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20 Things to do in Banff in May | A locals secret guide

a man riding a bicycle on a trail in the snow

Is Banff really worth visiting in May?

Yes! May in Banff offers a quieter atmosphere, off-season rates on hotels, and ample opportunities to explore without the crowds.

Check out Radventures locals guide to the shoulder season in Banff where we share with you our top 20 things to do in Banff in May. Let’s get to it!

1 – Drive The Icefields Parkway

It’s obvious why The Icefields Parkway is named the most scenic drive in Canada. Stretching 232 kilometers (144 miles) from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park, the Icefields Parkway offers some of the most incredible scenery Canada has to offer. Be sure to take your time on this once in a lifetime drive and stop to enjoy stops such as Peyto Lake and Mistaya Canyon along the way.

A view of the road on the icefield parkway with mountains in hte background

The Icefields Parkway

There is zero cell service along the Icefields Parkway and weather can be unpredictable in May. We recommend ensuring your vehicle has winter tires and that you have provisions in your car in case of an emergency.

If you’re not keen on driving this road yourself, at Radventures, we offer an awesome day tour that departs from Banff Town and takes you to all of our favorite spots along the Icefields parkway before returning back to Banff town.

Book your Icefields Parkway Adventure here!

2 – Discover Johnston Canyon

Lace up your hiking boots and get ready for a bucket-list hike like no other! The Johnston Canyon trail takes you deep down into the canyon on a suspended walkway past flowing turquoise waterfalls and limestone cliffs.

a family observing a waterfall at johnston canyon

Johnston Canyon – Jay R. McDonald – Roam

The hike is a family-friendly 2.3km round trip with only 105m of elevation gain making it accessible to most fitness levels and doable in less than 2 hours (fitness level and selfie taking dependant)

Don’t forget to pack your camera!

Radventures guided tour will take you to Johnston Canyon AND Lake Louise in the same day with a local expert guide. We finish the day with a surprise local secret stop. We can’t give away too much, but expect increased chances of wildlife sightings and stunning landscapes that most visitors miss!

Click here to see Johnston Canyon AND Lake Louise in one tour.

OR click here to for a half day tour to Johnston Canyon.

3 – Spend an afternoon in The Town Of Banff shopping on Banff Avenue

Banff avenue shops

Banff Avenue

Need a quick break from hiking and biking? Hit Banff Avenue and browse through the many gift shops, boutiques selling local crafts, local artist galleries, outdoor clothing and equipment outfitters, and an abundance of amazing local coffee shops.

4 – Banff Gondola

Have you ever dined at a restaurant perched on the summit of a mountain at 7,486ft above sea level?! No? Well now is your once-in-a-lifetime chance!

a view of Banff Gondola climbing a snow covered mountain

Banff Gondola climbing Sulphur Mountain


The Banff Gondola is truly an adventure that will take your breath away!

As you ascend Sulphur Mountain in their enclosed gondola cabins, you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping views of the Rocky Mountains and the picturesque Bow Valley below. Whether you’re visiting in summer or winter, the Banff Gondola promises an unforgettable experience. Once you reach the top, you have the option to enjoy interpretive exhibits, delicious dining options, and hiking trails just waiting to be explored.

5 – Cave and basin national historic site

The Cave & Basin national historic site holds a special place in the heart of Banff. It marks the discovery of the region’s first thermal hot springs. Explore the underground caves and marvel at the warm mineral-rich waters that have drawn visitors for centuries. Learn about the fascinating history of the area through interactive exhibits and guided tours.

6 – Explore via Electric Fat bike

Our favorite and most unique way to explore Banff is by an Electric fat bike!

a man riding a bicycle on a trail in the snow

Electric Fat Biking In Banff

Hit the trails, capturing iconic landmarks and hidden gems along the way. Our knowledgeable guides will enrich your journey with local insights and captivating stories of the region. Enjoy hot drinks at a secret viewpoint amidst unrivalled panoramic views. No prior e-biking experience needed, just a sense of adventure!

Book your Electric Fat Biking Adventure In Banff

7 – Fairmont Banff Springs

Step into a world of elegance and charm at the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs, affectionately known as the “Castle in the Rockies.”

A view of the Banff Springs Hotel

Fairmont Banff Springs

Perched majestically amidst the breathtaking landscape of Banff National Park, this historic hotel has been welcoming guests in style since 1888. The Fairmont Banff Springs offers an unparalleled experience of luxury and hospitality.

Take a leisurely stroll through the grand halls or indulge in a luxury spa treatment at the Willow Stream Spa. One of our favorite bars in town is hidden within the Fairmont: The Rundle Bar offers unique cocktails with a view of the Banff Springs golf course and Mount Rundle.

8 – Hire a local expert and enjoy a private tour

a car parked on the side of a snow covered road

Private tour

Experience the best of Banff with a personalized private day tour led by a knowledgeable local expert. With a flexible itinerary tailored to your interests and comfortable private luxury transportation, you’ll explore the region’s iconic landmarks and hidden gems in style and comfort. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural insights, or simply a day of relaxation, Radventures private tours offer a bespoke experience that ensures an unforgettable journey in the iconic Banff National Park.

Check out our private adventure options here.

9 – Banff Sunshine Village Slush Cup

A group of friends in bright clothing at sunshine village ski resort.

Friends at Sunshine Village Slush Cup


If you’re looking for a day of extreme fun and partying like no other in the Rockies, The Sunshine Village Slush Cup is your golden ticket! This iconic event is a highlight of the spring season in Banff.

Skiers and snowboarders decked out in outrageous costumes launch themselves off a snowy ramp and attempt to skim across a pool of icy slush without taking a chilly dip.

Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or just looking to soak up the festive atmosphere, the Banff Slush Cup promises an unforgettable experience that perfectly captures the spirit of spring in the Rockies.





10 – Lake Louise

If you’re planning a trip to Banff, you’ve probably heard of Lake Louise over and over again. But we have to say, the hype is real! The turquoise waters of Lake Louise truly are as blue as all the photos you’ve seen, no filter!

a body of water with a mountain in the background

Lake Louise

This stunning lake, surrounded by towering snowcapped peaks, offers an abundance of activities for everybody and every ability. Whether you want to soak up the views of the glacier and waters from the shoreline, paddle along the water in a bright red Canadian Canoe, test your fitness levels on one of the many hiking trails, or indulge in a little slice of luxury at the Fairmont Chateaux Lake Louise, there truly is so much to see and do!

As Lake louise is one of the most visited attractions in Banff National Park, parking can often be chaotic, so guarantee your adventure by jumping on a Radventures day tour where one of our local experts will ensure you don’t miss a beat!

Visit Lake Louise, Emerald Lake, AND Johnston Canyon in this full day tour.

Prefer to just visit Lake Louise and Johnston Canyon? Click here for our top rated day tour.

11 – Hike to a mountaintop tea house

a body of water with a mountain in the background

Lake Agnes


Here’s a real bucket list hike! Starting from the shores of Lake Louise, the Lake Agnes trail takes you up through switchbacks surrounded by forests and waterfalls before finally being greeted by the aromas of freshly brewed tea with a side of panoramic mountain vistas.

The tea house sits beside Lake Agnes and offers a range of hot teas and freshly baked goodies, a warm welcome after a 3.5km (one-way) hike with 385m of elevation gain.

12-Banff Upper Hot Springs

May is an ideal time to soak up the scenery in a natural hot spring, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and therapeutic warm water. The Banff Upper Hot Springs offers panoramic views of the Bow Valley below and is the perfect opportunity to unwind after a hard day of hiking while enjoying the serenity of the mountains.






13 – Try the best dessert in Banff (a local secret fave)

a piece of cake on a plate

Key Lime Pie from Bluebird wood-fired Steakhouse


The locals in Banff are all talking about one sweet treat: The Key Lime Pie at Bluebird Wood fired Steak House.

Freshly baked daily and adored by locals, it’s not just any key lime pie – it’s a culinary masterpiece. Picture a generous slice of pie, bursting with zesty lime flavor atop a velvety creamy base, all crowned with a heavenly whipped white chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of lime zest. Trust us, it’s big enough for two, but you won’t want to share. You’ll thank us later.







14 – Spot wildlife in secret local spots

What’s a trip to Banff without seeing some of our famous wildlife! Now let’s be clear, Banff is not a zoo, the animals are wild and going out looking for bears isn’t exactly encouraged.

a large brown bear walking through a forest

A grizzly bear in Banff

At Radventures, we offer a safe and fun way to potentially spot wildlife whilst enjoying famous viewpoints around The Town Of Banff. Our expert guides, who know these lands like the back of their hands, will lead you to secret spots tucked away from the tourist crowds, where you can potentially witness our local wildlife in their element. From elusive grizzly bears to herds of elk and everything in between! A wildlife sighting is never guaranteed, but good times and incredible views are!

Book your Banff Highlights & Wildlife Tour here.

15 – Columbia Icefield

a snow covered glacier

Columbia Icefield


The Columbia Icefield, located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is a breathtaking expanse of ice and snow that captivates visitors with its sheer beauty and immense scale. It is one of the largest icefields in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At its center lies the stunning Athabasca Glacier, a river of ice that descends from the icefield’s towering peaks into the valley below. Visitors to the Columbia Icefield are treated to panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, and vast glaciers, making it a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventurers.

Hop on Radventures Icefields Parkway Adventure where we visit many famous spots including the Columbia Icefields, Peyto Lake and Mistaya Canyon.





16 – Golf at the Banff springs

The legendary Banff Springs Golf course offers an unparalleled golfing experience that combines breathtaking scenery with world-class amenities.

a view of the Banff springs golf course from above

Banff Springs Golf Course

Designed by renowned golf architect Stanley Thompson, the Banff Springs Golf Course is as challenging as it is picturesque, with fairways that wind through towering pines and greens that overlook stunning mountain vistas. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice golfer, the Banff Springs Golf Course promises an unforgettable round of golf in one of the most spectacular settings on earth.

17 – Sing karaoke in a private room

Tucked away in Banff’s bustling streets, Hello Sunshine is a surprisingly stunning japanese sushi and bbq joint that offers the ultimate karaoke experience. In your own private room, gather your crew, grab the mic, and let the good times roll as you sing your heart out! (Make sure you try their award-winning cheeseburger gyoza)

18 – Cycle the legacy trail to Canmore

The breathtaking Legacy Trail is a picturesque 22km pathway that winds its way from Banff to the charming town of Canmore.

a snow covered road with a mountain in the background

Legacy trail

As you pedal through the stunning landscapes of Banff National Park, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of towering mountains, sparkling rivers, and lush forests stretching as far as the eye can see.

The Legacy Trail offers a leisurely ride suitable for cyclists of all ages and skill levels, with gentle slopes and well-maintained pathways ensuring a smooth journey from start to finish. You can cycle one way and catch one of the local buses back to town by taking advantage of their handy bike racks.

19 – Hiking Trails

It’s pretty fair to say that Banff is a hikers paradise.

a view of Tunnel Mountain in Banff

Mountain views

Some of our favorite easy trails around the Town of Banff (that don’t require a vehicle to reach) include:

  • Bow Falls Trail
  • Tunnel Mountain
  • The Hoodoos Trail
  • Surprise Corner
  • Sundance Canyon (try cycling to the canyon and then hike the canyon loop)
  • Fenland Trail to Vermillion Lakes

20 – Taste locally-made beer and spirits

It’s thirsty work being on vacation, so treat yourself to an afternoon of sampling Banffs vibrant craft beverage scene.

At Park Distillery, (the only distillery located within a national park), you can sample locally made spirits during one of their daily free distillery tours.

Quench your thirst with a visit to 3 Bears Brewery & Banff Ave Brewery. At both of these locations, you can enjoy flights of handcrafted beers brewed on-site using traditional techniques and local ingredients.


Ready to escape the ordinary and book your trip to Banff?

The Radventure of a lifetime is waiting!