Banff National Park
Oftentimes we see wallpapers and incredible pictures from places so beautiful, we think they are somewhere far far away… inaccessible and requiring long flights and a lot of money to get to. We might think of Europe, Asia, or somewhere much more exotic than where we live in North America.
Well, surprisingly, those places are right in our neighbor’s (Canada) backyard! Having visited many scenic places and many countries around the world, we would rate this as the #1 most beautiful place so far.
What are we talking about, is Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. If you have not heard of it, you are not alone. It surprises us considering how beautiful it is. See the photos below and ways to get there at the bottom of this post.
The best part about Banff? The most scenic sights are right off a road, and does not require any hike at all. Which means anyone can see the sights without much effort. And for those into more of a challenge, there are many hiking trails that you can hike throughout the park.
Planning the Trip
Length of trip – 4 to 6 days. The longer the better, but you can see most of the main sights in 4 days.
Flight: Fly to Calgary International Airport (YYC). About $450 per person from DC area, or only 25,000 United miles roundtrip! (We will discuss using airline miles in another post)
Car rental: About $200 for a 5 passenger car per week
Hotels: Hotels near Banff can be a bit pricey, best place to stay is the Stoney Nakoda Resort, about 30 minutes from Banff. Price is about $130 per night. Or you can stay in Calgary, which has cheap hotels/motels for about $50 per night, but is farther.
Banff is about 1.5 hours from the airport. You definitely want to rent a car as all the places is best explored by car. The roads are in great condition and is similar to the US.
Must see sites, search for each site on Google Maps, then “star” it on your map for easy navigation when you are there. Listed in order if you arrive from Calgary driving west. Notice they are all pretty much close to each other.
- Lake Minnewanka – one of the biggest lake, very clear water, spend 1 hour here
- Town of Banff – you can drop by this at end of day for dinner
- Lake Louise – there is the Fairmont Chateau, spend 2-3 hours
- Lake Moraine – no hike required, spend 1-2 hours
- Bow Lake – View from side of road, spend about 30 minutes
- Peyto Lake – requires a short 5 minute uphill hike
- Emerald Lake – no hike required, spend 1-2 hours
Now, you will not have enough time in a day to visit all of these, so it’s best to visit 2-3 sites per day.
All images are copyrighted by Hieu-Trung Le. For usage please contact me. Thank you!