visiting Banff National Park
Oh Canada, how you continue to amaze us! This was our third time traveling into our friendly northern neighbor’s beautiful territory. Although it was a first for the visiting Canada on the west coast. This time, our plan was to visit Banff National Park, in Alberta Canada. We continuously heard how incredible this place was, yet we were still absolutely blown away by it’s beauty. If you’re headed toward Canada (whether it be on an RV or not), Banff should be a top destination and a “must-do” if you’re in Alberta. Our video below shares some of the places, hikes, and activities we did while we visited Banff National Park. Enjoy the video – but we want you to know that the only way to do this park justice is to visit yourself. So you better add this to your bucket list now!
things to know before you go to Banff
Canada’s national park system is not like the US Parks system. Unfortunately, you’re kind of on your own when it comes to planning what to do while you’re there. Banff’s formal website has limited information and overall, does a pretty poor job keeping you updated on road closures or important information about visiting popular destinations within the park. If you want a map of the entire park, you’ll have to buy it! We suggest looking at various blog posts on potential hikes, activities, or must see sights. Here are a few blogs we used when we planned our trip!
- Great Blog for Hikes in Banff – Elite Jetsetter
- Overall Guide to Banff (great ideas on what to bring, when to go, etc) – Jet Farer
- 100 Things to do in Banff – Elite Jetsetter
Camping in banff national park
trails and hikes in banff
We started our first day in Bannf National Park with a quick hike in Johnston’s Canyon. This is a seriously beautiful hike that is good for most skill levels. It is just under 4 miles roundtrip with a small elevation gain. We absolutely loved walking on the wooden boardwalk suspended above the glacier fed lake carving through the canyon walls. It didn’t hurt that there were 7 different waterfalls along the way. Be prepared to get here early if you want to beat the crowds. Since this is such a beautiful hike and a relatively easy one, it attracts a lot of people. We suggest starting the hike before 8 am or after 7 pm to really be able to enjoy it.
Lake Louise is one of the top destinations in Banff and for good reason. It’s instantly apparent why it’s such a popular spot. This large glacier fed lake is the most beautiful milky blueish-green, it will honestly take your breath away! Having a 5 star hotel and resort right at it’s footsteps, it draws a lot of attention and visitors so be prepared to fight the crowds for your epic photo! If you’re looking for a relaxing day requiring minimal effort but big rewards, enjoy a meal at the Fairmont Chateau. It won’t be cheap but you’re paying for delicious food with a front row view of Lake Louise.
Lake moraineThis is one of the second most visited areas of Banff National Park. I don’t know if it’s all of Canada or unique to Banff, but it’s glacial lakes are something else. Their colors are beyond spectacular and just so vibrant! Lake Moraine fills up quick, so it’s best to take the free shuttle or get their before 7 am (and you still may be too late). If you saw in our video, the week we were there the parking lot re-opened at 7:30 pm and there was still a 100 car line waiting to get in! Also, if it is blocked off – that just means it’s already full for the day.
Banff’s beauty just never seems to end. We only touched the surface of all there is to do and see. We look forward to visiting again and continuing to get to know Banff a little better. There were plenty of other options like tours, hikes, and excursions we could go on next time. If you’ve been to Banff what was your favorite thing to do, see, hike, or explore? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!
Liz & Dennis
We’re two travel-loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America as full-time RV’ers. This blog is where we share our lessons learned, tips and tricks, and favorite places to eat, see, and RV across North America! We hope it helps you find your wanderlust, plan and prepare for RV life, and get out on the road!
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Thanks for this…we are headed to Banff in a few weeks.