Dreaming of visiting Banff National Park is free. But how much does a vacation in Canada’s oldest national park actually cost? In this article, you’ll find a handy overview of average low and high season prices for car rental, hotels and tours, and admission fees for attractions.
I can imagine you’re looking forward to visiting Banff National Park. Exploring new horizons is always exciting. The good news is that this stunning destination never fails to impress. The bad news is that you need a big wallet to be able to spend time in Banff.
As it goes with major tourist destinations, prices tend to be high, very high. This article provides an insight into what to expect; in other words: what budget do you need to spend one, two, three or even four weeks in the park?
Of course this article can only provide a general overview as prices fluctuate day by day. How expensive your Banff vacation will be, ultimately depends on your desires and standards. One thing’s for sure: you can always make it even more expensive.
I included average car rental prices, hotel prices, and tour prices in the overview. I also included admission fees for paid attractions.
NB: All prices are in Canadian dollar (CAD).
Table of Contents
How Much Does Car Rental Cost in Banff?
A car is pretty much indispensable during your visit to Banff National Park. It is possible to visit quite a few major tourist attractions by public transport, but you need a (rental) car to move around freely.
In the table below, you’ll only find Avis Car Rental prices at Calgary Airport. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get prices for all dates at other car rental companies. That’s why I didn’t include them in the table.
Though prices may vary, the table below gives you a quick indication of what you may expect to pay for an economy or midsized car.
Of course there are many possible add-ons when renting a car, like insurance, navigation, child seat, etc. The prices below are just the vehicle rental prices. I’ve included them for three countries as Avis charges a different rate per country of residence.
|Country of Residence||07/28 – 08/04||07/25 – 08/08||12/23 – 12/30||02/10 – 02/17||02/07 – 02/21||05/01 – 05/08||04/28 – 05/12|
There are somewhat cheaper options in downtown Calgary. If you want to save on your car rental spendings, it can be worthwhile to check prices in the city. However, it will add the hassle of getting there after having arrived at the airport.
How Much Do Hotels Cost?
Hotel costs will comprise the most biggest part of your Banff vacation budget. You’ll find the average prices for summer, winter, and the shoulder seasons in the tables below.
I selected dates representing each season. I picked one date in July and one in August for summer, for example.
The averages are based on the prices of 31 hotels and bed and breakfasts in the park. I selected hotels in all categories: low-end, intermediate and high-end.
Looking to book a hotel in Banff? I recommend reading the extensive post about hotels in the park and their facilities.
About These Tables
It’s tough to provide average hotel prices as they fluctuate all the time; many variables are at play. Booking prices depend on when you book – booking well in advance might be cheaper, booking shortly before your intended stay might be more expensive.
Furthermore, the average price is calculated without any possible promotions. A downside to these tables is that not all hotels had rooms available on all five dates (most of them only had rooms available for two or three dates).
As a result, some dates have more data (prices) on which I calculated the average than others. The more data I have been able to include, the more trustworthy the average.
Still, these averages will give you a good idea of hotel prices in Banff National Park for 2022 and 2023. These will be updated every year.
It’s also good to know that:
- I used prices on Booking.com for all hotels
- Prices are in Canadian dollars (CAD)
- The search query was for a room for two adults
- I looked up all prices on 23 May 2022
- You’d probably be able to get slightly cheaper rates when you book directly at the hotel
Selected dates per season:
- Summer: 07/28 and 08/14 2022
- Fall: 10/28 2022
- Christmas: 12/25 2022
- Winter: 02/10 2023
- Spring: 05/01 2023
|A Good Nite’s Rest||$380||$162||$271||–||–|
|Baker Creek Mountain Resort||$794||$827||$495||$728||$545||$361|
|Banff Aspen Lodge||$521||$544||$188||$277||$188||$143|
|Banff Buffalo Lodge||$544||$510||$221||$388||–||–|
|Banff Rocky Mountain Resort||$477||$477||$182||$349||$236||$243|
|Best Western Plus Siding 29 Lodge||$555||$555||$221||$221||$332||$188|
|Bow View Lodge||$445||$445||$189||$278||$167||$145|
|Brewster Mountain Lodge||$497||$599||$243||$377||$266||$277|
|Buffalo Mountain Lodge||–||$510||$221||$388||–||–|
|Crossing Resort, the||$336||$302||–||–||$75||–|
|Dorothy Motel, the||–||–||$188||$310||$188||$221|
|Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets||–||$399||$199||–||–||–|
|Elk+ Avenue Hotel||–||–||–||–||$188||$188|
|Fairmont Banff Springs||–||$1561||$560||$1227||$560||$738|
|Fairmont Château Lake Louise||–||$1398||$620||$1153||$620||$675|
|Fox Hotel & Suites||–||$297||$388||$321||$277|
|High Country Inn||$455||–||$182||$360||$177||$182|
|Irwin Mountain Inn||–||–||–||–||–||$188|
|Lake Louise Inn||–||–||–||–||$144||$136|
|Moose Hotel and Suites||–||–||$388||–||$407||$369|
|Mountain View Bed & Breakfast||–||–||$244||–||$200||$244|
|Peaks Hotel and Suites||–||–||$356||$455||$389||$278|
|Royal Canadian Lodge||–||$521||$299||$355||$299||$288|
|Storm Mountain Lodge & Cabins||–||$484||$374||$450||$374||–|
Based on this table we can conclude that hotel prices are highest in August and that spring and fall are much cheaper than the summer high season (as expected). Prices are slightly less than half of the August date average.
All of these dates combined, comes down to an average hotel price of CAD 403.
You might wonder why hotel rooms in Banff are so expensive. I wrote an entire post about it to answer this question. Click the link to find out.
There are two cheaper alternatives if you want to cut costs for lodging. Hostels usually are about one-third of the average price of a hotel. However, for that money you need to share your room with three, four or even more people.
If that alternative is still too expensive for you, or you don’t like sharing your room with strangers, there’s another, even cheaper alternative. I’m sure you guessed it: camping. The average price per night for a campsite at a (frontcountry) campground is CAD 25.50.
As you can tell upon the tables above you’ll be spending less in the shoulder seasons. There are some pros and cons to staying in Banff in spring and fall. I highly recommend you check them out.
How Much Do Restaurants Cost?
Food is another big part of the money you’ll shell out during your stay in the park. If you’re eating out three times a day, it quickly adds up. It proved too difficult to get a decent average, as menus vary greatly. Though count on an average of 140 CAD per day for two persons when you have breakfast, lunch and dinner in a restaurant or hotel.
The obvious alternatives are fast-food restaurants. Banff has many and Lake Louise also has a couple. If you want to cut down your costs for eating-out, this is the way to go. Maybe not the most healthy option, but who doesn’t like a Big Mac every once in a while?
How Much Do Tours Cost?
This question is probably the hardest to answer. There are literally hundreds of tours and their prices vary greatly. Especially prices for activities like helicopter rides, snowmobile tours and dogsled tours can add up.
I used the prices of two main tour organizers for the Banff area: Discover Banff Tours and Banff Adventures. All prices are per person.
I want to stress that no accurate conclusions can be drawn when comparing these companies. Their trips may vary significantly. These tables are only meant to give you an idea about the average cost of the different tours, and the average price for a Tour in Banff in general.
Also, please note:
- All averages exclude prices for private tours (as they are much more expensive than regular tours and would therefore distort the average significantly).
- I included the lowest price if a tour had ‘starting from prices’.
- For horseback riding I excluded multi-day trips from my calculations.
About the tables: In each column, you’ll find the average price for the kind of tour and the organizer. Between brackets you’ll find the number of tours used to calculate the average.
|TOUR||AVERAGES DISCOVER |
|AVERAGES BANFF |
|Biking||$134 (1)||$86 (4)||$110|
|Canyoning/Caving||$185 (4)||$185 (4)||$185|
|Helicopter Rides||$255 (3)||$361 (5)||$308|
|Hiking||$180 (2)||$126 (3)||$153|
|Horseback Riding||$160 (10)||$101 (2)||$131|
|Sightseeing||$57 (9)||$109 (8)||$83|
|Via Ferrata||$295 (7)||$160 (2)||$228|
|Whitewater Rafting||$173 (9)||$111 (3)||$142|
|Wildlife||$93 (8)||$89 (4)||$91|
|TOUR||AVERAGES DISCOVER |
|AVERAGES BANFF |
|Dogsledding||$287 (4)||$243 (3)||$265|
|Helicopter Rides||$305 (3)||$380 (3)||$343|
|Ice Walk||$82 (3)||$82 (3)||$82|
|Sightseeing||$125 (4)||$237 (3)||$181|
|Snowmobiling||$225 (2)||$306 (4)||$266|
|Snowshoeing||$82 (3)||$91 (3)||$84|
|Snow Tubing||$42 (1)||$39 (2)||$41|
|TOTAL||$164 (20)||$197 (21)||[$180]|
The cheaper alternative here is going at it alone. Doesn’t cost you a dime, or just the rent of the necessary gear (like a mountain bike). You can easily have lots of fun hiking or cycling on your own and be amazed by the park’s stunning beauty.
Looking to book an activity in Banff? I sorted some of the most exciting tours in Banff for you.
There are also several attractions in the park that require an entrance fee. Of course it’s up to you whether you want to go there. In the table an overview of the attraction and their prices.
I’ve included the prices for adults and seniors:
|Banff Cave and Basin (Banff)||$8.50||$7|
|Banff Gondola (Banff)||$54 – $66 *||$54 – $66 *||Depending on the date|
|Banff Park Museum (Banff)||$4.24||$3.75|
|Banff Upper Hot Springs (Banff)||$9.25||$8|
|Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum (Banff)||$10||$9|
|Historic Luxton Home (Banff)||FREE||FREE|
|Lake Louise Gondola (Lake Louise)||$54.99 *||$54.99 *|
|Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff)||$10||$9|
* Price is ‘starting from’ price as you can buy combo packages.
So What About the Actual Cost of a Banff Vacation?
Answering this question is still complicated, despite the numbers above. There are so many variables at play that it’s impossible to provide valid numbers. I didn’t even include plane tickets in the overview, as people come from all over the world to visit the park.
Still, let’s try to arrive at an informed average for the summer high season:
First off, lodging. The average 2022 summer hotel price in the town of Banff is CAD 556 (to get to this number, I added up the total of the average prices for 07/28 and 08/14 and divided it by two).
Add to that eating out three times a day for two people (breakfast, lunch and dinner), together worth about CAD 160.
Then add to that the average price of CAD 159 for a tour in summer, do it times two and add up all the numbers. That works out to a whopping CAD 1034.
This figure excludes gas, snacks, souvenirs and other things you might buy during the day. Not to mention plane tickets and car rental.
Multiply CAD 1034 by 7, and you’ll spend about CAD 7238 (!) for one week in the park in summer.
As I said in the introduction to this article, you can always make your stay in Banff more expensive, depending on your wishes and desires. I hope that the averages above at least will give you a good impression of what you can expect to pay during your stay in the park at different times of the year.
It might be good to know there are some activities you can do in the park that don’t make you pony up big amounts of cash. Want to know what they are? Read cheap things to do in Banff.
One thought on “How Much Does a Banff Vacation Cost in 2022? (Crazy Numbers)”
“As it goes with major tourist destinations, prices tend to be high, very high.” Uh.. no… Unfortunately, as a newcomer to Canada I have found that sadly this is only true here in Canada for some reason. Sure, normally prices are a little higher everywhere based on time of the year, but here in Canada the prices are crazy ALL YEAR… I have travelled al over the world, and even during high season you will find reasonable places (talking within the $100-150 range -and even some sub-100). Honestly do not understand how these places are even in business, because while just for right now I cannot travel outside of Canada, as soon as I can again there is no way on earth I will spend a dime here when I can go to places like Hawaii, California, heck even Mexico for a fraction of what they want to charge at places like Banff or even “Kelowna”… (KELOWNA FFS…). Anyway, not really sure I will ever understand people option to be robbed like this, but to each their own I guess…