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Banff Helicopter Tour – Best Views of the Rockies

Banff Helicopter Tour – Best Views of the Rockies

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. Here’s everything you need to know about taking a Banff helicopter tour.

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Our Helicopter tour in Banff

As we pulled 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 online 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.

Banff Helicopter tour pilot flying a over the National Park

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 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.

Banff Helicopter Flight Tour - Mountains and glacial streams of Banff National Park

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.

Kananaskis Valley as seen from a Banff Helicopter tour

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.

Gap Lake in Alberta Canada view from helicopter tour of Banff National Park
Emerald water of Gap Lake with Grotto Mountain behind and the Bow River in the foreground

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 by 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 our helicopter ride was through the Bow Valley back toward Kananaskis, where our helicopter tour had 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

Views from a Helicopter over Banff looking at Wind Mountain


Let’s get real: the #1 thing we loved on our tour was the views, the epic view of the Canadian 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 of flying above the mountains is surreal.

Canadian Rockies seen from the Rockies Heli tour of Banff National Park


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 online and 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 to mountains and animals below and gave us some local tips & hidden gems in the area.

Red Helicopter in the Kananaskis heli pad near Banff National Park


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 tour’s free hotel pick-up from Banff hotels, which was included.

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