The Best Hostels in Banff, Alberta

Find out where to stay while exploring the glorious landscapes around Banff
Find out where to stay while exploring the glorious landscapes around Banff | © Enrica Tancioni / Unsplash
Photo of Emma Gibbins
6 November 2020

Some go to Banff to explore its wilderness and natural landmarks, while others visit for its growing culinary scene, with specialties such as steaks from Albertan ranches and wine from British Columbia. Whatever your reason for visiting, these are the hostels you’ll want to stay at.

Banff International Hostel

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Banff International Hostel
Courtesy of Banff International Hostel / Expedia

Convenience is key at Banff International Hostel, where you’ll have access to two common rooms with cable TV, a fully equipped kitchen, a computer room with internet access and an on-site liquor store. Want the added convenience of a private bathroom? Opt for one of the hostel’s four-, six- or eight-bed private rooms. The hostel is in Banff centre, so everything else you’ll need is within walking distance of the hostel. Mount Norquay Ski Resort is also just a 15-minute drive away.

HI Banff Alpine Centre

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Thanks to the hostel’s close proximity to the Bow River, the HI Banff Alpine Centre sees frequent visits from Banff’s wildlife. Its location makes the hostel an ideal choice for lovers of the outdoors, with hiking and snowshoe trails nearby, along with scenic viewpoints overlooking Bow Valley. Free local bus passes provide a budget-friendly way to explore the surrounding area, while top facilities – including a games room with pool table and a backyard with barbecue – help you to make the most of your time at the hostel.

HI Lake Louise

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Private loft rooms and a kids’ play area place make HI Lake Louise a great choice for budget-conscious families, and the full communal kitchen and daily activities such as movie nights and bonfire nights make it a great place to meet like-minded travelers. The hostel’s namesake is located a short drive away, as are local trails and the world-class Lake Louise Ski Resort. Not hiring a car? Hop on the hostel’s free shuttle, which will get you to the slopes in five minutes.

HI Mosquito Creek

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Banff National Park is the perfect setting for this rustic hostel. HI Mosquito Creek may not offer running hot water or electricity, but it doesn’t compromise on natural beauty or outdoor pursuits, offering direct access to snowshoeing, backcountry skiing and hiking trails. After a long day of exploring, sink into a wood-burning sauna, relax by the outdoor firepit or retire inside to spend the evening by a cozy fireplace.

HI Rampart Creek

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Fancy living off-grid? What HI Rampart Creek lacks in electricity and running water it makes up for with its wilderness location and mountainous scenery. Local trails and bolted climbing routes include the famous Weeping Wall. If you want to relax instead, take a dip in the nearby glacier-fed creek before heading back to warm up in the wood-burning sauna.

Samesun Banff

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Samesun Banff has a stunning view of Cascade Mountain, and burgers and beers at on-site restaurant the Beaver. Situated right on the picturesque Banff Avenue, this hostel is the perfect base from which to explore the Rockies. Helpful 24-hour desk staff can provide lift passes and transportation to three nearby ski areas – Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Norquay – and summer hiking destinations such as Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake and Banff Hot Springs.

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  • Canmore Downtown Hostel

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    Just off Highway One, Canmore Downtown Hostel grants access to all of Canmore’s amenities. A shuttle takes you directly to Calgary Airport and Banff, while Elevation Place Recreation Centre – full of shops and restaurants – is a block away. Savvy travelers can cook their own meals in the hostel’s full kitchen and take advantage of on-site laundry facilities during their stay; take your pick of private rooms with ensuite bathrooms or dorm rooms with shared facilities.

    HI Whiskey Jack Hostel, Yoho National Park

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    This small but welcoming wilderness hostel is a summer-only facility, open from late June to September. With capacity for 27 guests, HI Whiskey Jack Hostel houses three nine-bed dorms, each with showers and flush toilets. It’s a short distance from Takakkaw Falls, one of Canada’s five highest waterfalls, which you can hear from the outside deck; adventurous visitors can walk a mile (1.5km) to the base of the falls, or tackle nearby trails to the Iceline, Yoho Lake or Twin Falls.

    YWCA Banff Hotel

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    YWCA Banff Hotel
    Courtesy of YWCA Banff Hotel / Expedia

    As it’s a social enterprise, staying at the YWCA means you’ll be giving back while experiencing life in the heart of Banff National Park. The hostel reinvests its income into programs and services that protect local women, children and communities from violence. Its ideal location beside the beautiful Bow River is an added bonus. Expect a mix of private and shared rooms, as well as a shared kitchen and common area with TV.

    Canmore Hotel Hostel

    Hostel
    3.2/5 (12 Reviews)
    Canmore Hotel Hostel
    Courtesy of Canmore Hotel Hostel / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $70 per night

    Built in 1890, this is one of the few landmarks remaining from the town’s mining history, but the hostel is by no means stuck in the past. Its legendary on-site nightclub the Ho was previously a popular meeting spot for railway workers and miners and is now the largest club in Canmore; enjoy live events and DJ sets during weekends, and a drink on one of two outdoor patios with views of the Three Sisters Mountains.

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    These recommendations were updated on November 6, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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