Banff National Park
Banff National Park is one of the most touristy parks in West-Canada we’ve visited on our roadtrip. One of the reasons it attracts so many tourists is Lake Louise. This lake with is clear blue water, is completely surrounded by mountains, giving you a stunning view. When visiting Lake Louise, you can opt to stay close to the lake, take a walk beside the banks or kayak on the lake. If you chose to do this, I would advise you to go early in the day as it can get quite busy. However, in this area, you have several beautiful trails you can hike. We’ve chosen to combine 2 trails, so we had 1 long hike ahead.
First stop: Lake Agnes. After a steep climb up, we arrived at this astonishing lake. Take in the view while picnicking at its banks. You can even enjoy a cup of tea in the teahouse that’s located near Lake Agnes! Second part of our trail, brought us to the plain of six glaciers. As mentioned in its name, this hike takes you to a plain where you are surrounded by six glaciers. As we hiked from Lake Agnes to this plain, the road wasn’t that steep anymore. However, the view while hiking was beautiful as all the fall colours started to show. After you arrived at the plain, you have several options. You can enjoy a cup of tea in another teahouse or you can walk further to a lookout point where you could see the snow much more up close. While walking to this lookout point, we even saw the snow falling from the mountain. An incredible thing to experience, especially when you hear the sound later on.
Besides Lake Louise, there are of course lots of other lakes you can visit in Banff National Park. I’ve heard Moraine lake is even more beautiful than Lake Louise. We couldn’t visit the lake as the road was closed. If you have the opportunity to visit this lake, definitely take your chance and send your pictures! : )
We also visited Johnston Canyon. There are several trails you can hike. You have a very short trail to the lower canyon, a longer trail to the upper canyon and one trail that will take you into the back country to the ink pots. As previously mentioned, Banff National Park is quite touristy, so you will come along a lot of tourists when hiking these trails. The lower canyons can get quite busy as it’s easy to access. The upper canyon is less crowded, but gives you an amazing view. You can check out the upper canyon while standing at the bottom of the canyon. You see the water crashing down from quite a height, giving an amazing view. At the top of the canyon is a lookout platform where you can see the water crashing down.
You can also take a scenic drive up or down the route Bow Valley Parkway. This route has several lookout points where you have a great view on certain landscapes (castle mountain), but also places where you can stop to learn more about its history. I found this really interesting as I love to learn more about the history of countries I visit. If you’re lucky you can even spot some wildlife while driving this road. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any wildlife at all in Banff National Park.
Lastly, another scenic drive you can take, is the Icefields Parkway which will bring you all the way to Jasper. On this drive you have the opportunity to stop at several lookout points. At some of these points, you can also hike. When we drove this road, we weren’t that lucky with the weather as it was raining almost all the time. This didn’t stop us to check out the surroundings at these lookout points. I’ve never seen so many rainbows on one day (except in Wells Gray Park). We made several stops. Herbert Lake and Bow Lake were the first 2 lakes we made a stop. As we were the only people there and the mountains were clouded by the mist, I found there was quite a mysterious vibe. Next stop was Peyto Lake. The colour of this lake is so beautiful! The contrast with it’s surrounding makes the blue stand out even more. Can you spot the rainbow on the picture? Mistaya Canyon was our next stop. Follow a short trail over a bridge and you will see the water flow below you. Last stop in Banff National Park was the Bridal Veil Falls. At quite some distance you could see the water crashing down. Our adventure continued to Jasper National Park. The places we stopped at in this park can be found in the next post.
Have you visited Banff National Park? What places did you visit?