Banff Sunset

The Ultimate Banff National Park Itinerary

Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, this park is a nature-lover’s paradise. If you’re planning a trip to Banff, you’ll want to make sure you make the most of your time there. It is an easy road trip from Calgary, taking only an hour and a half by car. Here’s a suggested itinerary for how to spend three days in Banff National Park.

The gorgeous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Photo by Karen Chow

Overview of the 3 day Banff itinerary

Day One: Start your day early with a hike to Johnston Canyon. This easy hike is a great way to see some of the best scenery Banff has to offer. Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular trails in the park, so it’s best to get an early start before the crowds arrive. Once you’re done exploring Johnston Canyon, head over to Peyto Lake for some more breathtaking views. Then, end your day with a relaxing soak at the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Johnston Canyon, Lower Falls, Banff
Johnston Canyon, Lower Falls, Banff. Photo by Jess Snoek on Unsplash

Day Two: Today, you’ll want to spend your time exploring Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Both of these lakes are absolutely stunning, and there are plenty of hiking trails and photo ops around them. Be sure to stop at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for tea or lunch. In the afternoon, take a short drive over to Jasper National Park. Even though Jasper is its own national park, it’s only about an hour drive from Banff so it’s easy to include in your itinerary. Finish up your day with a wander around the town of Banff. Here are some more ideas for the best lakes in Banff.

Lake Louise, Canada
Lake Louise, Canada. Photo by Kevin Noble on Unsplash

Day Three: On your final day in Banff, take the gondola up Sulphur Mountain for some incredible views of the area. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hike up instead of taking the gondola. After enjoying the views from Sulphur Mountain, drive out to Two Jack Lake for a picnic lunch. Then, head back into town and visit Banff Lower Falls before concluding your trip with an overview tour of Calgary International Airport.

Sulphur Mountain Gondola in Banff, Alberta, Canada
Sulphur Mountain Gondola in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Sonya Brady on Unsplash

Here are more details about each popular spot here in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Johnston Canyon

Nestled in Banff National Park, Johnston Canyon is one of Canada’s most popular destinations. And it’s no surprise why; this gorge is home to limestone bedrock eroded by thousands of years of water, overhanging canyon walls, waterfalls, the deep pools of Johnston Creek, and lush forest. In short, it’s a nature lover’s paradise.

Johnston Canyon, Banff
Johnston Canyon, Banff. Photo by Debbie Pan on Unsplash

Whether you’re looking for a day hike or a multi-day camping trip, Johnston Canyon has something for everyone. And best of all, its natural beauty is accessible to most. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this place so special.

The Erosion That Made It Possible

Johnston Canyon took millions of years to form. The process began with the erosion of limestone bedrock by water. Over time, this created the gorge we see today. But the water didn’t do it alone; wind and ice helped sculpt Johnston Canyon into the masterpiece it is today. 

Limestone eroded to create Johnston Canyon.

The result is a series of caves, tunnels, and waterfalls that are downright magical. And because the process is still ongoing, the canyon is continually evolving. So even if you’ve been before, there’s always something new to see.

A Hike Through Nature

Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Banff National Park for good reason. The easy access trails wind through some of the most stunning scenery in Canada. Whether you’re admiring the towering canyon walls or taking in the views from one of the many bridges, there’s no shortage of breathtaking vistas. 

And if you want to get up close and personal with nature, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The canyon is home to squirrels, elk, deer, and bighorn sheep, just to name a few. 

The Deep Pools of Johnston Creek

One of the highlights of any visit to Johnston Canyon is seeing the deep pools of Johnston Creek. These pools are fed by waterfalls and provide a refreshing respite on hot summer days. They’re also perfect for a quick dip if you’re feeling brave enough to take a dip in frigid glacier-fed waters! 

Summer in Johnston Canyon

During the summer months, Johnston Canyon is bustling with activity as tourists from all over come to enjoy its natural beauty. The views from both the Lower Falls and Upper Falls bridges are impressive, and hikers of all levels will find a trail to suit their abilities. Be warned that parking can be difficult to find on busy days, so arrive early or be prepared to walk a bit farther than you might like. 

If you go: 

  • Bring bug spray – The mosquitos can be relentless!
  • Wear comfortable shoes – You will be doing a lot of walking on uneven terrain.
  • Do not forget your camera – The views are truly stunning.
  • Bring cash for parking and entrance fees.

Winter in Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon is transformed in the winter into a real-life snow globe! As majestic ice sculptures form along the creek bed and surrounding trees laden with heavy snow provide a picturesque backdrop, it’s easy to see why this is one of Banff’s most popular winter destinations.

Iced waterfall in Johnston Canyon
Iced waterfall in Johnston Canyon. Photo by Edi Bouazza on Unsplash

Hiking In: Although it may seem daunting, hiking into Johnston Canyon during winter is actually quite safe and doable for people of all ages and abilities—so long as you take some basic precautions. First and foremost, dress appropriately for the conditions; this means layers upon layers of clothing as well as hat, gloves, scarf, thermal underwear, etc.

Make sure you wear warm clothing like a winter hat.

You will also need proper footwear such as winter boots with good treads as well as ice cleats or traction devices for your shoes/boots (these can be rented at most outdoor stores). It’s also important to bring along poles for balance, plenty of food and water, hand warmers, a first aid kit ,and map just in case you get lost. Finally, make sure someone knows your itinerary before you set out—it’s always better to be safe than sorry! There are many guided ice walking tours that are available that provide you with all of the gear that you’ll need.

Johnston Canyon Winter Trail (Banff National Park, Alberta) | 10Adventures

Banff Lower Falls

Hiking enthusiasts will want to experience the beauty of Banff National Park by taking part in one its most scenic trails. The Johnston Canyon / Lower Falls path is always jam-packed with people, but it’s worth noting that parking isn’t available at this lot so you should try your best not only arrive early during peak times (especially summer) but also, if possible, take public transportation or call ahead before going because there are limited spaces available!

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls, Banff, Alberta
Johnston Canyon Lower Falls, Banff, Alberta. Photo by Corey Tran on Unsplash

The trail begins immediately behind the Johnston Canyon Lodge. Along this narrow, but well-maintained iron catwalk attached beneath overhanging canyon walls you’ll pass through a small tunnel that opens up right across from where visitors can get an amazing view of lower Falls before continuing on your hiking adventure!

Johnston Canyon is a beautiful and popular trail in Banff National Park that offers stunning views of Lower and Upper Falls. The trail can be busy, especially in peak season, so make sure to arrive early! Parking is limited, but there are plenty of spots if you get there early enough. The entire trail is about 3 kilometers round trip and well worth it for the incredible views!

Johnston Canyon
Johnston Canyon. Photo by Zachary Kyra-Derksen on Unsplash

No matter what time of year you choose to visit Johnston Canyon, you’re sure to be impressed by its sheer size and beauty. Whether you’re hike or cross-country ski in winter or stroll through during summer, just make sure you come prepared! And don’t forget your camera—the views are truly incredible.

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake is a gorgeous glacier-fed lake in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. The lake itself is near the Icefields Parkway, and it was named for Bill Peyto, an early trail guide and trapper in the Banff area. Here are 5 reasons why you should add Peyto Lake to your list of must-see places!

Panorama Overlook at Peyto Lake, Canada. Photo by Annegret Kammer on Unsplash

1. The View

The first reason to visit Peyto Lake is for the view. The lake is formed in a valley of the Waputik Range, between Caldron Peak, Peyto Peak and Mount Jimmy Simpson, at an elevation of 1,860 m (6,100 ft). During the summer, significant amounts of glacial rock flour flow into the lake from a nearby glacier, and these suspended rock particles are what give the lake a unique bright, turquoise colour. Because of its bright colour, photos of the lake often appear in illustrated books. The area around the lake is a popular sightseeing spot for good reason!

2. It’s Easy to Get To

Peyto Lake is located near the Icefields Parkway, which makes it easy to get to whether you’re driving or taking public transportation. Once you’re there, there are plenty of trails surrounding the lake so you can explore as much or as little as you want.

3. Perfect for Every Season

Peyto Lake is beautiful in every season. In the winter, it’s a popular spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. In the spring and summer, you can go hiking or camping in the area. And in the fall, it’s stunning to see the leaves change color while surrounded by such natural beauty. No matter when you visit, Peyto Lake will not disappoint!

Peyto Lake Sunrise in Winter
Peyto Lake Sunrise in Winter. Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash

4. Wildlife Watching

If you’re lucky, you might spot some wildlife while you’re at Peyto Lake! Keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, elk, deer, coyotes, wolves, and mountain goats. If you’re really lucky, you might even see a black bear! Remember to keep your distance if you do spot any wildlife though – these are wild animals, and they can be dangerous if they feel threatened. 

When I go hiking in an area that has a lot of bears, I like to wear bells, or clip two metal coffee mugs together on the outside of my backpack to make a clanging noise. This gives bears enough warning that we’re approaching so that they move away.

5. It’s Affordable

Banff National Park is one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations, but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. There are plenty of affordable accommodation options in the area as well as free things to do like hikes and picnics by the lake. You can also find coupons for some of the paid attractions in Banff National Park if you plan ahead (just make sure to check their expiration dates).

To enter the park, you need to purchase a Banff day pass. In 2022, this coses $10.50 for an adult, $9 for a senior, and free for youth aged 0-17.

Peyto Lake is a must-see destination in Banff National Park – there’s something for everyone! Whether you’re looking for breathtaking views, easy access & trails suitable for all levels hikers & campers alike or just an affordable vacation option – Peyto has got you covered! Black bears have also been spotted around so keep your eyes peeled!

Banff Upper Hot Springs

Tucked away in the Canadian Rockies, Banff Upper Hot Springs is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should add this natural wonder to your travel itinerary.

Banff Upper Hot Springs
Canadian Rockies Banff upper hot springs | Felex Liu | Flickr

1. Unwind in the warm waters

After a long day of hiking or skiing, there’s nothing better than soaking your tired muscles in the warm, therapeutic waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs. The water temperature is a comfortable 98 – 104 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the perfect place to relax and recharge.

2. Breathe in the fresh mountain air

Banff Upper Hot Springs is located 5200 feet above sea level, which means you’ll be breathing in some of the freshest air on Earth. The crisp mountain air is invigorating and will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

3. Take in the stunning scenery

The Canadian Rockies are renowned for their awe-inspiring beauty, and Banff Upper Hot Springs offers up some of the best views around. Whether you’re taking a dip in the hot springs or simply enjoying the view from the observation deck, you’re sure to be captivated by the natural splendor of this place.

Banff Upper Hot Springs
Enjoying the beautiful scenery at Banff Upper Hot Springs. Banff Upper Hot Springs | Near the sulfur mountain, there is… | Flickr

4. Learn about Canada’s history

Banff Upper Hot Springs has been a popular destination for generations of Canadians, and it has an interesting history to match. The springs were originally used by Indigenous peoples for healing and spiritual rituals, and they play an important role in Canada’s cultural heritage. 

5. Connect with nature

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to forget how important it is to connect with nature. At Banff Upper Hot Springs, you can reconnect with the natural world and recenter yourself amid the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

There are countless reasons to visit Banff Upper Hot Springs, but these are just a few of our favorites.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is right by the upper hot springs, and there is a great hiking tour where you can see the hot springs, both above and below ground.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site
I love hiking here at the Cave and Basin. There’s cool above ground and underground hot springs that you can look at. Photo by Karen Chow

Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a beautiful place that everyone should see. It is famous for its blue-green waters and the mountains that are behind it. The lake is surrounded by lots of different things to do, making it the perfect place to stay and explore Banff National Park. There are lots of things to do for people who like adventure, like dog sledding and hiking. And when you’re ready for a break, there are places to stay, like the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. It has a great view of the lake. So whether you’re looking for an action-packed getaway or a relaxing vacation, Lake Louise is the perfect destination.

Lake Louise, photo taken from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The beautiful Lake Louise, photo taken from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Photo by Karen Chow

Here is a list of 10 reasons why Lake Louise should be at the top of your list when you’re visiting Banff National Park.

1. The views are incredible. No matter where you stand, you’re surrounded by mountains on all sides. And in the middle of it all is this gorgeous blue-green lake. It’s truly something else.

2. The hiking is amazing. There are so many trails to explore, and each one gives you a different perspective on the landscape. whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a challenging hike, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

3. You can go horseback riding. This is a great way to see the scenery without having to do all the work yourself! And it’s a fun activity for the whole family.

4. You can rent a canoe or paddleboard and explore the lake at your own pace. This is a great way to relax and take in the views.

Canoeing at Lake Louise
Canoeing at Lake Louise. Photo by Mahesh Gupta on Unsplash

5. There’s a famous tea house that’s worth visiting. It’s been around since 1890 and it’s set right in the middle of all the action, so you can people-watch while enjoying some delicious food and drink.

Lake Agnes Tea House
Lake Agnes Tea House. Photo by Andrew Darlington on Unsplash

6. The lake is actually two lakes! Upper Lake Louise is smaller and quieter, while Lower Lake Louise is bigger and has more activities like canoeing and paddleboarding. So if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience or a more active one, you can choose accordingly.

7. You can go ice-skating in the wintertime. The lake freezes over and becomes one big skating rink! It’s a really unique experience and something you can’t do just anywhere.

8. The Lake Louise Ski Resort is nearby if you’re looking for some winter fun. It’s one of the best ski resorts in Canada, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. 

Lake Louise Ski Resort, Canada. Photo by Bobbie M on Unsplash

9. In the summertime, there are tons of wildflowers that bloom around the lake. It’s such a beautiful sight!

10. Lake Louise is centrally located in Banff National Park, so no matter where you’re staying, it’s not too far away. And once you’re there, there’s plenty to keep you busy for days on end! 

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a great place to visit, with cute shops and restaurants inside. You don’t need to stay there to go inside the building. Photo by Karen Chow

As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to visit Lake Louise when you’re in Banff National Park! Whether you’re looking for incredible views, great hiking, or simply somewhere centrally located, Lake Louise should be at the top of your list!

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The water is such an amazing blue color that it looks like something from a postcard. And the setting – surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock piles – is just incredible. You can sit lakeside and soak in all the beauty or go for a canoe ride or hike. Either way, it’s an unforgettable experience. And it’s not even that far from Lake Louise (just 14 kilometers).

Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake. Photo by garrett parker on Unsplash

The water is a turquoise shade that changes throughout the summer as the glaciers melt. It’s surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock piles, creating a scene that is so stunning it almost seems unreal. If you are planning a trip to Banff National Park, then you need to add Lake Moraine to your list of places to visit. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

The Beauty of Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake is truly a sight to behold. The water is such a bright shade of turquoise that it looks like something out of a fairytale. The colour is caused by light reflecting off the glacial silt that has been deposited in the lake over the years. As the glaciers melt during the summer, the colour of the water changes because more silt is being released into the lake. 

canoes on Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake. Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

Not only is the water at Moraine Lake incredibly beautiful, but it is also very clear. You can see all the way to the bottom, which is something that you don’t find very often. The clarity of the water combined with the vibrant colour makes for some pretty amazing photo opportunities. So make sure you bring your camera when you visit!

The Surroundings are Just as Stunning

In addition to being gorgeous on its own, Moraine Lake is also surrounded by some pretty incredible scenery. towering mountains, rushing waterfalls, and giant rock piles create a scene that will take your breath away. There are plenty of hiking trails surrounding the lake so you can explore everything that it has to offer. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even go for a swim! Just be aware that the water is quite cold since it comes from glaciers. 

Moraine Lake is an absolutely breathtaking place and definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Banff National Park. The turquoise waters and stunning surroundings will leave you speechless and wanting more.

The Gondola at Sulphur Mountain

If you’re planning a trip to Banff National Park, one of the first things you’ll want to do is head up Sulphur Mountain. The best way to do that is by taking the gondola, and trust me, it’s worth it! Here’s why:

The Views

First and foremost, the views from this Banff gondola are incredible. You’ll be treated to some of the most stunning scenery in all of Banff, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a few wildlife! I once saw a family of elk while I was up there, and it was an experience I’ll never forget.

View looking down on downtown Banff right before dark
View looking down on downtown Banff right before dark. Photo by Braden Jarvis on Unsplash

The Ride Up

Going up in the gondola is half the fun! The ride itself is pretty smooth, but it’s also really fast (it only takes about 8 minutes!). And because the gondola is cable-operated, you’ll get some great views of Sulphur Mountain as you head up.

Banff Gondola
Banff Gondola. Photo by Max Ren on Unsplash

The Observatory Deck

Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to explore the observatory deck. From there, you can take in even more amazing views of Banff National Park. There’s also a coffee shop and a restaurant if you need to refuel after your journey up.

Two Jack Lake

If you’re looking for a breathtaking landscape and some fresh air, look no further than Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park. This Emerald green lake with a sweeping view of Mount Rundle is a popular spot for both visitors and locals. It’s easy accessibility from the town of Banff makes it a great place to catch sunset or sunrise. Here’s what you need to know about this picturesque spot.

Two Jack Lake
Two Jack Lake. Photo by Filipe Freitas on Unsplash

Two Jack Lake Trail: Take a hike on this 2.9-mile out and back trail near Banff, Alberta that is considered easy to complete in around two hours! You’ll likely encounter other people while exploring as it’s very popular for camping or hiking any time of year – but be sure not leave your dog behind because they are welcome with restrictions (have them on leash).

What to Pack: Be sure to pack sunscreen, bug spray, water, snacks, and appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. Hiking boots or comfortable shoes are recommended as the terrain can be uneven in places. 

When to Go: The best time to visit Two Jack Lake is June through September when the weather is warm and sunny. However, the trail is open year-round and can be beautiful in winter too—just be sure to dress appropriately for the cold weather conditions! 

Extra Days

If you’re lucky enough to have extra days to spend in Banff, here are some ideas for the best places to spend that extra time.

The Town of Banff

Banff is a small town situated within Banff National Park, which is Canada’s oldest national park. The town of Banff is a popular tourist destination, due in part to its close proximity to a number of natural attractions. If you’re planning a visit to Banff, here are a few things you can do to make the most of your time there!

Me enjoying my time at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Photo by Karen Chow

One of the best things about the Banff town is that there are plenty of things to do, even if you’re not the outdoorsy type. For example, one popular activity is simply strolling around town and popping into the various shops and cafes. There are also a number of art galleries if you’re looking to take in some local culture. And if you’re looking for something a little more active, you can always take a walk or hike on one of the many trails located nearby.

A cute patio at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
A cute patio at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Photo by Karen Chow
piano at Fairmont Banff Springs
I had to include this picture of me playing the piano inside the Fairmont. They didn’t kick me off so that’s good! Photo by Karen Chow

Some other fun things to do in Banff include visiting the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel (commonly referred to as “Castle in the Rockies”), taking in the view from Bow Falls, or going for a hike on the Spray River West Trailhead. No matter what your interests are, there’s sure to be something for everyone in Banff!

Bow Falls in Banff, Canada
Bow Falls. This is very close to downtown Banff, and you can get out of your car and take a quick 5 min walk to see these falls. Photo by Karen Chow

Banff is a great place to spend a day, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or simply want to enjoy some good food and shopping. With so many activities and attractions available, there’s sure to be something for everyone!

Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With its towering mountains, pristine lakes, and meadows full of wildflowers, it’s no wonder that Jasper is such a popular destination. But there’s more to Jasper than just its stunning scenery. The park is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including grizzly bears, elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain lions. And with over 1,000 kilometers of trails to explore, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a short hike or a multi-day trek, Jasper has something to offer. So if you’re looking for a breathtaking place to visit, be sure to add Jasper National Park to your list. Jasper National Park is around 2 hours away from Banff, so it’s quite far, and you’ll want to take a few days there to make it worthwhile.

Landscape with coniferous trees and mountains in Jasper National Park in Canada
Landscape with coniferous trees and mountains in Jasper National Park in Canada. Photo by Chris Stenger on Unsplash

Athabasca Glacier

Athabasca Glacier is in Alberta, and it is a great place to visit. I went there with my family, and we had an incredible experience. We got to travel on an Ice Explorer all-terrain vehicle to the Athabasca Glacier and it was so much fun. We were able to walk on the glacier and even drink from it. It was such a unique experience, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Glacier. Photo by 05 Flims on Unsplash

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls is an absolutely beautiful place and definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Jasper National Park! The waterfall is not only incredibly scenic, but also very powerful and deafening. It’s definitely an impressive sight to behold. There are also a ton of great hiking trails nearby that provide even more incredible views of the falls and the surrounding area. Trust me, Athabasca Falls is definitely a place you won’t want to miss!

Athabasca Falls
Athabasca Falls. Photo by Andrew Svk on Unsplash

Columbia Icefield

Columbia Icefield is a great place to visit if you love snow and ice! The largest ice field in North America’s Rocky Mountains, it’s located within the Canadian Rocky Mountains astride the Continental Divide along the border of British Columbia and Alberta. It’s about 325 square kilometres in area and receives up to 7 metres of snowfall per year. The views are breathtaking, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, like hiking, ice climbing, and cross-country skiing. Plus, what’s not to love about big mountains, crisp air, and deep snow? So if you’re looking for a winter wonderland to explore, be sure to add Columbia Icefield to your list!

Columbia Icefield. Photo by Farzn Dehbashi on Unsplash

Maligne Lake

Located in Jasper National Park, Maligne Lake is a must-see for anyone visiting Banff National Park, which is only a 2 hour drive away. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. The Color of the Water

Maligne Lake is famed for the color of its azure water. The water gets its beautiful blue color from the light reflecting off the glaciers that surround the lake.

Maligne Lake
Maligne Lake. Photo by Dee K on Unsplash

2. The Scenery

The surrounding peaks and Spirit Island make Maligne Lake one of the most scenic places in Jasper National Park. Spirit Island is especially popular with photographers.

3. The Hiking Trails

There are a number of hiking trails around Maligne Lake, suitable for all levels of fitness. The most popular trail is the Johnston Canyon Trail, which leads to lower and upper falls.

4. The Wildlife

Jasper National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, bear, and moose. You’re likely to see some of these animals if you take a hike around Maligne Lake.

5. The Snowshoeing Trails

In winter, the trails around Maligne Lake are transformed into snowshoeing trails. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the area in winter and get some exercise at the same time! 

Skiing at Sunshine Village

Sunshine Village is the best place for skiing for a number of reasons. First, it has some of the most beautiful views in all of Canada. The scenery is breathtaking, and you can’t help but feel at peace when you’re surrounded by such natural beauty.

snowboarding at Sunshine Village
My niece snowboarding at Sunshine Village. Photo by Karen Chow.

Second, the ski instructors are top-notch. They’re patient and knowledgeable, and they really know how to get the most out of your skiing experience. Third, Sunshine Village is conveniently located. It’s just a short drive from Calgary, so you don’t have to spend hours traveling to get here. And finally, the prices are very reasonable. You can find lift tickets and rentals for a fraction of the cost of other ski resorts. So if you’re looking for a great place to ski, Banff Sunshine Village is the place for you!

Lake Minnewanka Loop

The Lake Minnewanka Loop is a must-visit stop on your trip to Banff National Park. With access to wildlife, hikes and iconic lakes this amazing part of Alberta has something in store no matter what time period or genre that may fall under! Make sure not only take enough water but also clothes because there’s always something new around every turn – like say an intact stone bridge over the river below which leads into some serene scenery straight out of a postcard.

Deer. Photo by Karen Chow

Hiking is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. The Stewart Canyon trail in Jasper National Park offers visitors the opportunity for an easy 1-hour hike that will take them along lakeshore, providing access into areas used by indigenous peoples since time immemorial! More experienced hikers can continue on from there with their sights set upon Alymer Pass – 23 km round trip following this path leads up steeply through gorgeous mountains before revealing stunning views at every turn. Alymers Lookout provides spectacular scenery year-round.

If you’re short on time or not looking for a strenuous activity, take a Lake Minnewanka cruise. This boat tour leaves every hour on the hour from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm and lasts for approximately one hour. The cruise will take you around the entire lake, giving you the chance to see some of Banff’s most beautiful scenery from the water. 

Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka. Photo by Matthew Fournier on Unsplash

No matter what your interests are, the Lake Minnewanka Loop has something for everyone and is a great place to visit during your trip to Banff National Park!

What to Wear

Packing List for Summer

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice, preparing for a hike can be daunting. There are so many things to think about and pack! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This packing list will ensure that you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable hike this summer.

The Essentials

  • A good pair of hiking boots: This is maybe the most important item on the list. A good pair of hiking boots will provide support and traction on uneven terrain. They should also be comfortable and broken in before you hit the trail. 
  • A backpack: You’ll need something to carry all your gear in, so make sure to choose a backpack that’s comfortable and has enough space for everything you’re bringing. 
  • Plenty of water: It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to hydration, so make sure to pack at least 2 liters of water per person. 
  • Snacks: energy bars, trail mix, etc. 
  • A map: unless you’re an experienced hiker who knows the area well, it’s always a good idea to bring along a map (and compass) just in case you get lost. 
  • First Aid kit: You never know when you might need it, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Bandages, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, etc. 
  • Sunscreen and hats: Even if it’s not super hot out, the sun can be intense when you’re out on the trail. Be sure to pack sunscreen and hats (or sunglasses) for everyone in your group. 
  • Bug spray: Nothing ruins a hike quite like being eaten alive by mosquitoes. They now make bug spray without DEET. Bring along bug spray to keep those pesky critters at bay. 

Packing List for Winter

Hiking in the winter can be beautiful. But it can also be dangerous. If you’re planning a hike during the winter months, make sure you pack everything you need to do it safely—including the right gear to keep you warm and dry (and to help you get back home if things go wrong). Here’s what you need to put on your packing list.


First and foremost, you need to make sure you have the right clothing. You don’t want to get caught in a blizzard without proper protection from the cold—that includes a hat, scarf, and gloves to keep your extremities warm; a water-resistant coat; and waterproof boots. If you have any space in your backpack, pack an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.

Lake Minnewanka
Here are my son and I at Lake Minnewanka. We wanted to have a nice hike here, but you can see it’s whiteout conditions, and I think it was around -25C that day, so it was quite a short trip. Photo by Karen Chow.


In addition to clothing, there are certain pieces of gear you’ll need in order to hike safely in a blizzard. That includes things like trekking poles (to help with balance on icy or slippery trails), gaiters (to keep snow out of your boots), and snowshoes or crampons (depending on the conditions). You should also pack a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and a whistle—just in case you get lost or hurt. And don’t forget your cellphone! Even if there’s no service where you’re hiking, it can still be useful as a GPS device.

Food and Water

It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re hiking, even in the winter—so make sure you pack plenty of water. It’s also a good idea to bring along some high-energy snacks like granola bars or trail mix. And if you’re planning a longer hike, pack lunch too.

By following this packing list, you’ll be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way—even a blizzard. So grab your gear and hit the trails! Just make sure to let someone know where you’re going before you head out. And remember, safety comes first. So if conditions look too hazardous, it’s always better to turn back than to risk getting hurt (or worse).


Downtown Banff
Downtown Banff. Photo by Louis Paulin on Unsplash

If you’re looking for somewhere beautiful to spend a few days, look no further than Banff National Park! This park offers something for everyone, from easy hikes with incredible views to more challenging trails that will really test your fitness levels. No matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for, Banff is sure to have something for you!

For more travel ideas, here are 40 best vacation destinations for nature lovers.

Have you ever been to Banff before? What was your favorite spot?

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