How to get from Banff to Vancouver

A recently published report by the U.K.-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Vancouver as the fifth most livable city in the world. The lively seaport in British Columbia on the west coast is one of Canada’s most densely populated and ethnically diverse cities. It is famous for its natural beauty and outdoor sports facilities. It is some 900km from Banff, a resort town in the province of Alberta, within Banff National Park – Canada’s first national park. Banff is world-renowned for its surreally coloured lakes, majestic mountains and endless outdoor adventures. Today, more than 4 million people visit Banff National Park every year, and over 8 million people visit Vancouver every year. If you would like to visit both places and are looking to do so on the same trip, here are five ways to get from Banff to Vancouver.

How to get from Banff to Vancouver


The most exciting and picturesque way to get from Banff to Vancouver is to get the train. But not just any train, the Rocky Mountaineer! Travelling to Banff from Vancouver by train means you don’t have to deal with traffic; just sit back, take in the views, and stretch your legs whenever you feel like it. The Rocky Mountaineer journey takes two days to reach Banff from Vancouver. This includes an overnight stop in Kamloops. The train leaves every few days and runs from mid-April to mid-October. This is one of, if not the most expensive way to travel between Banff and Vancouver, but it is a bucket-list experience and one of the most scenic journeys in all of Canada.

Private Tour

If you don’t want to drive, plan the route, or consider the logistics, then a private tour from Banff to Vancouver is the best option. You’ll get from the mountains to the city by private, comfortable coach, and you’ll be able to sit back, relax and watch the scenery roll by. This is the most relaxing way to travel between the two places. On a tour, you will have time to explore and visit other terrific destinations near Banff, including Jasper and Lake Louise. However, most private tours between the two locations only operate in the warmer months, roughly May to September, so this isn’t a suitable mode of transport during the winter.


You can travel from the two places along the public bus route all year around. Again, this way, you don’t have to worry about driving unfamiliar roads; you simply get to sit back, relax, and take in the sighs from the large windows.

Buses take around 13 hours and 15 minutes, but it is a comfortable journey, and onboard, there is Wi-Fi. We recommend booking your bus tickets in advance to guarantee a seat, especially if you’re travelling during the busy winter and summer seasons. From June through September, travellers can also use On-It Regional Transit to travel the Banff-to-Calgary leg of the journey by bus, or you can catch The Banff Express train to do this leg all year around.


The most convenient way to get from Banff to Vancouver is by car. And this is one incredibly scenic road trip. There are many car hire firms around Banff, but finding the best deal is the first step. Taking the car means leaving whenever you like and making pit stops and detours along the way. However, if you are renting a car and are planning on driving from October to April, check that your rental car has winter tyres, as they are required by law.

Travelling from Vancouver to Banff along Highway 1 is a memorable adventure, especially in summer. Without stopping, you could complete the journey in around 9 hours. But we highly recommend taking your time and stopping at the many interesting places along the way.


While you can’t fly directly from Banff, you can fly from Calgary to Vancouver. Calgary is only about an hour and a half away from Banff. To get to Calgary from Banff, you can take a shuttle, drive or get a taxi. Air Canada and West Jet both offer direct flights between Calgary to Vancouver. The journey by plane takes roughly 90 minutes; however, you do need to allow extra time to get to the airport, check-in and get through security.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

View stories