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Banff National Park is one of the Canadian Rockies’ gems: 2,500+ miles of backcountry embroidered with pristine rivers and lakes patrolled cougars, caribou, eagles and bighorn sheep. In winter it’s celebrated for its three major alpine ski areas (which can be skied on one ticket) and cold-weather sports like dogsledding and ice-climbing. In summer, mountain-biking, and canoeing rank among the memorable adventures.

Banff Outdoor Pursuits

Canadian Mountain Holidays

Though neighboring British Columbia is more famous for helicopter thrills, Alberta offers equally spectacular exploits courtesy of Canadian Mountain Holidays. CMH makes the wilderness accessible with heli-skiing, heli-snowboarding, and (in summer) heli-hiking.

217 Bear St., AB, 403-762-7100,
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | skiing | adventure | outdoor pursuit | snowboarding

Horseback Riding

Warner Guiding and Outfitting has been saddling tenderfeet up for nearly a half century. Sign up for daily trail rides, western BBQ cookouts, evening hay rides (sleighs in winter), and backcountry packing trips.

Warner Guiding and Outfitting, 132 Banff Ave., AB, 403-762-4551,
Tags: family | eco-friendly | horseback riding | outdoor pursuit

Lake Louise

Canada's largest single ski area (139 runs, back bowls over 4,200 acres and four mountain faces) rules with unparalleled scenery, sumptuous lodgings, and wonderfully varied terrain.

Whitehorn Rd. across Hwy 1, AB, 403-522-3555,
Tags: family | moderate | skiing | outdoor pursuit | snowboarding | cross-country skiing

Lake Minnewanka Boat Tours

Tour boats and state-of-the-art fishing crafts ply the lake’s sparkling waters through Devil’s Gap several times daily from mid-May through mid-October. The entertaining crew discusses the area’s history, wildlife, folklore, and geology.

Seven miles from Banff, AB, 403-762-3473,
Tags: family | moderate | eco-friendly | tour | wildlife | outdoor pursuit | boat tour

Ski at Norquay

Aside from the gnarly mogul runs on Mystic Ridge and Lone Pine, this scenic 82-year-old resort is small and family-friendly. Bonus: it’s only a 15-minute drive from Banff’s main drag.

Norquay, Off Hwy 1, AB, 403-762-4421,
Tags: family | moderate | skiing | outdoor pursuit | snowboarding


Mountain Adventures, a reliable, eco-sensitive operator, offers scenic snowshoe tours and winter ice walks led by knowledgeable guides and naturalists. Summer hikes and wildlife-watching tours are available as well.

Mountain Adventures, 122a Eagle Crescent, AB, 403-760-4403 (winter); 403-762-7889 (summer),
Tags: family | hiking | eco-friendly | adventure | outdoor pursuit | snowshoeing

Sunshine Village

Located atop the Continental Divide, Sunshine offers 3,358-acres of feathery snow, a 3,514-foot vertical drop, and 107 named trails including tree-line bowls and chutes, bumpy steeps, and auto-pilot cruisers.

10 miles west of Banff, Hwy 1, AB, 403-762-6500,
Tags: family | moderate | skiing | outdoor pursuit | snowboarding

Whitewater adventures

Banff Adventures Unlimited caters to adrenaline-junkies with whitewater experiences (rafting, kayaking or canoeing) down the Bow and Kicking Horse Rivers. They also run ATV and zipline tours.

Banff Adventures Unlimited, 211 Bear St., AB, 403-762-4554,
Tags: family | tour | adventure | outdoor pursuit

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