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. 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.

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

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. The full-day Columbia Icefield Parkway Tour will take you about halfway towards Jasper, and includes stops at glacier-fed lakes, glaciers and much more. And for those staying in Jasper, there’s loads to see and do but some of our favourites are wildlife spotting and visiting iconic Maligne Lake.

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

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.

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

The best Banff activities in August

Kicking Horse River Classic Whitewater Rafting

The Kicking Horse River is the Rockies' most thrilling whitewater rafting with Class 1-4 rapids. Located 1.5 hours from Banff
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
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 a
4 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
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
Family friendly rafting rapids on the Kananaskis River in the Rockies
Family Fun

Kananaskis Whitewater Rafting

You'll get splashed by the frothy swells of the rushing river but it won’t wash the smile off your face
4 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
11 Hours

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.

Hydra Kicking Horse Classic Whitewater Rafting

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!

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

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.

Wagon Rides, Banff

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Is August a good time to visit Banff?

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.

Where does the Icefields Parkway start and end?

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.

How can I visit the Athabasca Glacier?

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.

What are the best Jasper experiences?

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.

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?

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.