Driving through Banff National Park and down the Icefields Parkway to Jasper is full of jaw-dropping scenery. However, seeing Banff from above on a Banff helicopter tour is the best view of the Canadian Rockies you could possibly ask for. Hands down the best thing to do in Banff is a helicopter tour.
When researching for a recent trip to Banff, we checked out TripAdvisor and looked at the tours in Banff. When we saw the pictures and reviews from helicopter tours we were sold. Not only did we find the perfect Banff helicopter tour but we booked right on TripAdvisor. We are loving the new feature of booking directly on Tripadvisor. This was awesome because we didn’t have to spend time searching for a local helicopter tour company in Banff, we found the tour and book it within minutes!
Our Helicopter tour in Banff
As we pull the shades open in our campervan we saw bright blue skies and sunshine, which was a nice change from the past week of rain. We instantly jumped on Tripadvisor to see if we could get on a helicopter tour. Luckily there was still space on a morning flight. So with our confirmations in our inbox, we rushed down to Rockies Heli Tours – Kananaskis, AB to catch our flight.
The helipad was located just outside the city and in front of the mountains, we’d be flying over. After a quick safety brief, our pilot had us buckled in and ready to fly over the Rockies. We each put on a set of giant helicopter headphones so we could talk with the pilot and to muffle the noise from the rotor which was just starting to spool up. With a tug of the T-bar, we were off and pointed toward the mountains.
First, we climbed to our first set of mountains where the foot of the slope gave way to turquoise lakes and streams. As we gained elevation it seemed every window of the helicopter held postcard views. Some of the first mountains we encountered were the impressive Wind Mountain and Mt. Lougheed. On the opposite side of the valley was the rocky and jagged Skogan Peak.
After we passed Skogan Pass our pilot made a sweeping right turn to take us down the Kananaskis Valley. We cruised the valley with huge rocky mountains flanking the helicopter on each side. Even in late June, there were some specs of snow remaining on the high peaks of the mountains which added to the stunning scenery.
Another right turn brought us to one of the most famous valleys in the Canadian Rockies and the heart of Banff National Park. As we started down the beautiful Bow Valley the emerald colored waters of Gap Lake instantly caught my eye. Nestled up to the foot of Grotto Mountain, this little lake was my favorite thing we saw on our Banff helicopter tour. Swirling and snaking next to the lake was the Bow River that runs for hundreds of miles along the valley. Fed from the glaciers the river and lake take on the vibrant turquoise colors from the minerals the glaciers deposit into the waters.
Our final stretch of helicopter ride was through the Bow Valley back toward Kananaskis where our helicopter tour started. We flew by even more dramatic mountains as our pilot spotted wildlife and hikers on the slopes of nearby mountains.
Reasons to Take a Banff Helicopter Tour
Let’s get real the #1 thing we loved on our tour were the views, the epic view of the Candian Rockies from above. Since drones are illegal in National Parks we wouldn’t be able to get such pictures and even if we could the experience from flying above the mountains is surreal.
We’ve been on several helicopter tours around the world and our Banff helicopter price was one of the cheapest we’ve been. Since we booked our tour right on Tripadvisor the price was in USD, at the tour operator the prices were in Canadian dollars. With the exchange rate, it was only $162 for a 20-minute Canadian Rockies helicopter tour. There were other tours some that were cheaper and some that were more expensive.
Our 20-minute flight soared over the Canadian Rockies including the Bow Valley, Mt Lougheed, and Wind Mountain. Our pilot pointed mountains, animals below, and gave us some local tips & hidden gems in the area.
Our helicopter tour departed from the Kananaskis helicopter base, which was only 35 minutes from our Banff hotel. We drove ourselves to the base but could have taken the tours free hotel pick-up from Banff hotels which was included.
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