I plan to drive a rental car into Banff National Park in Alberta and then immediately return the rental car at the rental car agency in Banff. But I will stay in Banff for another week after returnin the car. When I enter the park, I understand that I will need to purchase a park pass. The website says that the pass costs about $10 per day that I will be in the park, but the pass stays attached to the car. Do I need to purchase the park pass for the whole week that I will be in the park, or only for the day that I have the car in the park before returning it?

  • Why not ask the car rental agency? I strongly suspect all of their cars would have a yearly park pass anyway. – JonathanReez Jun 14 '18 at 1:51
  • The car I will be renting is coming from outside the park. – ajd Jun 14 '18 at 3:24

The park pass is not a decal which is permanently fixed to a vehicle, rather it is a printed card which is designed to hang from the inside mirror of a vehicle. This can be removed from your first rental vehicle and placed in your second rental vehicle. These passes can be purchased at the gate when entering the park as well as at automated vending machines that are located at various points in the park. It would be very uncommon to have this pass included as part of a car rental (even for rental agencies inside the park).

The rules are that this pass needs to remain in your vehicle in a visible place. This is because the most common form of enforcement of the park pass requirement is to have by-law officers visit the parking lots of attractions and write tickets for all the vehicles that don’t have a pass.

The system was designed with the assumption that people would be with the vehicle that they entered the park with for the duration of their stay in the park. My understanding of the fee rules are that you are required to pay the park fee for days you are in the park without a rental vehicle but in practice there aren’t any mechanisms to enforce this other than the honor system.

As an aside, not all vehicles in the park require a park pass since one is permitted to drive through the park non-stop on certain highways. Unfortunately, driving through the park non-stop to a car rental return depot inside the park likely doesn’t qualify.

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