How to get to the “Most Beautiful Places on Earth”… right in our neighbor’s backyard!

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.

image008
View of Peyto Lake which is a 5 minute uphill hike from the parking lot
image013
Lake Louis
image001
Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, which is about 15 minutes from Banff. To get to this view, requires a 10 second “hike”
image005
Road driving to Banff – the views while on the road is amazing!
image014
Lake Louis
image002
Emerald Lake
image003
Kayaking at Emerald Lake
image006
Bow Lake – view from side of the road
image009
Peyto Lake
image004
Emerald Lake – View from Kayaking
image011
Moraine Lake – Group picture of my family
image015
Lake Louis
image016
The town of Banff itself – A charming little town, everyone falls in love with it the moment they see it.

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.

YYC to Banff

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.

Banff map

  • 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!

One thought on “How to get to the “Most Beautiful Places on Earth”… right in our neighbor’s backyard!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s