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Travel By Car Banff


Welcome to Travel By Car to Banff

Banff's in the heart of Banff National Park and snugly embraced by Alberta Rocky Mountains.

It's a little town that boasts a big, worldwide reputation.

Its charming streets are fun year round!

There is an annual influx of millions of visitors to this famous mountain resort town. You can experience world-class shopping, dining and accommodations.

At first sight it's apparent why the world is in love with Banff. View the Cascade Mountains or listen to the flowing waters of the Bow River, this lovely town is blessed with a spectacular natural setting, including parks, woods and trails.

Winter turns the area into a snow sport enthusiast's dream; attract a global deluge of skiers and snowboarders, while cross-country skiers, snowshoers and ice climbers explore numerous local trails.

Banff is an ideal base for hiking and wildlife viewing excursions into surrounding park areas. Especially during the summer.

Banff is also a popular weekend retreat throughout the year with excellent restaurants, day spas and shopping.

Don't forget... it's mandatory to purchase a Banff National Park Pass.

Travel by Car - Rental from Calgary Airport:

Upon arrival at the airport, most travelers opt to travel by car, as it provides them with the most flexibility. The drive from Calgary Airport to Banff takes about two hours. It's so scenic.

If you arrive from a Canadian departure point, it takes you about half an hour to collect your luggage from the airport carousel.

A great option is to take a Banff Shuttle from the Calgary Airport. This is especially convenient if you're on a ski holiday. There are shuttles that take skiers from their hotels up to the slopes on a regular basis. So there may be no need to have a car!

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If you arrive on an international flight, it takes about an hour to clear immigration and customs at Calgary Airport.

So you need to consider that it could take up to three hours to travel by car to Banff from the time that you land. It is recommended that you undertake the road journey only if you can reach Banff in daylight.

Your Personal car: Many travelers from other parts of Canada as well as from the United States opt to reach Banff by car.

All major car rental companies can be booked out of the Calgary International Airport.


Car Rental Companies Right in Banff...

There are several car rental companies with branches in the town of Banff.

Avis Car Rental- Phone: 403-762-3222

Budget Car Rental -Phone: 403-762-4565, toll free 1-800-734-1461

Hertz Car Rental-Phone: 403-762-2027, toll free 1-800-263-0600

National/ Alamo Car Rental- Phone: 403-762-2688, toll free 1-800-387-4747

Travel By Car Banff
Travel By Car to Banff

The scenery as you approach the mountains is very beautiful, and it would be a shame to miss it. 

Besides that, you need to consider how tired you will feel!!!

If you've had a long flight to Calgary are you are feeling jet lagged?? 

Finally, consider that wildlife is most active at dusk, and driving into Banff National Park as darkness approaches requires extra caution. 

If you will be landing in Calgary at night, it would be better to spend that first night in Calgary and continue to the mountains the next morning. 

In that case the most convenient part of Calgary in which to stay would be the northwest quadrant. 

The road that links Calgary and Banff is the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1).  The portion of this road that passes through Calgary is known as 16th Avenue North. 

When you travel by car to Banff renting a GPS (satellite navigation) unit from your car rental company is usually not necessary. The towns in the national parks are small and things are easy to find. 

There are very few roads and highways to choose from and there are many free maps available that show the routes.

Even if you plan to drive all the way to Vancouver, you are very unlikely to lose your way until you enter the city.

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Travel By Car to Banff -

Directions from Calgary International Airport

Exit the airport parking and car rental lot and head south on Airport Rd NE (800 m)

Turn right onto Airport Rd Ne (350 m), Airport Road NE turns left and becomes Barlow Trail NE going north (650 m)

Turn let onto Aiport Trail NE going west (signs for Alberta2/City Centre - 2.6 km)

Take ramp onto AB-2S (Alberta 2 South) (8 km)

Take exit 258 for AB-1 (Alberta 1 West/Trans Canada Highway (750 m)

Merge onto 16th Avenue becomes Trans-Canada Highway 1, which takes you directly to Banff

After approximately 120 km (72 miles), stop at the National Park Gates to obtain your Banff National Park Pass

15 minutes past the park gate, exit Highway 1 at the Banff/Lake Minnewanka exit

Turn left at the exit ramp stop sign onto Banff Ave

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A little road trip planning will help to make your drive thru the Canadian Rockies an enjoyable one.

Drinking and driving: When you travel by car to Banff, it's a criminal offence to operate, or be in care or control of, a motor vehicle while your ability is impaired by alcohol or drugs.

If the police determine your ability to operate a vehicle has been impaired by alcohol or drugs, even if your blood alcohol reading is below the 80 mg limit, you can be charged with impaired driving. 

Travel by car in Alberta motorists must slow to 60 km/h (38 MPH) when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped with their lights flashing. 

Fines for speeding in these areas are doubled.  Travelers have reported receiving fines in the C$400 range for this offence. This is strongly enforced!!!!

When you travel by car to Banff in construction zones, motorists must observe the posted speed limit.  Alberta law states that, when workers are present, fines for speeding in these areas will be doubled.

There are very few traffic lights in the Canadian Rockies.  Nevertheless, drivers from most countries outside of North America often are not aware that -- except in the rare instance that a sign prohibits it -- a motorist is allowed to turn right at a red traffic light, provided he/she has first stopped and checked that there is no traffic approaching from the left.  

When two vehicles approach a 4-way stop sign from different directions, the first vehicle to arrive at the stop sign has the right of way. 

If two vehicles arrive at a 4-way stop sign simultaneously, the vehicle on the right has the right of way. 

If there are several vehicles lined up at a 4-way stop sign, they take it in turns to let each other through the intersection.  An example of a 4-way stop sign in the Canadian Rockies is the one in Lake Louise Village.

When you travel by car in the mountain towns, you will want to to stop for pedestrians, even if they are jaywalking or any of the other things that people do in small tourist towns. 

Remember that it's not only a legal requirement but also common courtesy. Be especially careful when the sun is in your eyes or your windshield is frosty!

Travel By Car to Banff Local Driving Distances from the Town of Banff

Banff - Columbia Icefields 190km

Banff - Calgary 130km

Banff - Field (Yoho National Park) 85km


Banff - Lake Louise 58km


Banff - Radium Hot Springs (Kootenay National Park) 132km

As you see everything is very close when you Travel by Car to Banff!!! Keep it a stress free Canadian Holiday...


Want some Great Winter Driving Tips to Banff?

Don't Forget Anything - Check out this Great Vacation Packing List

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Banff Weather Forecast, Canada


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