Visitor-Pay Parking is in effect in Banff's downtown (see map below for green paid zone). Pay parking increases availability of short-term parking in the downtown core.
Free 9-hour parking is available at the Train Station Public Parking Lot, on Bow Avenue, and in the Bear Street parkade. (See blue zones on map below.)
It's only an 8-minute walk from the 500 stalls at the Train Station to the downtown core. Or take the 2-minute walk to the river trail for a scenic walk to downtown.
Use BanffParking.ca to find your route to free parking at the Train Station, or real-time pay parking availability elsewhere in town.
Please note: visitors to Banff National Park are still required to obtain a Park Pass for day visits or annual passes. Fees for Park Passes go to Parks Canada for visitor services and facilities in national parks. No revenue from Parks Canada is provided to the Town of Banff municipality. For information on Parks Canada Park Passes, visit the Banff National Park website.
- Pay parking is 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, year-round. Free parking for remaining hours.
- $5/hour in summer (May 1 - Oct. 31); $4/hour in winter in the downtown core (green zone - map below)
- Same cost for on-street pay parking and parking lots downtown
- Free in three large 9-hour parking lots (blue zone - see map below)
- Banff residents who have a Resident Vehicle Parking Permit can park for free for up to 3 hours per day in the paid zone, if they have registered their licence plates. Learn more: Resident Parking Permit
How to pay:
- Pay at any pay station machine on streets and in parking lots in the paid zone - using coins ($1, $2, 25¢), credit cards or debit payment. Exact fee is required if paying by coins (no change is provided)
How does it work:
- Visitors enter their licence plate number, select time wishing to park, and submit payment at the pay station or on their mobile device through the website or app
- A pass or receipt is not required for a dashboard display
- Town staff use licence plate recognition cameras to confirm payment in the system and time used
- If you pay with the mobile app, you can receive a reminder about time limits and can "top up" payment if needed
- There are no time limits in the pay-parking zone
- You do not need to remember the zone you are parked in. All downtown is one zone. Just park, pay and go.
Free parking is best for commuters and visitors with a longer itinerary, such as shopping, lunch, taking the bus to the gondola or to Lake Louise, then back downtown for dinner.
Free parking – for up to 9 hours – is available at:
- 500 free stalls (and some of the only RV or camper parking) at the Train Station Public Parking lot – an 8-minute walk to downtown or a 2-minute walk to the river trail and scenic walk to Central Park or downtown
- 94 free parking spaces on Bow Avenue – 2 minutes from downtown’s main street
- 187 free stalls in the multi-level Bear Street parking structure (parkade) in the downtown core
Where: Paid parking is in the green on the map and Free parking is in blue areas. Resident-only parking in the pink zone on the map:
A parking placard from the Government of Alberta allows a person exclusive use of disabled parking stalls. People with these accessible parking placards displayed in their vehicle can park in the designated stalls for free for 3 hours.
Download a PDF map of accessible/disabled parking spaces downtown.
Roam Public Transit serves all areas of in the town and connects with all main attractions in Banff National Park, including the Gondola, Johnston Canyon, Lake Minnewanka, Lake Louise and Tunnel Mountain Campground.
Why was paid parking introduced?
The Town of Banff is 4-square kilometres in size. The municipality cannot expand into the national park. The limited parking in the town site is in high demand by the 4 million visitors each year. Visitation is increasing by 2% every year. Until late June 2021, public parking remained free. Consequently, many drivers circled the small downtown core looking for a parking stall as close to their destination as possible, resulting in traffic congestion, idling vehicles and frustrated drivers. Paid parking zones and free parking areas create incentives that will make parking stalls more frequently available downtown. Free parking for people planning a longer stay is hassle-free in the parking lots just outside the downtown core.
More parking availability
Pay parking in the downtown core will increase the turnover of existing parking stalls, making parking spaces more frequently available. Pay parking is best for short-term stays. Free parking mainly outside the core is best for longer stays.
Where does the money go?
Visitors to Banff National Park are still required to obtain a Park Pass for day visits or annual passes. Fees for Park Passes go to Banff National Park to pay for visitor services and facilities in the park. The Town of Banff does not receive any revenue from the sale of federal parks passes or any other Parks Canada programs. In fact, the municipality pays Parks Canada for lease of land for municipal buildings.
Revenue from the Town’s paid parking system in downtown Banff covers the costs of the parking infrastructure and enforcement. Any extra revenue from the paid parking system will go to the Visitor Pay Parking Reserve which must be used to fund costs related to the following types of programs:
- Roadway and parking improvements;
- Transit operations, enhancements, and infrastructure;
- Snow clearing enhancements;
- Cycling or other active transportation initiatives; or
- Overall tax stabilization & economic recovery.