It's not exactly secret, but any article on the Canadian Rockies has to include this town in the Bow Valley. Formerly a railroad outpost, Banff is now an adventure destination that draws athletes and tourists to the Bow Valley. In the summer, you can paddle the Bow River or a handful of nearby lakes, including famed Lake Louise; mountain bike on hundreds of miles of singletrack; and hike throughout the nearby Banff National Park. Or you can simply stay in town and enjoy cultural events like the season-long Banff Summer Arts Festival.
STAY: At the newly remodeled, log-facade Banff Caribou Lodge near the village center (rates from $150).