Have you ever been to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies? If not, you may want to put it on your bucket list. It is literally the most beautiful place I have ever seen. So much so that I don’t know how we’ll ever top that trip!
Each summer my parents like to pick a place on our travel route to meet up with us, and this year they chose to fly to Calgary in Alberta to meet up with us to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks. I must say that was an excellent choice! This just may be the most amazing place we’ve ever been.
We stayed at Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court right in the super cute town of Banff.
One day we were treated to some special guests at our site.
Besides being the most amazing park we have ever been to, it’s also the most crowded. I guess we’re not the only ones who wanted to see this incredible gem on God’s beautiful Creation.
The parking lots at Banff fill up so early, and just barely clear out in the evenings. Chris worked most days, so we ventured out for hikes and exploring in the evenings. But even then, it was challenging to find parking. The night we went to Lake Louise (which is very likely the most popular area at Banff), we took some pictures at the lake and then ventured out for a hike to Lake Agnes. The hike is 4.7 miles out and back. It’s a challenging hike uphill then back down after you reach the lake. Uphill hikes always challenge me with getting out of breath, but I sometimes think going back down is more difficult. It’s harder on the knees, and also you have to try not to slip and fall going down if the trail has loose gravel.
Another evening we went to Moraine Lake. I think this lake was even more incredible than Lake Louise. The parking there is even more limited though, and there are park rangers blocking the entrance to the road. They only let people through when others have left the parking lot. Since we got there around 6:30 in the evening we didn’t have to wait too long, and it’s worth it for this view!
If you visit Moraine Lake, be sure to hike up the 1/2 mile Rockpile trail. It’s made of rock steps and other than the climb, it’s not too difficult. You can see Moraine Lake from down at the shoreline, but the best views are from the top of the trail.
From there we hiked to Consolation Lakes. This hike was 3.6 miles out and back. It was not difficult, but mostly through the woods on a dirt trail. I had read that there are frequent bear sightings on this trail, and sometimes it’s required to hike in groups and carry bear spray. We had that covered, but we didn’t see any bears. Once you get to Consolation Lakes there is a lot of rock scrambling to actually get to the lake shore. Of course, our kids love that part.
Johnston Canyon was another fabulous place to visit. The hike to the Lower Falls is an easy 1.5 miles out and back. But, you can also hike further to see the Upper Falls making it 3.1 miles round trip. The trail is well maintained and paved. There is a 3rd option to hike to the Ink Pots making the total hike 7.3 miles, but we did not go that far.
Lake Minnewanka is gorgeous! We had fun just walking along the shoreline, while Chris & Jesse played frisbee.
More pictures of Lake Minnewanka:
We also drove up Mount Norquay where you can see a beautiful view of the town of Banff down below.
I love this adorable picture of Jake & Jesse at Mount Norquay. I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up, and it seems rare to get a good picture of them together like this anymore. Sometimes they like each other! 😉
Lastly we went to Vermillion Lakes, yet another beautiful place to see at Banff.
We explored a few other areas as well, including a hike to the Hoodoos from the campground and another hike in the town of Canmore. The hiking opportunities in and around Banff are endless!
I cannot even describe how incredible it is to visit a place like Banff National Park, and my pictures really do not do it justice.
But there’s more! The trip up to Jasper National Park involves an incredibly scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway. Stay tuned for that next.