Stunning images of Canadian Rockies hovering over sweeping valleys. In this mountain town, finding the best Banff view is a photography treasure hunt.
Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest protected parkland and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the Canadian mountain range. It has been beckoning world travelers for over 125 years with its endless green valleys and jaw dropping mountain peaks.
Much as first time visitors to Banff, we locals arrive, determined to capture yet a more spectacular Banff view than the last.
However, there is one not-so-small issue. We are not the only visitors looking for that perfect vantage point. Banff National Park greets more than four million visitors a year.
Before making plans for your Banff itinerary or things to do in Banff National Park, consult travel information and advisories provided by Banff Lake Louise Tourism. For a full planning guide click here.
How to avoid the crowds in Banff
We have a confession. We are not fond of crowds of tourists. What’s that you say? We are tourists so we are part of the congestion?
Yes point well taken.
We prefer our photos to overflow with eye-popping scenery, rather than eye-poking selfie sticks. To be honest, we would prefer to have any place we travel to ourselves. The fray of bus loads of tour groups put us in an irritable state.
A selfish opinion indeed.
So in all travels, Banff National Park being no exception, we are on the hunt for peaceful panoramas.
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Where to find the best kept secret Banff view
While the town bustles with activity on a weekend afternoon, we head to Mount Norquay. Just 6 km (3.7 miles) from downtown Banff, it is an easy drive or shuttle ride.
With only a few vehicles in the Norquay parking lot, we two view-seekers were all grins. Like finding the last cookie in the cookie jar kind of grin.
There at Mt. Norquay, there is no line up for the sightseeing chairlift. Riding ten minutes to the top, the mountain panoramas play out in the silence.
Mountain gazing from the chair lift
For anyone unfamiliar with riding a chair lift, it is as easy as sitting down. The staff instruct one where to stand and where to walk when getting off.
During the ride, the safety bar provides an attached foot rest. Should a rider have mobility issues getting on or off the chair, the staff will slow down the lift to accommodate needs.
At the top of the chairlift, a viewing platform provides the vantage point we are looking for. Not a selfie stick in site.
There Mount Rundle, with its iconic sloping face, towers above the town of Banff. The expanse of mountains circle as if in protective formation.
Banff restaurant view on top of the world
Opened in the 1950’s, the renovated décor is where European chalet meets mid-century modern. Filling with natural light, mountain gazing from the 50 seats is a causal feel.
As Mount Rundle steals the show, we quietly sip our refreshments. Information on hours and dates when the restaurant is open can be found here.
Adventure with a Banff panorama on the side
Besides sitting open-mouthed at the vistas there are other activities to take in at Mount Norquay. Many hiking and snowshoeing trails are available.
Due to a wildlife corridor running across the lower part of Mount Norquay, animal sightings are common. Depending on the season, mule deer, big horn sheep, elk and grizzly bears can be spotted on the mountain as well as the Norquay road.
Be sure to check with staff about wildlife warnings prior to setting off.
For those who love adventure and would appreciate a higher vantage pointthe Via Ferrata begins from the deck below the Cliffhouse Bistro.
Reservations are required and are available May – October. You can read more about our adventure on the Via Ferrata here.
There are endless astounding views awaiting in Canada’s first National Park. Many involve hiking or climbing. However, we realize not everyone has the ability or the want for such activity. We are happy to say you don’t need to be especially fit to to share in this adventure.
Hence the best kept secret is out. More information about the Norquay chairlift can be located here.
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