Plan Your Banff Itinerary – Know the Distances and Save Time

Icefields Parkway

Canada is huge and Banff National Park is quite big, so it’s good to know the distances to, outside or inside the park. In this post, you’ll find a variety of handy charts to help you plan your ideal itinerary.

When on vacation, time is almost always limited. Your employer needs you to be back on the job at a specific date, or you have other obligations at home that force you to go back within a couple of weeks.

Unless you’re on a sabbatical or you come to Banff to work, it’s probably wise to plan your trip to Banff National Park well to ensure you’ll be able to do everything you want. And that’s not so easy. At 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 sq mi), the park is of considerable size – only four national parks in the US are bigger, for instance. There are many exciting stops, scattered across the park. 

Not to mention the adjacent Yoho and Jasper National Parks, Kananaskis Country and even Waterton National Park in the south of Alberta. They’re all destinations many tourists visit during their stay in Banff and Western Canada. This involves a lot of driving, as you can imagine. If you want to be efficient at what to do when and in what order, the tables below will come in handy. 

I categorized them upon a theme (like towns, attractions and activities). Because of their location inside or near the park, I have assumed four towns from where you can visit the various places of interest, inside or outside the park. All distances are in kilometers and miles (between brackets).

Are you from the US and want to know how to travel to Banff? Click the link to learn about your options.

Distances to and from Towns and Cities

There are quite a few towns and cities inside and outside the park that are worth visiting or that could be your starting point when you aim to visit Banff National Park. Below, you’ll find a distance chart.

BanffCanmoreLake LouiseJasperCalgaryEdmontonField (BC) Golden (BC)WatertonVancouver (BC)
Banff26 km
(16 mi)
58 km
(36 mi)
288 km (179 mi)129 km (80 mi)415 km (257 mi)83 km
(51 mi)
139 km (86 mi)375 km (233 mi)847 km (525 mi)
Canmore26 km
(16 mi)
80 km
(49 mi)
311 km (193 mi)105 km (65 mi)391 km (242 mi)106 km
(66 mi)
162 km (100 mi)351 km (218 mi)870 km (539 mi)
Lake Louise58 km
(36 mi)
80 km
(49 mi)
232 km
(144 mi)
183 km (113 mi)469 km (291 mi)27 km
(17 mi)
83 km
(51 mi)
429 km (266 mi)790 km (490 mi)
Jasper288 km (179 mi)311 km (193 mi)232 km (144 mi)413 km (256 mi)365 km (226 mi)252 km
(156 mi)
309 km (192 mi)660 km (409 mi)795 km (493 mi)
Calgary129 km (80 mi)105 km (65 mi)183 km (113 mi)413 km (256 mi)300 km (186 mi)207 km
(128 mi)
263 km (163 mi)274 km (170 mi)971 km (602 mi)
Edmonton415 km (257 mi)391 km (242 mi)469 km (291 mi)365 km (226 mi)300 km (186 mi)494 km (306 mi)550 km (341 mi)625 km (388 mi)1247 km (773 mi)
Field (BC)83 km
(51 mi)
106 km (66 mi27 km
(17 mi)
252 km (156 mi)207 km (128 mi)494 km (306 mi)58 km
(36 mi)
553 km (343 mi)866 km (537 mi)
Golden (BC)139 km (86 mi)162 km (100 mi)83 km
(51 mi)
309 km (192 mi)263 km (163 mi)550 km (341 mi)58 km
(36 mi)
496 km (308 mi)813 km (504 mi)
Waterton375 km (233 mi)351 km (218 mi)429 km (266 mi)660 km (409 mi)274 km (170 mi)625 km (388 mi)553 km
(343 mi)
496 km (308 mi)1109 km (688 mi)
Vancouver (BC)847
(525 mi)
870 km (539 mi)790 km (490 mi)795 km (493 mi)971 km (602 mi)1247 km (773 mi)866 km
(537 mi)
813 km (504 mi)1109 km (688 mi)

Distances to Places of Interest

In the chart below you’ll find the distances from four towns to places of interest in the park and along the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 N). The list is not exhaustive, though it contains most of the park’s major points of interest.

Of course you want to remain flexible during your stay in the Rockies, so you probably don’t want to play your trip day by day. The charts below can help you understand the distances you need to cover to get to the points of interest you want to visit and then plan accordingly.

ATTRACTIONSCanmoreBanffLake LouiseJasper
Banff Gondola / Hot Springs29 km (18 mi)3.9 km (2.42 mi)65 km (40 mi)293 km (182 mi)
Banff Cave and Basin27 km (17 mi)1.4 km (0.87 mi)62 km (39 mi)290 km (180 mi)
Bow Falls25 km (16 mi)1.3 km (0.81 mi)62 km (39 mi)290 km (180 mi)
Vermilion Lakes27 km (17 mi)2.4 km (1.49 mi)60 km (37 mi)288 km (179 mi)
Johnston Canyon47 km (29 mi)25 km (16 mi)37 km (23 mi)264 km (164 mi)
Johnson Lake27 km (17 mi)13 km (8 mi)71 km (44 mi)301 km (187 mi)
Two Jack Lake27 km (17 mi)13 km (8 mi)71 km (44 mi)301 km (187 mi)
Lake Minnewanka26 km (16 mi)10 km (6 mi)69 km (43 mi)297 km (185 mi)
Lake Louise82 km (51 mi)61 km (38 mi)4 km (2.48 mi)236 km (146 mi)
Lake Louise Gondola81 km (50 mi)60 km (37.2 mi)3.2 km (2 mi)235 km (145 mi)
Moraine Lake95 km (59 mi)74 km (46 mi)14 km (9 mi)246 km (153 mi)
Herbert Lake86 km (53 mi)63 km (39 mi)6.1 km (4 mi)226 km (140 mi)
Hector Lake103 km (64 mi)79 km (49 mi)23 km (14 mi)213 km (132 mi)
Bow Lake118 km (73 mi)95 km (59 mi)38 km (24 mi)195 km (121 mi)
Peyto Lake124 km (77 mi)101 km (63 mi)45 km (28 mi)190 km (118 mi)
Mistaya Canyon154 km (95 mi)131 km (81 mi)74 km (46 mi)159 km (99 mi)
Columbia Icefield208 km (129 mi)189 km (117 mi)132 km (82 mi)96 km (60 mi)
Columbia Icefield Skywalk210 km (130 mi)191 km (118 mi)134 km (83 mi)98 km (61 mi)
Sunwapta Falls257 km (159 mi)234 km (145 mi)178 km (110 mi)56 km (35 mi)
Athabasca Falls281 km (175 mi)257 km (159 mi)201 km (125 mi)32 km (20 mi)

Tips for Your Itinerary in the Park

Of course your itinerary depends on how much time you can or want to spend in the park. And probably you want to visit the nearby Jasper National Park (Jasper) or Yoho National Park (Field). It can be wise to incorporate points of interest in the northern part of Banff National Park with your visit to Jasper or Yoho. Plan accordingly. 

There’s no way of escaping long drives in Canada unless you stay in one location. Therefore it could save you a lot of time if you plan your itinerary well and strategically pick your place(s) for spending the night.   

For instance, if you want to visit Jasper National Park, you could easily take more than one day to discover the magical Icefields Parkway, connecting Lake Louise and Jasper. And if you want to visit Yoho National Park, it might be a good idea to first take a day (or two, or three) to visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake before continuing your trip to your destination.

Best Location to Stay

This depends on what your goals are. Lake Louise is the most central location of the four towns Jasper, Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise. However, if you’re planning to head south to visit Waterton Lakes National Park, you’re probably better off in Banff or Canmore. The distances in the park are not really big, so maybe it doesn’t matter too much for you, but this also depends on the amount of time you have.

Traveling to Banff by electric car? Then I highly recommend reading the post with all ins and out about Banff by EV.


As a former Banffite, I love writing about my favorite part of the world. I keep coming back to enjoy the park's mesmerising beauty. It never fails to impress me. With my extensive knowledge of the area, I aim to provide you with the best information on Banff that you can find on the internet.

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