Transportation from Calgary Airport to Banff
Over 4 million people visit the Banff National Park every year. Are you longing to be in the midst of the stunning Canadian Rockies too? And wondering how to get there. Well, if you are heading to Banff from overseas, most likely you will be flying into the Calgary Airport, which is the closest airport to the national park. This handy guide to transportation from Calgary Airport to Banff has you covered with all the plethora of travel options to land at the lap of the spectacular Rockies. Not to worry.
Banff National Park is the first national park of Canada – it is the gem of Alberta and the cradle of the mighty Canadian Rockies.
The nearest airport to reach Banff is the YYC – Calgary International Airport. Calgary is one of the cleanest cities in the world and one of our favorites, so definitely add a day of exploration in this stunning Canadian city.
- Calgary to Banff is 127 kilometers and it takes 1.50 hours to arrive (under normal weather conditions)
- Edmonton to Banff is 415 kilometers and it takes 4.50 hours to arrive (under normal weather/road conditions). This is the next best international airport after Calgary.
Read Banff tips to prepare for your trip
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Transportation from Calgary Airport to Banff: Ways to travel from Calgary to Banff
There are many different ways of traveling from Calgary to Banff National Park. We have listed all the possible ways below and have highlighted the costs and service provider’s information as well.
- Car or Car Rental
- Airport Taxi
- Private Transfers
- Shared Rides
Calgary to Banff: By Car or Car Rental
One of the BEST ways to travel from Calgary Airport to Banff National Park is by car. If you are driving to Calgary and then heading to Banff – GREAT. You will be welcomed by amazing mountain views, lakes, and valleys along the way.
Flying to Calgary Airport? Then car rental is an option for you. It takes 1.50 hours (or 90 minutes) to reach from Calgary Airport to Banff. Driving through one of the scenic routes in Canada, you will encounter wildlife, stunning mountain peaks, valleys, and fields.
You can rent a car at the YYC – Calgary International Airport. There are many international car rental brands available at the airport. The car pick up areas are located at a walk-able distance from the airport terminals (and no additional travel time is required).
- Enterprise Car Rental
- Avis Car Rental
- Budget Rental
- National Car Rental
|Car Rental||Mid Size||SUV or Van|
|Enterprise||$65 CAD||$115 CAD|
|Avis||$58 CAD||$125 CAD|
|Budget||$59 CAD||$120 CAD|
|National||$65 CAD||$120 CAD|
|Hertz||$63 CAD||$121 CAD|
|Alamo||$60 CAD||$115+ CAD|
Your travel route options are
- Via the Stoney Trail (Hwy 201) – Fastest route
- via Trans-Canada Hwy/AB-1 W – Travels within the Calgary city limits, might take additional time to arrive
Cost Breakdown for the Calgary Airport to Banff trip (one way):
Car rental costs – $55 to $65 per day, depending on the car type (some months you can also find car rentals for as cheap as $35 CAD)
Insurance – $10 to $35 CAD per day, depending on the type of car.
Gas (estimate) – Gas is sold in litres in Canada, about $0.90 – 1.25 CAD per litre
Tips to remember:
- Ensure you have a valid driver’s license (Canadian, US or International).
- Must be at least 21 years of age to rent a vehicle.
- Get car insurance.
- Calgary Airport car rentals will be sold out pretty fast. Prepare and book ahead so that you can choose the type of car you want for your Banff vacation.
- Check if you require GPS, or car seat for young children, space for ski equipment (or kayaks and camping gear in summer)
Rental Car Tips – winter driving tips in Banff
- Download and use the Alberta Road assistance App – 511 (app or website) to learn about traffic updates and road conditions, especially during winters.
- During winters, adhere to weather alerts and do not access closed routes.
- Book for an all-wheel-drive vehicle if possible.
- Snow or winter tires – A must for snow/winter driving (temperatures could drop to -28 degrees and roads could be slippery)
- If traveling to Banff between the months of November through April, it is recommended that you have snow tires on.
- Blowing snow is very common in and around Calgary and Banff, so drive slow and use headlights. We recommend that you check the weather before heading out for long drives/sightseeing.
- Carry extra warm clothes, food or snacks
- Keep a safety kit (first aid kit) inside the car
If you are using your vehicle to explore Banff, learn about parking in Banff BanffParking (Banff and Lake Louise Tourism)
Read Banff Things to do in winter
Calgary Airport to Banff: Airport Taxis
Taxis are available to take you from the Calgary airport to Banff. No pre-booking is necessary, but it is good if you do.
Here are taxi and cab providers in Calgary:
- Checker Cabs – Phone: 403-299-9999
- Calgary City Cabs – Phone: 403-605-999
- Associated Cabs – Phone: 403-299-1111
- Calgary United Cabs – Phone: 403-777-1111
Cost Cab from Airport to Banff trip (one way):
$250+ CAD one-way taxi ride.
Uber is legal in Calgary and they provide services from Calgary Airport as well.
Calgary Airport to Banff: By Private Airport Transfers
There are private transfer options available from the Calgary Airport to Banff. With private transfers, there is no waiting in taxi lines or making multiple shuttle stops. With a professional chauffeur on board, you will arrive in Banff (or Banff hotel) without the hassle of driving or directions. A good option to consider during winter seasons, if you are unconformable with driving on winter road conditions.
Upon arrival at the airport, the chauffeur will meet you in baggage claims and will drive you to Banff.
The trip cost starts from $ 350 USD
Once you arrive in Banff, you can take Banff sightseeing tours or local buses to explore more of the National Park.
Calgary to Banff: By Sightseeing Tours
There are sightseeing tours, available from Calgary to Banff and nearby attractions. The tour is for 5+ days and it includes airport transfers from Calgary.
Costs – Calgary Airport to Banff Sightseeing
$ 630+ USD for a 5-day sightseeing tour. Here is what it includes:
- Travel from Calgary airport to Banff and back (return trip)
- Sightseeing included for Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Park
- 5-day sightseeing itinerary with 4 nights hotel stay (guaranteed one night stay at Fairmont Banff Springs) Book your trip now
- Here is an option for a quick 3 day Calgary to Banff Tour. Check out the tour and book here
- More Rockies Tours from various starting points in US and Canada
Why book Banff Sightseeing Tour?
If you don’t wish to drive and want travel and sightseeing in Banff to be taken care of, by a professional guide, then this tour is BEST for you. It is a good value for money as it includes accommodation, sightseeing, and transportation.
Calgary Airport to Banff: By Shared Transfers and Shuttle Buses
Bus services are available from Calgary airport to Banff. They are operated by many local and national level service providers. The journey typically takes 2+ hours. You have options for pick up from Calgary airport, hotel or downtown location.
Greyhound bus network was once the GO TO bus service in Western Canada, including the Calgary Banff route. They pulled the plug off their operations recently and today Red Arrow is popular in Calgary and Edmonton area. However, Red Arrow has no bus services from Calgary to Banff yet. They are hoping to open routes soon – Red Arrow.
It is better to book tickets ahead of time and reserve your spot. Most buses will have comfortable seats and luggage space, with free wifi.
Costs – Calgary Airport to Banff by buses and shared transfers
Traveling via bus from Calgary to Banff is your cheapest bet. Special fares start at $10 CAD. Regular fares start at $64 CAD one way.
Tickets are priced differently for adults, students, seniors and kids. Online prices and return tickets can also be purchased for cheaper.
Here are some of the bus operators in Calgary traveling to Banff
Calgary to Banff by On-it Regional Transit
The On-it Regional Transit offers a spectacular $10 Calgary to Banff ride every tourist season (around May to September). And yes, you heard it right, its $10 CAD for the trip – one way.
Tips to remember
- Banff Park entrance fees are not included in this fare, so that is additional ($10 CAD per adult per day for parks entry in Banff)
- With the $10 CAD fare, you can access ROAM transit for free (more on ROAM transit below)
- Register and get tickets online here – On-It Regional Transit
Calgary Airport to Banff by Banff Airporter
As the name suggests, Banff Airporter is strictly carrying passengers from Calgary Airport to Banff (and Canmore). Hotels like Sheraton Eau Claire in downtown Calgary and Rimrock Hotel in Banff arranges for pick up and drop off by Banff Airporter.
They operate over a dozen trips between Banff Calgary routes and vice-versa. Their buses are straightforward bus trips (no washrooms, wifi), but has USB ports, comfortable seating, air controls, overhead lights and a guaranteed trip to Banff, rain or shine.
- Adult (18- 64 yrs) : $64.55 CAD one-way ($129.98 return)
- Seniors (64+ yrs) : $5849 CAD one-way ($116.98 return)
- Child (6-17 yrs) : $32.49 CAD one-way ($64.98 return)
- Kids (below 6): Free
Brewster bus Calgary airport to Banff
Brewster Express provides direct shuttle service from Calgary International Airport to Banff and nearby areas of Canmore, Lake Louise, Kananaskis, and Jasper. Their coaches are one of the finest – luxury seating, large viewing windows, and complimentary WiFi onboard. No extra luggage or cancellation fees.
They are the same company that provides Banff Gondola services and Brewster rides to the Icefield Parkway.
- Adult (18+ yrs) : $69 CAD one-way ($118 return)
- Child (6-17 yrs) : $35 CAD one-way ($60 return)
- Kids (below 6): Free
- You save 15% when you book a round trip.
- Book your shuttle ride here
Depart Calgary Airport to Banff – Discover Banff Tours
Discover Banff Tours operate coach shuttle services all year round from the Calgary Downtown and Calgary Airport to Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, and Canmore. You can also request a resort transfer if traveling between the resort towns of Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, and Canmore. You can also book a return trip to depart Banff for Calgary Airport.
Baggage Restrictions: Luggage weight is not to exceed 30 kg (66 lb.). Winter travel between Banff to Jasper is limited to 1 carry-on, 1 suitcase and 1 personal item per guest. Additional charges apply.
- Adult (16+): $69–$167 CAD
- Child (6-15): $35–$84 CAD
General Tips to remember:
- If you are taking a bus to Banff and do not plan on renting a car or driving, then book a drop off location to your hotel/accommodation address.
- For accessing the different parts of the National Park – Canmore, Lake Louise or within Banff town, you can use ROAM transit service. More on that below.
- As always, tours are an option like this one – Banff sightseeing tours
- If you are staying in Banff town, you can bike through the town (in summer/good weather) or walk and hike, without a car. Find the best areas and hotels for Banff town.
Need Transportation from the Canadian Rockies Hotel to Calgary Airport, book your shared shuttle here
Bus Services in Banff and nearby areas
Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission – ROAM transit is the bus network, operating in Banff and the neighboring areas of Canmore, and Lake Minnewanka (seasonal).
ROAM transit rides are budget-friendly. Their routes are – Banff local, Canmore local, Banff and Canmore regional and Lake Minnewanka route. Except for the Lake Minnewanka route, all the other town routes operate all year round, with slight schedule changes.
ROAM transit connects you within the town of Banff – from downtown to different hotels, coffee shops, and sightseeing areas. So, yes you can explore Banff without a car.
Bus schedules have a good frequency. The buses are clean and bus stops are set up across Banff town and nearby areas for travelers.
ROAM Transit buses are the first ones in Canada to use/deploy hybrid buses. Their buses are wheelchair accessible. They also allow bikes and strollers.
Cost: Fare rates (per ride) for ROAM transit are as follows:
- Adult – $ 2 CAD
- Seniors – $1 CAD
- Youth – $1 CAD
- Children (under 6 years) – Free
You can purchase 1- 3 day or 10 day passes. Monthly or weekly passes are also available. SMART cards are an option for transit fares and pay.
Within each route, you can take free transfers and they are valid for 30 minutes.
ROAM buses are super convenient in terms of payment processing as well. All buses are equipped with electronic payment systems, so you can use credit or debit cards to pay. It also takes in US dollars and bills (and of course our CAD $, eh).
If you have used transit buses in other parts of Canada or even in Alberta, you would know that not all transit buses have an electronic payment system installed. It is either cash (exact fare) or a pass (pre-paid per ride or monthly). So way to go, ROAM transit!
For bills and coins – both US dollars and Canadian currency are accepted. The change is returned in transfer vouchers that can be redeemed later at transit locations. Find more about transit passes and places to purchase these.
The ROAM buses in Banff are easily recognizable by the lovely wildlife images wrapped around the buses’ exterior – so COOL to look at. So when in Banff, just ROAM!
Calgary to Banff via Shared Rides
There are many apps that will fetch you company and a shared ride or trip to Banff. You share the cost of the fuel and other related expenses to travel from Calgary to Banff.
Here are some apps and websites that you can look at to get a shared ride
- RideShare Calgary – Poparide
- Kijiji (Find a Carpool or RideShare)
- Carpool World
Travel from Calgary to Banff by Hitchhiking
Yes, hitchhiking to Banff from Calgary is possible. We have never done it, but we see a lot of hitchhikers on the route – Trans Canada Highway aka Highway 1, looking for a ride. Cheaper or free option.
Remember the city of Calgary doesn’t allow hitchhiking and is illegal. That’s why you won’t see any hitchhikers within the city limits. The route that allows is from Highway 1, outside of Calgary city limits. The bus that can drop you at the last city stop is 408 – Calgary Transit.
Trains from Calgary to Banff
Unfortunately, there are no passenger trains operating from Calgary to Banff. Rocky Mountaineer runs trains from Vancouver making a stop at Banff, but it doesn’t operate out of Calgary. Learn more about it here
So you can see there are MANY ways to travel from Calgary to Banff. Driving is the BEST way to explore the Canadian Rockies. But if driving is not your thing, no problem – you can still experience the magic of the mountains in the comfort of your bus seat or sightseeing tour.
Remember, Banff has something for everybody. It is waiting for you to come and feel the Canadian magic!
Additional Banff and Calgary Resources
- Guide to Instagrammabke Spots in Banff
- Explore Downtown Calgary guide Calgary
- Explore Drumheller in a day trip from Calgary here
- Get the food guide to Banff Canadian Rockies here
- Get the itinerary to Jasper National Park here
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.