Pre-arrival checklist

Banff National Park

Planning ahead is essential! Here are Parks Canada's top tips to help ensure you spend more time enjoying the park. Great memories? Check!

Get your park pass

Banff National Park entry and service fees help support visitor services and facilities. Did you know you can purchase your Discovery Pass online or from a Parks Canada partner ahead of time?

Reserve a place to stay

From mid-June through mid-September, campground reservations are essential. Arrive early at first-come, first-served campgrounds and reserve ahead at reservable campgrounds. We also recommend booking your hotel, hostel or B&B well in advance. Planning to visit during a long-weekend? Be extra prepared. Without a reservation you will almost certainly be disappointed. A reminder that alcohol is not permitted in campgrounds during long weekends.

Learn the #WildlifeRules

Remember, a fed animal is a dead animal. Please, never feed wildlife or leave food or garbage outside. It is illegal here. Secure your food in a car. Put all trash in bear-proof garbage bins. Stay in your vehicle when watching wildlife at the roadside and keep your dog on a leash at all times. What else? Learn how you can help protect this special place. Your actions matter.

Visit a Visitor Centre for insider tips

Visit our helpful team in Banff or Lake Louise for advice about trails, experiences or information about how to make the most of your national park adventure. Hours vary over the summer and by location.

Check the weather

Likely the most reliable characteristic of the weather in Banff National Park is its variability. The weather at one point in the park may be quite different from that of other points relatively near by. At one specific location the weather can vary considerably from year to year, and from day to day, so be prepared!

Be aware of seasonal closures

Moraine Lake Road is open mid-May to mid-October and high alpine hikes are inaccessible until July due to snowpack. The park is a dynamic environment! Keep an eye on seasonal and safety closures to avoid disappointment.

Check important bulletins

There can be warnings, restrictions and closures in place throughout the year for various reasons. Check to ensure there is nothing in place that could impact your plans.

Review the trail conditions before you go

It is always best practice to know what condition the trails are in before you go. That way you can prepare accordingly.

Plan ahead for popular destinations

Parking at popular destinations fills quickly. Get insider info on what to expect. BanffNow offers real-time updates on traffic and available parking.

COVID-19 and your visit to Banff National Park

Parks Canada continues to follow the advice and guidance of public health experts to limit the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the risks to residents, visitors, employees and other users of Banff National Park.

COVID-19 safety guidelines and how to make the most of your visit:

  • Be self-sufficient. Pack a hygiene kit that include supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap, masks or face coverings, garbage bags and a tablecloth. You should be prepared to bring your own water and food.
  • Make safe choices. Choose activities that correspond with your level of experience in order to avoid injury and/or getting lost and help minimize the demands placed on emergency response, search and rescue teams, and on the health care system.

Openings and services differ across the country. Please check the Parks Canada national information portal dedicated to COVID-19 for regular updates.

Bonus tips

Take advantage of Roam transit and Parks Canada shuttle services

Park and play! ROAM Transit serves the towns of Banff and Canmore. In the Lake Louise area, shuttle service is available and strongly recommended. Print or screenshot the schedules and maps before you arrive. Bookmark and consult 511 Alberta for current road reports.

Brush up on safety tips

Natural hazards are part of the national park experience. Here are some tips for drivers, hikers, campers and winter enthusiasts. Simple tips to look, act and be safe like a local.

Visit at least one quieter destination

Many people find that quieter places in the park make the best memories, especially when you can explore at your leisure all to yourself. Pick one and start your own list of “hidden gems”.

Pick at least one guided activity

Have someone reveal the unseen wonder of Banff to you. Local interpreters and guides can turn the simply beautiful into the simply magical.

Date modified :