Anybody ever been to Banff?

My wife and I booked five days at Banff this Fall to enjoy the foliage season and go to a beautiful place we’ve never been. Has anyone ever been to Banff? If so what are some things we should not miss? Anything we should avoid?

I am very excited! We are flying into Vancouver and taking a small plane to Banff…

Are you planning to drive around the Rockies at all? I would suggest going up the road to Lake Louise, and as far as Radium (about a 2 hour drive from Banff) - nice towns, much less touristy than Banff, and the hot springs at Radium are very nice. All around Banff is good hiking and day trips - most people do the Johnston Canyon hike. I find this hike very crowded - I’m much more likely to hike around Kananaskis Country.

Make sure you bring good shoes. :smiley:

Oh, and check out GorillaMan’s thread here - he’s asking similar questions.

Been a long time since i’ve been to Banff (1992), and when i went it was the middle of winter, and i didn’t do much except ski. If you’re actually staying in the town of Banff, a trip out to Lake Louise is definitely worth the effort. It’s beautiful out there.

Now, i might be wrong about this, because as i said it’s been quite a while since i was there, but i’m not sure how much benefit you will get from going in “foliage season.” If i remember correctly, most of the trees in the region are pine, fir and spruce trees that tend to stay green most of the year round. You certainly won’t get the riot of colour that you might expect from a New England fall.

I’d be happy to be corrected on this by someone with a better knowledge of the area, but i lived in western Canada for a couple of years, and made trips in BC and Alberta, and i never saw the level of fall colour that i’ve seen in the eastern part of the continent.

Anyway, whenever you go, the Canadian Rockies are a beautiful place. Hope you have fun.

I’ve been three times during ski season. Banff itself it sort of what you’d expect it to be – the home base for a tourism area. Kinda cheesy at times, but convenient. Where are you staying?

I think the Radium Hot Spring is nicer than the Banff one, but it’s a long way to go to soak in some water. :slight_smile: Pretty drive though.

There’s a restaurant in town called Coyote I recommend highly. Their breakfast is kick-ass (but not too speedy so don’t be in a hurry if you go for breakfast) There’s also a steak place called The Keg (part of a Canadian chain) that’s good for the carnivorous.

If you like pubs, there’s two, St. James Gate and the other one is called the… Rose and Crown? The Rose and something anyway.

Since I haven’t been in the fall I really couldn’t say about the hiking, etc. But it is a beautiful locale for any outdoorsy sport.

You can ride the chairlift or gondola at Lake Louise for a pretty ass-kicking view from the top at 6800 ft.
http://www.lakelouisegondola.com/index.asp

We honeymooned at Banff in 1999.

The most memorable parts of the trips were the hikes we did.

The most memorable hike was to the “Russian Tea House” at Lake Louise. A good, long, hilly hike to this little cabin on a hill side where you can get drinks.

We drove to Jasper (?). Scenic drive. The town wasn’t much to write home about.

The only meal I REALLY regret was going to some Fondue place in Banff. I actually found the dining kind of bland. I think that’s the case with dining spots in a lot of locales that are just tourist destinations.

I did the whole Canadian Rockies trip some years back, stopping in Victoria, Vancouver, Whistler, as far north as Prince George, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, then Glacier National Park. A lot of traveling, but one of the most memorable trips of my life. Don’t miss the Columbian Icefields.

Johnson Canyon hiking will be hella crowded (they’ve paved the section closest to the trailhead if that gives you any clue.

Saddleback Pass is a good day hike if you are in middling shape, and there’s nothing more fun than piling into the Chateau afterwards, all dirty and stankin’, and quaffing a beer in the gilded surroundings. granted, the beer prices are sheer thievery, but …

If you can, I recommend making at least one run out to Jasper. Much less heavily travelled and the Glacier is pretty impressive (plus, a few more years and it’s gonna melt…this may be your last chance).

We are staying in a B&B the first night in Banff, and then going to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to get pampered with a view. We are looking forward to rigorous hikes and staying generally away from the crouds. I am looking to do some fishing but it is not important if I don’t. We are going to capture some great photography, and just enjoy ourselves. I’ve never been to the Canadian Rockies so I want to experience all the best.

The hike to that teahouse is pretty rigorous and, consequently, you don’t get the crowds once it starts to go UP.

Here’s a link. I think that there’s a way in that people take their cars, and have a shorter hike, but the hike this guy talks about is the one that we did.

I’m in Banff about 4 or 5 times a year - September/October is a really great time to be there - the weather should still be quite warm (in the 20’s usually), and it’s very pretty - Chateau LL is beautiful also - the view is well worth it.

I would suggest for a fun, diner type breakfast go to Joey Btifspliks (sp?) on Banff Avenue - they do a fun, 50’s style deal, and their breakfast is quite yummy. Also, if you can arrange brunch at the Banff Springs, do it - I think it’s about $35 CDN, and worth every penny.

If you want to enjoy a nice pub, the Rose and Crown is a good choice - nice atmosphere, decent food and tasty beer - make sure to try a pint of Big Rock (there are about 11 or 12 to choose from) beer - tasty and local!

The glacier tour is about 2 hours away and it’s pretty cool also. If you let me know which B&B I can probably tell you a few restaraunts and whatnot within walking distance (well, most everything is within walking distance in Banff.)

We went to Banff for some spring skiing some years ago. It was lovely. I may actually find something more insightful to say about it if I think for a while, even.

My family and I went there when I was about ~14-15. I LOVED it. I think the Canadian Rockies (haven’t actually been to the U.S. Rockies at all) are one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s definitely on my list of places to go back to.

Have a great time and bring back pictures to show us!

Loved Banff! Skiied the resort where you ride the gondola in for about 20 minutes. Ate at a different ethnic restaurant every night with the kids! Took a day off to visit Lake Louise (not that impressive when it’s flat, white and frozen, I guess) and visit the Banff hot springs.

We liked the town because it was pretty compact and contained. No urban sprawl.

It was a family trip, so we weren’t interested in nightlife. Not after skiing all day!

Sunshine Village.

You know, while nothing compares with all that heavenly natural scenery there, still I was equally awestruck by the Banff Springs Hotel. Working for Pan Canadian I got to stay there almost every weekend for a winter and I never tired of the place. Maybe some evening if you’ve some free time it might be worth a visit.

We’re staying at Thea’s House B & B in Banff for one night…The nest day we’ll most likely be shopping and dining. Then Hiking the day after etc…etc…We’ll be dining out every day of course, and we definitely will stop by some local pubs. The breakfast eateries are a must, we like quaint, small, comfy places. I’m getting really psyched!

I lived in Banff for a year and a half and enjoyed every season. I will confirm that the fall leaves wont be very spectacular. I was addicted to The Sukiyaki House restaurant. Oddly enough their Sukiyaki is excellent. Evelyn’s Coffee shop has GREAT sandwiches.

If you want an easier hike that will give you a decent view try Tunnel Mountain.
But Sulpher Mountain is a good hike or a gondola ride if you don’t want to walk. Oh the gondola is free on the way down so I usually hiked up and rode down. The Springs in Banff are not that great I would recommend going to what we called “Surprise Corner”
If you follow Tunnel Mountain Rd there is a sharp turn that will give you an amazing view of the Banff Springs Hotel.

Lets see for Pubs St James Gate has a HUGE beer selection and the most beers on tap in town, and they come from all over the world. Although The Magpie and Stump will hold a place in my heart for double margaritas during happy hour. They are the Mexican restaurant in town.

I liked Tommy’s for breakfast, and another carnivorous dinner restaurant is Bumpers.

Morraine Lake is beautiful with some nice trails around it.

That’s all I can think of now.

Oh I just thought of something else. If there is a warm day my BF and I would pack a picinc lunch and head up Norquay Mountain. Near the ski hill entrance there is a clearing on the side of the mountain. We would picinic there looking over the town.

Thanks Ludy I appreciate it! Is there a theater in town perhaps?

There is a movie theatre called the lux on Bear St.
And you might want to check out the Banff Centre if live is what you are looking for. They mainly do theatre in the summer, but throughout the year they have concerts and the occasional dance performance as well. Groups go there to work out new shows; you can get some very neat stuff. I am biased though I worked at the theatre for that year and a half.
http://www.banffcentre.ca/events/
There is a gallery there as well; it is a very arts based company.
You might get lucky they did bring in the odd touring show.