Our Trip to Banff, AB 2019

August 15, 2019

This past weekend my boyfriend and I took a last minute trip to Banff for less than 48hrs. Its a 5.5hr drive from where we live and I've only ever driven through Banff going to Calgary! Our original plan was to leave at 2am on Sunday then drive back later that night, I'm so glad we decided to rent a little cabin for the night because our whole day would have mainly consisted driving and not adventures which is what we went there for! The cabin we stayed at wasn't great, I had a shower at 10:30pm and the valves on the shower stopped working so I couldn't turn the shower off and the only solution other than switching cabins was to turn the water off for the rest of our stay... Oh well, the place was the least expensive we could find last minute and I'm just glad we had a bed to sleep in anyways.

We had a list of things we wanted to do during our short stay and luckily we did get to do most of them!

The Itinerary:

  • Lake Louise
  • Moraine Lake
  • Hike to Lake Agnes Tea House
  • Canoeing
  • Rent scooters
  • The Grizzly House restaurant
We were able to do everything on our list except for renting scooters and going to the Grizzly House restaurant. The scooters were reserved a few days before the trip but we went on a stormy weekend and got an email that they were not renting out scooters due to the weather that day. 

I was actually interested in the Grizzly House because they are known for their fondue and exotic meats, I was not as interested in the exotic meats but I do love cheese and fondue. My boyfriend called a day before we planned on going to make a reservation but unfortunately they are so popular and were fully booked. But thats what we get for planning things so last minute.

Both of these activities my boyfriend was looking forward to the most so he was pretty disappointed but we had fun doing everything else and we will defiantly make another trip out to Banff soon to finish our "Banff bucket list".

First stop, Lake Louise!

One thing we did plan well is purchasing a park pass before going, if you don't buy and print one online ahead of time you will have to wait in line to buy one before going to any of the parks. So we were able to drive right in to start looking for parking, it was a Sunday and Lake Louise is a big tourist spot so finding parking is typically difficult but we got lucky as a car was pulling out as we were pulling in.

Right when you walk past the Fairmont Hotel you are at the most picturesque spot of the lake, the entire area is covered in tourists taking photos and selfies. We didn't hang around here long because of all of the people and we were ready to start our trek to the tea house.

The hike

The tea house is a 3.5km hike from Lake Louise and takes about 1-2 hrs. It is a well maintained path and though I'm not a strong hiker I was able to survive this one decently well. There is a slight incline the entire way up with a few rocky/tree root spots that requires some maneuvering. I did need to take a few rests on the way up but it probably took us 1.5hrs to get up.

About 3/4 of the way up there is a stop at Mirror lake, as the name suggests the water is so still it mirrors the surroundings and makes for some great photos.

We made it to Lake Agnes Tea house!

They have 40 different flavours of tea to choose from and you can see the staff going into the crystal clear lake to get the water to boil for the tea and lemonades. I didn't get anything to eat but they had some tasty looking desserts to choose from aside from sandwiches and soup. All of the staff hike up to the tea house with fresh food and stay up on the mountain until their days off and will hike back down with any garbage. It is asked that you hike down any of your garbage to lessen the load for the staff. Any dry goods, propane etc gets flown in by helicopter once a year as there are no roads up to the tea house.

The hike down was much more enjoyable and quicker but I was defiantly sore for a couple days from the hike up. When we got back to Lake Louise we planned on going canoeing but a storm was starting and there was a chance we would be called off the lake and they do not give refunds due to weather. So we went to the town centre of Banff and walked around the shops for a little while. After that we checked into our cabin and had a much needed nap after waking up at 4am that morning, driving 5.5hrs and going on a hike, the nap then turned into Netflix which then turned into bed time.

Canoeing on Bow River

The next morning after checking out of our cabin we went canoeing on the Bow river at The Banff Canoe Club which is near the city centre of Banff. When researching the costs of canoeing at various places in Banff this was the least expensive I found at $45/hr. The route we took on the river lead us into the Vermilion Lakes which seemed like a small lake but I think we only saw a portion of it before we had to turn around because our hour was almost up. I did enjoy canoeing the Bow River but I didn't know we could rent canoes on Moraine Lake or else I would have done that to actually be on the beautiful blue water (and probably would have made for better photos).

Moraine Lake

We almost didn't stop at Moraine Lake as we were running out of time before we had to start driving back home but I am so glad that we did! There was no where near as many tourists as there was at Lake Louise, though there was still lots of people there was more room to move around and explore without bumping into someone or getting in the way of their photoshoot. A walking path takes you alongside the lake until you reach a lovely waterfall below the glacier mountains. There is also a elevated section overlooking the lake which we weren't able to go up as we only noticed it as we were on the way back to our vehicle. If you only have time to visit one lake and you had to choose between Lake Louise and Moraine lake I would suggest Moraine lake, parking is easier to find and in my opinion the location is much better!

So that was our short trip to Banff, we didn't see everything that Banff has to offer but that just means we have more to do next time we go :)

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  1. GORGEOUS photographs what a lovely place! Laura xo

  2. OMG. These photos are AMAZING! How lucky to get to travel here. This reminds me of when I lived in the PNW/Seattle and sometimes I would go up to the mountains. I loved it.

    Allie of