Leaving behind beautiful Jasper, your drive today will take you through the spine of the Canadian Rockies, along the Columbia Icefields Parkway and onto Banff. Along the way you will get ample opportunity to view a never-ending procession of mammouth mountains, jagged peaks, over 100 glaciers and more stunning emerald coloured lakes. Break your journey en route with a stop at the Columbia Icefield and take an Ice Explorer ride out onto the glacier. From Lake Louise choose the Bow Valley Parkway, beside the Bow River with an option for you to stop at Johnston Canyon and walk along the paved footpath to either the lower or upper waterfalls.
Continue on to Banff in time for early evening. Later, when you have checked into your chosen hotel you will still have time to enjoy some of Banff's many cafes and restaurants.
Banff is a small town surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks in the world. One of its greatest assets is the accessibility of its natural wonders - most highlights are located close to the road system. For the more adventurous there is an excellent system of hiking trails that lead to alpine lakes, along glacial valleys and to spectacular viewpoints where crowds are scarce and human impact has been minimal. Head to the mountaintop by the Sulphur Mountain Gondola for fantastic views of Banff townsite, Bow Valley, Cascade Mountain and Lake Minnewanka.
There are many outdoor activities including canoeing, horseracing and hiking to be enjoyed here and you can always end your busy day with a long soak in the Hot Springs at Sulphur Mountain. When considering hiking in this region, always visit the Banff Visitor Centre where staff can advise you on the condition of the trails and any closures.
Also, take a short drive to nearby Lake Louise and smaller but equally beautiful Moraine Lake, where you can take a canoe out on the crystal clear water.
Meantime, back in the town itself you'll find excellent shopping and museums as well as many cafes, bars and restaurants.