Photo Credit: Sarah Hatton
Looking for the best things to see and do in Banff in August?
Summer is in full swing and it’s one of the warmest and busiest times of year in the Canadian Rockies. If you’re visiting Banff in August we highly recommend booking ahead to avoid disappointment on top picks from sightseeing on the Icefields Parkway to visiting Jasper National Park, and making sure you allow time for enjoying mountain views from Banff’s best patios.
1. Travel along the Icefields Parkway
Constantly rated among the world’s most scenic drives is the Icefields Parkway – this glacier-capped drive has some of the most stunning viewpoints, glacial lakes, and icefields you’ll find in the Rocky Mountains. Our Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour will take you here, around halfway down this famous highway crossing into Jasper National Park. This trip, among others, takes you to scenic points with the interpretation, history, and knowledge you come to expect from us. And if you decide to self-drive, we recommend the GyPSy Guide Icefield Parkway App.
2. Explore the beauty of Jasper National Park
Located four hours from Banff, Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies and filled with dramatic, untamed wilderness. While the full-day Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour will take you about halfway towards Jasper, there’s also one-way tours from Banff that still include the Glacier Adventure that will take you all the way to the town of Jasper for those looking to stay overnight. Once you’re in Jasper, there’s loads to see and do but some of our favourites are wildlife spotting and visiting iconic Maligne Lake.
3. Soak in the patio views
August is the perfect time to check out Banff’s most scenic patios to enjoy a meal or a beverage along with mountain views after a day of hiking or sightseeing. While there’s lots of patios right in downtown Banff, some our favourites are The Juniper Bistro, Waldhaus Pub and Maclab Bistro on the outskirts of town. Want to combine a scenic restaurant lunch with other iconic photo opportunities? Join the new small group Banff Instagram Tour with lunch included at The Juniper Bistro.
4. Hit the rapids on a rafting tour
After the highway, take to the waterways – whitewater rafting on the Kananaskis River and Horseshoe Canyon are both just 45 minutes from Banff and Calgary. The Kananaskis River is dam controlled and perfect for families as you explore gentler rapids without sacrificing the scenery or embrace your inner daredevil and try the optional cliff jump on the Horseshoe Canyon rafting trip. Keen for a wilder ride? Travel to Golden where the Kicking Horse River is raging and offering those world-class rapids it’s famous for.
5. Take a scenic family-friendly float
Looking for a more relaxed water activity for the family? Take a one-hour scenic float tour along the Bow River in nearby Canmore. This family-friendly activity is the perfect way to enjoy the Rocky Mountain scenery from the water, without even needing to paddle!
6. Ride a horse to a steak cookout
We know that you want to make the most of your precious vacation time, and agreeing on what to eat for dinner isn’t always the easiest part of your holiday. So, why not combine both on a cowboy cookout! Choose from a horseback ride or wagon ride (perfect for younger children), and a lunch or dinner departure.
With warm weather and long sunny days, July and August are the most popular months to visit Banff National Park and the best time to view the turquoise glacier lakes.
Also known as the Highway 93 North, the Icefields Parkway runs from Lake Louise to Jasper for 232 km (144 miles) and takes 3 – 4 hours plus stops.
The popular Glacier Adventure takes you out onto the glacier on an Ice Explorer bus and is included on the full-day Columbia Icefields Parkway Tour from Banff.
There’s loads to see and do in Jasper National Park but some of our favourites are hiking, wildlife spotting and visiting iconic Maligne Lake.
The closest whitewater rafting tours to Banff are on the Kananaskis River and Bow River, about 45 minutes from Banff and Calgary.
Banff Trail Riders is located in Banff, Alberta, and is one of Canada’s largest outfitters with trail rides, horse-drawn carriage rides and backcountry trips.