Home Destinations Top 5 Things To Do In Banff in May

Top 5 Things To Do In Banff in May

by Karen Ung

Rain or shine, Banff has adventures of all sizes for any budget. Here are my top 5 things to do in Banff this weekend.

  1. Warm up in the hot springs! Upper Hot Springs is a wonderful spot to relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploring Banff. If you will be driving the Icefields Parkway, visit Miette Hot Springs in Jasper.
  2. Escape the rain at Cave & Basin and learn about the birthplace of the Canadian National Parks system. Visit the springs that inspired the creation of Banff National Park, then check out exhibits and interactive displays. Admission is free with your National Park Pass! 
    • Afterwards, walk the Discovery Boardwalk Trail (400 m) to see bubbling springs, colorful algae and endangered snails.
    • Look for birds and wildlife along the Marsh Boardwalk Trail (500 m) below Cave and Basin.
    • For a longer adventure (8.6 km return), bike or hike to Sundance Canyon! Enjoy the river views before going to the canyon.
      On the way to Sundance Canyon
  3. Ride the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain then hike the Sanson Peak Boardwalk (1 km) for an unforgettable outing. The panoramic views from the top are simply stunning! Be sure to pack a snack/drink as the Upper Terminal is still being renovated. During peak season, take the complimentary shuttle from downtown to the gondola! (Leaves from Banff International Hotel and Evelyn’s Coffee Bar every 15 minutes from 10 am – 6 pm. Last shuttle leaves the gondola at 6:15 pm.)
    Sulphur Mountain, Banff National Park
  4. Check out the Banff Children’s Festival at the Banff Centre on May 21st! Ticketed and free events are available including a bouncy house festival, family dance, performances, free climbing and free swimming!
  5. Take a hike! Cloudy days make for soft lighting and dramatic skies. Don your rain gear and head to Johnston Canyon, Johnson Lake, Tunnel Mountain, Fenland Loop and Vermilion Lakes, or Surprise Corner to Hoodoos Viewpoint (9.2 km return). All of these hikes, except Hoodoos Trail, are less than 6 km return, so you won’t have to be out long if it starts to pour. Bring an umbrella and Goretex jacket just in case!
Johnson Lake, Banff National Park
Look for the old Hermit Cabin at Johnson Lake

Tunnel Mountain, Banff National Park
Bonus: Bike the beautiful Legacy Trail. For a pleasant 8 km return ride, bike from Cascade Ponds to Banff. We like biking from Valleyview Picnic Area (south side of Hwy 1, inside the park gates) for a 24 km ride. For a longer ride, bike all the way to Canmore (40 km return).

Update: Thanks @lilideluxe for the heads up about bears on the Legacy Trail! There’s no official bear warning but black bears and grizzly bears have been seen on the trail. Carry bear spray and make lots of noise if you head there and stick to the Banff side as there are fewer bears where there’s a fence between the forest and the trail.

Legacy Trail
Have a great long weekend and give me a shout on Facebook or Twitter to let me know where you went!

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