What To Do In Banff In August
Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park

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. The warm weather allows you to experience Banff in so many ways– from a car, a horse, a boat, or your own two feet. If you’re making plans for your time in Banff in August, just remember, the options are limitless but the availability isn’t, so make sure to book ahead! From the must-sees like the Icefields Parkway and Jasper National Park, you won’t want to miss these sights

If you are wanting to know the best sites, you are probably also wondering about the weather and what to pack to best enjoy them. We are here to help!

August weather in Banff is the best weather in Banff!

In August, Banff blooms and booms as the best weather in Banff comes around. The average temperature is a wonderful 20℃- 25℃. You will find the sun shining most days and snow-free hiking trails that call your name.

What you should wear in Banff in August

August is peak shorts season in Banff! T-shirts, tanks, and shorts should definitely make your packing list. Even though you will spend most of your time in summer attire, it’s smart to bring at least one good jacket and pair of pants for when the sun goes down. If you plan to hike, you will also want to make sure you have a good pair of hiking shoes!  

Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can move on to some of the best things to do in Banff in August!

What to pack for summer in Banff1. Travel along the Icefields Parkway

Icefields Parkway is constantly rated among the world’s most scenic drives– this glacier-capped road has some of the most stunning viewpoints, glacial lakes, and icefields you’ll find in the Rocky Mountains. You can make the drive yourself, but we recommend taking a tour so that all you have to focus on is the beautiful sites you’ll see. Our Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour takes you along this famous highway with built-in stops that allow you to really take in the beauty of Banff in August. On top of seeing the sites, these scenic points will include interpretation, history, and knowledge from an experienced guide. If you decide to self-drive, we recommend the GyPSy Guide Icefield Parkway App!

Discover the beauty of the Icefields Parkway in the Canadian Rockies
Photo Credit: Tourism Jasper

Interested in learning more about the Columbia Icefields?

Explore Icefields Parkway

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 is filled with dramatic, untamed wilderness. One of the Park’s great treasures is Maligne Valley–where beautiful bodies of water and views of mountain peaks are jaw-dropping. Our Maligne Valley Sightseeing Tour includes hiking and a boat ride for both active and passive experiences of this area of the beautiful Jasper National Park. The wildlife is another notable thing that Jasper has to offer. You will most likely run into creatures and critters wherever you go, but if you want a more in-depth look and a higher probability of seeing wildlife, the Discover Jasper & Its Wildlife Tour might be for you!    

Another AWESOME bonus to visiting Jasper National Park is that the road from Banff to Jasper is the previously mentioned, Icefields Parkway! So, on your way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Jasper, you can start with the amazing sites on the Parkway.

Maligne Lake Boat Cruise to Spirit Island
Photo Credit: Banff Jasper Collection by Pursuit

Want to learn more about activities in Jasper National Park?

Explore Jasper Tours

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 are lots of patios right in downtown Banff, some of our favourites are The Juniper Bistro, Waldhaus Pub, and Maclab Bistro on the outskirts of town.

Delicious restaurant lunch at The Juniper Bistro
Photo Credit: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Roth & Ramberg

4. Hit the rapids on a Rocky Mountain rafting tour

Rafting is one of the best things to do in Banff in August– so 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 you can 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.

Hydra Kicking Horse Classic Whitewater Rafting

Want to learn more about rafting tours?

Explore Rafting Tours

5. Take a scenic family-friendly rafting float

If you are looking for a more relaxed August water activity for the family, you can take a one-hour scenic float tour along the Bow River nearby Canmore. This family-friendly activity is the perfect way to enjoy the Rocky Mountain scenery from the water, without even needing to paddle!

Take a scenic float along the Bow River near Banff in the Canadian Rockies
Photo Credit: Canmore River Adventures

Looking for a family water adventure?

Explore Family Float Rafting Trips

6. Ride a horse or wagon 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?! This is a wonderful way to make a great memory, see Banff in a unique way, and have a planned meal (that you don’t have to make!). You can choose from a horseback ride or wagon ride that’s perfect for younger children, and a lunch or dinner departure.

Is your time in Banff extending into September? Check out our recommendations for What to Do in Banff in September

Wagon Rides, Banff

Learn More about the Cowboy Cookouts and rides!

Horseback Ride + Cowboy CookoutWagon Ride + Cowboy Cookout

The best Banff activities in August

Family friendly rafting rapids on the Kananaskis River in the Rockies
Family Fun

Kananaskis Whitewater Rafting

Get ready for awesome Banff Rafting!  You'll get splashed by the frothy swells of the rushing river but it won’t
1:30pm
4 Hours
Class 4 rafting rapids fun on the Horseshoe Canyon in the Canadian Rockies
Limited Space

Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater Rafting

Calling all adventure lovers - there’s no better way to get the adrenaline flowing than big waves! Jump into this
8:15am
4 Hours

Kicking Horse River Classic Whitewater Rafting

The Kicking Horse River is the Ultimate Canadian Rockies Rafting with thrilling whitewater rafting with predominantly Class 4 rapids. What
9:15am, 1:15pm
3 Hours
Take a scenic river tour and float along the Bow River in the Canadian Rockies
Family Fun

Float Trips

A gentle one hour float trip through stunning glacial blue waters, towering mountain peaks and diverse wildlife along the Bow
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm
1 Hour
Horseback Ride to a Cowboy Steak Cookout with Discover Banff Tours
Family Fun

Horseback Ride + Cowboy BBQ Cookout

Ride along the base of Sulphur Mountain to a delicious cowboy BBQ cookout at 3 Mile Cabin. First you'll ride
11:30am, 4:00pm, 5:00pm
3 Hours
Banff Covered Wagon
Family Fun

Wagon Ride + Cowboy BBQ Cookout

Take a relaxing wagon ride along the Bow River and join the horseback riders for a BBQ cookout. After a
11:30am, 4:00pm, 5:00pm
3 Hours

Maligne Valley Sightseeing Tour

Take an amazing guided interpretive drive up the Maligne Valley followed by a Maligne Lake boat cruise to the famous
8:30am
5.5 Hours
See grizzly bears on a wildlife tour in Jasper National Park

Discover Jasper & Its Wildlife

Join the daily Wildlife Discovery Tour with knowledgeable guides who are trained to seek out Jasper’s most iconic creatures -
5:30pm, 3:45pm, 4:30pm
3 Hours

Columbia Icefields Parkway Tour

Travel along the world famous Icefields Parkway Highway and see, touch and even taste an ancient glacier on this thrilling
8:00am
11 Hours

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Have More Questions About Traveling to Banff in August? We have Answers.

Is August a good time to visit Banff?

With warm weather and long sunny days, August is a fabulous time to visit Banff! July and August are by far the most popular months to visit and the best time to view the turquoise glacier lakes.

Where does the Icefields Parkway start and end?

Also known as Highway 93 North, the Icefields Parkway runs from Lake Louise to Jasper for 232 km (144 miles) and takes 3 – 4 hours plus stops.

How can I visit the Athabasca Glacier?

One of the best ways to see the Athabasca Glacier is up close! Our Columbia Icefields Parkway Tour can take you from Banff, down the Parkway, and out onto the glacier itself on an Ice Explorer bus!

What are the best Jasper experiences?

There are loads to see and do in Jasper National Park but some of our favourites are hiking, wildlife spotting, and visiting iconic Maligne Lake.

Is there white water rafting in Banff?

The closest whitewater rafting tours to Banff are on the Kananaskis River and Bow River, about 45 minutes from Banff and Calgary.

Are there horseback rides in Banff?

Yes! 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.