Hiking in Banff National Park

Length of stay: 3 days
Visited: June 2022

Banff National Park is the first national park that was established in Canada. It is nestled within the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Alberta and provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. The scenery speaks for itself.

Day 1: Lake Louise and the Tea Houses

We drove from Jasper National Park along the incredibly scenic Icefields Parkway to the Lake Louise Campground the day before. With beautiful weather on the forecast, we decided to wake up super early in an effort to beat the crowds at Lake Louise and to find parking, which has become a bit of an issue in recent years.

We arrived at the Lake Louise parking lot just after 6:30am. As we turned into the parking lot, we passed a sign to indicate that the parking lot for the nearby Moraine Lake was already full. As it turns out, the parking at Lake Louise was also full, but we managed to find the last parking spot, which may not have entirely been a proper parking spot, but it worked.

Starting in 2022, vehicles now have to pay $12.25 to park for the day during mid-May to mid-October in an effort to encourage people to take the Parks Canada shuttle or public transit. While we’re all for taking transit, the Parks Canada shuttle requires a reservation, something we didn’t realize until later, so it wasn’t really a good option for us. Plus, the shuttle doesn’t start running until 8a.m and we wanted to hit the trails before the crowds.

We started off at the Lake Louise shoreline and followed the paved path for a hundred metres to get to the trailhead for Lake Agnes.

The trail to Lake Agnes (3.4km one-way, rated moderate) weaves through the forest and contains a series of steep switchbacks that lead up the mountain. The steepest part was near the beginning, which in some ways, was a good way to warm-up since it was still chilly outside. The first notable point of interest along the trail is Mirror Lake, which provides a great view of the Big Beehive in the background.

At this point the trail was in pretty decent shape so we made a detour to hit up Little Beehive (1km one-way, rated moderate). There were some snow patches along the trail, but we managed. The path leads to a site where a fire lookout once stood and provides sweeping views of the Bow Valley and Lake Louise. We found a spot in the shade to eat a quick snack since we didn’t have breakfast.

We then headed to Lake Agnes where there’s a European-style tea house. Even though it was only 9a.m, there was a huge line that snaked around the building. Instead we ate another snack on a bench outside and just admired the views of the lake, which was still partially frozen.

From Lake Agnes, there’s a trail that continues around part of the shoreline towards Big Beehive. However, Big Beehive was still covered in snow and the conditions were listed as hazardous online. Instead we took the stairs down to an alternative path that loops back to Mirror Lake. There were some dodgy sections as a few spots along the trail were covered in snow. We even contemplated turning around at one point, but then we came across another group of hikers that indicated that the rest of the path was in good shape. So we continued onwards.

Once we reached the junction, we had a decision to make. We could either go back to Lake Louise (which is what we initially planned for) or take the Highline Trail to Plain of Six Glaciers where the other tea house is located. We were feeling pretty good at this point so decided to give the Highline Trail (5km one-way to get to Plain of Six Glaciers) a whirl, especially since it’s relatively flat. The trail was mostly dry and had a few smaller snow patches. It was rather enjoyable as there were some flat sections and some gradual ups and downs. Plus the views along the way were very stunning.

The trail then connects with Plain of Six Glaciers, which we followed for a couple of kilometres to get to the other tea house. The nice thing about taking the Highline Trail was that we kept part of the elevation we gained on the hike up to Lake Agnes. But, we had some additional obstacles. We were now out in the full sun and we had to navigate over some larger snow patches and through lots of running water on the trail. I guess this explained why we didn’t encounter many people on Plain of Six Glaciers. As such, we had no issues finding an open table at the tea house. Since we weren’t planning to hike this trail to begin with, we figured we might as well stop for some tea biscuits and a cup of tea to refuel.

There is a short side trail to the Abbot Pass Viewpoint, but the path isn’t maintained and it was still covered in snow. So that was a hard pass. We walked back along the Plain of Six Glaciers (5.3km one-way, rated moderate) to the shore of Lake Louise.

It took us just under 6 hours to complete the hike to both tea houses. We wrapped up just before 1p.m and headed back to our campsite to make lunch and take a long break. Since it was such a nice day outside, we headed back out later in the afternoon. We didn’t feel like hiking, especially in the heat (it was 28°C outside), so we instead drove to a few overlooks, including of Castle MountainStorm MountainVermillion Lakes and Cascade Ponds (where there’s a pair of the Red Chairs).

We then went on the Lake Minnewanka scenic drive. We ended up going for one additional hike along the Lower Bankhead Trail, an old ghost town in Banff (1.1km loop, rated easy). In the early 1900s, Bankhead helped provide coal for the Canadian Pacific Railway. After the coal mine closed in 1922, the government ordered the entire town to be removed. The trail winds around a few of the remains and foundations from the old mining site. There were also a series of signs that provided more information about the history of the town and about some of the former buildings that once stood here.

Afterwards we drove into the town of Banff and walked along the main strip where many of the shops and restaurants are located. We decided to treat ourselves with some ice cream from Cows.

Now that we had our dessert, it was time to head back to our campsite to make dinner.

Day 2: Moraine Lake

We initially planned to spend the day at the nearby Yoho National Park in British Columbia. However, on the drive out of the campground, we decided to just swing by Lake Louise to see what the parking situation was like at Moraine Lake, which is even more competitive. The sign indicated that parking was limited (but not full), so we jumped at the opportunity to check it out.

We arrived at the parking lot just after 7:30a.m and were pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t crowded. That would soon change once the shuttle buses started to arrive. So we got down to business right away, starting with the Rockpile Trail. There’s a series of steps that lead up a rockpile, which features a nice overlook of Moraine Lake.

We then hiked the Consolation Lakes Trail (2.9km, rated easy), which is located just before the trailhead for the Rockpile Trail. The first part of the trail is a bit rugged and involves walking through the rocky valley. There was still some snow on the path, but it wasn’t too challenging to navigate through.

From there the trail leads through the dense forest along the river and is mostly uphill, but it’s gradual. The trail then leads to another rock pile in the valley overlooking a lake. We climbed up, down and around the rocks to the shoreline and took a break here. It was nice and quiet as there was only one other pair of hikers nearby. We even heard a small avalanche in the distance. We turned around and hiked back the way we came, passing by several other hikers.

Because of the slow start to spring, all the other trails in the Moraine Lake area were still snowbound. So we headed back to our campsite to eat a late breakfast and then headed off to Yoho.

Day 3: Johnston Canyon to the Inkpots

Similar to the past few days, after making some tea and coffee, we headed out early in an effort to beat the crowds. We arrived at the parking area for Johnston Canyon shortly after 8:30a.m. We packed some water and snacks in our day pack and got right to it. The trail first leads to the Lower Falls (1.2km one-way from the trailhead, rated easy). The path is paved, follows along the edge of the gorge and contains a series of boardwalks built into the side of the limestone walls. At the Lower Falls there is a very small viewing platform located through a little cavern that provides a nice glimpse of the falls.

The trail continues to the Upper Falls (2.5km one-way from the trailhead, rated easy). The path is still paved and is mostly uphill with a few steep sections. The trail passes several more cascades and waterfalls.

The trail continues for a few kilometres to the Ink Pots (5.7km one-way from the trailhead, rated moderate) and involves a steady climb up through the forest. And what comes up, must come down. Mid-way through, the trail leads back down to an open meadow in the valley where the inkpots are located. Spring water bubbles up through the sand and river gravel here to form five colourful pools, known as inkpots. They fill at different speeds, which result in the inkpots being different colours. After eating a snack on one of the benches, we headed back to the trailhead and parking lot.

We wrapped up our hike just before noon and headed back to our campsite to make lunch. On the way, we saw a few cars pulled over on the side of the highway and naturally wanted to see what the fuss was about. It turns out there was a grizzly bear near the side of the highway.

We headed back out later in the afternoon to go for a couple of short and easy hikes, starting with Johnson Lake (2.8km loop, rated easy). The trail winds through the forest and passes some of the oldest Douglas-firs in the province. It also encircles the lake and provides nice views of Cascade Mountain and Mount Rundle.

From there we headed to the Lake Minnewanka day-use area to hike to Stewart Canyon (1.5km one-way, rated easy). The trail follows the shore of the lake, passes through the forest and leads to a bridge which overlooks the river in the canyon. The trail continues past the bridge to Aylmer Pass and Aylmer Lookout, but we were done for the day.

On the way back to the parking lot, we stopped to check out the Red Chairs located on the Lake Minnewanka shoreline.

At this point we were getting hungry, so we returned to our campsite to make dinner. Tomorrow morning we planned to pack-up and hit the road again to visit Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks.


126 thoughts on “Hiking in Banff National Park

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The hiking in Banff was fantastic, even with the crowds. It helped that we had fabulous weather for being outdoors. Agreed! There’s always room for dessert, even more so if you have it before dinner!

  1. John says:

    Oh. My. Gosh! The scenery there is absolutely beautiful! You guys are so lucky to be there. I could never do those hikes because of my old back being bad. Thank you for sharing this beauty!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. The mountainous landscape looked gorgeous, especially with all the snow. The hiking was harder than what we’re used to because of all the ups (then downs) and change in elevation, but we just took our time and made sure to take plenty of breaks along the way.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. It’s never fun to hike and camp in the rain. The nice thing about being in the mountains is that even though it got hot in the afternoon, the temperature dropped overnight and was still chilly the next morning, which was another motivating factor to getting an early start to our days.

  2. Ab says:

    What beautiful hikes, Linda and K – and so very nice to see a beautiful pic of both of you. And it’s wild seeing K hike through snow-covered hills in shorts! 😆

    I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference. It’s on my wish list to visit this – and Utah, but given the craziness in the US, I will likely do Banff before Utah!

    Is there the option to purchase a day pass in advance like other national parks? Otherwise, I could see it being very stressful to visit. I’m not an early riser like you two! 😆

    The trails looked wonderful and that emerald water seem dreamlike. How fantastic you got to refuel at a mountain tea house and with Cows ice cream afterwards (we tried Cows in PEI and it’s delish).

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The hiking in Banff was incredible and it was a great way to see more of the landscape (and snow!) up close and personal. The one downside to visiting earlier in the summer was that some of the trails at higher elevations still had some snow, which made hiking a bit treacherous. We had to scrap some of the trails we had planned, but thankfully there’s so many other great options to choose from.

      It’s funny how you mentioned that Utah is high up there on your travel bucket list. We’ve been wanting to go to Utah for awhile and were planning to in 2020 pre-pandemic. We’re thinking we might visit for two weeks next spring or fall, but are still debating about whether to go to Utah or California. So we’ll see.

      I don’t think there is an option to purchase a day-use pass in advance in Banff. That seems like a great way to try to control the crowds. Finding parking can definitely be stressful and the crowdedness can take away from the whole experience.

      We’ll have to look for Cows ice cream in PEI!

      • Ab says:

        You’ll have to let me know your itinerary for Utah. I’ll live through you. 🙂 We’re thinking Banff next summer now as I keep reading your posts. 🙂

        Enjoy PEI in September. What’s on your East Coast itinerary?

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure! And that’s exciting that you’re considering Banff for next summer!! Make sure to spend some time in Jasper too. You’ll love it there.

        We’ll be hitting up all the national parks in New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia. We’re also hoping to spend some time in Halifax and to visit a bunch of lighthouses, Hopewell Rocks and the Fortress of Louisbourg. Fingers crossed we’ll have nice weather!

      • Ab says:

        Sounds like an amazing itinerary. Hopewell Rocks is in NB not NS. If you have time, Peggy’s Cove in Halifax is just lovely.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks! We flew back home on Sunday and surprisingly had no issues or delays at the airport. Our flight actually landed 30 minutes earlier than anticipated. They let people off the plane in stages, 100 people every 5 minutes, which helped thin the lines.

        It’s been a bit of a struggle dealing with the time change and getting back into the swing of things with work, but hey, it’s only for a few weeks until we head out east!

      • Ab says:

        Welcome back. Sounds like airport was not as awful as it could not have been!

        I hear ya on the reentry. When I did Asia, the 12-hour time difference killed me and I was passing out in my cubicle in the afternoon. Hopefully you can work from home more this week. It’s Wednesday and almost the weekend! 🙏

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Yikes, that’s a huge time difference! And I’m sure it’s a super long flight to get to Asia too. Thankfully I don’t have to go into the office this week, which is always a bonus. The weekend will be here before we know it!

  3. BrittnyLee says:

    Those lakes look incredible. I l over the Ink Spot spots. The colors are so pretty. The only one seen water appear that way was when Frances Slocum’s lake had a dangerous algae. It was neon green for weeks. It looked so neat but was very hazardous to people and animals. Banff looks like a great place for hiking. Those views are spectacular 😊

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh I know! It’s amazing how colourful the lakes and rivers are out west in the mountains. These lakes get their colour from the glaciers, so the water is technically safe for swimming, but it’s super freezing cold. And yes, Banff is definitely an amazing park for hiking and just appreciating nature.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        Oh 😲😳 they get their color from the glaciers! That’s so neat. I must have missed that part in the read. That’s awesome. I’m sure the water must be frigid. At Frances Slocum, we can’t swim in the water, only kayak and paddle boats. They have a pool for swimming. The water is sitting in some areas so I’m sure that’s why we cannot swim. Seeing that algae was crazy, though !

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Unfortunately once the glacier melt, the lakes will eventually lose their vibrant colour. Algae blooms have become more of a cause for concern at some of our lakes in Ontario too. It doesn’t look very appealing to swim in either.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        No, I would not want to swim in green water. Hopefully more people around the globe are taking our planets health more seriously so we don’t lose all these precious treasures

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure. I also hope that we’ll make more of an effort to conserve our land. Our population in Canada is expected to double in just over 40 years. I worry about the impact that will have on the environment and wildlife.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Oh I know. I never thought I’d be so excited for summer to end, but I’m so over this heat! We’ve finally been getting some rain though, which we desperately need.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        That’s good ! We are supposed to be getting rain but it’s a clear blue sky. I’m not sure the weather is correct haha 😂😆. It’s going to be almost 90 again. I’m hoping the school I’m going to today has air conditioning or I’ll be melting. I am ready for fall weather. I just hope we get it and it doesn’t jump right into winter on us ! Lol

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I hear yah. The fall is my favourite time of the year. I love how it’s still warm during the day, but cool at night. Plus it just looks so beautiful when all the leaves are changing colour.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        It does ! It down poured yesterday. The rain really cooled out area down. It was nice carrying things into the apartment with the rain coming down. It cooled me off greatly. I opened the windows and had the fans blowing on the highest setting. It really aired it out nicely 🙂

      • BrittnyLee says:

        It felt like an autumn evening yesterday. I loved it. I love the cool nights. 🙂 The leaves changing are great too for when we go take photos out in nature. It’s so peaceful and beautiful ❤️

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        We got some rain yesterday evening too, which helped cut the humidity and the heat. We’re supposed to get some more today and tomorrow, which isn’t ideal for the Labour day long weekend, but it is at least much cooler. I’m looking forward to the leaves changing colour too. The fall is my favourite time of the year.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        The fall season is my favorite time, too. I just recently bought some cheap but pretty fall decorations for my apartment. I was so excited!!! They’re so pretty and some are glittery, too! My kitchen and living rooms color schemes are warmer colors like fall and spring kind of colors, which made my choices much similar for me. I was so grateful. I bought some hanging signs and a baking mitt and towels to match. The prices were awesome! Matt’s sister bought us some pretty bird towels for the sick area. I love them ! I ended up hanging the other fall sign in the kitchen to keep the bird theme going. A great thing about having bird decor is that it can coincide with all seasons and most warm colors. I also bought Matt cardinal decor, a photograph framed, and a glass made hanging pieces of a cardinal. The brighten up the rooms nicely. We love birds so much. I’m glad you’re getting rain. We are supposed to be getting rain. We really need it. I do hope your Labor Day weekend won’t be a washout though.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s awesome!! It seems like you went all out with your decorations! I’m sure it’ll make your place feel more cozy. I like decorating for the fall as well, and will typically get some gourds for Canadian Thanksgiving and pumpkins for Halloween. The weather was a bit drab and dreary this weekend, but the overcast was great for being outside. I’m in the process of painting our shed, which is taking much longer than expected, but I’m happy with how it’s turning out. Hope you enjoyed the long weekend as well.

      • BrittnyLee says:

        That’s awesome 🙂 I bet your shed is going to come out great. Yes! Fall really is the best I love the colors and I love the calm feel about it. How was your weekend? I hope you enjoyed it. It was very rainy here as well but I really enjoyed it because I love the rain. Also, with moving stuff, it was very nice to have cool rain beating on my head haha 😂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Awww thanks. It’s taking much longer that I anticipated, but I’m really happy with how it’s turning out. I’m also so proud of myself for trying something new!

        I just love listening to the sound of the rain. We mostly did stuff around the house and started packing. We’re heading out east tomorrow and will be flying into New Brunswick to explore Atlantic Canada. I can’t wait!!

      • BrittnyLee says:

        Oh that’s so awesome 😎!!!! I cannot wait to read about this trip !!! I hope you enjoy and are safe . Enjoy the new sights and sounds and faces !!!! I’m so pumped for you

  4. Darlene says:

    Fabulous hikes. You got some amazing pictures as well. I especially like the one of Moraine Lake. I hadn’t been to Banff for a number of years and visited with a friend last September. I remembered how much I loved the place. Those ice creams look fabulous.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! Moraine Lake sure is stunning. I’m glad we had clear skies to appreciate the lovely views (and that we managed to find parking). It was definitely worth waking up early for. And going into town for ice cream after a long day of hiking felt very satisfying. I could sure go for some ice cream now on this hot summer day!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. It was definitely hard to pack up and move onto the next park. We could have easily spent our whole trip in Banff alone. There’s so many trails left to explore. I have a feeling that we’ll be back someday.

      • Sherry says:

        Did you visit Jasper National Park too? We are planning a trip July 2023 for Banff and Jasper. It is our 50th anniversary trip.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        We sure did. We actually flew into Edmonton and started our road trip in Jasper. I found it was way less busier than Banff. We also saw the most amount of wildlife in Jasper compared to the other national parks that we visited in the Canadian Rockies. Visiting Jasper sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate your 50th anniversary. Happy trip planning!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Even though I’ve been to Banff a few times, the hiking and those views of the mountains never gets old. I’m glad we had such nice weather for being outdoors and to enjoy the scenery.

  5. Lookoom says:

    Thank you for sparing us the sight of the crowds which spoils the moment, but turning the right way as you do, the scenery is incredible and well worth some sacrifices.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. It’s hard to appreciate the beauty around us when the trail is crammed, but thankfully getting a super early start to the day worked out well. There were a few instances where I had to wait my turn to take a picture of an overlook or for someone to move out of my frame, but overall it wasn’t too bad and well worth the wait.

  6. kagould17 says:

    good on you for arriving at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake parking lot so early. That is the only way to see it without the 2 hour wait for the shuttle bus and the rides there and back. We gave up going to Banff in the busy months. Too congested with everyone vying for the best shot. The only exception to that was when I did my back country hike from the top of Sunshine. Sunshine Meadows hike is definitely a worthwhile daytime adventure as well. Banff is a victim of it proximity to Calgary. You had some beautiful weather, hikes and shots Linda. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Good call. We visited Lake Louise back in September of 2016 and never had any issues with parking. We found this time it was way busier. I guess everyone is travelling now to make up for lost time during the pandemic. We’re morning people so waking up early wasn’t too much of a hassle. As you said, parking at the trailhead gave us way more flexibility and certainty than if we booked spots on the shuttle bus. Sometimes it’s hard to know how much time you need to complete a hike. Hiking in the mountains is way more demanding than the flat terrain we have back home. I’ll have to add Sunshine Meadows to the list for next time. Thanks for reading. Linda

  7. elvira797mx says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Amazing and beautiful place and photos! Feel peace and calm.
    Wonderful! Love ice cream! And at the end a very romantic touch with red chairs. Bravo!
    Thank you for share, Linda.
    Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for you kind words and for commenting. The landscape in Banff was stunning, which made the hiking very enjoyable. It’s always peaceful being in nature (minus dealing with the crowds). The ice cream afterwards was a nice treat after a long day of hiking. Hope you enjoyed your weekend. Linda

  8. salsaworldtraveler says:

    Banff NP is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I visited with family about 25 years ago. I forget the trails but some of the scenery is familiar. The view from Moraine Lake is $20 view I believe. You put a lot into three days.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I couldn’t agree more. The Lake Louise area in particular is breathtakingly beautiful. And yes, Moraine Lake used to be featured on the Canadian $20 bill. No wonder it’s a popular spot to visit. I’m so glad we managed to find parking!

  9. NortheastAllie says:

    Thank you for sharing some of the most beautiful nature photos that I have ever viewed. Banff looks so magical and this looks like the perfect spot to really enjoy the environment and hiking as well.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It helped that we had fantastic weather while visiting Banff, which makes hiking and camping so much more enjoyable. Despite the fact that it was busy, we managed to always find parking at the trailheads.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, Canada is very beautiful. I love how drastically different the landscape is from the east to west coast. That’s exciting that you’ll be visiting in the fall. That’s my favourite time of the year when all the leaves are changing colour.

  10. Little Miss Traveller says:

    Absolutely beautiful Linda, I’ve read about Banff but not had an opportunity to visit so far. Those photos look like the top of chocolate boxes with the turquoise lakes and snow capped peaks. It’s just breathtaking and I can understand why it’s so popular even at 7.30 a.m. Great you spotted the grizzly bear too. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Marion

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! Banff is the most popular national park in Canada for a good reason. The scenery is spectacular and every viewpoint looks postcard worthy. You’d love it here. The only downside is that it can get very busy, especially around holidays and weekends. Waking up early is a great way to beat the crowds though. We had so many bear sightings during our road trip, but this was the one and only time that we spotted a grizzly bear! Hope you had a lovely weekend as well. Linda

  11. inselleben says:

    18 years ago I participated in a work and travel exchange program and had the opportunity to stay in Lake Louise an entire summer! I really enjoyed the beautiful hikes and amazing landscape after work! Thank you for sharing your story and pictures and bringing back memories.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. That sounds like such an amazing experience to stay in Lake Louise for the entire summer! It is easily the most scenic area in Banff. And I imagine it wasn’t nearly as busy then as it is now!!

  12. thehungrytravellers.blog says:

    Beautiful scenery throughout, what a fabulous area for hiking. And to be hiking in temperatures in the upper 20s while there’s still plenty of snow around is just invigorating. I remember doing the same in the French Alps a few years ago and it was so enjoyable. Exciting to see a grizzly too! Love the amusing names you seem to have there – Big & Little Beehive for instance. (Plus there’s one in here which is hilarious – and rude! – in British English, not sure if it is in Canadian English..but it made us laugh out loud!). Great write up, as always!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The mountainous landscape in Banff is spectacular. It was definitely wild to see and hike through snow considering how warm it was. The temperature dropped drastically overnight, which was great for sleeping. It was another great reason to start hiking early in the morning to enjoy the cooler weather. We’ve had quite a few bear sightings during our trip out west, but this was our first (and only) time seeing a grizzly bear, which was very exciting. I didn’t realize that the name of the one lake (Lake Minnewanka) was considered rude until I googled it. That’s too funny.

  13. leightontravels says:

    Amazing photos and a fantastic write up! The scenery is unbelievable, a poignant reminder of how beautiful this little planet is. I couldn’t decide which hiking trail I liked best, they are all just glorious. You must have felt so refreshed and regenerated after spending three days in Banff. We miss the beauty of the Scottish Highlands and Borders daily. It is such a privilege to have access to this unparalleled beauty.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. The scenery in Banff (and the Canadian Rockies in general) is breathtaking, which made for some fabulous hiking. There were so many wonderful trails that we hiked, but we were only scratching the surface as there are so many more that we didn’t have enough time to explore. Scotland is actually pretty high up there on our travel bucket list. I’ve heard wonderful things about the scenery and hiking in the Highlands (and not so wonderful things about the weather!).

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The trail to the two tea houses is one of my all-time favourites hikes. Ever. The snow capped mountains are gorgeous. It was also neat to see Lake Louise from above. It looked much more colourful from up in the mountains compared to along the shoreline. It was a real treat to take a break at the second tea house, order a warm cup of tea, and just soak in the views. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

      • Diana says:

        I haven’t hiked above Lake Louise, but I did hike above Moraine Lake and had a similar experience, so I can see why it’s one of your all time favorites!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Nice! Most of the trails at Moraine Lake were still snowbound when we visited, so our options were more limited. That probably explains why we were able to find parking even though it was after 7am!

  14. Linda K says:

    Gorgeous photos and brought back wonderful memories of our trip to that area two years ago when we camped in Kootenay National Park. Have done the Stewart Canyon hike in the past and was so scared of seeing a grizzly bear that whole way! Still must do that Lake Louise hike one of these summers. So glad you were able to enjoy this part of Canada 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks!! We visited Kootenay later on during our road trip through the Canadian Rockies, but only for a day. The views of the mountains never get old. When we hiked to Stewart Canyon, we passed a few hikers that said they saw a bear on the trail. That had us on edge, but there was a group of people behind us, which gave us some comfort. I highly recommend a visit to Lake Louise. It does tend to be busy, but if you get there early enough, it’s not so bad. The scenery is breathtaking.

  15. Bama says:

    I remember when I was much younger, I liked to spend a lot of time at the school library to read encyclopedias. One of the images I will never forget is a calm lake reflecting a snow-capped mountain on a clear sunny day. I think it was Canada, and it could have been a photo of Lake Louise, or maybe Morraine Lake. Truly spectacular!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It very well could have been Moraine Lake. It was once featured on our old $20 bill. There seems to be no shortage of majestic snow capped peaks and colourful lakes in Western Canada. I must have taken over a thousand pictures of just our time in Banff. It was hard to pick and choose which pictures to showcase. It was all gorgeous.

  16. wetanddustyroads says:

    Absolutely… the views on the trails are breathtakingly beautiful. The lake, trees and mountains all contribute to a breathtaking scenery! And I like the look of the tea house (nothing wrong with some biscuits and tea half way through a hike)… and an ice cream at the end of the day! And love your last day’s waterfall hike…you are truly privileged to be able to enjoy such a scenic route! Stunning photos!!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We were a bit concerned about some of the trail conditions since we were visiting early in the season, but found it wasn’t too bad. If anything, some of the snow might have deterred other hikers, which worked out well for us. I couldn’t believe how packed the first tea house was and was shocked when the second one wasn’t very full. It was a great spot to stop for a warm beverage and some snacks. Agreed, I feel very lucky to have been able to see such beautiful scenery and to have had fabulous weather. It makes me appreciate living in Canada 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The hiking in Banff was incredible. It was much more strenuous than what we’re used to back home where it’s mostly flat, but it was well worth the effort. Agreed, the lakes are gorgeous. It’s neat how the colour even changes depending on whether its sunny or the angle from which you’re viewing it.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. Lake Louise was insanely busy when we visited too. I’m glad we went first thing in the morning though. By the time we finished up our hike to the two tea houses, the Lake Louise shoreline was packed. We found it more challenging to navigate around all the people than we did the snow along the trail!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks!! We were only in Banff for a few days, but agreed, I could easily spend a whole month here and never get bored. There’s so many trails left to explore. I wouldn’t want to camp in a tent the whole time though!!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s amazing!! Great minds think alike! Glad to hear that you had a wonderful trip as well. There’s just something so special about being in the mountains. Thanks for stopping by. Linda

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I love it! You must have had fabulous weather when visiting Banff then too. We were here back in 2016 and it was mostly overcast (and cold). The landscape was still stunning, but we were able to appreciate it so much more with clear skies.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s not bad. At least it wasn’t a torrential downpour or anything. The more we have to hike or camp in the rain, the more we talk about getting a campervan. Someday.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh I know. The landscape looks gorgeous and the mountainous terrain takes hiking to a whole other level. We also saw an incredible amount of wildlife. I highly recommend visiting Banff (and the other nearby national parks). You’d love it there.

  17. Oh, the Places We See says:

    I’ve heard of this area for a long, long time, but haven’t really digested the grandeur of it. Such large landscapes all filled with natural beauty. Thanks for this post. I’m really interested in going there.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The scenery in Banff is spectacular, which makes for some amazing hiking and photo opportunities. The only downside was how busy it was. Thankfully getting an early start to the day was a great way to beat the crowds and the heat.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. That’s very exciting that you’ll be visiting Canada soon! Taking a train sounds like a great way to get a different perspective of the mountain scenery. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time! Safe travels!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The scenery in Banff is spectacular with all the snow capped mountains and turquoise coloured lakes. Needless to say, the hiking was phenomenal. The Red Chairs were a great spot to take a break and soak in the views.

  18. Harley Gurl says:

    Wow! Love the scenery such beauty! Reading your story and seeing your pictures, has me wanting to visit there. I have it on my bucket list but reading about your hiking just gives it more urgency. Thanks for sharing.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. The scenery in Banff is stunning. There are so many great trails and viewpoints to soak in the views of the mountains and all the turquoise coloured lakes. Hopefully you’re able to visit someday.

  19. Patrick D says:

    Banff is gorgeous! I went a few years back for new year, the views, town, and skiing were all amazing! Would also recommend The Grizzly House for fondue.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      What a wonderful way to ring in the New Year. I’ve only ever visited Banff in the summer, but it would be neat to see how the landscape transforms with all that snow. Plus there are so many winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing. I’ll have to keep the Grizzly House in mind for when we return (because we’ll definitely be returning)!

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