Activities and Recreation during COVID
Below you can find out more about local online classes, library services, resources for families, activities to do outside and more. Please follow all current COVID-19 guidance while participating in outdoor activities. For more information on current COVID-19 restrictions and guidance please visit www.banff.ca/covid. Roam transit summer service includes many outdoor hiking and cycling destinations. For a full listing of Roam transit routes and schedules visit, www.roamtransit.com.
- Things to do Outside
- Town of Banff Online Programs
- Online Story Time
- Active Living and Wellness
- Free Sport & Recreation Sessions
- Kids Classes
- Languages, Art & Food
There are lots of great places to visit with friends or family outdoors in, and just outside the town site. Picnic locations include the Banff Recreation Grounds, Central Park, Rotary Park, Cascade Ponds, Two Jack Lake, Spray River Bridge and more.
The Town of Banff has three community greenhouses with over 80 plots available for residents to garden in. The plot allocation for 2021 took place in early April, however, there are occasionally a few that pop up a little later in the spring. To volunteer, learn about upcoming gardening clinics and check plot availability, contact the Banff Greenhouse Gardening Society at email@example.com. Looking to start a small plot on your balcony? The Greenhouse Society can also provide recommendations on species suitable to our colder climate and for shallow soil beds.
Did you know that there are a lot of hidden treasures right here in Banff just waiting to be found by you and your family? Geocaching is the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. It is a great and fun way to get outside, explore and work on your orienteering and navigation skills. Parks Canada has geocaching maps available for beginners and those with a bit more experience. For more information visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/geocachette-geocaching.
The Bow Valley Parkway
The eastern section of the Bow Valley Parkway from the junction of the Bow Valley Parkway and Highway 93 South to Fireside day-use area will continue to be closed throughout the summer to public vehicles. Providing an enhanced cycling experience and assisting in maintaining visitor safety on the Johnston Canyon trail.
There are also many local destinations for cycling that are great for families include, the Fairmont Golf Course Loop, Vermillion Lakes Road, the Legacy Trail and more. For more information about cycling including, maps and conditions visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/cyclismeroute-roadcycling.
There are many local mountain biking trails available just outside the Banff town site accessed from Tunnel Mountain, the Fairmount Banff Springs Hotel and upper Mountain Avenue areas. Many of these trails are built and maintained by a group of local volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering visit, https://www.bowvalleymountainbikealliance.com/.
For more information about mountain biking in Banff and other great places to ride in the park visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/velomontagne-mountainbiking.
Paddling the Bow River and Vermillion Lakes is easily accessible from the Banff canoe docks. Please be reminded to stay to the right of the canoe dock operator if you are not renting directly from them, and that parking is limited. Other great local areas great for paddling includes, Johnson and Two Jack Lakes.
Paddlers should ensure that they only go up river from the canoe docks due to dangerous deadheads and strainers around the Town’s bridges and Bow Falls hazards. In Canada, the following safety equipment is required for all canoers, SUPs and Kayakers:
- Lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PDF)
- Buoyant heaving line
- Sound signaling device (i.e. whistle)
Make sure you always give your boat a good drain and rinse after using in each waterway to help stop the spread of invasive species. Consuming drugs or alcohol and failing to carry all the required safety gear while operating a vessel can result in serious fines. For more information about boater safety guidance and requirements visit, https://tc.canada.ca/sites/default/files/migrated/tp_511e.pdf.
The Bow Valley is also home to the Bow Valley Kayak Club. The club offers pool sessions at Elevation Place, training courses, competitions, clinics and instruction for new and intermediate paddlers. For more information, visit, https://www.bowvalleykayak.com/.
For more information about places to paddle in, and around Banff visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/canotage-canoeing.
The Town of Banff also offers introductory paddling courses to Bow Valley residents once per year. For information about the courses, visit https://banff.ca/1131/Active-Living-and-Wellness.
Long-time local and River canoe instructor Jim Olver and Devaan Ingraham are launching a new canoeing initiative called CanoeingLive. Join Jim for bi-weekly virtual events that will celebrate and include all things canoeing. Topics will include canoeing stories, trip plans, coveted gear, photos and videos. Canoeing legends and guest speakers will be a part of these events as well.
CanoeingLive is an interactive Virtual Event where everyone is a part of the action - just like canoeing.
For more information visit: canoeinglive.ca Instagram: @CanoeingLive or Facebook: CanoeingLive – you can start discussions, share photos and share your love of paddling.
Looking for that quick afternoon workout or a quiet afternoon walk in the woods? There are so many great places to walk and hike in beautiful Banff National Park. For a full listing of trails including conditions, difficulty ratings, locations and more visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/randonee-hiking/etat-sentiers-trail-conditions. Common trails located in and just outside the town include, Tunnel Mountain, Bow Falls, Hoodoos, Fenlands Loop, Spray Loop and more.
It’s always important to remember that you are in a National Park, and with that comes a shared responsibility to protect and preserve our park while being safe. Some quick guidance on trail etiquette and safety includes:
- Trip planning: make sure someone knows where you are going, when you will be back and what to do if you do not return on time. For trip planning tools visit, https://www.adventuresmart.ca/.
- Be prepared:Whether you are going out for an hour or a few days, you should always be ready for the unexpected. Some basic things you should always have with you in case you or someone in your group becomes lost or injured includes:
- Map or guidebook
- Bear spray
- First aid kit
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Extra waterproof and warm clothing
- Cellphone or satellite communication device (note: cellular service is not available in many areas of the park).
- Be Bear Aware: the bears are awake from early spring to late fall so make sure you carry. and know how to use bear spray should you encounter one on the trails. For more information on bear safety, visit, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mtn/ours-bears/securite-safety/ours-humains-bears-people. Report bear, cougar, wolf and coyote sightings and encounters to Parks Canada Dispatch when it is safe to do so: 403-762-1470.
- Leave no trace: Make sure you always pack out what you pack in, whether on a day hike or backcountry trip. You should also make sure you stick to the designated trails to protect valued plants and habitats. If you see an interesting stack of rocks, that’s called a cairn and is used to help people navigate, so make sure you leave in it in its place to help the next person travel safely through. For more information about how you can minimize your impacts on the trails visit, https://www.leavenotrace.ca.
- Be kind out there: In the park there are some trails that allow for mixed uses such as hiking, horseback riding and cycling. Cyclists and hikers yield to horses and cyclists yield to hikers on most trails. Please also remember that dogs must always be on-leash and in control in the national park. Drones are also not permitted without a permit. (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/info/permis-permit/drone).
- Avalanches: We live in a cold mountain climate and sometimes that means the snow remains on certain mountains until late August. Make sure you check trail and avalanche conditions before heading out. For more information on avalanche conditions and risks in the area visit, https://avalanche.pc.gc.ca/bulletin-eng.aspx?d=TODAY&r=1.
Hiking maps and guidebooks can be purchased at many local retailers in the Banff and Canmore area. The Parks Canada Visitor’s Centre’s in Banff and Lake Louise also has brochures in print and online available for no charge for popular hiking and cycling destinations. For more information visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/brochures.
The Town of Banff offers many introductory Mountain Adventure Programs for families and individuals of all ages. Courses include introduction to rock climbing, wilderness first aid, via ferrata, family hiking, scrambling and more! For more information including, upcoming dates and availability visit, https://banff.ca/136/Community-Classes-and-Programs.
Other Outdoor Activities
- Tennis, Skateboarding & Basketball (https://banff.ca/830/Banff-Recreation-Grounds)
- Fly a kite (www.kite.org)
- Fishing in Alberta lakes and streams (https://www.albertarelm.com)
- Fishing in Banff National Park (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/peche-fishing)
- Playgrounds (https://banff.ca/831/Community-Parks)
- Disc Golf (https://canmore.ca/recreation-facility/summer-activities)
Local Gear Rental Options
|Company Name||Road Bike||Mountain Bike||Ebikes||Stand Up Paddle Boards||Canoe|
$13 per hour or $45 for a day
$13 per hour or $45 for a day
$15 per hour or $65 per day.
|Banff Adventures||$25 ½ day or $36 for a day||$36 ½ day or $52 for a day||$20 per hour or $80 per day||$30 per hour|
Looking to Purchase Used Gear:
Below is a list of local and regional websites for used outdoor gear.
- https://www.gearupsport.com/ (Canmore)
- https://switchinggear.ca/ (Canmore)
- https://www.flamessportsbank.ca/ - free gear for families in need (Calgary)
- https://www.mec.ca/en/explore/gearswap - MEC Gear Swap
- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1332785430097239 - Facebook used gear exchange
The Town of Banff is pleased to offer many FREE fitness and recreation classes for Banff residents. To register visit, www.banff.ca/register. If you have any questions regarding please call 403.762.1251.
For more information on sessions for those aged 16+ visit www.banff.ca/1024/Free-Sport-Recreation-Sessions.
Online Story Times:
Below are a few links to story time’s that were made outdoor in our local backyard.