I recently got back from a trip to Banff National Park, arguably one of the most stunning sites within the Canadian Rocky Mountains – I’ve dubbed Banff as “The Land of Screensavers” because one of the most notable lakes (Moraine Lake), is actually one of the most prominent images seen as a default on MacBooks.
This post can easily become an infinite read if every little detail related to this trip was written out so my main goal is to create a clear and concise overview of the trip.
I guess this was a silver lining when it comes to the pandemic – traveling to Banff was less expensive during this time and we definitely took advantage of the Fairmont pandemic rates, otherwise we would not have been able to stay at these hotels because they are typically pricey.
Farm + Fire (Banff)
Vermillion Room (Banff)
Rundle Lounge (Banff)
Lakeview Lounge (Lake Louise)
Poppy Brassier (Lake Louise)
Downtown Banff – walk, shop, eat, and admire the 360 degrees of mountain views.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – Guest or not, this hotel is a main Banff attraction and a must-see if you’re ever visiting. The hotel offered a variety of complimentary resort activities, which we fully leveraged – hotel history tour, a wilderness walk to an overlook for a famous view of the hotel, wildlife safety talk (fortunately no teachings needed to be applied in real life), evening fire pit (unfortunately, we got rained out), and taking advantage of the outdoor heated pool for a midday swim.
Lake Minniewanka – A short drive from the town of Banff and worth adding to the itinerary. Lake Minniewanka is one of the largest of the blue lakes within Banff and the scenery will not disappoint.
Vermillion Lakes – Close to the main parts of the town of Banff and has a scenic drive for easy accessibility.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – Same stuff applies here! Just like the Fairmont Banff Springs, exploring Chateau Lake Louise is a must while you’re already there admiring the blueness of the lake. For hotel guests, there are also several complimentary resort lead activities to reserve for the full Lake Louise experience.
Lake Louise – One of the stars of the show! Lake Louise is a jaw-dropping destination and pictures do it no justice. It honestly seemed like I was viewing it via virtual reality but grateful that it was truly a reality. One can spend lots of time just staring out at the lake and mountains, as well as rent a canoe and amplify the Lake Louise experience. I have never canoed in my life and am so glad canoeing on Lake Louise was my first attempt at that activity – kind of set the bar high because of the scenery. Canoeing is operated by the Fairmont and there is a special rental rate for hotel guests.
Moraine Lake – You know that MacBook screen saver I was talking about? This is the place. The Fairmont offers a shuttle during the summer months to Moraine Lake which made getting there incredibly easy. If you are not staying at the Fairmont, getting to Morraine Lake may be a little more difficult from what I’ve heard due to road closures – I believe the hotels have perks with accessing the lake compared to the public.
Hike to Lake Agnes Tea House – If you’re not an avid hiker (I never hiked in my life until at Lake Louise), this is the perfect trail to follow and if you’re feeling ambitious once at the Tea House, there are a couple different paths to take for additional birds-eye-views of Lake Louise. The Lake Agnes trail is about 2 hours roundtrip – Little Beehive and Big Beehive are the other popular trail options for those looking to hike beyond the Tea House.
Layers, layers, layers. I’m from Cleveland and fully accustomed to chilly temperatures but there were times when it was cold by midwestern standards, and then random moments of warmth when the sun made an appearance, hence the heavy emphasis on layering up because you never know what varying temperature you’ll be in when in the Alpine air. The Banff trip was mid-September and when researching the weather ahead of time, it was a 50/50 situation on whether it would be on the warmer or chilly side. For the most part, the temperature varied anywhere between the 30s-50s for the duration of the trip though when in Lake Louise, it was consistently in the upper 30s since that part of the national park is more North. I will say that a Banff 50 degrees is similar to a Cleveland 30 degrees…
Basic Packing List:
Thanks for the read!