When you’re visiting the Canadian Rockies with children, it’s important to take safety precautions. Nature and conservation are the draws here, but nature isn’t always safe. And the mountain range is home to many wild animals, so you are recommended to carry bear spray with you at all times when hiking or walking in the wilderness.
For kids over 12 years of age and more than 35kg (77lb) in weight, Norquay’s via ferrata offers a serious introduction to mountaineering. Simply put, a via ferrata is a climbing experience for non-climbers. There are several cliff-face routes, with participants led up the rock by a professional guide. This experience includes a chairlift ride up to the Cliff House, a cosy mountain bistro that serves drinks and food.
Perhaps the most accessible and family-friendly winter activity, both Norquay and Lake Louise construct a tube park each winter. A moving travelator, or magic carpet, transports you to the top of the chute – hop in the tube, spin, laugh and slide! Snow-tubing takes very little skill, yet offers the thrill of snow sports. If you have the energy, you can skip the line and drag your own tube up.
There are any number of guided walks across Banff that are available for all abilities. White Mountain Adventures offer accessible summer and winter trips, including heli-hiking, which, as it sounds, includes a heartstopping helicopter flight with unbelievable views of the Rockies. Hiking and walking tours include a guide and are always educational.
The shops and museums of Banff are popular with families, and the kids will love the old-fashioned candy store, which families have been visiting for decades. Of the area’s many offerings, it is fun to explore the Cave and Basin National Historic Sire, formerly the location of the main hot springs pool and considered the birthplace of Canada’s park system. Warm water still percolates up through the limestone and the waters are home to a unique species of snail.