Top 15 Apps for Visiting Banff National Park

Author: Celine Brewer

While exploring in Banff National Park, you’ll be in awe of the beauty of this area. The rugged mountains, clear blue lakes and wildlife is what keeps people coming back year after year. You’re going to love exploring this region of Canada. But before you arrive, you can come even more prepared by downloading our top recommended apps for visiting Banff National Park.

This list of apps for travel to Banff National Park will help enhance your trip. Whether your are visiting Banff in summer or winter, I’ve listed the apps that we as locals use on a regular basis. These travel apps for Banff will help you navigate the park and also leave you with even more knowledge about the area!

Best Apps to use for travel to Banff National Park.

These apps go beyond the obvious of using Google Maps (which I recommend you do and download offline maps as you won’t find cell service everywhere).

This post contains compensated links.

Best Apps for Travel to Banff National Park

Ok, so you took my advice and got Google offline maps downloaded on your phone, so what’s next? Here are my recommendations for apps you should get before coming to Banff.

1. GuideAlong App

You’re going to be spending time in your car while driving on some of the most scenic roads in Banff National Park. We highly recommend the GuideAlong Audio Tours for the Canadian Rockies.

listening to the Banff audioguide with Gypsy Guide app

This app allows you to delve into the region’s history and hidden gems, enriching your drive with fascinating insights. Its offline access uses GPS so you’ll learn about the different parts of the area as you drive by and you’ll be alerted of places coming up that you may want to stop and visit.

Even as locals, we really enjoyed using the GuideAlong app as we drove from Banff to Lake Louise and on the Bow Valley Parkway. We were thoroughly impressed with the information and feel that it’s well worth the small price for the how it will enhance a visitors experience in the area.

2. PeakFinder

You can think of PeakFinder as your mountain encyclopedia. If you are like us and want to know which mountain peak you are looking at, this app will do exactly that! Even as locals, there are some mountain peak names we are still learning and sometimes it’s hard to know which peak you are looking at when you see it from a different perspective.

using peakfinder app to see mountain names.

This app identifies over 800,000 peaks worldwide, so you’ll use it again and again. Just point your phone at the mountain peaks to learn which mountains are which.

What’s more, its offline functionality means you can access this information even in remote areas. It’s an excellent resource for enhancing your understanding of Banff’s majestic mountain landscapes.

moutain peak names using peakfinder app on iphone

3. AllTrails

AllTrails is a must-have for anyone exploring Banff’s best hiking trails. Yes, we know it isn’t always the most reliable for all trails, but it’s still extremely useful. It offers detailed maps and reviews from a community of hikers, helping you choose trails that match your skill level and preferences.

using alltrails app on iphone to navigate

Since you can’t always count on cell service around Banff, you’ll definitely want the offline map feature. We always use it to track our hikes, which makes it useful for ensuring we are on the desired trail or finding our way back to trail if we take a wrong turn.

To make sure you can get the map downloads, it’s well worth it to get the AllTrails+. You can always sign up for a 7-day free trial of AllTrails+!

One caution about using AllTrails, when you are tracking your hike it can be very hard on your phone batter. We always recommend carrying a power bank.

In addition to using AllTrails, you should always check trail conditions and for any closures before you head out. You won’t find this information on AllTrails, so bookmark the Parks Canada Trail Conditions page to check before you go.

Prefer a Paper Map?

We understand! We love looking through our Gem Trek maps not only for inspiration but to help us plan hiking routes! These waterproof, durable maps are our favourite!

4. Travel Banff Canada Mobile Itineraries

While these aren’t an app, you will use them on your mobile phone. Our carefully crafted Banff Mobile Itineraries are mobile friendly and allow you to see your fully planned days right on your phone.

mobile itineraries images

You can use our multi-day itineraries for booking and even to navigate, as they include links to the best activities in the park and custom google maps will all the points of interest.

5. OpenTable

If you are visiting during peak summer season in Banff, you’ll want to do some pre-planning for your restaurants. OpenTable simplifies the process of booking your Banff dining experiences

The OpenTable app’s user-friendly interface allows for quick reservations, ensuring you can enjoy Banff’s diverse culinary scene without the hassle of last-minute searching.

6. Token Transit App

The Token Transit App allows you to buy all your Roam bus tickets and keep them right on your phone. You can buy them in advance and just activate them when you are ready to ride. You’ll just show the driver the ticket on your phone.

You do need a credit card to make the purchases and an internet connection.

Local Tip

Once you activate your pass, single ride passes are valid for 30 minutes and regional passes are valid for 45 minutes. Don’t activate too far in advance.

7. Blinkay Smart Park

The Blinkay smart parking app can be used to pay for parking in both the town of Canmore and the town of Banff. You pay with your credit card and can top-up your time on the app at any time. You just need to enter your license plate number.

Blinkay Parking App for Banff and Canmore parking.

If you don’t want another app on your phone, you can also use the Blinkay website to pay for parking in Banff or one of the pay stations. In the town of Banff, there’s only one zone for all of downtown parking. Paid parking in the town of Banff is $5/hour May through October and $4/hour in the non-peak season. If you want to check parking before you go, visit the BanffNow site.

In Canmore, you can use the Blinkay App to pay for parking in the downtown zone or at Quarry lake. Parking in the downtown area will cost $3 per hour from mid-May to mid-October and $2 in the off-season.

Similar for Quarry Lake, paid parking is $10/2 hours in peak season (mid-May to mid-October) and $2.50/hr in the non-peak season.

Read More

We love visiting Quarry Lake in the summer! Read our post on Quarry Lake that shares all the best things to do and everything you should know before you visit!

8. Trailforks

If you are a mountain biker then you already know that Trailforks is an essential app for mountain biking enthusiasts. It provides detailed, up-to-date trail information and maps, contributed by a community of cyclists.

Couple mountain biking in Banff along tunnel trails
Trailforks is our go-to app when we are mountain biking around Canmore and Banff.

The app not only helps in finding the best routes but also in tracking your rides, making it easier to navigate and enjoy Banff’s biking trails.

9. Schnerp.com

Ok, this one isn’t an app, but it’s a website that should be on your radar. Schnerp similar to other campground monitoring services, but it’s specific to Canada. You can monitor for campsites on the Parks Canada system, Alberta Parks, BC Parks, Ontario Parks and even some shuttles.

using schnerp to find open campsites and shuttles for Banff National Park

For example, if you weren’t successful getting a shuttle to Lake O’Hara, this is a good option to be notified of any shuttle openings! Similarly, if you didn’t get the campground you were hoping for, you can put in a request to monitor for any openings.

I’ve been using it to snag shuttles and campsites. I love that I get notified when there’s an opening instead of checking myself, since I inevitably end up forgetting to check most days!

10. Aurora

While there’s no guarantee that you’ll get to see the Northern Lights while visiting Banff, it is possible especially in the winter months.

The Aurora app (or here for Google Play) predicts the visibility of this natural phenomenon, providing alerts and photography tips. It’s an essential tool for anyone hoping to experience and capture the awe-inspiring beauty of the Aurora Borealis in Banff.

11. Weather App

This one is pretty obvious, but it’s worthwhile to have your favourite weather app loaded with Banff’s local forecast. While the weather can be unpredictable, you should still be checking it to help you prepare for the day.

12. Airalo ESIMs

If your regular cell plan doesn’t have a good roaming option for Canada, you can buy an eSIM to use during your trip. We travel frequently and since we don’t love our roaming options, we always buy eSIMs from Airalo.

We’ve used Airalo eSIMS in several countries around the world, including South Korea, Panama, the United States and throughout Europe.

13. SkiBig3 App

If you plan on visiting Banff National Park in the winter, the SkiBig3 App will give you maps, ski shuttle schedules, weather conditions and webcam images for all three ski resorts. It’s well worth it to help navigate the ski resorts for the first time.

If you plan on skiing or snowboarding exclusively at Sunshine Village, they have their own Sunshine Village Banff app.

14. Nordic Pulse

If cross-country skiing is more your style, the Nordic Pulse app is what we use to check grooming reports for anything outside of the national park.

Parks Canada displays their grooming information in the trail conditions here, but for any cross country skiing in Canmore at the Nordic Centre or in Kananaskis then we use Nordic Pulse.

15. 511 Alberta

You should always check road conditions before heading out in the winter. 511Alberta gives you the up to date road conditions across Alberta highways. You can either download the app or just visit the website.

Other websites we use for weather, forecasts and conditions are FireSmoke Canada and the Avalanche Canada. You can easily bookmark these on your home screen on your phone.

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Celine Brewer, a local Canmore resident, is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada. She has a passion for being out in the mountains any time of year. In the summer, you'll often find her hiking or mountain biking. In the winter, she enjoys cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking the most.

As much as she loves the mountains, she also loves travel! When she's not playing outdoors at home, she's either traveling the world with her husband and two kids or working on their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.

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