Figuring out where to stay in Banff National Park is usually a difficult task if you travel during peak tourist season and don’t book many months in advance, especially if you want to find a cheap hotel in Banff (Canada).
We visited Banff in May, during our 15-day Canadian Rocky Mountains trip, and it was the best adventure of our life. Although we camped most of the time, we also stayed at some of the best hotels in Banff, so here you will find all the information you need to find accommodation in Banff National Park.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of interesting things to do in Banff since this national park is quite large, at 2,564 mi², so I recommend you stay in at least two of the areas to stay in Banff (Canada) that you’ll find below.
This park, popular for its incredible lakes, such as Minnewanka, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake, is also characterized by its countless outdoor activities and wildlife. Located in Alberta, and the closest national park to Calgary International Airport, it’s also the most visited of the Canadian Rockies.
To help you choose where to stay in Banff National Park, in this article you will find:
- Where to stay in Banff
- Lake Louise, one of the most popular places to stay in Banff
- Bow Valley Parkway, a good place to stay in Banff National Park
- Icefields Parkway, great lodging in Banff National Park
- Canmore, cheap hotels in Banff (Canada)
- Best campsites in Banff National Park
- Map of the best hotels and campsites where to stay in Banff
where to stay in Banff
Banff is the biggest town in Banff National Park and where most of the accommodations in this national park are.
Many visitors decide to book lodging in Banff for their entire stay in the Rockies. However, I advise you to stay in different areas so you can see all the attractions of the park without wasting so much time traveling.
The range of accommodation in Banff includes luxury resorts, beautiful hotels, hostels, and campsites.
As the main town in the entire national park, Banff is the most popular area, so I recommend you book several months in advance, as the rooms tend to fill up very quickly as summer approaches.
Below, you will find the best hotels in Banff, Canada.
Fairmont Banff Springs, one of the best hotels in Banff National Park
Fairmont Banff Springs is one of the best places to stay in Banff. With the appearance of a Scottish castle that’s located in idyllic surroundings, this hotel was one of the first to be built in Banff National Park.
In 1888, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company opened it to accommodate the wealthiest guests.
It has 14 restaurants and 11 stores, including some to rent ski equipment. This hotel is the best if you visit Banff in winter and want to do snow sports, as it’s very close to the Sunshine Village Ski Resort and Mt Norquay Ski Resort.
One of the main attractions of this hotel is its proximity to the Upper Spring, hot springs that can be enjoyed all year round.
If you’re looking for luxury resorts in Banff, Fairmont Banff Springs is your best option.
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, a good hotel to stay in Banff
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort is another of the best places to stay in Banff National Park. It’s on the outskirts of the town, which makes it ideal for relaxing. Don’t worry! If you don’t feel like driving the 6 minutes to downtown Banff to explore its restaurants and shops, the resort has a free shuttle.
You also won’t need to move too far from this complex, as it has a fitness area with gym, indoor pool, and tennis court. Its restaurant, the Alpha Bistro, is ideal for trying the best Canadian food.
If you are looking for an affordable hotel in Banff but with all the luxury and possible comforts away from the city, this is your best option.
Moose Hotel and Suites, one of the most popular accommodations in Banff
Moose Hotel and Suites is one of the best places to stay in Banff if you want to stay in downtown Banff. All rooms have a balcony or patio with views of the mountains. We spent one night in one of their suites and we had a fireplace in the room.
In addition to a spa area that has 10 different pools, its à la carte breakfast is delicious, and it also has an Italian restaurant. It’s one of the most famous hotels in Banff.
Elk + Avenue Hotel, another good option to stay in Banff National Park
If you stay at Elk + Avenue Hotel, you will be in the center of Banff. This hotel is fantastic if you are looking for a contemporary and minimalist design with details inspired by the Rocky Mountains. It’s also the best option if you want to get to know Banff’s nightlife and be close to the main restaurants in the city.
The hotel has spacious rooms and is one of the best options to stay in Banff. You can also enjoy the sauna and whirlpool located in this lodging in Banff.
Banff Inn, a cheap hotel in Banff, Canada
Banff Inn is near the center of Banff and is the best option if you’re looking for cheap hotels in Banff because it offers first-class facilities such as Jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room at an affordable price.
Lake Louise, one of the most popular places to stay in Banff
Lake Louise is a small town, with not many lodging options. However, it has some of the best attractions in Banff National Park around it, so it’s even more touristy than the town of Banff.
In the surroundings, there are places such as Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and the well-known Morant’s Curve, which make this tiny town the most popular option to stay in Banff National Park.
The hotel offer in Lake Louise is quite small and only available to those who book months in advance or don’t mind paying extra.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a luxury hotel in Banff National Park
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a four-star resort that directly faces Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier. Honestly, seeing it bothered me that a building of this size, at 34,200 ft² and with 500 rooms, is in such a beautiful natural setting.
It was also built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to promote its rail network, but was later sold to the Fairmont hotel chain.
It’s an ideal accommodation if you want to dedicate yourself to relaxation in its wellness center with heated pool, fitness center, spa, and beauty center.
The rooms have views of the lake or views of the castle gardens, so any option will provide a pleasant environment when you wake up.
Moraine Lake Lodge, one of the most famous hotels in Banff
Moraine Lake Lodge is in a unique setting on the banks of Moraine Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Canadian Rockies. However, unlike the previous Banff hotel, this one is integrated into the landscape and goes almost unnoticed.
What I like most about this hotel is that it offers free kayaking, as well as a hiking program around the lake for all guests. Rooms are beautiful, with lake views and stone fireplace. Definitely an unbeatable option to stay in Banff.
Deer Lodge, a good option for where to stay in Banff, Canada
Deer Lodge is a five-minute walk from Lake Louise. In fact, from the hotel’s own roof, which has a whirlpool, you have views of the Victoria glacier.
It is undoubtedly one of the best hotels to stay in Banff if you want to visit the western part of this national park. In addition, it’s one of the oldest hotels, since it was built in 1923 as a teahouse and underwent several renovations to become the renowned resort that it is today.
Preserving its original structure, but with all the details to accommodate the modern visitor, Deer Lodge is one of the best hotels in Banff.
Mountaineer Lodge, a cheap hotel in Banff national Park
Mountaineer Lodge was our hotel in Banff the days we visited the Lake Louise area and we were surprised, as its price is quite low compared to other hotels in the area.
The best thing is that the hotel, although simple, lacks nothing, plus it includes a buffet breakfast that’s perfect for storing up energy before heading out to explore the area.
If you visit Banff in winter, the hotel is located very close to the Lake Louise ski resort, so it is quite a choice accommodation. Keep in mind that the hotel usually fills up in both winter and summer.
Lake Louise Inn, the cheapest accommodation in Banff
Lake Louise Inn is another option to stay in Banff that I recommend. Its standard rooms are extremely cheap, but they also sell out quickly. The somewhat more expensive suites have a fireplace and Jacuzzi, making them a good option too.
Every Saturday, moreover, they make a bonfire for the guests and provide hot chocolate, marshmallows, and s’ mores. If you want to live a truly Canadian experience, you cannot miss it. It is, without a doubt, a good hotel to stay in Banff.
Bow Valley Parkway, a good place to stay in Banff National Park
Bow Valley Parkway is the old road that connects the town of Banff to Lake Louise and the area where it’s easiest to see the Rocky Mountain’s wildlife: bears, elk, wolves, and deer, among others.
Some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Banff are here, like the Johnston Canyon trail. Other interesting places to visit are the Castle Mountain lookout point and Morant’s Curve. But what makes Bow Valley Parkway a good option to sleep in Banff is how remote this road is. There are very few accommodation options, and most tourists who go from Banff to Lake Louise use the new highway, so this area is the best place to stay in Banff if you want to be in close contact with nature.
Baker Creek Mountain Resort, the most beautiful resort to stay in Banff
Baker Creek Mountain Resort is made up of log cabins and suites with views of the mountains. All accommodation options include a living room with a fireplace and kitchen. We stayed here for one night and found it a super cozy hotel in Banff. It is, without a doubt, a place that I highly recommend.
Its traditional style and its wooden decoration are like traveling back in time. If you’re looking for a modern hotel in Banff, it isn’t the best option, but if you want a charming accommodation, I assure you that there is none like it.
Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows in Banff NP
At Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows, you will find beautiful log cabins that are an interesting option to stay in Banff. In addition, they are near what, for me, was the best hiking trail in the Canadian Rockies, the one that goes to the Ink Pots through Johnston Canyon’s waterfalls.
It’s also a historic hotel, since the first bungalows were built in 1926 as part of what was a teahouse. It is certainly an ideal place to sleep in Banff.
HI-Castle Mountain Hostel, a popular hostel in Banff where you can stay
There are a few Hi-Hostels in Banff, and the HI-Castle Mountain Hostel is one of the best located, in the middle of the Bow Valley Parkway. If you’re traveling on a budget and don’t mind sleeping in a shared room, it’s one of the best places to stay in Banff.
It also has a shared kitchen, as well as a living room where you can meet other guests or warm up around the fireplace. It’s one of the best places to stay in Banff for large groups or if you are a solo traveler.
Icefields Parkway, great lodging in Banff National Park
The Icefields Parkway connects Banff National Park to Jasper National Park, another of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks that I recommend you visit.
There are tons of amazing things to do in Jasper. However, sometimes the journey matters more than the destination; that’s why I advise taking your time to get to Jasper because there are countless places where it is worth stopping on the Icefields Parkway: glaciers, lakes, and waterfalls in incredible landscapes.
In fact, we spent the night in the middle of this road both on the way there and on the way back, and I recommend you do the same, as it is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful scenic roads in the world.
Regarding lodging in Banff, here you will find the best option to stay in Banff if you want to see wildlife. Also, in our article on where to stay in Jasper, you can see the hotels that are on the Icefields Parkway within Jasper National Park.
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, one of the best hotels in Banff National Park
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge was built by an English explorer even before the Icefields Parkway was built. Jimmy Simpson, who came to Canada in 1896, worked as a mountain guide in the Canadian Rockies for scientists, artists, hunters, and mountaineers.
He fell in love with Bow Lake, an incredible glacial lake, and promised himself that he’d build a hotel there. Eventually, he did so, and it opened in 1940 with 6 rooms. The accommodation remains pretty much the same as it was when it opened to the public. It’s unique and undoubtedly one of the most exclusive luxury hotels in Banff.
The Crossing, a motel between Banff and Jasper
The Crossing is an almost obligatory stop if you travel the Icefields Parkway because this hotel has the only gas station between Banff and Jasper.
Furthermore, the hotel rooms are traditional in style but very cozy. It also has a cafeteria, a pub, and a restaurant, so you can find everything you need at this accommodation in Banff National Park. We ate in the pub, which has an amazing outdoor terrace. It’s also halfway between Banff and Jasper, one more reason to book your hotel in Banff here.
HI-Mosquito Creek Hostel, the cheapest accommodation in Banff National Park
HI-Mosquito Creek Hostel is at the beginning of the Icefields Parkway, in Banff. We had planned to sleep at the campsite next door, but it hadn’t opened yet due to the snow, so we ended up staying here.
This hostel has both shared rooms and private rooms (we stayed in a shared room). Keep in mind that this hostel doesn’t have showers. It does have a wood sauna, but we didn’t have time to enjoy it.
If you are looking for a place to sleep in Banff, this is undoubtedly a good option. It also has a common room with a fireplace and a kitchen.
HI-Rampart Creek Hostel, another cheap hostel to sleep in Banff
HI-Rampart Creek Hostel is another hotel from the HI-Hostel chain in Canada. Like the hostel before, this hostel has no shower, but it does have a wood-fired sauna. It is also a good option if you are looking for cheap accommodation in Banff. It is located further north, towards Jasper, in the glacier area, which is why travelers who want to go ice climbing usually stay here.
Canmore, Cheap Hotels near Banff
If you leave your reservation in Banff for the last minute, it’ll be almost impossible for you to stay within the national park. But don’t worry, Canmore is not far, and there, you can find better prices for accommodation than in Banff.
If you decide on this option, these are some hotels that we recommend in Canmore.
Canmore Inn & Suites is one of the cheapest hotels in Banff, and its rooms have mountain views, as well as a coffee maker, fridge, microwave, and private bathroom. The accommodation features an indoor pool with a three-height slide, making it one of the best accommodations in Banff for families.
Although Rundle Mountain Lodge is a budget accommodation in Banff, it also has amenities like an indoor pool and a hot tub. It has a playground and a picnic area, so it’s a perfect place if you’re traveling with your family.
Canmore Rocky Mountain Inn is in downtown Canmore, but it’s an ideal place to stay in Banff if you have booked at the last minute. The rooms are simple but there is a common living room with a fireplace and it has incredible mountain views.
The views of the mountains from the rooms at Windtower Lodge & Suites are worth it. If you haven’t managed to book a hotel within Banff National Park, I am sure this is a good option, since it includes a sauna and a whirlpool.
Best campsites in Banff National Park (Canada)
IIf you want to camp in Banff, you have to know that there are currently 2,462 sites located within 14 campgrounds. Almost all of them remain closed during winter. You can check when they open on the official Banff page.
Some are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. However, others should be booked in advance by calling 1-877- (737-3783).
Most campsites in Banff have the same services. Each site is equipped with a table and benches, a fire pit, and space to park your car and set up your tent. If you want to light a fire, you have to pay a special permit, and the campsite will supply you with firewood.
Regarding the showers, toilets, and dump stations (for RVs), each campsite has its own facilities, so I recommend you check what facilities each camp has here.
Some also have tents and camping equipment for rent (look for equipped campsites). Others even have wooden frame tents pre-installed so you don’t have to worry about a thing (oTENTik option).
We traveled with our camping gear and stayed at Two Jack Lakeside Campground and Lake Louise Campground. The former had incredible views of the lake, and the latter was surrounded by an electrified fence to prevent bear attacks, which are very common in this area.
In the beginning, we thought it was a little excessive, but the next morning, we saw two grizzly bears a few feet away from the fence. One of them, called The Boss, is the largest, most aggressive, and strongest bear in the Canadian Rockies, as we were told by park rangers who track him permanently.
Map of the best hotels and campsites where to stay in Banff
And that’s all the information you need to plan where to stay in Banff National Park. Regardless of whether you manage to stay within the national park, on the outskirts, or at a campsite, on the following map, you will find all the accommodations we have recommended.
And finally, remember that if you want to sleep in one of the best hotels in Banff (Canada), you must book many months in advance. Enjoy your trip!