I have been to Banff probably 40 times. Every time I go with a group of friends, I learn a lot of Albertans only know about Bow Falls, Lake Louis, and Johnston Canyon. I thought I would take you guys through my last trip to Banff and where I went to inspire others to check out new places.
Day 1: The Drive and Arrival
The Route you take from Edmonton to Banff is the first thing I would change. Most people go through Calgary. I recommend turning earlier towards Crossfield and going through Cochrane as you will pass Ghost Lake. It is a beautiful blue reservoir, but it’s also a place you can sail, which I had never really watched before.
When I get to Banff, I try to make it a rule I won’t eat at any restaurant we have in Edmonton. I am an Earls Girl at heart, but sometimes you need to try something new. I recommend Park Distillery and The Maple Leaf.
The first day is when I like to tackle the main street and have a little walk to Bow Falls. My friends I had traveled with had never seen Bow Falls, so it didn’t feel fair to skip it!
Day 2: Yoho National Park
Not only is the hour and a half drive almost always have bears on the highway, but the sights are also often less crowded, perfect for social distancing. Emerald Lake is a must-see, in my opinion. Something about being at Emerald Lake makes me feel like I am at a summer camp in the ’80s. Canoes are rentable, and often, people plunge into the freezing water. There is also a valley perfect for a picnic.
After visiting Emerald Lake, you can head back to Banff, taking two stops on the way. The natural bridge is one stop on the way back. Just like it sounds, this is a massive rock formation that allows wildlife to cross the Kicking Horse River. Plus, this stop takes only 10 minutes, and it is the perfect photo op. I also recommend stopping at Takakkaw Falls. Takakkaw Falls is one of the biggest waterfalls I have ever seen, especially if you take into consideration it’s height. It is an easy walk, and you can be standing directly under the waterfall, although I wouldn’t recommend you can feel the water at least a kilometer or two away.
At night in Banff, I recommend Bowling at Highrollers. They are taking social distancing seriously, and they practically submerge the balls in bleach. It is such a fun night, and Highrollers have great drinks. I love to have a fishbowl or two. The only downside is that they have horrible pizza. However, it may have been a bad night for them.
Day 3: The Departure
If you haven’t noticed, I do not love to do huge hikes in general, but especially on the day, I plan to come home. For this reason, I do some pretty generic photo-op stops then make my way home after brunch. Sitting on the rocks at Surprise Corner Viewpoint is perfect for Instagram. You could also drive to Two Jack Lake and get a beach pick in the mountains!