Unlike Glacier in the US, Banff National Park has no free hikers' shuttle. However, newly expanded public bus service and a small collection of private shuttles helps fill the void.
Banff is well geared for cyclists, with a nice network of trails and plenty of bike shops and rental companies dotted around the Banff Town. Very few trailheads have cycle racks, but some rental companies offer shuttle services to main trails.
Roam runs Banff's excellent and expanding network of public buses.
Five local routes serve Banff Town and its immediate surroundings:
- route 1 to Banff Hot Springs
- route 2 to Tunnel Mountain
- route 4 to Cave and Basin
- route 6 to Lake Minnewanka
- route 7 to the Banff Centre
Slightly more expensive regional buses serve the following destinations:
- route 3 to Canmore
- route 8X to Lake Louise (express route along the Trans-Canada Hwy)
- route 8S to Lake Louise (slower but more scenic, follows the Bow Valley Pkwy)
- route 9 to Johnston Canyon
All routes pass through Roam's transit hub at Banff High School. Schedules and route maps are available online (www.roamtransit.com) and at all bus stops. A day pass costs $5 for local buses or $15 for regional buses.
Banff's three ski resorts (Sunshine, Mt Norquay and Lake Louise) run free shuttles to their base gondolas in the winter and summer.
White Mountain Adventures serves hikers returning from Mt Assiniboine with its Mt Assiniboine Shuttle. The service runs from Shark Moutain trailhead back to Banff Town every afternoon at 4:30pm; reserve ahead.
Car & Motorcycle
Trans-Canada Hwy/Hwy 1 runs straight through the center of the park via Canmore, Banff Town and Lake Louise village. The single-lane Bow Valley Pkwy (Hwy 1A) runs parallel to Hwy 1, and is closed in spring from 6pm to 9am to protect wildlife.
Within the national park, speed limits are usually 90km/h (56mph) for major roads, and 30km/h to 60km/h (19mph to 37mph) on secondary roads, unless otherwise indicated.
Outside Banff Town and Lake Louise, the only gas stations within the national park are at Castle Junction (32km west of Banff) and Saskatchewan River Crossing (80km north of Lake Louise).
Most parking lots at trailheads and in Lake Louise village and Banff Town are free, but pay careful attention to posted time limits (generally two hours maximum for in-town parking).
Due to the distances between sights, taxis aren’t a very practical way of getting around, although they can make an economical way of getting to trailheads for families and groups of more than three people. A fare between Banff Town and Canmore is approximately C$50.