MikeSeehagel EH-Pursuit LakeMinnewanka D4 8546
HomeTrue North Blog

Top Summer Activities in the Canadian Rockies

Summer in the Canadian Rockies provides endless opportunities for sightseeing, wildlife viewing, hiking and other exciting adventures. You can get a taste of what the area has to offer in a day, but this stunning region of Canada is worth an extended visit. Try to spend at least three days to really experience the area — but we recommend a longer visit. A Rockies train vacation is an ideal way to immerse yourself in the area.

The Canadian Rockies extend about 1,000 miles along the border of Alberta and British Columbia, two of Canada's stunning and wild provinces. The area is home to the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, including Banff, Jasper, Yogo, Kootenay, and Waterton Lakes National Parks, as well as numerous provincial parks. 

During the summer, the weather in the Canadian Rockies tends to be sunny and warm. Temperatures do drop at night, and it can be cooler at higher elevations, so be sure to pack layers.

Here are some of our picks for the best things to do in the Canadian Rockies in the summer.

Banff Gondola

Couple on Banff Gondola Ride going over a forest

For a unique summit experience and sweeping views of the Rockies, visit the Banff Gondola. First opened in 1959, the gondola soars 2,922 feet to the Sulphur Mountain summit, offering a unique and breathtaking perspective of the Bow Valley and the jagged peaks of six mountain ranges.

The adventure doesn't end with the gondola. Experience the gondola summit building with restaurants, interactive exhibits, and a 360-degree rooftop observation deck. The summit complex also provides access to the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk to Sanson's Peak and several hiking trails.

Add a visit to the Banff gondola to your Rockies trip through a sight-seeing trip or a private tour. 

Wildlife Tours

moose licking salt off a car in Alberta

No list of things to do in the Canadain Rockies is complete without a wildlife tour. The area is home to a diverse wildlife ecosystem. Our travel advisors can help you add a guided tour to explore the natural habitats through the rugged terrains of Banff and Jasper. Enjoy the serenity of guided river paddling and spot bald eagles, elk, and beavers while learning about their habitats and conservation efforts.

Boat Cruise on Lake Minnewanka

Waves crash against the cruise boat on Lake Minnewanka.

The glacier lakes in the Canadian Rockies mean boat tours are an ideal thing to do during the summer. Located in Banff, Lake Minnewanka is known for crisp mountain beauty, human history dating back over 10,000 years, and its unique guided boat excursions. The classic cruise takes visitors along to learn the story of Minnewanka Landing as they explore the landscapes and take in the history and geology from a heated and covered boat.

Visitors can opt for the beer voyage boat cruise and enjoy cold craft beer during their lake adventure, or experience Lake Minnewanka from an in-depth perspective on the premium cruise. Talk to your travel advisor about adding a boat cruise to your trip. 

Sight-seeing Tour on the Icefields Parkway

Driving through a mountain road, watching the scenery in the rearview mirror, icefields parkway near Jasper

Linking Lake Louise and Jasper, the Icefields Parkway is a 144-mile stretch of highway winding through sweeping mountain peaks, scenic valleys, and the iconic icefields. This beautiful drive is filled with pine and larch forests and dotted with dramatic waterfalls and lakes.

A perfect thing to do in the Canadian Rockies is to make your transfer from Banff to Jasper a private tour. Then you can stop along the way and truly explore the area. Our new Banff and the Canadian Rockies Explorer trip includes a guided tour of the Icefields Parkway. 

Ice Explorer Glacier Tour and Skywalk

People standing on the Glacier Skywalk on the Icefields Parkway

The Ice Explorer Glacier Tour and Skywalk is a must-do while in the Canadian Rockies in the summer, and only operates between May and October. It offers an elevated and prestigious experience of the Columbia Icefield. The tour starts with a 30-minute journey on a massive Ice Explorer all-terrain vehicle to the Athabasca Glacier, where guests learn about the ancient history and glaciology of the area and even get a taste of the glacier's water.

After the tour, visitors head to the Skywalk, a glass-floored platform overlooking the Sunwapta Valley and its impressive peaks and valleys from a staggering 918 feet. The Glacier Discovery Centre also hosts several restaurants and interpretive displays.

A Heli-tour of the Mountains

Woman getting out of a Helicopter

A heli-tour through the Canadian Rockies is a once in a lifetime experience. Get eagle views of Kananaskis and Canmore as well as stunning and unique perspectives of the surrounding valleys, lakes, and peaks.

There's a range of heli-tour and experience options available. The Three Sisters and Continental Divide Tour take you deep into the Rockies landscape, soaring through the Goat Ranges, Wind Ridge, and the Sundance Range. The Mt Assiniboine and Glaciers Tour delivers the ultimate heli-experience and transports guests to see the 11,870-foot Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies and the iconic Gloria Glacier.

A Guided Wilderness Hike or Tour

A hiker absorbs an amazing scene in the mountains in Banff

One of the most accessible things to do in the Canadian Rockies during the summer is a hike, with the extensive trail system in the parks. Some trails are even wheelchair accessible. With its turquoise lakes, majestic summits, and towering cliffs, the Canadian Rockies are a hiker's dream destination. Our travel advisors can arrange hikes with certified guides for private and family-friendly tours for all levels of ability. Popular spots for tours include Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Larch Valley.  

Go for a day hike to take in the fresh air and rich wildlife, or do a multi-day trek from a fly-in mountain lodge — truly a bucket-list worthy vacation.

Paddle on Lake Louise

Group of adults paddling in Lake Louise

Located in Banff, the turquoise and glassy waters of Lake Louise are a dream to paddle on. No trip to Lake Louise is complete without a from-the-water perspective of the surrounding Mount Temple, Mount Whyte, and Mount Niblock.

Canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboard are all permitted on the lake and are ideal for a mellow and family-friendly outing. It's the perfect activity while staying at the beautiful Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where you can enjoy an apres-paddle cocktail. 

Trail Riding on Horseback

Horseback rider with a view of mountains and trees in Banff

Some parts of the Canadian Rockies are best experienced on horseback. Embrace your inner cowboy and the region's western history and ask your travel advisor about joining a guided horseback riding tour. Spray River tours deliver river crossings and views of Rocky Mountain waterfalls, and rides along the Bow River are perfect for beginners. For an adventurous experience full of wildlife and thrilling views, ride along the Bow Valley Loop.

Sight-Seeing Cruise on Maligne Lake

Person paddles a canoe across a lake in the Canadian Rockies in summer.

A popular thing to do in Jasper in the summer is to explore Maligne Lake on a sight-seeing cruise. Its crystal waters are fed by the glaciers of Jasper National Park, making it the perfect backdrop for your vacation photos. This cruise add on sails guests 8 miles past peaks, glaciers, and to the famous Spirit Island. From comfortable and glass-enclosed boats, guests get a close look at stunning wildlife and learn about the geology, glaciology, and biology of the area. Guests can also disembark and explore nearby nature trails. If the 1.5-hour tour isn't enough, you can rent a kayak to explore the area more closely.

Discuss your Canadian train vacation with a local travel expert

Cartoon polar bear speaking on the phone

Or call us toll free

Cartoon polar bear speaking on the phone