Banff National Park, Alberta

BANFF National Park, Alberta, Canada

Banff and the surrounding area! YOHO national park to the west and Jasper National Park to the North sandwich the strikingly surreal landscape of BANFF National Park.

Affordable Sleeping Arrangements in Great Locations

HI Banff Alpine Center is a BEAUTIFUL Hostel. Honestly, it doesn’t even feel like a hostel. Enjoy lodge life with all the amenities; you can find wildlife wandering through and you’re either a beautiful 10-15 walk from town or a quick bus ride away with your free local bus pass compliments of HI BANFF Hostel. With Cougar Pete’s restaurant and the Storm Cellar bar, you’ll never lack entertainment. You can enjoy typical Hostel life by sharing rooms for a low of about $33.00 a night in non-peak season or live the life of luxury in a private room for about $110.00  – $180.00 a night.

HI Lake Louise Alpine has a real rugged beauty to it just outside of ‘town’. This chalet style hostel is all the rage in the low key town of Lake Louise. Choose to stay dormitory-style or private but make sure you enjoy the fire pit on a cool summer night with newfound friends.


HI Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel’s off the grid living is a nature lover’s absolute DREAM. Not far from the town of Jasper, but entirely one with nature, this inexpensive accommodation is rich in character. Here, you will sleep in one of three rustic cabins and gather alongside fellow nature-lovers in the cooking cabin or around the campfire to share stories and meals. Keep a keen eye out for wildlife and be sure to follow hostel rules for your and the surrounding animals’ health. Enjoy a shared dorm room in this dreamy cabin for less than $30.00 a night. It is a nature lover’s dream, other than sleeping outside of course. 


Make the Most of Your Dining Experience in BANFF and the Surrounsing Area

Coyotes Southwestern Grill (BANFF) provided our table with delicious eats in a warm, casual atmosphere. We enjoyed Canadian and southwestern dishes among good drinks and great company for a low cost! However, be aware it was very hot in the building on a warm summer day.

Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon (BANFF) serves up American Bar and BBQ style food. They were very accommodating to a super large group (13+) and the food was good, not great but good. We also had a more than enjoyable time staying out late and dancing/learning the 2-step to the tune of a lively band.  

Stop into COWS Banff for the creamiest of ice cream! It is definitely intimidatingly crowded, however well worth the wait!

The Village Market in Lake Louise was our pit stop to grab food to cook in the Hostel. A stop at the Samson ‘Mall’ allows you the opportunity to stop into the Market, Liquor Store, Trailhead Cafe, Old Tyme Candy Shoppe, and Laggan’s Mountain Bakery and Delicatessen. I actually stopped at each of these places on my visit! Enjoying a breakfast sandwich, local tea and sweet treat from Laggan’s on the go.    

El Mundo Loco in Jasper seemed like the perfect ‘local’ spot! We ventured a bit off the main road and through some back streets before agreeing on this one. When traveling on a  Budget Taco Sunday sounded inviting and it truly didn’t disappoint; $4 Tacos and $4.50 Margaritas hit the spot and were tasty. Karouzos Steakhouse was where a few of our tourmates decided on and they enjoyed a lovely, more upscale but still casual dinner in the heart of Jasper. 


TRAILS and SIGHTS.

SIGHT: Moraine Lake

DIFFICULTY: EASY

DESCRIPTION:  A beautiful stone man-made path with a few steps leads you to this glacial fed lake in Banff National Park. Situated in the Valley on the Ten Peaks at about 6,183 feet in elevation, there is no better sight while enjoying lunch! There are trails to hike from this point including Larch  Valley, Consolation Lakes, Sentinel Pass, Tower of Babel and Eiffel Peak; each hike increasing in difficulty and beauty!


SIGHT: Lake Louise

DIFFICULTY: EASY

DESCRIPTION:  Park and walk to the iconic view of Lake Louise! Be aware that it will MOST DEFINITELY be incredibly busy.


TRAIL: Lake Agnes Tea House

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

DESCRIPTION:  A clear path from Lake Louise will lead you up, through switchbacks to the Lake Agnes tea-house which is open from early June through October. It will take an in-shape hiker around 45 minutes to gain the 1300 feet; when you’ve reached the cascading waterfall you are very close! Once at the top, enjoy the beauty of the building amidst the stunning landscape. From here you may choose to continue on to Little or Big Beehive which connects you to an additional tea house for a 9-mile loop.

 


SIGHT: Athabasca Falls

DIFFICULTY: EASY

DESCRIPTION: A paved path leads to and around this powerful waterfall in Jasper National Park on the upper Athabasca River. There are offshoot trails providing many opportunities to escape the crowds for some more serene beauty! Be sure to descend through millions of year’s worth of rocks layers to a few beautiful views of the river.


SIGHT: Athabasca Glacier

DIFFICULTY: EASY

DESCRIPTION: There are a number of excursions that one can embark on here at Athabasca Glacier. You can grab a ride on a massive Ice Explorer to a place where you can walk on, feel and drink from the Athabasca Glacier. If walking on a jaw-dropping glass-floored Glacier Skywalk is more your style you can head out onto this beauty as well! Rates for the 2018 season can be found HERE. Within the center, there are informational films, displays and more for you to learn about the surrounding area.


SIGHT: Waterfowl Lakes.  

DIFFICULTY: EASY

DESCRIPTION: A lovely stop for a gorgeous sunrise; with a crystal clear reflection of this glacial lake, you can not go wrong. Also a perfect location for an ICE COLD swim! hah


SIGHT: Johnston Canyon

DIFFICULTY: EASY-MODERATE

DESCRIPTION:  Easily one of the busiest trails in the Canadian Rockies and for good reason. This trail boasts overhanging canyon walls, waterfalls, the deep pools of Johnston Creek, and lush forest. It takes about a half-hour to reach the lower falls, and with a steeper elevation gain your trip the Upper Falls will take at least an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes depending on your fitness. You can continue on further, for more solitude, to the inkblot. The trail itself winds through the stunning limestone canyon walls but can be narrow in places with large crowds; I suggest arriving early in the AM to avoid large bus-fulls of people! There are washrooms and a restaurant at the trailhead.  


SIGHT: Tunnel Mountain  

DIFFICULTY: MODERATE

DESCRIPTION: Not far from town this fairly easy hike includes a wide, windy, well-maintained path up hillside switchbacks. 1 – 2  hours (RT) will lead you to a panoramic view of the townsite, the Bow Valley, and Mt. Rundle. Such a perfect way to get to know the area!


SIGHT: Bow Lake/ Bow Glacier Falls

DIFFICULTY: MODERATE

DESCRIPTION: Enjoy the reflection of mountains and Bow Glacier on the shore of Bow Lake. Follow the trail over a series of wooden bridges for about 2.5 miles. You can choose to hike/scramble up closer to the falls for an even better view! Enjoy the emerald-colored water as you hike to this glacial waterfall and don’t forget that your return hike is almost like an entirely new hike!


SIGHT: Emerald Lake and Basin

DIFFICULTY: MODERATE

DESCRIPTION: If you’re driving into Banff from B.C. be sure to pit stop at Emerald Lake in YOHO National Park is an absolute beauty! From here you can follow the shoreline trail up to Emerald Basin. Luscious green trees and receding glaciers are a treat for all of the senses with absolutely stunning views.  If not for a hike, at least stop by for this beautiful view! 


SIGHT: Peyto Lake

DIFFICULTY: MODERATE

DESCRIPTION: From the main parking lot you can walk to first main view of Peyto Lake on a well-maintained trail that is less than a half mile away. You can enjoy the views, and probably the crowds at the Peyto Lake Lookout, or you can hike up to a higher viewpoint; the option to hike down towards the lake or on an old fire road to Bow Lake Lookout is also available. Enjoy the rocks at Peyto Lake lookout, you might have a few Marmots keeping you company!


SIGHT: Rundle Mountain

DIFFICULTY: DIFFICULT

DESCRIPTION: Beyond the BANFF Springs Golf Course you can find the 8-mile trail to the summit of Rundle. Plenty of steep switchbacks and many amazing views will lead you the ultimate 8,000-foot views! Be prepared for loose rock above the tree line, making it quite tough to maneuver the final ascent, and to turn around at first sign of bad weather! Be sure to turn around often because the jagged mountaintop view never gets old. 


EXCURSIONS.

BANFF Gondola Ride

Columbia Icefield Tour

Horseback Riding Adventures

Kicking Horse River White Water Rafting

Wildlife Tour

The BEST time on Kicking Horse River

Heading to Banff National Park? Hold on to these suggestions. PIN ME!

Published by expeditioneducation

Hello! My name is Kati and I do all the writing, editing, and planning for Expedition Edu. I am a Middle School Teacher and athletics coach with a fiery passion for the outdoors and exploring new places. The purpose of this blog is to inspire others to connect with what's around them and provide resources to help them do just that. Challenge yourself every day and don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone, for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!

27 thoughts on “Banff National Park, Alberta

  1. This looks like such a magical trip! Such breathtaking photos. I can’t imagine what it looked like to actually be there.

  2. momi berlin – A lifestyle and parenting blog of Berlin Domingo to initially cope up with – what she thought – the boredom of staying at home. Life is indeed full of adventures and lessons learned, and now she is ready to embrace each challenge with an open heart and loving hands. Follow her journey here as she writes all the feats and what she considers the never misses of a life of one mom. It is her ultimate goal to live life to the fullest and make daily life the happiest!
    momi berlin says:

    As I read, I imagine myself being there, too. How fun it must have been to be there and enjoy nature, the company of loved ones, and discovering new things.

  3. toastycritic – If anyone was to tell me what my life would look like at this age, I would have run away screaming. Well maybe laughing. OK, possibly in stunned silence. Has anyone run away in stunned silence before? I wonder what that would look like. But I digress. So who am I? I am a middle aged white guy who isn't balding. Wait . . . that describes half the white guy population? Hmmm. . . . In truth I am a single parent. This takes up a lot of who I am and it has to do with a lot of the decisions that I make. My daughter is my inspiration and motivation every day. I believe in a higher power. Not in the AA nebulous higher power, but in one that has a specific relationship with people. Despite that belief, I do not make my blogs about that. If anyone should ask I would love to talk about it. When it comes to being a person, I believe actions speak volumes and words can barely be heard. So when it comes to loving, it means that I love you by how I treat you, and not the words coming out of my mouth. In that vein I hope to be a person of my word. Finally I love life. So this means my profile will be stories about my adventures, tales from my daughter, recipes I've tried out, movies that I love, places that are amazing, food that's great, or beauty wherever I see it. I hope that this goes for my blog as well as my social media accounts. I think life is a grand adventure made for excitement and thrills and I want to live those out every day, not be stuck behind a computer (even though I do love writing). So from here on out my promise to you is that I will be fully me. I want you to be fully you. And let's engage in a discussion about life., and what it means to live it. What does a life worth living mean to you? Hope to hear from you soon.
    toastycritic says:

    It all looks absolutely amazing. I love all the beautiful scenery out there. And the dining looked like it was pretty great as well.

  4. Oh wow, these photos are incredible. I would love to go to this national park one day.

  5. This is going to sound a bit weird but I just like saying “Banff”. It’s a fun word to say and a gorgeous area to explore. I like that there are options to share a room or go private to accommodate varying budgets. Some of the photos reminded me of the hikes we would go on as a family in New Hampshire. I want to go to Banff (I had to say it one more time). 🙂

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      haha I agree on the enjoyment of the word! and I also LOVE New Hampshire

      1. We would stay up in the huts in the mountains every now and again. We always had such a great time when we did that. I haven’t done any real camping or hiking in years. I think I need to change that…

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      you’re welcome! Enjoy!!

  6. Banff National Park looks great. I would gladly recommend it – for me it wouldn’t be good lol. Not an outdoorsy person. I’m becoming more boujee in my old age.

  7. ninalehan21 – I am a human searching for perfection and imperfection in everything, anything and yet nothing. To figure life out, you need to be courageous and brave. "Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." Omar Khayyam. Let's go on a journey to find enlightenment, Ruth Reichl says “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
    ninalehan21 says:

    This is such an amazing and beautiful place to visit. Looks like you had a blast there. thank you for sharing your experience

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      any time!!

  8. Nik – Nik is the founder of Bae of Bengal. The award winning youtube channel shares the self-help ideas by it's audio-visual contents based on our daily life incidents.
    Nik says:

    Needed this content today. After a tough day spending time with quality travel blogs is really a great refreshment. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      you are so very welcome!

  9. Kaella – New Jersey – Hi my name is Meagan, I am the owner, creator and write of Kaella Boutique and Blog. I am a mom to 4 beautiful kids ranging from an infant to 17 years old and our 1 year old puppy Max. I am the wife to a hardworking man and amazing dad. Plus, (as Danyella makes me say) the grandma to Benny the rabbit. My life is all about creating and bringing beauty into the world.
    Kaella says:

    This park looks like it has breathtaking views. This is now on my bucket list!

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      it’s a reallll stunna!!

  10. momi berlin – A lifestyle and parenting blog of Berlin Domingo to initially cope up with – what she thought – the boredom of staying at home. Life is indeed full of adventures and lessons learned, and now she is ready to embrace each challenge with an open heart and loving hands. Follow her journey here as she writes all the feats and what she considers the never misses of a life of one mom. It is her ultimate goal to live life to the fullest and make daily life the happiest!
    momi berlin says:

    This place looks incredible.Would love to visit this one day.

  11. Marie Fe Amaya – Arizona, USA – Hello there! My name is Marie Fe Callao (Amaya). I am from Philippines and lives in Arizona United States. WELCOME TO MY JOURNEY IN LIFE!
    Marie Fe Amaya says:

    I have friends in Canada and saw all their pictures on Facebook and it’s so beautiful pictures and place. As I am reading your blog it makes me want to visit someday. Thanks for sharing

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      THANK YOU! It was such agorgeous place

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      I highly suggest it!

  12. You’re such an inspiration! You make me want to get out there and explore all of the beauty that there is around us. I can’t wait to read more and see so many more perfectly captured pictures. To one day exploring on my own, knowing I’ve learned from the best.

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