By Jack Newton and Lisa Stephens
Banff National Park has been awarded “Canada’s Top Attraction” honors by the over 5000 Canadian travel industry professionals that cast ballots for the 2014 Agents Choice Awards. For the third time since 2008, Banff eclipsed other travel hot spots such as Niagara Falls, Whistler and Algonquin Park.
“For Banff to be recognized yet again as the number one destination within Canada by travel agents is a fantastic accolade and a testament to the never-ending appeal of Banff National Park for visitors”, says Ryan Elliott of Banff Lake Louise Tourism. Indeed, Banff is a favorite playground for four million travellers that come to the park from around the world each year.
To help you make the most of your time in Banff, Where Canadian Rockies editors have compiled Best of Banff lists:
Banff’s Top Attractions
- Sightseeing Lifts: Banff Gondola, Lake Louise Sightseeing Lift and Mount Norquay’s North American Chairlift
- Banff’s ‘Big 3’ Ski Areas: Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay
- Banff Upper Hot Springs: Outdoor pool, spa and heritage display
- The Fairmont Banff Springs and The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotels: Historic charm, public areas and on-site activities
- Banff Lake Cruise: On Lake Minnewanka
Banff Best ‘Hidden’ Attractions
- Tea Houses at Lake Louise: Hike to rustic Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers tea houses
- Mount Norquay’s Via Ferrata: Guided mountain climbing using cables, ladders and a suspension bridge
- Cave and Basin National Historic Site: Birthplace of Canada’s National Parks
- The Banff Centre: Centre for the Performing Arts
- Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies: History and art galleries
Banff’s Most Scenic Sites
- Sunshine Meadows: One of Lonely Planet’s “Top 5 Hiking Areas in Canada”
- Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier: Especially striking at sunrise; lakeside trail, canoe rentals and sleigh rides
- Vermilion Lakes and Mount Rundle: Banff’s most iconic view
- Bow Valley Parkway: Scenic alternative to the TransCanada Hwy between the Town of Banff and Lake Louise
- Moraine Lake: Valley of the Ten Peaks view and excellent hikes
You may wonder why the famous Columbia Icefield, with its new Glacier Skywalk, Glacier Adventure Ice Explorer and Athabasca Glacier Icewalk, did not make our Best of Banff list. While high on the ‘to do’ agenda of Banff visitors, the Columbia Icefield is actually located in neighboring Jasper National Park.
Don’t miss the Town of Banff itself. It’s charming downtown shopping and dining district, Bow River walking paths, museums and historic sites, and sublime scenery are big draws for travellers.
“Canada’s Top Attraction” Agents Choice Award is recent recognition of the enduring appeal of Banff to tourists that began when the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1883.