Vancouver to Banff, with its stunning natural landscapes, promises to be the road trip of a lifetime.
While the jagged peaks and turquoise lakes seem almost out of reach from coastal British Columbia, it can be done with some careful planning.
Let’s figure out how to get to Banff from Vancouver.
Banff from Vancouver
The Canadian Rocky Mountains offer some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere on earth.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a die-hard skier, or just looking for a relaxing getaway, travelling to Banff from Vancouver is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed.
Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for its natural beauty.
The thing is though – it’s 847 km (525 miles) from Vancouver so you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Getting to Banff from Vancouver
As you can see in the map above, getting to Banff from Vancouver is an adventure in itself.
On this 840 km journey, you’ll be transported from the BC coast through the Okanagan, one of North America’s most bountiful wine regions.
Littered with beautiful lakes and home to Canada’s only desert, this stunning region becomes a summer playground for British Columbians and Albertans alike once the mercury rises.
This makes for a great stop-off point if you’ve got a vehicle. From there you’ll enter the Kootenays, where the towering Rockies will begin to make their appearance.
But what is the best way to get to Banff from Vancouver?
Driving from Vancouver to Banff
Duration: 10 hours | One Way Cost: $145 USD (at 10L/100 km & 1.70 cents/litre)
If you’ve got a car and want the flexibility the drive from Vancouver to Banff will take about 10 hours.
The route takes you through the Okanagan on the Trans-Canada Highway and offers stunning views of the mountains, forests, and lakes.
Make sure to stop along the way to take in the scenery and explore the small towns and villages that dot the landscape.
Vancouver to Banff Bus
Duration: 12-14 hours | One Way Cost: From $120 USD
If don’t have a vehicle this is the cheapest way to get to Banff from Vancouver.
Here, you can sit back and relax while taking in all the sights and sounds along the way.
Rider Express offers daily service from Pacific Central Station near downtown Vancouver. To compare rates and departures, click on the button below:
Vancouver to Banff Tours
I understand that if you’re a visitor to Western Canada, you may not have access to your own vehicle.
Even if you do, once you couple the cost of fuel along with the annoyance of spending ten hours behind the wheel – you may want something a little more all-inclusive.
Sitting in a cramped coach for 14 hours with hordes of students and young snowboarders might not exactly move the needle either.
Luckily, I’ve got a great list of Vancouver to Banff tours that’ll take the trouble out of the 840 km trip to Banff from Vancouver.
Rocky Mountains: Classic Summer Tour
Pick-up point: 1010 Canada Pl. | Duration: 4 days | Price: From $625.47 USD
If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors, look no further than our classic summer tour of the Canadian Rockies.
Here you’ll explore some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Canada, including Banff, Jasper, and Yoho National Parks.
This guided four-day, three-night coach tour from Vancouver will also allow you to visit a Canadian ranch and the fertile Okanagan Valley, all before exploring the majestic Rockies.
Transport back to your original meet-up point is also included.
Three nights accommodation is also part of the package. So you’ll get to spend the night in Revelstoke, Banff, and Valemount.
- Deluxe coach transportation with on board entertainment
- Canadian Ranch Experience
- 3 nights of hotel accommodation (3*) including one night in downtown Banff!
- Friendly, experienced tour guide
- Wine tasting, breakfast, and lunch
Canadian Rockies 4-day Tour from Vancouver (Including Banff)
Pick-up point: 5 options | Duration: 4 days | Price: From $425.33 USD
Are you looking for a tour that offers the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation?
Look no further than the Canadian Rockies 4-day tour. This tour comfortably transports you to Banff from Vancouver and back by coach and is available in both English and Mandarin.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to a wide variety of stops, including the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan wine region, Yoho National Park, Lake Louise, Banff, and Jasper National Park.
Your guide will teach you about the history, culture, nature, and stories that bring the world’s most stunning natural landscapes to life.
With three nights of accommodation included, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your vacation without any worries. You’ll also have the luxury of sitting back and letting someone else handle the driving.
- Return coach travel between Vancouver and Banff
- 4-day deluxe coach tour of the Okanagan, Kootenays and Canadian Rockies
- 3 nights accommodation (Revelstoke & Banff)
- Option to upgrade to include activities like the Ice Explorer Tour, Glacier Skywalk & Banff Gondola
- Available in English and Mandarin
6 Day Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver to Calgary (including Banff & Jasper)
Pick-up point: Rocky Mountaineer Station | Duration: 6 days | Price: From $3,419.34 USD
If you’re looking for an adventure of a lifetime, then the Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver to Banff is the perfect choice. Is it expensive? You bet it is, but hear me out.
The Rocky Mountaineer is so much more a way to get from point A to point B.
It is a full-fledged luxury experience in itself. This world-famous train is designed with large windows, providing passengers with panoramic views of the mountains and scenery throughout the journey.
The train travels strictly by daylight and offers gourmet meals prepared by top-notch chefs, made with fresh and local ingredients.
Hotel accommodation is also provided for 5 nights along the way. Your first stop will be in the picturesque BC interior community of Kamloops. From there you’ll proceed on to Banff where you’ll spend three days and nights exploring the area’s amazing natural beauty.
From there you’ll proceed on to nearby Jasper, where you’ll spend more time exploring beautiful Jasper National Park. After spending one night, its back on the train where you’ll head to the train’s terminus stop in Calgary – after exploring a variety of glacial lakes and rivers.
- 6 day fully guided luxury train tour from Vancouver-Calgary
- 5 nights hotel accommodation (Kamloops, Banff (x3), Jasper)
- 5 days spent exploring the wondrous Canadian Rockies
- National park admission
- Gourmet breakfast & lunches
- Bilingual tour-guide (English and Chinese)
Things to Do in Banff
Once you arrive in Banff, there are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy. Here are just a few of the things you won’t want to miss:
- Lake Louise – This turquoise lake is one of the most iconic sights in Banff National Park. Take a hike around the lake, rent a canoe, or just sit and take in the stunning views.
- Banff Gondola – Take a ride on the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views of the Rockies.
- Johnston Canyon – The beautiful Johnston Canyon features a series of waterfalls and hiking trails that are perfect for all skill levels.
- Banff Hot Springs – Relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs at Banff Upper Hot Springs or Radium Hot Springs.
- Hiking – There are hundreds of hiking trails in Banff, ranging from easy strolls to challenging multi-day treks. Make sure to check the trail conditions before heading out and always bring plenty of water and food.
- Skiing – If you’re into skiing, snowboarding or any other winter sport then Banff will be your Graceland. This former Olympic host city has world-class facilities that easily compare with Whistler, Aspen or anywhere in the European Alps.
Where to Stay in Banff
There are plenty of options for accommodations in Banff, from cozy cabins to luxurious hotels. Here are a few of our top picks:
- Fairmont Banff Springs – This iconic hotel is known as the “Castle in the Rockies” and offers stunning views of the mountains. One of the top resorts in North America.
- Rimrock Resort Hotel – This luxurious hotel features a spa, fine dining, and breathtaking views of the Bow Valley – at a fraction of the price of the Fairmont.
- Banff Lodging Company – This company offers a variety of accommodations, including cabins, condos, and hotels, to suit any budget.
- Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa – Our #1 seller, this reasonably priced 3.5-star accommodation is one of the best deals in town.
- Banff International Hostel – A great budget option for students and young travellers.
Still Wondering How to Get From Vancouver to Banff?
I hope I’ve managed to convince you that your Vancouver to Banff road trip dreams could become reality.
Whether you’ve elected to take the self-guided route or one of the packaged tours, you really can’t go wrong going into the heart of the Rockies.
Enjoy your trip to Banff from Vancouver 🏔️
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