How to Avoid Crowds in BAnff

Banff is one of the top travel destinations in Canada and there’s no surprise why. The region is filled with beautiful landscapes, glaciers, mountains, canyons, and of course waterfalls everywhere you look. Some of these locations draw tourists in like mad men and it can be a little frustrating when you are travelling and want to get perfect photos but there are 100+ people standing in your way. This can be avoided though with a few easy steps that won’t have any negative impact on your trip!

As always, make sure you dress appropriately and be ready for anything the outdoors can throw at you. Weather can be unpredictable and change at any minute. Respect the wildlife by staying at appropriate distances and stay on the trails in order to preserve the forest! For more information on each hike you can check them out on AllTrails.

Meet Jess!

Chaser of Waterfalls
Mountain Climber
Adventure Seeker

1. Get up Early

One of the easiest ways to avoid the crowds in Banff is to wake up early. If you are travelling in the summer time this becomes even easier because you have a lot more sunlight compared to winter. Many of the hikes in the area can be done for sunrise! Get up before the sun and head out to the mountain. You won’t be the only ones there, but it will be significantly less busy! If night hikes aren’t you thing, consider starting your day around 6am. Even this early in the morning many of the attractions are busy, but you have a better chance at being alone the earlier you go. 


2. Stay Up Late

Similarly to getting up early, I also recommend staying up late. Now I know what your’re thinking, “how can I get up early AND stay up late?! I will be exhausted all the time!”. What I found worked best for us is breaking up our sleep. We could get up early, head to our destination, hike, climb, or do whatever the plan is for the morning. Around 11 am places start to get really busy so that’s the best time to grab a nap! If you are sleeping in a travel van or trailer this works great because you can block out the light and the noise around you. If you are in a tent like we were, I HIGHLY suggest bringing a sleeping mask and ear plugs so you can fall asleep easily. Around 3 or 4 pm is a great time to get up and at it again! This is when people begin to end their day, settle into their campgrounds and eat dinner. While everyone is eating dinner you can go out chasing waterfalls and have them all to yourself! You also now have the whole evening to go wherever you like with no crowds!! Once you have gotten your second daily activity in and watched the sun set, grab a spot at a campground and tuck in for the night! Or at least until early morning! 


3. Travel During the Off Season

A really obvious way to avoid crowds is to travel during the off season. For Banff this is during spring and fall. Summer is busy for obvious reasons, and winter stays relatively busy as well because of all the snow sports. Shoulder season though is fairly dead which makes it a great time to visit! The weather will be less predictable during this time so you will need to bring clothes for +25 and -20 weather! You really have no idea what to expect! But you will definitely have your adventure basically to yourself! 


4. Go To Less Popular Destinations

If you are planning on visiting during summer, then planning your trip away from extremely popular areas is a great way to avoid the crowds. The farther north from the town of Banff you go the less busy things will be. The town of Banff, Lake Louise, and Moraine are busy for a reason, they are beautiful, and definitely worth seeing if you have never been there before but if you are looking for a quieter scenery then consider driving up the Icefields Parkway. Not as many people go up that far because of the longer drive so you will likely have the place (basically) to yourself! 

5. Book Accommodations Off The Beaten PAth 

The last suggestion I have for avoiding crowds in Banff is to find your accommodations off the beaten path. For example look for campgrounds that are not close to popular lakes or hostels that are not on main street. These spots will likely be less expensive, and won’t book up as quick! For a full list of hostels click here!


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