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The Best Photography Spots In Banff National Park


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Erin Devine



Welcome to the breathtaking Banff National Park, located in the stunning Canadian Rockies. Known for its majestic mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and abundant wildlife, Banff National Park is a photographer’s paradise. Whether you’re an amateur shutterbug or a professional photographer, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers countless opportunities to capture awe-inspiring landscapes and moments of natural beauty.


This article will guide you through some of the best photography spots in Banff National Park, ensuring that you don’t miss out on capturing the park’s most iconic and visually stunning locations. From turquoise lakes nestled among towering peaks to cascading waterfalls and picturesque meadows, Banff’s diverse landscapes provide a range of photo opportunities for every preference and skill level.


So grab your camera gear and join us on a journey to explore the best photography spots in Banff National Park. Whether you’re looking for stunning panoramas, close-up nature shots, or wildlife photography, this guide will help you navigate the park and make the most of your photography adventure.


Lake Louise

One of the most iconic and photogenic landmarks in Banff National Park is Lake Louise. With its turquoise waters and a backdrop of snow-capped peaks, this picturesque lake is a must-visit spot for photographers. Located just a short drive from the town of Banff, Lake Louise offers a wide range of photo opportunities throughout the year.


In the summer months, the vibrant blue hues of the lake are complemented by lush greenery and colorful wildflowers. This is the perfect time to capture stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains in the calm waters of Lake Louise. Sunrise and sunset are ideal times to capture the golden light dancing across the mountains, creating a magical ambiance.


During the winter, Lake Louise transforms into a snowy wonderland, with the frozen lake serving as a pristine canvas for photographers to capture the beauty of the season. The iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a luxury hotel on the shores of the lake, adds an architectural element to your shots.


For a unique perspective, consider hiking to the Lake Agnes Tea House, located above Lake Louise. The trail offers spectacular views of the lake from above, showcasing its elegant shape and stunning surroundings. Additionally, the Teahouse itself is a charming subject for both interior and exterior shots.


Remember to explore the area surrounding Lake Louise, as there are numerous hiking trails that lead to hidden gems and breathtaking viewpoints. The Plain of Six Glaciers Trail and the Lake Agnes Trail are popular choices, offering stunning vistas and close encounters with wildlife.


Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned photographer, Lake Louise will surely inspire you and provide stunning opportunities for capturing the majestic beauty of Banff National Park. Don’t forget to pack your tripod, as well as a wide-angle lens to capture the expansive landscapes in all their glory.


Moraine Lake

Tucked away in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is a gem that should be on every photographer’s list when visiting Banff National Park. Known for its vibrant turquoise waters and its backdrop of towering mountain peaks, Moraine Lake offers a dream-like setting for capturing breathtaking and memorable photographs.


The best time to capture the stunning beauty of Moraine Lake is during the early morning or late evening, when the soft golden light casts a warm glow on the surrounding mountains. The calmness of the lake during these times also makes for perfect reflections, creating a surreal and captivating scene.


To fully experience the splendor of Moraine Lake, make sure to hike up to the famous viewpoint of the Rockpile. This short but steep trail rewards you with an incredible panoramic view of the lake and its surrounding peaks. From this vantage point, you can capture the entire expanse of the lake, with the towering mountains reflected in its pristine waters.


If you’re looking to add some adventure to your photography experience, consider renting a canoe and exploring Moraine Lake from the water. Paddling across the turquoise lake allows you to capture unique perspectives and get up close to the jagged mountains that surround it. For more experienced photographers, hiking the Larch Valley Trail will lead you to stunning viewpoints overlooking Moraine Lake, offering opportunities for incredible landscape shots.


Keep in mind that due to its popularity, Moraine Lake can get crowded, especially during weekends and peak tourist seasons. To avoid the crowds and capture uninterrupted shots, consider visiting early in the morning or later in the evening. Additionally, planning your visit during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall can provide a more tranquil experience and allow you to capture the changing colors of the surrounding foliage.


Whether you’re an amateur photographer or a seasoned professional, Moraine Lake will leave you in awe of its natural beauty. The combination of its turquoise waters, majestic mountains, and the sense of tranquility it evokes make it a top photography spot in Banff National Park.


Peyto Lake

Located along the Icefields Parkway, Peyto Lake is a true gem in Banff National Park. With its stunning vibrant blue color and panoramic views, this glacial-fed lake is a photographer’s paradise. Capturing the beauty of Peyto Lake is a must-do for anyone visiting the park.


One of the best spots to photograph Peyto Lake is from the Bow Summit lookout. A short hike from the parking lot will lead you to a viewpoint that provides a breathtaking panoramic vista of the lake and its surrounding mountains. From this elevated platform, you can capture the unique shape of the lake as it winds its way through the valley below.


The best time of day to photograph Peyto Lake is during the early morning or late evening when the soft light bathes the landscape, accentuating the colors and textures. The changing light at sunrise or sunset creates dramatic shadows and highlights, adding depth and dimension to your photographs.


For a different perspective, consider hiking the Bow Summit Interpretive Trail that leads down to the shoreline of Peyto Lake. This trail takes you through a stunning alpine meadow, offering opportunities to capture close-up shots of the wildflowers and wildlife that inhabit the area. Additionally, it provides a chance to photograph the lake from a lower angle and showcase the natural elements in the foreground.


Keep in mind that Peyto Lake is a popular destination, especially during the summer months. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or later in the evening. During the winter, the area around the lake is covered in snow, creating a magical winter wonderland for photographers.


When photographing Peyto Lake, be sure to bring a wide-angle lens to capture the expansive landscape. Additionally, a polarizing filter can help enhance the colors of the lake and reduce glare on the water’s surface. Don’t forget your tripod too, as it will ensure sharp and steady shots, especially during longer exposures.


Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur enthusiast, Peyto Lake offers an incredible opportunity to capture the majestic beauty of Banff National Park. Its vibrant blue hues and breathtaking vistas will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders.


Bow Lake

Situated along the Icefields Parkway, Bow Lake is another stunning photography spot in Banff National Park. With its brilliant turquoise waters and a panoramic view of the majestic Canadian Rockies, it offers photographers a mesmerizing blend of natural beauty and tranquility.


The best time to capture the beauty of Bow Lake is during the early morning or late evening when the light is softer and creates a warm glow on the mountains. The calmness of the lake during these times provides an excellent opportunity to capture reflections, adding a sense of serenity and symmetry to your photographs.


An ideal spot to photograph Bow Lake is from the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge viewpoint. From here, you can capture the entire expanse of the lake, with Crowfoot Mountain as a dramatic backdrop. The lodge adds an interesting architectural element to your shots, enhancing the overall composition.


For a closer look at Bow Lake’s stunning turquoise waters, consider hiking along the lakeshore. This will allow you to capture details in the rocks, plants, and wildlife that call this area home. The nearby Bow Glacier and Bow Glacier Falls also offer opportunities for unique and captivating shots.


If you’re feeling adventurous, bring your camera gear and hike up the nearby Bow Summit. This challenging but rewarding trail offers panoramic views of Bow Lake from above, allowing you to capture the expansive landscape and surrounding peaks in all their glory.


During the winter months, Bow Lake freezes over and becomes a snowy wonderland. The snow-covered lake and surrounding mountains create a fairytale-like setting, perfect for winter photography. Be sure to dress warmly and bring the necessary equipment to protect your camera from the cold temperatures.


Remember to be respectful of the natural surroundings when photographing Bow Lake. Leave no trace and stay on designated paths to preserve the delicate ecosystem. Also, be mindful of other photographers and visitors who may be enjoying the area.


Whether you’re a professional or an enthusiast, Bow Lake offers a picturesque setting to capture the beauty of Banff National Park. Its stunning turquoise waters, majestic mountains, and serene atmosphere make it a must-visit spot for any photographer.


Johnston Canyon

Nestled deep within the heart of Banff National Park, Johnston Canyon offers a unique photography experience that combines the beauty of nature with the thrill of adventure. Known for its stunning waterfalls, lush greenery, and dramatic canyons, Johnston Canyon is a haven for photographers seeking to capture magical moments in a captivating setting.


The main attraction of Johnston Canyon is its series of picturesque waterfalls. The Lower Falls and Upper Falls are the most popular spots for photography. The Lower Falls are easily accessible via a well-maintained trail that winds its way through the canyon. The viewpoint, located just a short walk from the parking lot, offers a breathtaking view of the falls plunging into a deep turquoise pool.


To capture a unique perspective of the falls, venture further along the trail to the Upper Falls. This moderate hike takes you through narrow canyons and across suspension bridges that offer stunning viewpoints. From here, you can capture the power and beauty of the cascading water as it flows down the rocky cliffs.


For those looking to add an extra level of adventure to their photography experience, consider visiting Johnston Canyon during the winter months. The ice formations that adorn the canyon walls create a surreal and magical atmosphere. The frozen waterfalls are a true spectacle, forming intricate patterns and textures that make for striking photographs.


When photographing Johnston Canyon, a wide-angle lens is essential to capture the expansive surroundings. A tripod will be a useful tool for long exposure shots of the waterfalls, allowing you to capture the motion of the cascading water. Additionally, bring along a polarizing filter to enhance the colors and reduce glare.


Keep in mind that Johnston Canyon can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. To avoid the crowds and capture unobstructed shots, try visiting during the early morning or late afternoon when the lighting is softer and the trails are quieter.


Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a photography enthusiast, Johnston Canyon provides a magnificent backdrop for capturing the beauty of Banff National Park. Its waterfalls, canyons, and lush vegetation make it a place of wonder and inspiration for photographers of all skill levels.


Lake Minnewanka

In the heart of the Canadian Rockies lies Lake Minnewanka, a stunning glacial lake that offers photographers a majestic and diverse landscape to capture. With its crystal-clear waters, rugged mountains, and intriguing history, Lake Minnewanka provides endless opportunities for breathtaking photography.


One of the highlights of Lake Minnewanka is its scenic boat tour. Hop aboard a cruise and embark on a journey across the lake, allowing you to photograph the surrounding peaks from a unique perspective. The tour provides a deeper understanding of the area’s history and offers opportunities to capture shots of wildlife that often appear along the lake’s shoreline.


If you prefer to stay on land, the Lake Minnewanka Loop offers several viewpoints where you can photograph the lake and its surroundings. The viewpoints at Stewart Canyon, Two Jack Lake, and Johnson Lake offer stunning vistas and captivating compositions. Whether you’re capturing the reflection of the mountains in the lake or showcasing the vibrant foliage during the fall season, these viewpoints will not disappoint.


For a more adventurous photography experience, consider hiking up to the Aylmer Lookout. This challenging trail rewards you with a bird’s-eye view of Lake Minnewanka and the surrounding area. From this vantage point, you can capture the expansive lake, nestled among the towering peaks, creating a sense of grandeur and serenity in your photographs.


When photographing Lake Minnewanka, be sure to take advantage of the changing light throughout the day. Sunrise and sunset offer the most dramatic lighting conditions, as the soft golden hues bathe the mountains, creating a magical atmosphere. Additionally, pay attention to the weather conditions, as stormy skies can add drama and depth to your shots.


As with any outdoor excursion, always practice Leave No Trace principles and be respectful of the natural surroundings. Take care not to disturb wildlife or vegetation, and follow designated trails to preserve the delicate ecosystem of Lake Minnewanka.


Whether you’re a landscape enthusiast or a professional photographer, Lake Minnewanka is a must-visit spot in Banff National Park. Its scenic beauty, rich history, and diverse photography opportunities make it a top choice for capturing the wonders of the Canadian Rockies.


Vermilion Lakes

The Vermilion Lakes, a series of three interconnected lakes located just minutes from the town of Banff, are a hidden gem for photographers exploring Banff National Park. With their tranquil waters, stunning reflections, and breathtaking mountain views, the Vermilion Lakes offer a picturesque setting that is sure to inspire any photographer.


One of the best times to photograph the Vermilion Lakes is during sunrise or sunset, when the soft golden light bathes the landscape, creating a warm and ethereal glow. The stillness of the lakes during these times allows for mirror-like reflections, transforming the scene into a visual masterpiece. Capture the iconic Mount Rundle reflecting in the calm waters, or experiment with different angles and compositions to capture the perfect shot.


For a different perspective, explore the boardwalk that meanders along the lakes. This allows you to get closer to the shoreline and capture more intimate details of the lakes, such as the vegetation and wildlife that call these lakes home. Don’t be surprised if you encounter ducks, geese, or even the occasional beaver during your exploration.


During the winter months, the Vermilion Lakes become a winter wonderland, with the frozen lakes and snow-covered surrounding mountains providing a magical backdrop. The stark contrast of the white snow against the deep blue sky makes for striking and dramatic photographs.


When photographing the Vermilion Lakes, consider using a wide-angle lens to capture the expansive vistas and the reflections in the water. A tripod will also be helpful to ensure sharp and steady shots, particularly during low-light conditions or for long-exposure images.


Accessing the Vermilion Lakes is easy, as they are located just a short drive from the town of Banff. There is a parking area near the lakes, making it convenient to set up your equipment and explore the area. Keep in mind that it can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons, so arriving early or visiting during weekdays can help you avoid the crowds and capture undisturbed shots.


Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur enthusiast, the Vermilion Lakes offer a serene and visually stunning location to capture the beauty of Banff National Park. With their majestic reflections and mountain vistas, these lakes provide breathtaking photography opportunities that are not to be missed.


Bow Valley Parkway

The Bow Valley Parkway, also known as Highway 1A, is a scenic road that winds its way through Banff National Park, offering photographers a stunning journey through diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife. This picturesque route provides endless opportunities for capturing the natural beauty and serenity of the Canadian Rockies.


One of the highlights of the Bow Valley Parkway is the chance to spot and photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep your camera ready as you may encounter elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and even bears along the roadside. Remember to maintain a safe distance and never disturb or feed the wildlife.


The Bow Valley Parkway is also home to a myriad of breathtaking viewpoints. Johnston Canyon and Castle Junction are particularly noteworthy stops along the route. Johnston Canyon offers the chance to capture the beauty of cascading waterfalls as they flow through the narrow canyon. Castle Junction provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it an ideal spot for landscape photography.


For intimate nature shots, be sure to explore the numerous hiking trails that intersect the Bow Valley Parkway. The Morant’s Curve viewpoint is a popular choice, offering a unique vantage point to photograph the Canadian Pacific Railway as it curves through the mountainous landscape. This spot is especially stunning during sunrise when the golden light illuminates the scene.


As you travel along the Bow Valley Parkway, pay attention to the changing seasons. In the spring, vibrant wildflowers carpet the meadows and provide colorful foregrounds for your shots. In the fall, the golden and orange hues of the aspen and larch trees create a stunning contrast against the backdrop of the snow-capped mountains.


When photographing along the Bow Valley Parkway, consider using a variety of lenses to capture both wide-angle landscapes and close-up details. A telephoto lens will come in handy for wildlife photography, allowing you to capture distant subjects without disturbing them. Additionally, don’t forget to bring a tripod for long exposures and to ensure sharpness in your shots.


Before embarking on your photography journey along the Bow Valley Parkway, check for any road closures or restrictions, as well as current wildlife advisories. Finally, always practice Leave No Trace principles, respect the wildlife and natural environment, and stay on designated paths and trails.


The Bow Valley Parkway is a true gem within Banff National Park, offering photographers a captivating blend of scenic beauty and wildlife encounters. Whether you’re capturing majestic landscapes, up-close wildlife shots, or the changing seasons, this scenic road will leave you with unforgettable photographic memories.


Cascade Gardens

Cascade Gardens, located in the heart of Banff, is a hidden oasis that provides a vibrant and colorful setting for photographers. This beautifully landscaped garden features a variety of flowers, plants, and cascading water features, making it a perfect spot for capturing the beauty of nature.


During the spring and summer months, Cascade Gardens burst with a riot of colors as various flowers and plants come into bloom. Capture close-up shots of delicate petals, explore different angles to showcase the intricacies of each flower, and experiment with depth of field to highlight specific details. The abundance of floral varieties provides endless possibilities for creating stunning compositions.


The garden’s carefully placed water features add an element of tranquility to your photographs. Cascading streams and gentle waterfalls create a sense of serenity and can be used as leading lines or focal points within your compositions. Experiment with long exposure photography to create a soft and dreamy effect as the water flows through the garden.


Aside from the beautiful flora and water features, Cascade Gardens also offers opportunities for capturing wildlife. Keep an eye out for birds, butterflies, and other small creatures that call the garden home. Patience and a keen eye will reward you with intimate and dynamic shots of these natural inhabitants.


Whether you’re shooting with a macro lens to capture intricate details or a wide-angle lens to showcase the garden’s overall ambiance, Cascade Gardens provides a canvas filled with photographic inspiration. Consider visiting during different times of the day to take advantage of the changing lighting conditions and the unique atmosphere each brings to the garden.


Cascade Gardens is easily accessible by foot from the town of Banff, making it a convenient spot to explore and photograph. Remember to respect the garden and other visitors by staying on designated paths and not trampling on the plants. Bring a tripod or handheld stabilizer to ensure steady shots, especially when photographing the water features or using longer exposures.


Whether you’re a garden enthusiast or a photography enthusiast, Cascade Gardens offers a serene and visually stunning location to capture the beauty of Banff. Its blooming flowers, tranquil water features, and vibrant colors make it a must-visit spot for any photographer looking to capture the wonders of nature.


Banff Avenue

Banff Avenue, the main street in the town of Banff, is not only a bustling hub of activity but also a vibrant photography spot. Lined with shops, restaurants, and unique architecture, Banff Avenue offers endless opportunities for capturing the charm and energy of this mountain town.


Start your photography journey on Banff Avenue by focusing on the charming storefronts and buildings that line the street. The architectural styles range from rustic log cabins to elegant stone structures, each providing unique backdrops for your shots. Capture the details of the intricate designs, the vibrant colors of the signage, and the inviting atmosphere of the town.


As you explore further along Banff Avenue, don’t forget to capture the vibrant street life. Whether it’s locals and tourists strolling along the sidewalk, bustling cafes and restaurants, or street performers entertaining passersby, there’s always something happening on Banff Avenue. Candid street photography can capture the energy and spirit of the town, while portraits of individuals can showcase the diversity of people who visit and call Banff home.


For a different perspective, climb the surrounding hills and capture sweeping views of Banff Avenue from above. The elevated vantage point provides a unique and captivating perspective, allowing you to showcase the town nestled among the surrounding mountains. This is particularly impressive during sunrise or sunset when the golden light bathes the landscape and the mountains glow in warm hues.


Throughout the year, Banff Avenue hosts numerous events and festivals. Capture the celebratory atmosphere during the Banff Winter Carnival or the vibrant colors of the Canada Day Parade. These events provide opportunities to capture lively scenes and showcase the community spirit that thrives in Banff.


While exploring Banff Avenue, keep in mind the importance of respect and privacy. Always ask for permission before photographing individuals, particularly in close-up shots. Additionally, be mindful of private property and avoid trespassing.


Whether you’re a street photographer, a lover of architecture, or simply someone interested in capturing the essence of a mountain town, Banff Avenue is a must-visit photography spot. The combination of its unique buildings, lively street life, and breathtaking surroundings make this street a true gem in the heart of Banff National Park.



Banff National Park, with its majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife, offers a multitude of photography opportunities for both amateurs and professionals. From the iconic Lake Louise and Moraine Lake to the hidden gems like Johnston Canyon and Cascade Gardens, each location within the park offers unique and picturesque landscapes waiting to be captured.


As photographers, we have the privilege of documenting the beauty of Banff National Park and sharing it with others. Whether you’re drawn to the dramatic peaks, the serene lakes, or the vibrant flora and fauna, the park provides a canvas for creativity and visual storytelling. With the right equipment, composition, and timing, you can create images that evoke a sense of awe and appreciation for the wonders of nature.


Remember to be respectful of the park and its inhabitants. Practice Leave No Trace principles, stay on designated trails, and avoid disturbing the wildlife. By being responsible photographers, we can preserve the beauty of Banff National Park for future generations to enjoy and photograph.


As you embark on your photography adventure in Banff National Park, don’t be afraid to explore beyond the well-known spots. Venture off the beaten path, follow the winding trails, and discover hidden gems that speak to your creative vision. The park is vast and ever-changing, offering endless possibilities for capturing unique and captivating images.


Whether you’re capturing the reflection of a mountain peak in a tranquil lake, the delicate details of a wildflower, or the inspiring wildlife encounters, Banff National Park rewards those who seek to express their artistry through the lens. So pack your cameras, charge your batteries, and get ready for an unforgettable photography journey in this picturesque Canadian wonderland.