Banff is located in Alberta, which is in the Western part of Canada. It is known for its scenic lakes, winter activities, and picturesque hikes accessible to all travelers.
Before You Go…
As aforementioned, Banff is a place you can visit year-round. It is equally beautiful in the winter with the snow and winter sport excursions and summer months with boating and hiking. I went during Spring Break, around March, so it was quite cold. It was still such a lovely, unique experience, but I am tempted to go again in the summer months just to experience it in another way.
In terms of packing, it obviously depends on what time of year you decide to go. Regardless, be ready to be active. There will be a lot of walking, so bring good shoes and comfortable clothes to sweat in. If you are going in the winter months, bring snow clothes and lots of layers.
How to Get There…
By plane, you can arrive via the Calgary International Airport. From here, you can rent a car and drive to Banff. Don’t forget your passport!
Where to Stay…
We chose to stay in an AirBnb just outside of Banff National Park. All of the hikes are within an hour or two from Banff National Park.
Because things are so spread out, it is essential to rent a car. Be sure to pay for the extra insurance. We went during the winters months, and saw many accidents along the side of the road. We were required to pay for extra insurance, because we were all under the age of 25.
Typically, you can find deals if you have certain credit cards with certain banks. Check will your bank before you go! You can also purchase travel insurance through your bank as well.
What to Do…
1. Bow Glacier Falls…5.4 miles return…This trail is located near Lake Louise and Bow Lake; it is a relatively flat hike with a waterfall along the way.
2. Emerald Lake…3.2 miles return…This is one of the most popular hikes in Yoho National Park.
3. Grassi Falls…2.5 miles return, about 1-2 hours…Waterfall hike along the river.
4. Grotto Canyon…2.6 miles return…This was my favorite hike, as it required walking on the icy river. The waterfall at the end had ice-climbers.
5. Iceberg Lake…6.8 miles return…This hike required some scrambling and cliff edge exposure.
6. Johnston Canyon…3.4 miles return…This is another ice walk with a frozen waterfall and gorge.
7. Troll Falls…This was another one of my favorite hikes (you may even find a hidden troll).
Hikes I did not get to but heard great things…Marble Canyon, Numa Falls, Lake Eiffel and Moraine Lake Shoreline, Peyto Lake and Falls, and Takakkaw Falls. Banff, and Canada in general, has endless hikes and all of them can be beautiful and enjoyable.
Other Points of Interest…
1. Canmore…A town in the Rocky Mountains, west of Calgary. It has several hikes, trails, and quaint town.
2. Lake Louise…This is the picturesque spot you see when you google Banff. It requires a short walk from the carpark.
3. Lake Minnewanka, Vermilion Lake, and Two Jack Lake…Another glacial lakes with turquoise blue water.
4. Kootenay National Park…I did not get the chance to go here, but it is known to have amazing campsites, day-hikes, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, fishing, hot springs, and wildlife.
5. Calgary…Since you flew into and out of here, this is quite a lively town. Even if just for a few hours, it is worth walking around, grabbing a bite to eat, or going through the drive-thru Beaver Tail.
What to Eat…
In Canmore…The Wood Restaurant & Lounge bison burger and Mountain Mercato Farmhouse Panini and Black Truffle Chips
In Calgary…Palamino’s BBQ Cheesesteak
In the town of Banff…Beaver’s Tail, Elk & Oarsman, and fun nightlife at Dancing Sasquatch