You have probably been seeing tons of pictures lately of Banff! I feel like everyone has been going and its becoming super popular. It wasn’t really even on my radar until a few of my friends went a couple years ago so naturally I added it to my travel bucket list but it wasn’t super high up there.
Kaitlynn follows a travel photographer named Mike Dewy on insta and he was there so she kept telling me to check out his insta stories because Banff was gorgeous and she wanted to go. I went and looked at all his stories and he had some amazing footage on there! This place was insane and I knew I needed to bump it up on my list. A few minutes later Kaitlynn was texting me telling me roundtrip tickets to Calgary were around $200. Which is a deal as that’s the airport I fly into when I would visit my sister. The past couple years tickets were closer to $500 roundtrip!
Within a couple of hours Kaitlynn and I had this whole trip planned out…we just had to get her husband Cameron on board. It took a bit of convincing but finally a couple days later he agreed! As soon as he said yes Kaitlynn hit reserve on AirBnB…we don’t waste time when it comes to trip planning.
Fast forward to September and we were in Canada! I have never planned such a last minute trip but there’s something really exciting about planning something and being there a month later. Since it was short notice and on a holiday weekend we went for a cheap AirBnB in Calgary which was about an hour and a half from the park. Next time I would definitely stay in Banff or Canmore.
Driving into the National Park was just breathtaking. Everywhere you look was gorgeous! The number 1 thing we wanted to do was see Peyto Lake. I have never seen a prettier color body of water. It was so incredible. It was a short 15 minute walk to the look out. The elevation is a lot higher than Seattle so we were struggling with the incline LOL. Peyto Lake was my #1 sight we saw. I could of spent hours up there looking at that lake. A lot of people think it looks like the shape of a fox, but it took me a long time to see that.
After this we went to Lake Louise and to be honest I wasn’t that impressed. It was so packed and the water color wasn’t as pretty as I was expecting. I do think the time of day that we were there might of not been doing the lake very much justice. Lake Louise is where they have the really nice Fairmont Hotel. You can canoe on this lake but it was super windy and so we weren’t able to do that.
Everything is decently spread out in the parks so after accomplishing those 2 things we went into downtown Banff. The town is so adorable! They had tons of places to shop at. We really wanted to eat and get drinks at the Park Distillery as that was Mike Dewey’s number 1 recommendation for food and drinks. We went to put our name on the list and it was about a 2 hour wait, so just take note that you will want to get your name on the list and go look around. We shopped a little bit but just wanted to chill so we asked a local for a place to go get drinks while we waited. He told us to go to Melissa’s Misteak to get drinks in the bar upstairs as that’s where all the locals went and they had cheap drinks. Can you go wrong with $3.50 drinks?! I think not. After it converts to US dollars its even cheaper! Thank you to the local for that tip! We passed the time there chatting with the bartender from New Zealand while we waited to go to the Park Distillery.
We finally got the text that our table was ready at the park distillery! Since we had already gotten some light food with drinks earlier we weren’t starving. Kaitlynn and Cameron got an appetizer and said it was super good. There wasn’t much in the way of plant based food options so I just had a drink. I got the Backcountry Tea and holy moly it was the best drink I have ever had! Just so good! I bought some of the Park Glacier Rye that they make at the distillery so that I could make this drink once I got home since they posted the recipe on their website! I have yet to remake the drink though! I should get on that. Definitely go here if you are in Banff! You can also do a tasting during the day!
The next day we decided that we were going to get up at 4 am and drive to back to Banff and watch the sunrise…however when that alarm went off our beds sounded a lot nicer than being in the car for a couple hours that early. We just took it easy Sunday morning and had a bit later of a start this day. The waiter at Park told us to check out Emerald Lake as it was a little less touristy and her personal favorite lake. On our way up we got hungry and stopped in a little town called Field and found a really cute little cafe on the corner which a few plant based options! After our bellies were happy we continued onto Emerald Lake. The color of this lake stood up to its name! It was amazing. We were going to canoe here but after we watched all the people in the canoes and how tippy they looked we didn’t really want to attempt it since none of had canoed before.
We knew we had to catch at least the sunset at one of the lakes, so we went back into Banff and went to Vermillion Lakes to watch it. It was freezing but worth it! Next time I would definitely make sure to watch the sunrise at least once.
On our last day in Banff we went to Lake Moraine. We didn’t have a ton of time to spend here, but next time if I was there in summer I would plan to spend all day hanging out there! Its so serene there! I ended up getting a very pretty gemstone ring there! The saleslady said it reminded her of the color of the lake and every time I wear it I think of that lake!
You definitely have to visit Banff at least once in your life! It will blow you away. Seeing God’s creation always make me appreciate him so much more! This is one of the prettiest places I have ever been. Id love to go back in the winter time as well to experience it in the snow.