Banff is a destination on many photographers, bloggers and adventures bucket list’s. It is a location that has been on my photography bucket list since I became a photographer. It is located in Alberta Canada, in the middle of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains. In the process of planning our trip we were overwhelmed with the amount of beautiful places we could find on social media sites. We couldn’t visit them all, but we fit in as much as we could on our short time there. I promise the pictures cannot convey the beauty and grandeur of Banff, some of my favorite pictures were taken out the car window or pulled off the side of the road. It was a truly magical experience that I will forever cherish as a photographer.
Our first full-day in the area led us to Moraine Lake. The crystal clear water beneath the glacier peaked mountains was insane! Before coming here, I always thought the images were overly enhanced with saturation, but to my surprise, the water really is that blue! Visiting Moraine Lake was by-far our most amazing experience.
We got there early, and though it was nearly freezing, we threw the crew in the canoe (ha, I'm a poet) and headed across the lake. This was a bucket list item of mine and I'm so glad we did it... But in all honestly, I'm just glad we didn't flip!
A glacier, high above the lake, taken while out on the canoe.
Next, we visited Lake Louise. Which was again pretty incredible, but less photographically spectacular.
We took the Bow Valley Parkway from Lake Louise to Banff, stopping at Johnston Canyon for a quick (another bucket list item) hike. It was, by far, our favorite hike and was a relatively easy 5-mile trek along a river’s edge, traversing catwalks 20-50 feet above the river below. The catwalks created the most unique hiking experience I’ve ever had. We were surrounded by lush forest, towering above a glacial river on a catwalk bolted to rock. It was amazing.
In spite of what the forecast predicted, we drove to the Canadian Ice Fields near Jasper the following day. It was far, but the scenery and occasional mountain goat made up for it. And, we got lucky because it was the first sunny day they've had all week.
Having the opportunity to ride in a massive Ice Explorer to the glacier and drink the fresh water was pretty amazing and most definitely a once in a life time opportunity. Because it's receding 16 feet a year, it was crazy to think it could be gone before I'm old and wrinkly. Just that thought alone made the experience that much more meaningful.
Pictured below is the Athabasca Glacier we visited.
Drink the fresh water was a "must do". Fountain of youth? I sure hope so! ;)
The littles tried to bring home a piece of the glacier. Sadly, it melted before we were able to get back to the car :(
The tour experience also included the Glacier Skywalk. It was cool, bouncing made it wobble, but it was not as exciting as I thought it would be. The littles though, they listened to the recorded self tour guide, taking it every. single. word. They even laid across the skywalk, refusing to move until the saw everything they could possibly see below. Scared of heights? Not these two!
Our "worst weathered day" followed the trip to the Canadian Ice Fields, so we stuck around the Banff area, touring the town, geocaching, and hiking Tunnel Mountain.
We spent 5 days in the Banff area, never once seeing a bear. So on our last day in the park we were determined to find one and even took a few back roads around Lake Minnewanka. As much as I'd like to say we saw one - we didn't. BUT, we did see a pretty impressive caribou just feet from the car. It was a little unsettling how calm he was around us, and the littles LOVED it!
Our last big ticket item was the Banff Gondola. It was by far our favorite experience. It begins in Banff and rises to the top of Sulphur Mountain. For tourists and locals alike, the gondola is the must do activity in Banff (even the Canadian Border Service Agent recommended it when we crossed into Canada). The 360-degree view of Banff National Park did not disappoint, even with fog covering the valley below.
Riding the Banff Gondola was the perfect finale to our trip and an even better location to reflect upon the last several days in Banff. Simply put, Banff is incredible and I cannot wait to go back.
How I rolled (and recommend you do) as we drove from one location to the next...