• Zac & Ine

Best Day Tours From Banff

Updated: Jun 14

Looking for the best day tours from Banff? In this post, we compare tours and take your Canadian Rockies experience to the next level! We visited Banff National Park last summer and had the time of our lives. There are so many tours to choose from that leave directly from Banff itself and we’ve broken down our top tours for both the summer and winter so you can choose the best one that suits your style.



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Day Tours from Banff: Overview


There are many day tours that leave directly from Banff. Before you scroll through the top options for both summer and winter, it’s important to decide what kind of adventure you are seeking. For instance, an epic full-day hike through bear country may not be for you, but a guided horse tour and barbecue along the river might be perfect for what you’re looking for. There are many free activities and hikes near Banff as well, but if you are new to the area and want to find adventure while also having the safety and comfort of a guide, then it is important to choose the best option for you. Ask yourself which of the following styles you would enjoy. This will help you save time when scanning through the options for both summer and winter tour options. Do you like an…

  1. Outdoor adventure with intense physical activity?

  2. Outdoor adventure with moderate physical activity?

  3. Bus tour with beautiful sites and small walks only?

Now that you’ve got your style decided on, check out our top summer and winter tours from Banff below!



Best Summer Day Tours from Banff


The best time to enjoy the Canadian Rockies at their fullest is from June to September. This is because the lakes are unfrozen and show their true turquoise colors in all their glory. The trails through the surrounding Canadian Rocky Mountains are also relatively snow-free at that point, making for more outdoor adventure possibilities. With Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, the Icefields Parkway, Johnston Canyon, and the Bow River all within close range of Banff, there are endless outdoor adventure options to choose from. Clicking on any of the below options will take you straight to a booking page. Keep in mind that these tours do fill up fast!


LAKE LOUISE & ICEFIELDS PARKWAY FULL DAY TOUR

This day tour from Banff takes about 8 hours and is mainly on the bus with a few small walks at each viewpoint. With pickup from Banff or Lake Louise hotel, you will see the most iconic photo spots in all of the Canadian Rockies along the Icefields Parkway. Stops include locations such as Bow Falls, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and more. With only 15 people allowed on each tour, you can guarantee that it will be a personalized experience. The tour also includes all necessary park fees.


We recommend this tour for anyone who wants to see the iconic Banff National Park photo spots, but who do not necessarily want a lot of physical activity throughout the day.


Book this tour

Cost: $$$

Time: 8 hours

Style: Bus tour with beautiful sites and small walks only



KICKING HORSE RIVER WHITEWATER RAFTING

This whitewater rafting experience is for the adrenaline junkies out there! Even though you will be scaling Class IV rapids, you do not need previous rafting experience to enjoy this wild ride down the Kicking Horse River. Hotel pickups are available from various locations across Banff and you will also enjoy a BBQ lunch.


We recommend this tour for those not afraid of a true adventure!


Book this tour

Cost: $$$

Time: 5 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with intense physical activity



BANFF NATIONAL PARK GUIDED HIKE WITH LUNCH

This guided hike spans 7 hours and is one of the best ways to see Banff National Park’s greatest trails. Choose from various hiking options that fit your level of expertise and physical fitness (hikes vary from 7km to 10.5km). There is no wrong choice for your selected hikes as each one has AMAZING scenery! The four hiking options include trails along Larch Valley, Stanley Glacier, Consolation Lakes, or the Plain of Six Glaciers. All hikes also include a gourmet lunch halfway through, a guide, and hiking poles to get you to the finish line.


We recommend this tour for those who love hiking, have some experience in the wilderness, and want to see truly hidden gems of Banff National Park.


Book this tour

Cost: $$

Time: 7 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with intense physical activity



COVERED WAGON OR HORSEBACK RIDE IN BANFF WITH WESTERN COOKOUT

This unique experience will take you into the Banff wilderness on horseback. For about 3 hours, you will ride through the Rocky Mountains on horseback along the Bow River. You can choose between a covered wagon option or a standard horseback ride, depending on your comfort level and ability of all members traveling with you. As well, there is a BBQ meal offered where you can get a true feeling for the cowboy lifestyle!


We recommend this tour for people looking to have a little taste of the cowboy adventure lifestyle and experience something not many people know about on their visit to Banff.


Book this tour

Cost: $$

Time: 3 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with moderate physical activity



DISCOVER GRIZZLY BEARS IN BANFF

Ever want to see a grizzly bear? While it is common to see bears in the Canadian Rockies, it can sometimes be hard to spot grizzlies compared to the more common black bear. That’s where this tour can help you. For 10 hours, you will go up a gondola ride to Canada’s highest restaurant, take a chairlift to see protected grizzlies, visit Emerald Lake, see Takakkaw Falls, and get a professionally guided tour of it all who knows where to spot the grizzlies.


We recommend this tour for those who want to do it ALL and see a grizzly bear guaranteed!


Book this tour

Cost: $$$$

Time: 10 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with moderate physical activity



Best Winter Day Tours from Banff


The winter months of November to March are also a great time to visit Banff National Park! If you are lucky enough to visit the Canadian Rocky Mountains at this time, you will have the opportunity to ski world-class terrain, take part in snowshoe adventures, and even walk on ice through the famous Johnston Canyon. Since hiking and driving can be difficult during winter, it is even more essential to book a tour to be able to enjoy all that the Canadian Rockies have to offer near Banff.


JOHNSTON CANYON ICEWALK

Johnston Canyon is an amazing sight to see in the summer, but some would argue it’s even greater in the winter! Why? Because you can walk in the canyon and literally step on the river between the massive canyon walls. This half-day hike will take you to a waterfall that stands over 30 meters high. The guide will also explain how ice climbers tackle the massive frozen waterfalls. You may even be able to see climbers yourself!


We recommend this activity for those looking to get outside and do something active in a location that many others will never get the chance to see.


Book this tour

Cost: $

Time: 4 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with moderate physical activity



LAKE LOUISE FULL DAY WINTER TOUR

Lake Louise is known worldwide for its vibrant turquoise color, however, in the winter the lake is frozen and offers a different type of beauty. This tour will take you to a frozen Lake Louise where you can enjoy four hours of free time. The round-trip tour from Banff includes a professional guide on the ride to and from Lake Louise. You will have up to 4 hours to go snowshoeing, try a sleigh ride, go ice skating, dog-sledding, and more (not included in original price).


We recommend this tour for those looking to have a leisurely exercise at a slow pace on the most famous lake in Canada!

Book this tour

Cost: $

Time: 7 hours

Style: Bus tour with beautiful sites and small walks only



SNOWSHOEING ON TOP OF THE WORLD

In this tour, you will be guided through the snowy backcountry of Banff by snowshoe! With a gondola ticket included in the price, you will see the Canadian Rockies from an angle high above Banff National Park. Snowshoes are included as well as poles, snacks, and a professional guide.


We recommend this guided tour for anyone looking to get off the beaten path in Banff and see the National Park from a new perspective.


Book this tour

Cost: $$

Time: 5 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with moderate physical activity



GROTTO CANYON ICEWALK

Similar to Johnston Canyon, Grotto Canyon also offers an icewalk that is accessible from Banff. On this tour, your specialist guide will explain the history and geography of the canyon while you walk on the frozen creek. You will enjoy views of the amazing icefalls, native rock art, and unusual rock formations from within the canyon itself! Snacks, hot chocolate, ice cleats, and hiking poles are provided for all participants (12 people per group max).


We recommend this tour for those looking for a less dangerous version of the Johnston Canyon icewalk.


Book this tour

Cost: $

Time: 4 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with moderate physical activity



CROSS COUNTRY SKIING IN LAKE LOUISE

Have you ever wanted to learn how to cross country ski? This is your chance to do it at one of the most beautiful lakes in the world! While this tour does not include transportation to Lake Louise itself, it is still worth the money to get instructions from a local guide. This activity covers everything from falling down and getting back up, to gliding and stopping on nordic cross country skis and you will have time to do a cross country ski tour of your own as well. The activity includes cross country ski instructions from a local guide but not the equipment.


We recommend this activity for those who already have their own vehicle and want to do a more physically demanding activity than the standard snowshoeing or ice skating at Lake Louise.


Book this tour

Cost: $

Time: 5 hours

Style: Outdoor adventure with intense physical activity




We hope you have a great adventure in Banff! Whatever option you choose, you can’t go wrong. There are so many beautiful lakes, mountains, and wildlife around you that it will be a great time no matter what. As these tours involve outdoor adventure activities, there is always an element of potential risk. We highly recommend getting travel insurance if you are from a country other than Canada and visiting Banff National Park. World Nomads is our favorite for adventure travel as you can book from anywhere in the world, even during your trip. They also have varying coverage options to ensure you are covered for the type of adventure you are planning on.



  • If you are looking for other inspiration and tours from Banff, we've found great resources at Discover Banff, Banff Adventures, and Pursuit. Enjoy your adventure in Banff National Park!

  • Want to learn more about other Canadian Rockies adventures? Check out our Canadian Rockies Adventure Travel Guide!

  • Have you taken one of the tours from Banff listed above? Comment your favorite one below!



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