Banff National Park is connected to Jasper National Park by the Icefields Parkway. We first visited Jasper, which you can read about HERE, in case you missed it!
We encountered rain and snow as we crossed into Banff. We still managed to see the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Weeping Wall. Lucky for us the weather let up just enough for us to get out and explore along the edge of Nigel Creek.
We stayed 2 nights at Rampart Creek Campground in Banff, while we waited out the snow flurries. Below is the river that ran right behind our campsite.
We drove on to Lake Louise, which became our “home-base” for 5 nights. This was the longest we had stayed in any one place, since we left Fairbanks. It worked out perfect for us, since our spot had electric hook-ups and our mini electric heater worked like a champ when the temps dropped!
Of course, we took a drive up to Lake Louise, which was BOOMING with people!
We explored the Lake Louise Fairview Lookout Trail – which was pretty much straight up. The sign said it was just over a kilometer in length, but I personally disagree! It was quite a spectacular viewpoint.
We enjoyed the Bow River Trail multiple times. It was 7.1 kilometers in total. We walked half of the trail with the pups, and enjoyed the entire length with the bikes.
Jason was a little more ambitious with the bikes than I, and decided to make the hoof up the Tramline Trail which was 4.6 kilometers of switchback trail that went all the way up to Lake Louise. He even managed to share the trail with a few elk along the way.
While camped at Lake Louise Campground, we took off for a day trip into neighboring Yoho National Park.
We drove through the Yoho Valley, which had a super intense switchback, not for the faint of heart. At the end of the valley road, we saw Takakkaw Falls, and ventured on an 8 kilometer hike to see Point Lace Falls and Laughing Falls. Well worth the trek.
We also managed a day trip into the town of Banff for a few groceries – highly recommended – as we found the prices at IGA to be very reasonable. Unlike the mini grocery in the town Lake Louise. We even stopped at a very popular dog park in Banff – which comes with high recommendations from Josie and Leda. It was hands down the nicest dog park we’ve ever visited.
Honestly, I am feeling a bit spoiled by Jasper and Banff. Not only were they totally gorgeous, but they were super easy to navigate and user friendly. The maps and activity guides available were informative and easy to use. Best of all, obedient canines are welcome on their trails (unlike most national parks in the US).
Once we left the town of Lake Louise, we drove through another neighboring park, Kootaney National Park and thanks to the recommendation of our Canadian friends, we drove up the scary canyon road (which is also an active logging road) to Swan Lake.
We stayed at the Alces Campground for 3 nights, and enjoyed the Lussier Hot Springs.
Finally we headed on to a small town about an hour from the border, to see some of Jason’s dive buddies in Kimberley!