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Banff Itinerary 3 Days – Best Three Days In Banff Alberta


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Carolynn Schuman



Welcome to Banff, Alberta, one of the most breathtaking destinations in Canada. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and charming mountain town vibes. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply someone looking to unwind amidst stunning landscapes, Banff has something for everyone.


This three-day itinerary will guide you through the best highlights of Banff, ensuring you make the most of your visit. From exploring the charming town of Banff to immersing yourself in the serene beauty of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, and hiking through the enchanting Johnston Canyon, this itinerary showcases the must-see attractions and activities in the area.


Before we jump into the daily itinerary, let’s take a moment to appreciate the natural wonders that await you in Banff. The national park is renowned for its awe-inspiring mountains, crystal-clear lakes, abundant wildlife, and panoramic hiking trails. It’s no wonder that Banff is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts.


As you embark on this three-day adventure, be prepared to be surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, to breathe in fresh mountain air, and to create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through Banff, Alberta.


Day 1: Exploring Banff Town

Your first day in Banff begins with exploring the charming town itself. Start your morning with a leisurely stroll along Banff Avenue, the main street lined with an array of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Immerse yourself in the mountain town vibes as you browse through the unique boutiques and enjoy a cup of locally brewed coffee.


Make your way to the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site, a must-visit for history and nature lovers. Housed in a heritage building, this museum showcases the incredible diversity of the surrounding national park through its extensive collection of animal specimens and indigenous artifacts.


For a panoramic view of Banff, head up to the Sulphur Mountain Gondola. Hop on the scenic ride to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding peaks and the town below. Take your time to explore the boardwalks and observation decks, and don’t forget to capture some stunning photos.


After descending from Sulphur Mountain, treat yourself to a delicious lunch at one of Banff’s many restaurants. From international cuisines to Canadian specialties, there are plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds.


In the afternoon, make your way to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Soak in the warm mineral-rich waters while enjoying the stunning mountain views. The hot springs are open year-round, allowing you to experience their therapeutic benefits no matter the season.


As the evening approaches, consider taking a short hike to Tunnel Mountain. This relatively easy trail offers panoramic views of Banff and the surrounding mountains. Alternatively, you can opt for a peaceful stroll along the Bow River, enjoying the tranquility of nature.


For dinner, choose from a variety of dining options, ranging from cozy pubs to fine dining establishments. Indulge in some local delicacies, such as Alberta beef or wild game, and savor the flavors of the region.


After dinner, take a leisurely walk through the town and appreciate the beauty of Banff illuminated at night. Don’t forget to stop by the Banff Avenue Cascade Gardens, a charming spot featuring colorful flowers, cascading waterfalls, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.


With Day 1 coming to an end, you can either relax at your accommodation or explore the lively nightlife scene in Banff. Whether you prefer a cozy evening in or a night out on the town, make sure you get a good night’s rest, as there are more exciting adventures awaiting you in the days ahead.


Day 2: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake

On Day 2 of your Banff itinerary, get ready to immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of two of Canada’s most iconic lakes – Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.


Start your day early and make your way to Lake Louise, located just a short drive from Banff. As you approach the lake, you’ll be greeted by the sight of turquoise waters surrounded by majestic peaks. Take some time to soak in the breathtaking scenery and capture some memorable photos.


Embark on a hike around the lake, following the well-marked trail that takes you along the shoreline. The Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail offers stunning views of the glacier-fed lake and the surrounding mountains. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way, as this area is home to various bird species and occasional sightings of bears and other wildlife.


After your hike, treat yourself to a scrumptious lunch at one of the restaurants or cafés near Lake Louise. Enjoy the delicious food while marveling at the beauty of your surroundings.


Next, make your way to Moraine Lake, a short drive from Lake Louise. This glacially-fed lake is famous for its vibrant turquoise color and is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Rockies.” As you arrive at Moraine Lake, you’ll be captivated by the stunning panorama of the Valley of the Ten Peaks reflected in the lake’s calm waters.


Take some time to explore the area and soak in the serenity of Moraine Lake. You can hike the Rockpile Trail, a short but steep trail that offers a panoramic view of the lake from a higher vantage point. Alternatively, rent a canoe and paddle along the lake, enjoying the unspoiled beauty in a tranquil setting.


As the day comes to an end, make your way back to Banff, but not before experiencing the magical hour of sunset at either Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. The golden hues of the setting sun reflecting on the turquoise waters create a truly magical and unforgettable sight.


For dinner, head out to one of Banff’s many restaurants and indulge in a delectable meal. Reflect on the beauty of the day as you savor the flavors of the region.


After dinner, take some time to relax and unwind. You can choose to enjoy a leisurely walk along the Bow River or explore the shops and galleries in town. Alternatively, if you’re up for some adventure, consider booking a wildlife viewing tour or stargazing experience to make the most of your evening in Banff.


After a day filled with natural wonders, it’s time to rest and recharge for the final day of your Banff adventure.


Day 3: Johnston Canyon and Vermilion Lakes

On your final day in Banff, get ready to explore the enchanting Johnston Canyon and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Vermilion Lakes.


Begin your day by driving to Johnston Canyon, a natural masterpiece just a short distance from Banff. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on the Johnston Canyon Trail, a picturesque hike that winds along the canyon and leads you to stunning waterfalls. As you hike along the well-maintained trail, you’ll be surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and the soothing sounds of the rushing water.


The highlight of the hike is reaching the Lower Falls and Upper Falls, where you can witness the sheer power of the cascading water. Marvel at the beauty of these breathtaking waterfalls from various viewpoints and feel the mist on your skin as you get up close to nature’s masterpiece.


After your hike, enjoy a picnic lunch in the serene surroundings of Johnston Canyon. Find a peaceful spot to relax and rejuvenate before heading to your next destination.


In the afternoon, make your way to Vermilion Lakes, a series of picturesque lakes located just outside of Banff. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, admiring the stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains on the calm waters. Keep an eye out for the abundant birdlife that calls this area home, including bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons.


If you’re up for some adventure, consider renting a canoe and exploring the lakes at your own pace. Paddle through the tranquil waters, enjoying the tranquility and serenity of the area.


As the day winds down, make your way back to Banff for a relaxing evening. Consider soaking in the hot springs once again, allowing the warm mineral waters to soothe your muscles after a day of hiking and exploration.


For your final dinner in Banff, choose a restaurant that offers breathtaking mountain views, and indulge in delicious cuisine. Toast to the memories you’ve made and savor the flavors of the region.


After dinner, take a moment to reflect on your time in Banff and appreciate the natural wonders you’ve experienced. Perhaps take a walk along the Bow River, enjoying the peacefulness and the beauty of the surroundings.


As you bid farewell to Banff, take a moment to appreciate the incredible beauty and diversity of this Canadian gem. The memories you’ve made and the experiences you’ve had will stay with you for a lifetime.


With a heart full of unforgettable memories, it’s time to pack your bags and head home. As you leave Banff, take one last look at the majestic peaks and turquoise lakes, knowing that you have experienced a truly remarkable destination.



Your journey through Banff, Alberta, has come to an end, and what an incredible adventure it has been. From exploring the charming town of Banff to immersing yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Johnston Canyon, and Vermilion Lakes, you’ve experienced some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in Canada.


Throughout your three-day itinerary, you’ve had the opportunity to witness the turquoise lakes, towering mountains, and cascading waterfalls that make Banff truly exceptional. You’ve hiked through picturesque trails, relaxed in hot springs, marveled at the reflections on the calm waters, and savored the delicious cuisine of the region.


Banff’s pristine wilderness and stunning landscapes offer a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone seeking an escape into nature’s embrace. The experiences you’ve had in Banff will stay etched in your memory as a reminder of the beauty and serenity found in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.


As you depart from Banff, take a moment to reflect on the gratitude you feel for having experienced such natural wonders. Cherish the memories you’ve made, the sights you’ve seen, and the adventures you’ve embarked on. Whether it was witnessing the powerful waterfalls of Johnston Canyon, gazing at the reflections on the turquoise lakes, or simply being immersed in the tranquility of Vermilion Lakes, Banff has left an indelible mark on your soul.


Remember, Banff’s beauty is not limited to a three-day itinerary. There are countless more trails to hike, lakes to explore, and experiences to be had. Whether you choose to return to Banff or explore other parts of the Canadian Rockies, may your love for adventure and nature continue to guide your journeys.


As you say goodbye to Banff, take with you the lessons and serenity that this magnificent destination has provided. Carry the spirit of exploration and appreciation for untouched beauty wherever your travels may take you.


So, until we meet again in the stunning landscapes of Banff, may you be filled with memories of cherished moments, the echoes of nature’s whispers, and a renewed sense of wonder about the beauty that exists in our world.