One of the must-visit places for digital nomads and remote workers is, without a doubt, the breathtaking town of Banff, Canada.
Banff is located in Alberta province and part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. If you are looking for an inspiring place to work remotely, with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during your free time, Banff should definitely be at the top of your list!
A guide to Banff for digital nomads, remote workers, and freelancers that is not made by a tourist passing through may be hard to come by! But fortunately, I was actually born and raised one hour away from Banff and spent two months working remotely in the summer of 2022 within the Banff city limits.
So this is a guide from practically a local, that also happens to be a digital nomad and remote worker.
For these reasons, I am extremely excited to dive into the ultimate guide for digital nomads in Banff Canada.
Where is Banff National Park?
Before we dive into why Banff is one of the best locations for digital nomads and remote workers, it is essential that you understand where it is, a little bit about its history, and how you get there!
Banff National park is located in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. It is approximately 125km west of Calgary, Canada, down the trans-Canada highway, the largest city near Banff, Alberta.
Banff is one of the largest national parks in Canada. It is also a place of immense natural beauty with its striking mountain peaks, dense forests, and glacier-fed lakes.
Sir William Cornelius Van Horne established Banff National Park as one of North America’s first national parks on November 12th, 1885.
Banff covers an area of approximately 410 square kilometers (160 sq mi), making it larger than Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks combined. And to give you some perspective, that’s about half the size of Rhode Island or three times the size of Central Park in New York City!
The best way to get to Banff is by flying into Calgary Canada, and then either renting a car and dropping it off in Banff or taking a bus or shuttle from Calgary to Banff.
Best coffee shops to work from for digital nomads in Banff
We will start by discussing a crucial element of being a digital nomad or a remote worker: the best coffee shops in town with fast WIFI and strong java!
While the coffee shops can get busy on weekends, if you go early enough in the morning, you should be able to find a seat with no problem. Here are our top three coffee shops for digital nomads in Banff:
1. Good Earth Coffeehouse in the Elk + Avenue Hotel
The Good Earth in Banff is the perfect coffee shop to get work done. They have two floors with plenty of seating, fast and free WIFI, and most importantly, excellent coffee. The Good Earth is located right off the main drive and in the heart of the city, and it is equipped with a beautiful patio and views of the incredible Banff mountains.
- Location: Banff Avenue and Elk Steet
- Price: $3-$12
2. STOCK – (Banff Springs Cafe)
STOCK is a beautiful coffee shop located in the iconic Banff Springs Hotel. The coffee is fantastic, the WIFI is fast and free, and the views are incredible. It can get busy during peak times, but if you go early enough in the morning, you should be able to find a seat.
One of my favorite parts about this coffee shop is the walk to get there. From downtown Banff, you walk through a beautiful forest along the river.
- Location: Banff Springs Hotel – 405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta, Canada T1L 1J4
- Price: $4-$20.
3. Evelyns Coffee Bar
Evelyns is a cozy little coffee shop located on Elk Street in Banff. They have excellent coffee, a variety of pastries and snacks, and free WIFI. It can get busy during peak times, but if you go early enough, you should be able to find a seat. Evelyns is the perfect place to curl up with a good book or to get some work done.
- Location: 215 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A4
- Price: $3-$12
Best places for digital nomads to stay in Banff
One of the most significant downsides to being a digital nomad in Banff is the cost of living and accommodation. Banff is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, and accommodation prices reflect that. However, some ways to save money on accommodation in Banff still exist.
Here are our top three picks for budget-friendly accommodation in for digital nomads in Banff:
1. HI-Banff Alpine Centre
The HI-Banff Alpine Centre is a great option for budget-friendly accommodation in Banff. It is located right in the heart of downtown Banff, within walking distance of all the main attractions and restaurants. The HI-Banff Alpine Centre also has a kitchen so you can cook your meals to save even more money.
Location: 101 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A5
2. Samesun Banff
Samesun Banff is one of the cheapest places to stay in Banff. It is a hostel located right in the heart of downtown Banff, within walking distance of all the main attractions and restaurants. Samesun Banff also has a kitchen so you can cook your meals instead of dining out if on a budget.
Location: 433 Banff Ave, Banff, T1L 1B4
3. Elk + Avenue Hotel
The Elk + Avenue Hotel is an excellent option for budget-friendly accommodation in Banff. It is located right in the heart of downtown Banff, within walking distance of all the main attractions and restaurants. The Elk + Avenue Hotel is attached to the Good Earth which is a great working hub, so everything is nearby when staying at the Elk + Avenue Hotel.
Location: 333 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B1
Animals within the park boundaries
Banff is host to many different species of animals. Some animals you may encounter while visiting include elk, deer, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep, cougars, grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, and much more!
Hiking in Banff National Park:
Banff National Park is home to more than 30 mountain peaks over 2500 meters (8000 ft) in height!
Many hiking trails run throughout the park for those interested in some outdoor activity.
Some notable hikes that we love to do, include:
Cascade Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, One of our favorite hikes is Sulphur Mountain which provides stunning views across Banff National Park and can be a great way to get your heart rate up.
The trailhead starts near Lake Louise on the Trans Canada Highway at Minnewanka Loop Road. It’s not an overly challenging hike, but it requires stamina and good ankle support because there is a fair amount of loose rock, so please wear appropriate clothing with sturdy shoes or boots if you plan on doing this.
Wintertime in Banff national park is truly a winter wonderland. I personally like the winter just as much, if not more, than the summer months. Yes, it can get very cold, but the sites are straight out of a fairy tale. Winter is personally my favorite time of year to visit, so I highly recommend winter for all digital nomads in Banff who can tolerate the cold.
Some things to do in Banff national park during winter include :
- Ice skating on Lake Louise
- Gog sledding
- Skiing and snowboarding at castle mountain, sunshine village, lake Louise or Nakiska
- Nordic spas and hot springs
Summertime in Banff National Park is all about the outdoors.
Some things to do in Banff National Park during summer include:
- Hiking and biking trails that go all around the town of Banff, Lake Louise, or Johnston Canyon
- Rock climbing on Mt Rundle (requires a permit)
- Kayaking at Lake Minnewanka, Bow falls, or Moraine lakes
- Climbing Castle Mountain if you like steep hikes with panoramic views
- Paddle boarding
- River Surfing
- Horseback rides through the Rockies
- A ten-minute walk from downtown along Trans Canada Highway is Eiffel Peak trailhead which takes you through meadows filled with wildflowers and offers excellent views of Mount Assiniboine and other peaks in this area. It only takes one hour for an easy hike up, and it’s relatively flat, so it’s great for beginners.”
The Top Things to do in Banff Alberta for Digital Nomads and Remote Workers
Now for the reason that everyone comes to Banff, that hiking and beautiful outdoors! Here is a list of the top places to visit whether you are a digital nomad, remote worker, or even a local.
1. Visit Moraine Lake
All the “hype” still seems to be about Lake Louise, which is excellent, but in our opinion, it does not compare to Moraine Lake.
Moraine lake is a different type of beauty, with its turquoise waters and the Rocky Mountains in the background.
This area is not as congested as Lake Louise, so you can often find yourself having an “experience” there instead of just being another tourist among many.
Moraine lake also has some great hiking trails to explore, which make for a nice day trip or even a longer overnight adventure!
Some other reasons why Moraine Lake tops our list are: it’s only one hour away from Banff; it’s less crowded than Lake Louise; it still retains much of its natural charm, unlike nearby Lake O’Hara (although that may be your preference!), and lastly because few people know about this little gem.
2. Hike to Johnston Canyon and the Ink Pots
Johnston Canyon is a must-see area that is just a hop, skip and jump away from Banff.
Stunning colors shimmer in the water as it flows down over various large boulders on its way to Lake Louise and beyond.
It’s also free of charge, making Johnston Canyon a no-brainer when deciding what places near Banff is worth visiting!
Some other reasons why Johnston Canyon tops our list are: it’s only 20 minutes away from Banff; there are lots of things to do like hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing (among others); and the trails are not overly strenuous on the body!
Another hidden gem to Johnstons Canyon lies beyond the usual path. If you continue down the trail, you will eventually find yourself at the ink pots! The Ink Pots are a series of little pools in the creek, colored a lovely shade of turquoise.
This is worth visiting when you’re near Banff!
3. Drive the icefields parkway
The icefields parkway is a uniquely Canadian experience! It offers some of the most scenic views in the world while providing access to a wide variety of trails for those seeking more strenuous activities.
A favorite spot to stop on your way is Bow Lake – it’s beautiful and serene, perfect for dipping your toes into crystal clear water or just taking in its beauty from afar.
The icefields parkway is a highway that connects Banff national park and Jasper national park.
One of the best parts about this drive is that you can see the glacier from the highway- it’s not something that I recommend driving towards but if you’re passing by then, be sure to keep an eye out for ice and snow on either side of the road.
I also came across a patch of wildflowers in late July – so don’t think there isn’t any beauty after June!
Some things to look out for along this drive include:
Hector lake, bow glacier, bow lake, Columbia icefields, the Columbia icefield walkway, Mistaya Canyon, Athabasca Glacier, and much more.
4. Visit the town of Banff itself!
The town of Banff is a must-visit when inside the national park. It has been featured in National Geographic, and for a good reason!
The Banff Springs Hotel looks as though it may be straight out of a Harry Potter film and has incredible food and accommodation.
Within the town of Banff, you can walk down the river, where you get a fantastic view of the Bow Falls.
Great food, nightlife, shops, and friendly people flood the streets of Banff, and if you happen to go in the summer months, make sure you catch the Banff film festival!
5. Sulphur Mountain and Kananaskis day trip
Sulphur Mountain is the host to some of the nicest views in the entire Banff National Park. The Banff Gondola is the best way to access this picturesque location.
At the top, the Banff Skywalk is a self-guided interpretive walkway (1 km) along the summit ridge that leads to two unique sites, National Historic Sites of Canada – The Cosmic Ray Station and Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.
You can also find some great hikes in the area, including one called ‘The Valley Of The Ten Peaks. This hike will take you through all ten mountains, each uniquely different from the next!
The Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival is an international competition and annual presentation of films about mountain culture, sports, environment, and adventure.
It is one of my favorite events of the year and shows the true beauty of man and nature!
6. Find Mist Mountains Natural Hot Springs
One of the hidden gems of the Canadian Rockies is Mist Mountain.
Now, I want to be clear, Mist Mountain is not actually in Banff, but Kananaskis and is approximately an hour and twenty minutes away from the town of Banff.
However, I still think it deserves a spot on this list due to the incredible natural hot springs at the time of this trailhead.
One of my favorite things about these hot springs is that they are quite challenging to find! The first time I went, it started snowing when I was halfway up the mountain, and I had to turn back as we could not find the actual hot springs.
I also included Mist Mountain on this list because if you are not from Canada and are venturing to Banff National Park, taking a day trip down through Kananaskis is definitely worth it!
There are countless hikes that host amazing views and, depending on the time of year, feature the magnificent yellow larches that make for picturesque shots.
6. Go to Wedge Pond for Sunrise
While on your Kanaskis day trip, I recommend stopping to catch the sunrise at Wedge pond.
Wedge Pond is en route to Mist Mountain and provides one of the nicest places to view the sunrise in the rocky mountains.
7. Dine at Sky Bistro on top of a Sulphur Mountain
You heard that right. You can in fact dine at one of the nicest restaurants in Banff with a view that will make your jaw drop.
Sky Bistro is only open during the gondola operating hours and offers both a la carte dining as well as an exquisite buffet.
I highly recommend getting there early to catch the sunset! Sulphur Mountain is one of my favorite places in all of Banff and I cannot wait to go back and explore more of what this beautiful national park has to offer.
8. Visit Mount Norquay Ski Resort
Mount Norquay ski resort is just outside Banff and is a great place for all ages.
There are lots of activities for the kids, such as tubing, which would be perfect on this snow day!
It also has some really fun runs that offer an easy way to get up to speed with skiing or snowboarding in no time. There’s even a ski school for beginners, so you can learn how to do it right from the start! It only takes one lesson before they’ll have you shredding down the mountain like pros (depending on your level).
Mount Norquay Resort has been running since 1954 and offers something called night skiing, where everyone gets their headlamp when they come out at night, making it easier than ever to take to the slopes even during the night.
9. Venture into Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
The only reason that Mount Assiniboine is ranked number 9 on our list is due to the fact that it is not in Banff national park… and technically, not even in Alberta.
However, one of the main trailheads begins at Sunshine Village and is a 52km hike to get to Mountain Assiniboine.
This is undoubtedly my favorite hike in the Canadian Rockies.
You can visit the parks in the summer by taking a helicopter, hiking or using both. All three will require you to stay overnight.
We did this backpacking adventure over four days, and this is definitely what I would recommend.
It can be grueling at times, but once you arrive at the Assiniboine campsites, you can rest and branch off into some of the nicest hikes in the Canadian Rockies.
10. Go Paddle Boarding on Lake Minnewanka
While visiting Lake Minnewanka, it is also worthwhile going on to Two Jack Lake – where canoes can be rented – and Johnson Lake.
The reason that I have Lake Minnewanka on this list is due to the proximity to the town of Banff, as well as the number of activities you can actually do on and around the lake.
Lake Minnewanka is a fantastic place for mountain biking.
The trail running along the shoreline has heart-pumping ascents and technical sections, but the scenery makes an effort extended seem inconsequential. 12. Wildlife Viewing Wildlife
11. Take a dip in Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is one of the nicest lakes to visit along the icefields parkway and is situated between Banff and Jasper. Peyto Lake is not only a beautiful place to visit, but it is also well known for the variety of wildlife that can be seen from any dock or boat on this lake.
Peyto Lake is also very popular with kayakers as they can paddle around and enjoy the mountainous views in both directions without going anywhere near land. The scenery at Peyto Lake changes throughout the day due to its position between Banff and Jasper – you will see how mountains are reflected in different ways as night falls.
Only accessible by road, make sure not to miss out on Peyto Lakes while enjoying your time in Canada’s Rockies!
12. Visit the infamous Lake Louise
An hour down the Bow River Valley via the Trans-Canada Highway from the town of Banff is drop-dead-gorgeous Lake Louise.
The Lake Louise Visitor Centre is a great place to learn about this beautiful, glacier-fed body of water that has been home to glaciers for thousands of years.
Over three million visitors come here every year, and it’s not hard to see why! The views are breathtakingly stunning, with lush forests and an endless expanse of ice on one side. And as if you need more persuasion – they have plenty of food vendors at the visitor center, so you can grab lunch before exploring!
If you visit Lake Louise in the winter, ice-sculpture competitions are often going on as well!
Make sure to bring your skates (or you can rent some) as this has to be one of the nicest outdoor hockey rinks on planet earth.
Herbert lake is in between Banff and Lake Louise. Herbert Lake is a small glacial lake situated on the Icefields Parkway that has one of the nicest swimming holes in Banff National Park!
Hebert lake is a place that most people probably pass by without much thought. However, next time you are en route from Banff to Lake Louise, do your best to stop!
With crystal clear water and some incredible fishing, one would think that would be enough to plan a little day trip. However, the real magic lies on the backside of the lake, approximately 2 kilometers from the main parking lot.
There is a secret diving board that has been installed by some locals that are said to be taken from the Banff springs hotel many years ago.
If it is a hot day and you are looking for a nice dip in the mountain lake, check out the diving board on the backside of Hebert Lake!
Stay in the Canmore alpine hostel.
Canmore Alberta is, in my opinion, a hidden gem of the Rockies. Canmore is only a 25-minute drive from Banff and is an excellent base for exploring the Rockies.
There is great nightlife, and it is just outside the national park, so you do not need to pay a fee to parks Canada to stay overnight.
One of my favorite places to stay in Canmore is the Alpine Clubhouse.
Meet other people and tourists in a friendly, adventure-fueled hostel and wake up in the heart of the mountains.
The Alpine Hostel backs right onto grotto mountain, which is one of my favorite hikes.
It is a more challenging hike than many others on this list, but if you are looking for wildlife, scenic hikes, and a workout, I highly recommend it.
Digital nomads in Banff Alberta, Canada recap:
Banff National Park has been a hotspot for digital nomads and remote workers over the last few years and for good reason. Banff is one of North America’s most beautiful national parks. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of Canada’s best-kept secrets.
Pros to being a digital nomad in Banff:
There are countless reasons to love Banff as a digital nomad.
Some of the pros include:
- You can live and work in one of Canada’s most beautiful places
- There is a growing community of other remote workers and digital nomads
- There are plenty of things to do in your spare time, from hiking to visiting lakes and hot springs
- There is amazing WIFI and plenty of coffee shops to work remotely from.
- It is very easy to get a part-time or full-time job if you are from out of town.
- Banff has tremendous nightlife!
Cons of being a digital nomad in Banff:
- It can be expensive to live in Banff, especially if you want to live near the town center
- The winters can be long and cold
- There is a limited number of coworking spaces in Banff
Is Jasper national park near Banff national park?
Jasper national park and Banff national park are very close to one another! Taking the AB-93 North, the total distance from Banff to Jasper is 288km.
Can you see the northern lights in Banff national park?
Yes, you can see the northern lights in Banff, and the Aurora Borealis makes an appearance several times throughout the year. However, if you are looking for a better northern lights experience, I suggest you make a quick stop in Jasper National Park!
What is the best month to visit Banff national park?
The best time to visit Banff depends on what kind of experience you are looking for! If you
How expensive is a trip to Banff national park?
According to budget your trip (Link: https://www.budgetyourtrip.com/canada/banff), You should plan to spend around CA$93 ($77) per day on your vacation in Banff, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, CA$31 ($26) on meals for one day and CA$5.71 ($4.73) on local transportation.
What is The Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada
Visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site to experience the birthplace of Canada’s national parks. The site also features exhibits about the natural and cultural history of Banff National Park.
Discover the hot water that seeps from the rocks, smell the different minerals, explore new trails and enjoy it on your own or take one of many guided tours.
Learn about the heritage that lives within the Canadian rocky mountains, the history of how they built the Canadian Pacific Railway, the aboriginals of the region, and much more at this historical site!