If you enjoy backpacking or are thinking about it for the first time, Banff should be on your bucket list. Some distinct traits that backpackers have in common are that they are adventurous and economical. Finding the perfect destination to fulfill both needs can be challenging at times, but in Canada, specifically, Banff, the search ends.
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Banff has everything you need covering a wide spectrum of budgets and interests. The destination is ideal for solo travelers or those looking for a fun family experience. If you’re a social butterfly excited about interacting with others over a drink, Banff has a number of local pubs. If, on the other hand, you want to go the traditional route and go “off the grid,” Banff has the perfect campground.
The town has everything you need to make your trip a success. As far as food goes, you can enjoy your pick of the litter. From 5-star restaurants to quick burger-shacks, there is no shortage of choices from which to choose to satisfy your hunger! There are also several budget-friendly hostels, including those below.
- Free parking
- Complimentary breakfast
- Guest lockers
- Fully equipped guest kitchen
- Patio with great views of the Rockies
- Day and long-term storage
- “Amazing place! It was clean and the staff was very helpful.”
- “The hostel was super clean! It was easy to meet people & the Beaver Bar has great activities every night.”
- “With the Beaver Bar and common room, it’s impossible not to make friends.”
- “I loved my stay at Samesun! The whole process was smooth. The room was clean, the beds were comfy, and the fireplace kept it toasty warm…I always felt safe with the locked doors and a 24/7 staff member.”
The Samesun Banff hostel boasts palatial rooms, breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, and the onsite Beaver Bar providing cozy confines to retire to after a day of fun activities exploring central Canada.
The staff is ready and available to help you secure passes and transportation to the ski slopes in the winter or to a variety of outdoor activities in the summer such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, and gondola riding. If you want to explore the town itself, there are plenty of shopping, dining and drinking options from which to choose.
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BANFF ALPINE CENTER
- Free transportation
- Free Wi-Fi
- On-site pub
- Two kitchens
- “Accommodations in Banff can be very expensive and hard to find so this place is great for backpackers or budget travelers.”
- “Incredible place to stay with many things to do! It has great views, food and a wonderful bar! I highly recommend it.”
- “I stayed here with four teenagers on a summer road trip. It was our first experience at a hostel, and it was good. It was in a perfect location. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, and the food was great!”
- “Don’t let the location put you off as it is easy to walk to town and the local bus practically drops you at the door. It’s even better with the bus pass the hostel gives you.”
Enjoy the Banff party scene and rustic mountain life all in one at the HI-Banff Alpine Center. In addition to the traditional hostel rooms, this location offers twin private dorm rooms which makes it great for families. The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is a 10-minute drive away.
Nearby activities include biking, snowboarding, skiing, white-water rafting, and hiking. The hostel also houses an onsite restaurant and bar that offers free darts, billiards and foosball.
BANFF INTERNATIONAL HOSTEL
- Bus transport to ski hills
- Free Wi-Fi
- Fully equipped kitchen
- TV lounge
- “Banff International has all you need for accommodation! The staff was friendly and the location of the hostel was perfect! I would definitely come back here if I’m back in Banff!”
- “I love this hostel. The rooms are in little cabins. It’s a nice feel. The breakfast is also great!”
- “There is a bit of a walk from the bus station but plenty of companies do a shuttle bus which drops off at the hostel. They have great luggage storage facilities during the day if you need to leave anything bigger than a small locker’s worth.”
- “I highly recommend this hostel. It was the perfect spot for our trip to Banff. The kitchen was amazing! We never felt uncomfortable and would definitely stay here again.”
Banff International Hostel is great for short-term travelers/backpackers and long-term travelers who are looking for work. The facilities and rooms were recently renovated so so you can expect clean and comfortable accommodations.
With en-suite washrooms, free Wi-Fi, free continental breakfast, a TV lounge and access to computers, the hostel has all the necessary accommodations you’ll need to ensure a memorable stay!
YWCA BANFF HOTEL
- Free Wi-Fi
- Storage room
- Free bike racks
- “I stayed at this place twice-once in a private room and another time in a dorm bed. Both times my experience was wonderful. The location is perfect, and it’s really clean.”
- “The staff is great, and it is in close proximity to the town. With keycards and lockers, I felt secure.”
- “The staff was very helpful. The rooms and bathrooms were clean. I was within walking distance to all restaurants, shopping, and museums. I would stay here again.”
- “This is a great location. A beautiful river and walking trails are right behind the hostel. It is within walking distance to a grocery store, coffee shops and many restaurants.”
- “The staff was friendly and helpful. Upon arrival, they provided us with information on local events and things to do. Facilities were also good. The kitchen and laundry were well equipped.”
It may be the YWCA, but it’s open to everyone-women, men, families, and groups. What’s unique and endearing about this hostel is that those who book a room reinvest their vacation dollars into programs and services such as violence prevention and response programs.
LAKE LOUISE ALPINE CENTRE
- Play area for children
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Vaulted ceilings
- Outdoor patio
- On-site restaurant
- “We stayed at the hostel the night before and the night after our 3-day backpack. Conveniently, our trailhead was only 10 minutes from the hostel. It was the nicest hostel we’ve ever stayed in! The laundry and shower facilities were VERY clean. The staff was friendly and accommodating.”
- “This is a great location. We were within walking distance to shops and close to the highway. The rooms were nice rooms with comfy bunks. I loved the lounge room!”
- “We had a great stay! The free shuttle to the ski field from just across the road made mornings very easy. We used the snowshoes and snowshoed back from Lake Louise. It was stunning!”
- “Amazing place! The staff was very hospitable people, and the food was great!”
Lake Louise is great for backpackers who want to explore the Rocky Mountains on a budget, those who want privacy and families. There’s even a special play area for children!
Take advantage of the fully equipped kitchen or let the enjoy the on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. There is also an abundance of activities no matter the season!
- Campfires and fireplaces
- Wood-burning sauna
- Outdoor fire pit
- Free parking
- Bike storage
- “It’s such a cute cabin in the woods. I felt like I was at camp. We had a nice campfire at night and chatted with other travelers which was great. We had everything we needed.”
- “I would recommend this place to everyone. It’s refreshing to stay in a place that is able to give you a safe haven from the outside world. The host was extremely friendly and even gave me tips about looking at the stars at night. The sleeping area/lounge is heated. You have to give this place a try!”
- “It felt like camping in a log cabin with friends. There is a bonfire and firewood to use.”
If you are seeking a true, rustic, outdoor experience, look no further than the Mosquito Creek Wilderness Hostel. The quiet cabin offers simplicity found nowhere else in HI Canada.
There are no phones and there is no electricity, no running water (no showers or flushing toilets). Outhouse toilets are available, however. Despite the calm environment, you will be sure to make new friends sharing the kitchen, sauna, campfire or travel stories with others.
Aside from the many activities the hostels provide, there are also various activities to do within the city itself. Whether it’s in the middle of a brisk winter or during the dog days of summer, there are a number of activities offered in the area to make your experience enjoyable.
In the winter, enjoy the majestic mountains on skis. Go snowmobiling, tubing, and ice skating. In the summer, you can enjoy shopping or a picnic in the park. Feel free to take a ride on the Banff Gondola or go on a boat ride on Lake Minnewanka. Tons of fun and adventure await you in the town of Banff!