The town of Banff is the main townsite of Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest National Park. It lies in the Bow Valley, right along the Bow River, and is surrounded by towering mountains in every direction. It sits at an elevation of 4,537 feet (1,383 metres), which makes it the highest town in Canada! Banff was incorporated as a town in 1990, five years after Banff National Park was created. The town of Banff now has a population of around 7,850 people, so it still has its cute, small mountain-town feel. It’s also a part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, which helps to protect 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 square miles) of Canadian wilderness.
Banff hostels are in a variety of locations in and around the townsite that will make you feel completely immersed in mountain culture. Whether you’re looking to venture off into the mountains or spend your days exploring the town centre, there is a hostel in Banff that will fit the bill.
Staying along Banff Avenue will give you the best access to central Banff, while staying across the Bow River or up Tunnel Mountain Road will get you off the beaten path. If you’re looking for some extreme Banff backpacker’s accommodation there are hostels that are further out in the wilderness - be ready to rough it!
You can spend your entire life in Banff and never run out of things to do. The town is busy and lively with boutique shops, mouth-watering restaurants, and authentic mountain pubs and breweries. At night, the clubs come to life and you can often find live music in bars along Banff avenue. No trip to Banff would be complete without going on a hike in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. The beauty of Banff is that the mountains and lakes are easily accessible for people of all skill levels and comfort. The Bow Falls Viewpoint is also quite easy to get to and sits just below the famous Banff Springs Hotel. Once you’ve spent the day walking around you might fancy a stop off at the Banff Hot Springs. Canmore is 20min East and Lake Louise is 40min West, perfect for day trips!
The closest International Airport to Banff is Calgary International Airport. From Calgary you can catch a bus service to Banff, which is reasonably compact and easily walkable, especially if you stay along Banff Avenue. Once in Banff there are bus routes to get you around town, and seasonal services to Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon, and Lake Minnewanka. Renting bikes is another great way to get around!