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Alana Bush

Spokane, Washington

Is Banff worth seeing?

Driving with my sister and her daughter to drop her off at school in Calgary. My sister and I are thinking about doing a road trip afterwards to Banff. Can anyone tell me if it’s worth the drive, or is it so much like Calgary that it’s not worth it? What is there to actually see in Banff? We keep hearing how great it is but we don't really know why to tell you the truth. Any insight would be helpful!

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  • Banff (city)

    Banff Alberta

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    Calgary Alberta

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    Alberta

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  • Melissa Hogan

    top answer by

    I was just there last month for the first time and let me tell you, it's definitely worth it. Banff isn't anything like Calgary: one being an urban city and the other a small mountain town. It's only 90min away so it's even a possible day trip location.

    If you go, I'd recommend a little hike at Johnston Canyon (20 min up the road from Banff). It's stupidly beautiful. In Banff You can go horseback riding at Warner Stables or do a covered wagon ride and cookout. If you want to relax you could head to Banff Upper Hot Springs . If you want a great view of the town, drive up Mount Norquay (turn right off the highway away from the town centre) and there'll be a lookout point. There's also the Banff Gondola (though I didn't take it myself). When I was in town I stayed at The Juniper Hotel & Bistro on Mt. Norquay Rd, which is just outside the town but the distance is hardly worth talking about. They have a nice outdoor hot tub where you can look at the mountains.

    My favourite part of Banff was just being in the middle of the mountains as I hadn't experienced that before.

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    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      Great to hear about Banff from someone who has recently been there for the first time! I didn't realize that it was so close to Calgary. This all sounds amazing, especially the hot springs and the hotel hot tub! Will have to consult the sister. Thank you Melissa! · (1 likelikes)

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  • Michel Rouse

    answered by

    Definitely worth the trip and there are some great proposals listed already. I can only add that a visit to the The Fairmont Banff Springs should be on your list as this is one of the classiest hotels in Canada (like the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City except set in the middle of the Rockies). I'd also suggest a visit to Moraine Lake (near Lake Louise ) and a trip to the Columbia Ice Fields (2h30 minute drive). Here you can take a bus tour up onto the glacier. Have a good time, eh!

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    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      The only reason I've been hesitant is because I'm not the biggest outdoor person, but if I get to stsy at a nice hotel, I think I will survive! Thank you Michel! · (0 likelikes)

    • Michel R.

      Michel R.

      Please note that the Columbia Ice Fields are not at location D on the map. They are 2h30 North West of Banff. · (0 likelikes)

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  • Kenin Bassart

    answered by

    Banff is a wonderful place to visit if you like to Ski in the winter or enjoy hiking biking and other outdoor activities. There are also some great restaurants to check out. There's a great place called Grizzly House Restaurant (blog review here) and you can take a look at some awesome hikes with this blog post we wrote about hiking in Banff.

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    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      I want to go to Banff just for the Grizzly House Restaurant! Great post. I also really enjoy outdoor activities so I may be sold on this. Thank you Kenin! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Julien Froumouth

    answered by

    You should love the Banff National Park : I strongly recommend hiking to Lake Louise , to the site of the Hoodoos and a difficult one but clearly amazing is the Aylmer Pass .

    Julien

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    • Debbie L.

      Debbie L.

      Nice, Julien! I'm sure these places are beautiful! By the way, I've helped you highlight the places in your answer on a map! In the future, you can do this yourself as you answer a question by simply typing the @-symbol followed by the name of the place. Check out your map next to your answer! :) · (0 likelikes)

    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      Thank you for the recommendations Julien! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Will Taylor

    answered by

    Banff is one of the greatest places on Earth and cannot be missed! :-)

    In addition to the excellent suggestions listed in the answers below about things to do and see in the area, I also highly recommend visiting Banff Centre as well as Paradise Valley in the Lake Louise region.

    No doubt about it you will absolutely love your time spent here.

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  • Lana Green

    answered by

    Banff is definitely worth the short trip from Calgary, it is one of the most charming places in Canada and nothing like Calgary

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  • Gaurav Duggal

    answered by

    Banff is completely different from Calgary. It's more like a small Swiss town in terms of architecture and layout. You're also right in the mountains, and there's hot springs, hiking, a gondola, great foods from around the world, and generally a fair bit to see and do if you go down for a day.

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  • Nancy Smith

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    There is no question that it is worth the drive to Banff from Calgary. Calgary is a beautiful city with a population of over 1 million people. Once you head west on the TransCanada Highway to Banff the drive is approximately 90 minutes in length and the views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains are spectacular. If you love beautiful scenery, this is a must visit! Banff (the townsite) is a beautiful resort town located in Banff National Park. There are many great shops to browse, restaurants to discover and hotels to stay at. If you enjoy outdoor activities the opportunities are endless! Check out the website www.banfflakelouise.com for ideas

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    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      Thanks so much, Nancy! You describe it beautifully :) · (0 likelikes)

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  • Corbin Jensen

    answered by

    Short Answer: GO TO BANFF

    Its so beautiful and very different than Calgary. Calgary is in the foothills an hour from the mountains, And Banff is nestled in right up close with the stunning rockies.

    Check out a travel Alberta Centre along your drive for some more info and help planning your adventure.

    Enjoy your trip!

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    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      Thank you, Corbin! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Patti Johnson

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    Calgary and Banff are so completely different I hardly know where to begin. Banff is a beautiful town in the heart to the Canadian Rockies and Calgary is basically a prairie city. The air smells great there and the scenery can not be beat. It is worth the drive for sure! Have fun!

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    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      Thank you for sharing this Patti! I'm looking forward to it! · (0 likelikes)

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  • Ken Chapman

    answered by

    Oh no, Banffis very different from Calgary. It's a mountain town, and it's very quaintly styled. There are lots of activities there as well, from relaxing in the hot springs to hiking the craggy mountains. Natural beauty abounds and it is very relaxing to recharge in the surroundings. There is lots of history in the area with a couple of national historic sites, and the Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs. If you are there in the winter, there are plenty of winter sports. In summer there is lots of hiking, with Lake Louise and Johnston Canyon being a couple of personal favourites. It's also in the national park, so you can visit the national park office in the Banff townsite and learn about Canada's oldest national park and ask the Parks Canada staff where to go. They are always glad to provide recommendations and provide other safety related information (like where to avoid because of bears or other hazards). From Spokane, you will likely know mountain scenery, but the scenery around Banff can be especially dramatic. It's a beautiful area and I would recommend a visit to anyone who likes natural beauty and the Great Outdoors.

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  • Theodore Huxtables

    answered by

    Yes, its awesome!

    The Fairmont Banff Springs is a wonderful place to check out and there are lots of places to go hiking near by. You can check out the wonderful Lake Louise, which is roughly an hour or so away, and there is also Moraine Lake, which is absolutely gorgeous.

    Banff is a super touristy place but it has picturesque mountains in the background, you will love it!

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  • Bente J

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    Simple answer: Banff is definitely worth it!

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    • Alana B.

      Alana B.

      Thanks Bente! · (0 likelikes)

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