Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

5 highlights of Banff National Park

One year ago, my husband and I spent three days in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. I was so excited to see the vibrant lakes, and they completely lived up to my expectations. Here are our favorite experiences:

1. Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake was my favorite spot of the trip. The lake and its surroundings are beautiful. Climb the rock pile for views from a higher elevation, and hike the short trail along the lake, watching the color of the water change as you walk.

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

2. Lake Louise

We stayed nearby, so we were able to visit Lake Louise several times — including in the snow. You can rent a canoe and walk along the lakeside path. After you take in the lake, explore the nearby Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which has several restaurants with gluten-free options.

Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Lake Louise, Banff National Park

3. Hike to Lake Agnes Tea House

This hike starts at Lake Louise, winds up the mountain and ends at the Lake Agnes Tea House. Continue walking uphill just past the tea house, and you’ll be met with gorgeous views of the lake and hotel down below. We ate our picnic lunches at Lake Agnes before walking back downhill. The hike is about 4.5 miles and took us about three hours round trip.

Lake Louise, Banff National Park

4. Peyto Lake

One day, we drove up the scenic Icefields Parkway to stop at various lakes along the way. Our favorite, by far, was Peyto Lake. The water is unbelievably blue, even in the rain. From the parking lot, it’s a 10-15 minute hike to the viewing platform. Or, you could continue hiking about 2 miles to the Bow Summit Lookout.

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park

5. Johnston Canyon hike

This 3.4-mile hike winds through the forest and along raised platforms to the Lower Falls (pictured below) and Upper Falls. Keep your eyes peeled for the adorable ground squirrels. This is a popular hike, so try to arrive early to find a parking spot.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park

Banff National Park

Tips:

  • Fly to Calgary, where you can rent a car to drive to the park.
  • Stay at Deer Lodge (pictured below). It’s a short walk from Lake Louise and much more affordable than the Fairmont. The common areas have a charming cabin feel, but the rooms are pretty basic.
  • Pack layers. We visited in June, and it snowed.
  • Buy bear spray to carry on your hikes.

Deer Park Lodge, Banff National Park