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3 Days in Banff National Park Travel Itinerary

Banff National Park is one of the most stunning and popular destinations in Canada, where you can enjoy the beauty and adventure of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway, a thrilling outdoor activity, or a cultural experience, Banff has something for everyone. In this travel blog, I will share with you some of the highlights of my trip to Banff, as well as some tips and advice on how to make the most of your time there.

Day 1: Banff Town and Sulphur Mountain

To be fair, I flew in the night before after a super delayed flight. I drove about 1 hour from Calgary to Dead Man's Flats where I stayed in a spectacular AirBnB. From there, I drove about another 40 minutes to get to Banff. Banff is a charming town, surrounded by mountains, forests, and rivers. I checked in at my hotel, the Banff Springs Hotel, a historic and luxurious castle-like resort that offers stunning views and amenities. I decided to explore the town and do some shopping and sightseeing. I visited the Banff Park Museum, where I learned about the wildlife and history of the park, and the Whyte Museum, where I saw some artworks and exhibits about the culture and heritage of the region. I also walked along the Bow River and the Banff Avenue, where I found some cute shops, cafes, and restaurants.

In the afternoon, I took the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where I enjoyed a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding peaks. I also hiked along the boardwalk to the summit, where I saw the Cosmic Ray Station, a historic scientific site. I also visited the Banff Sky Bistro, where I had a delicious meal with a spectacular view. I also checked out the interpretive center, where I learned more about the geology and ecology of the mountain.

Day 2: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake

On my second day, I drove to Lake Louise, one of the most iconic and beautiful lakes in the world. Lake Louise is a turquoise lake, fed by a glacier, and framed by snow-capped mountains. I rented a canoe and paddled on the lake, admiring the scenery and the reflections. I also hiked to the Lake Agnes Tea House, where I had a cup of tea and a snack in a cozy and historic cabin. From there, I hiked up to little Beehive and admired the incredible views. Many trails were closed due to snow as it was early in the season. The views could not be beat and the early season allowed for smaller crowds and a more magical expereince in my opinion.

After Lake Louise, I drove to Moraine Lake, another stunning lake that is famous for its color and shape. Moraine Lake is a blue-green lake, surrounded by ten peaks, and shaped like a valley. I hiked to the Rockpile, where I had a postcard-perfect view of the lake and the mountains. I also hiked to the Consolation Lakes, where I saw some more glaciers and wildlife. I also visited the Moraine Lake Lodge, where I had a coffee and a souvenir.

Day 3: Icefields Parkway and Columbia Icefield

On my third day, I drove along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most scenic and spectacular roads in the world. The Icefields Parkway is a 230-kilometer (143-mile) road that connects Banff and Jasper National Parks, and passes by some of the most amazing landscapes and attractions in the Rockies. I stopped at some of the highlights, such as Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Mistaya Canyon, Saskatchewan River Crossing, and Sunwapta Falls. I also saw some wildlife, such as bears, elk, and bighorn sheep.

The main attraction of the Icefields Parkway is the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield in the Rockies, and the source of several rivers and glaciers. I took the Ice Explorer, a massive vehicle that can drive on the ice, to the Athabasca Glacier, where I walked on the glacier and touched the ice. I also visited the Glacier Skywalk, a glass-floored platform that hangs over the Sunwapta Valley, where I had a thrilling and breathtaking view of the glacier and the canyon.

Tips and Advice for Visiting Banff

  • The best time to visit Banff is from June to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the lakes are at their best. However, this is also the peak season, so expect crowds and higher prices. You can also visit Banff in the winter, when the park becomes a winter wonderland, and you can enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating. However, some roads and attractions may be closed or inaccessible due to snow and ice.

  • You need a park pass to enter Banff National Park, which costs $9.80 CAD per person per day, or $67.70 CAD per person for an annual pass. You can buy the pass online, at the park gates, or at the visitor centers. The pass also gives you access to other national parks in Canada, such as Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay.

  • You need a car to explore Banff, as public transportation is limited and expensive. You can rent a car in Calgary or Banff, or bring your own. You should also book your accommodation and activities in advance, as they can fill up quickly, especially in the summer. You can find a range of options, from hotels and lodges to campsites and cabins.

  • You should pack for all kinds of weather and activities, as the weather in Banff can change quickly and dramatically. You should bring layers, such as a jacket, a sweater, a t-shirt, and a hat. You should also bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a water bottle, and a camera. You should also bring hiking shoes, a backpack, and a map. You should also respect the wildlife and the environment, and follow the park rules and regulations.

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