The Best Hikes in Banff, Alberta
The Best Hikes in Banff, Alberta
Honestly, Banff and Lake Louise are two of the most naturally beautiful places that I’ve ever been to, and the pictures speak for themselves. I didn’t expect to find such crystal blue water nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies but this place is such a dream! Now, I won’t lie, going to Banff is not super original. We found out about Banff from one of those screen-savers that pop up on your television. As I started Googling, I instantly fell in love and started stalking all the fashion and travel bloggers 😂 It’s the best thing I’ve ever done because this place is amazing!!! I love breathtaking views that just make you want to sit and stare for hours and this place delivers.
Banff is amazing and equally as beautiful as Jasper. It has more of a ski-town feel to it so it’s a little bit more crowded and has more modern necessities. But the hikes and the views are just as amazing as Jasper.
The first thing we did after checking into the Fairmont Banff Springs was head to the Banff Surprise Corner to get a full view of the hotel. It’s definitely within walking distance of the hotel but it was so cold we opted to drive and lucked out on finding a parking spot. Again it’s not really a hike, just a short walk. But it’s definitely worth it if you want some amazing views of the ‘Castle in the Rockies’.
Lake Louise is a town and a lake, the lake is on the outer part of the town and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise overlooks the lake. There are a couple of hikes on the property that give a stunning view of the lake. One of them is the Lake Louise Tea House, which we were planning on doing until we saw the trail covered in ice and snow. There were still people hiking it but I think the only way to hike it without slipping was to get the hiking sticks (found here). Honestly, it never occurred to us that we should bring these but I wish we had. That hike is suppose to be around 2 hours, round trip.
Instead of hiking to the Tea House we opted to walk along the perimeter of Lake Louise. It takes about an hour to trek there and back and the views of the water are amazing! It’s a flat trail so it’s very easy and a nice stroll.
I did a post on Maligne Canyon in Jasper, here, and honestly this doesn’t even compare to Johnston Canyon. There is such a difference between walking on top of a canyon and looking down and actually walking through the canyon. The trail is completely lined as you walk through the canyon so it’s safe. I would recommend going first thing in the morning because the sun is less harsh and there is less people. The path is pretty narrow at times and can get congested. Plan to spend a lot of time here, if it weren’t so cold and icy, we would have spent all day here. It’s just stunning and the rock formations are spectacular!
One thing that I found on Instagram was this not-so-secret cave that is right before the Upper falls. If you turn right before the last bridge and follow the trail of footprints you’ll find this amazing cave that opens up to a gorgeous rock ‘thing’. I was so excited to do this… until we realized that whole area was closed off to protect the birds that use to live there. Don’t worry, it’s not permanently closed off it’s just for a couple months. Essentially, when the trail became so popular they saw a shrinkage in the bird population that use to live here. So in an effort to entice the species back, they close it off for a couple months. I guess it’s nice that they’re protecting the birds but I was really bummed. I was going to go rogue and see it anyway but there is a $25,000 fine if they catch you so I’ll just come back over the summertime.
Like I said during my Jasper Hikes post, make sure to check out the link above to see all the hikes/trails that close during the winter season. The following are things that we couldn’t do because they were closed due to the snow… so come back next summer to see my review of these hikes.
Boyfriend doesn’t have many opinions as far as where we go on vacations, but once he saw the screensaver of Moraine Lake, he couldn’t control his excitement. Getting to Moraine Lake isn’t considered a ‘hike’, you can park right at the parking lot and walk 10 yard and you’re there. The reason why this is closed for the winter is because of avalanches. so they close off Moraine Lake Road (the road that leads to the parking lot). If you choose to walk the road, you can but it’s a 3 hour walk each way! So 6 hours total. If we were there for longer, we probably would have done this or rented bikes or something.
For future reference I did read that it’s a tourist death trap. But if you wake up for sunrise (7:45am) then it’s better.
Distance: 1 hour drive to the trailhead. Between Banff and Lake Louise
Time to Hike: 0 minutes.
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