Tal’s Guide to Banff for 48 hours
Banff has always been a magical place on my bucket list and thankfully this trip happened sooner than I had imagined! We decided to hurry and take advantage of the 2017 Discovery Pass, where all entry access into national parks were free in honor of Canada’s 150th anniversary! August was the perfect month to visit Banff because the weather was perfect and all the parks were open.
We flew from Minneapolis to Calgary. We rented a car and drove straight to catch the sunset at Johnston Canyon. This was a fairly easy hike to the waterfall, but I heard it’s pretty dangerous to do if it’s snowing due to the steep incline of the trail.
Our hostel was in Canmore, located between Calgary and Banff. I think we spent $140 for 2 people 2 nights, so yes we were roughing it. Honestly, as much time as you will spend outdoors and in the parks, all you really need is a place to shower and a pillow under your head and you will still have the best time in Banff.
We woke up early every morning to catch the sunrise and stayed out the whole day until the parks closed.
We did a sunrise canoe session on Lake Louise and it was probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. Being completed surrounded by nature, these mountains that go on for as far as the eye can see and the most crystal still glacier waters. . . WOW!
Don’t forget to check out the hotel! We grabbed a hot cocoa and coffee for our breakfast before we hit the road! Talk about being a distracted driver!! It was so hard to keep our eyes on the road as we drove through the winding roads of mountains, even spotting a bear. We had to pull over once we drove up to Bow Lake; probably one of the best detour decisions and should be a definite stop to explore if you have time in your agenda!
We finally made it to our destination which was Peyton Lake. Another breathtaking view! You honestly cannot go wrong with any of the stops you decide to make in Banff.
Peyto was one of my favorites because you are so high up that you can really take all the beauty really in. My friend Katherine talked me into climbing down some rocks (totally afraid of uneven footing and heights) to have a private view that was so worth it and we sat there for a few hours just in awe!
To end the trip and catch sunset, we headed over to Moraine Lake. If you are heading there on your trip, make sure to check if the park is open. The road to Moraine Lake closes due to the snow in certain winter months!
The traffic to Moraine Lake at midday time was pretty bad and there were a lot of tourists at the lake climbing the rocks, but I wouldn’t let that deter you from visiting. The view is worth any amount of traffic!
My number one tip for visiting Banff — if you want to visit a place tourist free, get up super early and catch the sunrise! I promise it will be worth it!