Revelstoke National Park is a great place to stop on the drive from Revelstoke to Banff if you love to hike. It’s home to several awesome trails such as Eva Lake Trail (pictured above), the Giant Cedars Boardwalk, and Heather Lake Trail.

My personal favorite – the Eva Lake Trail is a 12 km (7.5 miles) return and is a great hike for wildlife spotting, in particular for bears! If you do this hike in spring/summer be sure to take your camera because there are colorful wildflower meadows to be seen along the way! Plus once you reach Eva Lake, provided it’s a calm day you can get a great shot of the mountains reflected on the lake’s surface.

The next hike I recommend here is the Giant Cedars Boardwalk which starts from the Giant Cedars Picnic Area about 30 km (18.6 miles) before you reach Revelstoke just off the highway. What’s cool about this hike is that the entire trail takes you along a wooden boardwalk surrounded by giant trees, some of which are over 500 years old. Because of its flat nature, this trail is suitable for the whole family.   

The best thing about Mount Revelstoke is that you can drive right up to the top of Mount Revelstoke via the Meadows in the Sky Parkway. At the top, there’s a car park from where many of the hiking trails start. Even just the drive itself is worth a few beautiful viewpoints along the way.

Note: If you plan on stopping in either Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, or Banff National Park you’ll need to purchase a Parks Canada Pass. There are various types of passes you can buy that range from $10 to $145 CAD depending on the number of parks, people, and amount of time the pass covers.

3. Glacier National Park

Driving through Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park has all kinds of scenic roads like this one!

This road trip takes you right through the middle of Glacier National Park as you drive out of Revelstoke and make your way toward Golden. The road through Glacier National Park is called “Rogers Pass” as you climb through the mountain pass. On this stretch of road, you may observe plenty of wildlife including bears and mountain goats in beautiful ancient forests with old cedars and alpine meadows which really set the scene.

The park is accessed by the trans-Canada highway (between Revelstoke and Golden) and all the hiking trails and campsites are located in parking lots just off the road. There is a range of hiking trails in the park and the area is well-known as a great place to spot bears and other wildlife.

From Revelstoke, it takes around 20 minutes to reach the entrance of the park and another 30 minutes or so to drive through the park.

Make a point of visiting the park’s Rogers Pass National Historic Site. Hike along Canada’s first coast-to-coast railway route, which is now decommissioned. The visitor center has a plethora of historical information about the area as well as the wildlife you can find in the area.

You’ll also have the opportunity to check out some amazing hikes like the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, which is a series of boardwalks through the forest, or Bear Creek Falls which provides lovely waterfall views. Bear Creek Falls only takes around 15-20 minutes so it’s the perfect short hike on your road trip from Revelstoke to Banff!

4. Golden

From one end, the Golden Suspension Bridge in Golden, BC
It’s a long bridge!
Golden Suspenion Bridge in Golden, BC with Bailey
What a place!

Golden, British Columbia is a small town of just around 4,000 people in the Canadian Rockies. But what it lacks by way of population, it absolutely makes up for in terms of epic things to do! This small town is surrounded by a bunch of national parks and mountain ranges, so there are endless outdoor activities to enjoy.

The town of Golden also has some amazing restaurants, shops, bars, and cultural attractions to offer.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Golden many times both in the summer and winter months allowing me to create an epic list of things to do in Golden, but here are some highlights:

  • Walk the Golden Skybridge – Why not start off with Golden’s newest attraction? The Golden Skybridge is Canada’s highest suspension bridge and it only just opened in the summer of 2021! At 130 meters (426 feet) above the canyon, you’ll experience such a thrill walking over it and taking in all the amazing views of the Columbia Valley.  If walking along a suspension bridge is not enough for you, there is also a zipline experience, ropes course, and an epic canyon swing!
  • Go whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse – The best way to experience the river is to go whitewater rafting! Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River is such an adrenaline rush. With grade 3-4 rapids, it’s one of the best rivers in Canada to go rafting. There are a number of tour groups that you can join, such as this full-day tour. For $110 CAD, you will get a 5-hour experience out on the river. All equipment is included, along with a buffet lunch! You will also have an expert guide leading the way and keeping you safe.
  • Explore downtown Golden – You’ll be pretty busy with all the different outdoor recreation activities around Golden, but don’t forget the town itself! Downtown Golden is a quaint, historic-looking town with a bunch of things to do! A good place to start your exploration is 9th Avenue, which has a lot of shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore. You can learn more about the city at the Visitor Centre or Golden Museum.
  • Visit the Wolf Centre – Wolves are only one of the many magnificent creatures that may be found in the Canadian Rockies. While you probably don’t want to run into any in the wild, the Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden is an excellent location to learn about wolves and even see them.
  • Hit the slopes at Kicking Horse Resort – Golden’s Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is a very popular ski resort in Canada, and for good reason! It’s known for the huge amounts of annual snowfall and expert terrain that will challenge even the most experienced riders. It’s a must-visit if you’re in Golden in the winter months.

Where to stay in Golden

So now that you know about all of the amazing things to do in Golden, you’re going to need somewhere to stay a few nights. There’s just so much to explore in the area you might as well book a great hotel and enjoy a few days in one of Canada’s most underrated mountain towns.

Best Western Mountainview Inn is a great choice if you’re looking for something in town. This hotel is clean and comfortable and has everything you could want including an indoor pool and an included breakfast. The reviews are great and the price is modest.

For a more private stay that is only half a mile from town and a rate that won’t break the bank look into Glenogle Mountain Lodge and Spa. Not only does it have exceptional views of the mountains, a hot tub, and a billiard table but it is also quiet – except for the stream that flows past the property.

If you aren’t quite ready to leave Golden just yet, check out the best places to stay in Golden.

5. Wapta Falls

The valley downstream from Sunwapta Falls Jasper National Park
The valley downstream is just as pretty as the falls
Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park
Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park

Located just under 30 minutes from Golden is Wapta Falls. It’s the largest waterfall on the Kicking Horse River in Yoho National Park at 18 meters tall and a whopping 107 meters (351 feet) wide!

What’s cool about these falls, is that if the water levels in the river are low you can walk out to the islands in the middle of the river for a closer look at these mighty falls. Beware though, you will get wet from the spray of the falls.

In my opinion, Wapta Falls is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls I’ve ever seen and the hike to get there is an easy 2-kilometer (1.2 miles) hike on a mostly gravel path. It will take most people about 1.5 hours to complete. It’s a family-friendly hike although there is a 60-meter(197 feet) downhill section as you approach the falls, and you will need to walk back up on your return. Thankfully, it’s not too much of a workout!

You’ll find the start of the trail at the Wapta Falls turnoff right off the Trans Canada Highway. Pack a picnic and take some time and enjoy the view of this magnificent waterfall. It’s worth it!  

6. Emerald Lake/Yoho National Park

Two people canoe at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park
Two people canoe at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park, with the community of Field in the center, is an amazing place to explore – be prepared to spend at least a few hours here if not a whole day! The park is known for its towering waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, and the huge variety of activities that can be done in all seasons. Plus, there are shops, restaurants, and more to see in Field.  

A must-see is the stunning Emerald Lake with its vivid waters that are true to its name. You can easily walk around the entire lake in about an hour or snowshoe around it in the winter. It’s a great way to see wildflowers including wild orchids that grow around here as well as bald eagles, moose, and loons. You can also canoe or kayak on the lake with its calm and clear waters. Spoil yourself and stay a night at the Emerald Lake Lodge on the edge of the lake.

Another impressive sight is the Natural Bridge – an ancient rock formation over the Kicking Horse River. It’s easy to get to by car as it’s only 3 km (1.9 miles) from Field along Emerald Lake Road. You can also take a guided hike to fossil beds in the area where there are fossils from 500 million years ago.

The Kicking Horse Fire Road trail is a hiking trail that is also popular with mountain bikers that leads to a spot known locally as the ‘Meeting of the Waters’. This is where three rivers merge (Amiskwi River, Emerald River, and Kicking Horse River). You can access it right from the Natual Bridge.

7. Lake Louise

Daniel and Bailey pose for a photo at Lake Louise
Lake Louise!

Lake Louise, in my opinion, is a must-see destination in Alberta! Spend a night or two even, if you can. At the very least a few hours. Not only is there a lake here, but also a little village and the world-famous Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Visit the Lake Louise shoreline, go on an incredible trek (Lake Agnes Teahouse is my fave), or go kayaking on the lake! These are just a few of the best things to do in Lake Louise.

Visit The Station if you’re looking for a wonderful supper. Not only is the cuisine delicious, but it’s also located within a historic train museum! It’s just one of the many delicious restaurants in Lake Louise that you can choose from.

If you’re visiting Lake Louise in the winter, skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort is a must! It had always been on Daniel and I’s bucket lists.

We went once in the summer and took the tourist gondola, which was enormous and had spectacular views. But Daniel and I have always wanted to ski and snowboard there for ourselves (I ski and Daniel snowboards).

As of recent, we had our chance to hit the slopes and it was every bit as epic as we had imagined. This ski resort is huge with so many runs, both on the front side and backside of the mountain. We spent 8 hours exploring and still could’ve used more time!

Note: From May until mid-October, you’ll be required to pay $36.75 CAD per vehicle per day to park at Lake Louise Lakefront (2024 updated price). The paid parking is in effect from 3 am until 7 pm daily. 

Where to Stay in Lake Louise

There are lots of different places to choose from when it comes to accommodation in Lake Louise.

If you want to stay in Lake Louise town, consider the Lake Louise Inn, or the budget-friendly HI Lake Louise Hostel. Dan and I often stay at the HI Hostel and think it’s clean, comfortable, and great value for money.

For a little luxury or to spoil yourself, don’t miss the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This is arguably the most beautiful hotel in Canada set in the most beautiful location (right on the lake!)

8. Moraine Lake

Bailey poses for a photo while canoeing in Moraine Lake, Banff
Moraine Lake!

Just a short 14-kilometer (8.7-mile) drive from Lake Louise is Moraine Lake. Although technically one of the best places to check out while you’re visiting Lake Louise, I think it deserves a mention as a stop on its own – it’s just that stunning.

You’ve likely seen Moraine Lake photos on Instagram before, it is one of the most photographed places in all of Canada. The towering Ten Peaks are the backdrop for the brightest blue lake you’ve probably ever seen.

Besides just enjoying the view, there are actually lots of different things to do at Moraine Lake including hiking the Larch Valley Trail and Consolation Lakes Trail. It really is a special place, and if you can, spend an entire day exploring here and taking it all in!

One thing to note is that Moraine Lake is only open from the end of May to October annually, so if you’re driving from Revelstoke to Banff in winter, this is one stop you’re going to have to give a miss.

Unfortunately, because of its beauty, Moraine Lake is one of the most visited places between Revelstoke and Banff. Plus, getting to Moraine Lake can be tricky since the access road and parking lot are closed to all personal vehicle traffic (except those with disability parking permits) in 2023.

You’ll need to check into parking alternatives at Moraine Lake including public transit, shuttles, and tours. Most people visit by taking a shuttle either from Banff town itself or from Lake Louise. One of the most popular departures is the Park and Ride from Lake Louise Ski Resort.

The Parks Canada shuttles only run during select hours so if you want to go early in the morning, you’ll need to be on the first shuttle around 6:30 am. If you want to get there earlier, you’ll need to book a spot on this sunrise shuttle that leaves at either 4 am or 5 am. To me, the sight of Moraine Lake in those early morning hours is one of the most beautiful things to see in Banff.

You can also visit Moraine Lake at sunrise by going on this early bird tour. This tour is the ONLY way to get there for sunrise outside of a shuttle since the road is closed to personal vehicles as of 2023.

The alternative to taking a shuttle is going on an organized tour like this one for around $100 CAD. This way you get dropped off and picked up as well as shown around to the most beautiful spots with an experienced guide!

The issue here is that these tours depart from Banff or Calgary so you would have to do it before or after your road trip.

9. Morant’s Curve

Morant's Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park
Morant’s Curve in Banff National Park!

From Moraine Lake you will need to head back on yourself and drive into Lake Louise to get to your next stop. From Lake Louise, drive on the Bow Valley Parkway for just over 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), and soon, you’ll come to a popular viewpoint called Morant’s Curve.

Near the Bow River’s bend, where trains typically pass by with a gorgeous mountain backdrop, this is an excellent place to stop for a photo. Keep a watch out for the viewing signs and park across the highway in the little parking lot.

The best photos are captured when a train approaches the bend and is perfectly framed in the photo. Weekdays when the trains operate every hour or so is the best time to catch the train.

This is without a doubt one of the best photo stops of your entire road trip. Honestly, you just have to stop here and snap a few photos!

Related Read: Morant’s Curve is one of the best stops on the drive from Lake Louise to Banff!

10. Johnston Canyon

Bailey looks down at the Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
The Upper Falls is amazing!
Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
The lower falls!

28 kilometers (17.4 miles) down the scenic Bow Valley Parkway is the famed Johnston Canyon. It’s one of the most popular stops on the drive between Revelstoke and Banff. It’s located just 30 minutes from Banff, which means, it can get pretty busy at weekends. My top tip is to get here early to grab a parking spot. In fact, if you want a tranquil experience try to visit in Spring or Fall.

There are two waterfalls here, the Lower and Upper Falls. From the car park, it’s an easy walk at just 1.2 kilometers to the Lower Falls, and an extra 1.3 kilometers to the Upper Falls. Along the trail, you can view the turquoise water of the canyon below. Note, the water here is ‘bluest’ in the summer months which is why it’s such a popular time to visit – the photos you can get in the summer months are epic!

Similarly, in the winter the canyon freezes over making it seem like you’re walking in a winter wonderland. There are huge icicles hanging from the top of the waterfalls and the basalt cliffs surrounding it – it’s a magical experience and as you can imagine, draws some big crowds.

It’s important to note that you will need crampons to hike the trail in the winter, so if you don’t have those, it’s probably best to book a guided ice walk tour. This tour costs $96 CAD and includes a professional guide who can tell you about these unique formations as well as a steaming mug of hot chocolate at the end.

Top tip: If you can’t find a parking space, or if you don’t have a car you can hop on the Route 9 public bus here from Banff.

Note: There will be some closures to vehicle traffic on sections of the Bow Valley Parkway this year (2024). From March 1-June 30 and then again from Sept 1-Sept 30 vehicles will NOT be able to drive the 17 km/11 mi stretch of road from the TransCanada-Highway junction to Johnston Canyon, it will be restricted to cyclists’ use only. This is the eastern part of the road that is affected if you’re traveling to Johnston Canyon from Banff. You will still be able to access Johnston Canyon and the Bow Valley Parkway via the intersection near Castle Mountain Chalets.

11. Banff

Bailey poses for a photo on Banff Ave walking street
Welcome to Banff!

Banff is a very popular town in the Rockies, attracting thousands of visitors each year. And it’s no wonder why – it’s absolutely beautiful and there are tons of things to do in Banff in winter, spring, summer, or fall.

There are plenty of things to do in downtown Banff. It’s very quaint and there are many awesome options for places to eat, drink, and shop. With the mountains as the backdrop to Banff Ave, it’s a beautiful place to base yourself in Banff National Park.

Many visitors base themselves here for a ski holiday due to the fact that you have great access to Sunshine and Norquay – both are within a 15-minute drive of town. Plus, when you’re done on the slopes, you can enjoy all that Banff has to offer including some Apres Ski drinks at a couple of the breweries in Banff.

Did you know that you can also join this food tour that explores the many different rooms inside the historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel? Food and drink pairings are included from 4 of the property’s high-end restaurants for $206 CAD. What a unique activity for foodies!

Banff is more than just a ski town though, and regardless of the season you visit, Banff town is an amazing place with plenty to do. Some of the best things to do in Banff include:

  • Relax in the Banff Upper Hot Springs – Just a short 5-minute drive up Sulphur Mountain you’ll find the Banff Upper Hot Springs. This is one of the best hot springs in Alberta because of the incredible mountain views! The hot springs are easy to get to and very affordable. At only $16.50 CAD per adult and $53 CAD for a family, even those on a budget can enjoy one of the best Banff attractions. (It’s even a great activity to do in Banff when it’s raining).
  • Ride the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain – The Banff Gondola is possibly the singular most popular thing to do in Banff – and for good reason! From the top of the Banff Gondola, the views of the mountains and Banff town are out of this world. The first time I rode the gondola was during my first Christmas in Banff and I loved it! At the top of the gondola, you’ll find a restaurant and cafe, a gift shop, lots of information on the area and wildlife, as well as my personal favorite, the boardwalk! Book your Banff Gondola tickets online here!
  • Go on a canoe ride – Get out on the water and experience Banff from a whole new perspective in a large canoe. On this canoe tour you’ll paddle in the Bow River, taking in stunning mountain vistas along the way. The ride is a nice short tour at 1.5 hours long and costs only $70 CAD per person. A guide and all safety equipment is included.
  • Check out the Bow Falls Lookout – The Bow River is a stunning river that runs through the heart of Banff. Turquoise in color, it is nothing short of picture-perfect. A short 1.5km scenic walk from Banff town (or drive) you’ll come to the Bow Falls viewpoint on the river’s edge. Here, not only will you see the river, but also the Bow River Waterfall!
  • Cave and Basin National Historic Site – Another great place to visit in Banff is Cave and Basin Historic Site. Here you can see some historic hot springs that are home to a rare species of snail. The museum is the main attraction in my eyes and it is very interactive and fun, especially for kids. You’ll find lots of information about Banff and the surrounding area.

Where to Stay in Banff

At the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Me, in front of the Fairmont.

This is one of the most important parts of your trip and in Banff, the selection can be overwhelming and expensive. Below are some great hotels we recommend, but if you’d like more info check out our best hotels in downtown Banff blog as well as our guide to the best areas to stay in Banff National Park. Both articles include options for everyone’s budget and travel style!

Samesun Banff Hostel (Low Budget)

A great budget hostel with dorm rooms. Perfect for those on a tight budget. Expect to pay around 55 CAD for a bed in a mixed dorm room. It’s located right in the middle of town and just a short walk to bars and hotels. A free breakfast is also included every morning and there is fast wifi!

High Country Inn (Low Budget)

While the High Country Inn is still a budget range where you can get a private queen hotel room for as low as $139 CAD there is also the option for upgrades like a king room with a jet tub or a one-bedroom suite with a balcony. A fridge and tea and coffee maker are part of each room. The property offers an indoor pool, a cedar sauna, and a hot tub for your enjoyment.

You can book the High County Inn on Booking.com.

Banff Inn  (Moderate Budget)

The Banff Inn is in the perfect price and luxury range. It’s still affordable but also comes with lots of luxuries, the first being the location and the mountains right behind the hotel.

The rooms are spacious, clean, and modern. Expect to pay around 350 CAD or more during peak season. There is an on-site restaurant that serves things like pizza and burgers and a bar and lounge where you can wind down with a glass of wine in the evenings.

You can book the Banff Inn on Booking.com.

Banff Rocky Mountian Resort (Moderate Budget)

Pushing up into the mid-range budget this hotel is sure to please. It is located just 2 miles from town so you are close by for convenience but not right in all the noise. All the rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, each has either a kitchenette or a full kitchen. The price for summer per night will be a minimum of at least $300 CAD.

This beautiful property has an indoor swimming pool, indoor and outdoor hot tub, gym, tennis courts, and more! You can dine right at the Alpha Bistro which is located in the main building.

You can book the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort on Booking.com.

Fairmont Banff Springs (Luxury)

This is easily the most luxurious hotel in Banff. If you’re saving by doing free things in Banff so you can splurge a little more on your accommodation, this is the spot to do it!

It’s not cheap but the place is simply incredible (pictured above)! The mountain views and stunning grounds are just the beginning. The rooms are very comfortable some of them offering mountain views. The price per night begins at an average of $1,200 CAD but it varies on the season and type of room.

If you like to eat and shop there are 11 different restaurants and 14 shops to explore. Then go bowling, pamper yourself in the spa, relax in the hot tub, or go for a swim in the pool. Expect the staff to go above and beyond to make you feel like royalty. If you’re visiting Banff on a honeymoon, then this should be the hotel you choose!

You can book the Fairmont Banff Springs on Booking.com.

Important info: Accommodation in Banff can be tricky. For starters, you need to book well in advance if you want to have a large selection. In the peaks of winter and summer, Banff often books out months in advance.

For this reason, I highly suggest booking a place ASAP! Using Booking.com is great too because lots of hotels offer free cancellation so just lock in a place (or two) for now and make the final decision later!

Parks Canada Pass Quick Info

If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.

Single Daily Admission:

This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.

  • Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
  • Senior (65+) is $9.50 CAD
  • Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE

Group Daily Admission:

If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)

  • $22.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day

Parks Canada Discovery Pass

The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.

  • Adult (age 18-64) – $75.25 CAD
  • Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
  • Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 CAD

Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!

Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.

Renting a Car in British Columbia

A rural road with Mt Currie in the background
Road trips are the best way to explore Canada!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province, and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter). Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada and you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable! Read my tips on using Motorhome Republic here before you book!

Thanks for reading!

A couple take a selfie with beers at the Banff Brewery in Banff
Thanks for reading!

Banff and Revelstoke are two of my favorite towns in Canada and I just know that you’ll love them, and the drive between them as much as I do! I’m sure you’re surprised at the sheer amount of awesome stops between the two destinations and are itching to hop into your car and take in all the breathtaking sights on the drive from Revelstoke to Banff!

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also enjoy some of our other blog posts about Banff. Some of my favorites include:

FREE activities in Banff

Best coffee shops and cafes in Banff

Best stops on the drive from Calgary to Banff