Canadian flag and mountains

Banff National Park was a DREAM. We were there Monday through Friday but traveled the first and last days. This was my first trip out of the country and I had an absolute blast. We stayed in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, which looked like a castle.

hotel picture

The hotel was beautiful and there were a lot of hiking trails up mountains and paths that began at the hotel. There were many things to see and do that a week was not nearly enough time. Luckily, we were able to do a lot of fun things during the time we had. The best thing about being in Banff National Park was always having a view of the mountains everywhere we went. Here’s my recommendations for how to spend a week in Banff, Canada.

Day 1: Downtown Banff

Our first morning began a little later than desired because we were still catching up on sleep. We walked one of the trails from our hotel to Downtown Banff. There are over 4 million tourists that come through the national park each year! We went from shop to shop, and I searched for a square magnet. I collect a square magnet from every place I visit. Our first restaurant was Melissa’s Missteaks – we ate there because that’s my mom’s name 🙂 After visiting the Candy Shop a few times I tried Turkish Delight. Edmund’s looked better than what I ate, but his came from the White Witch so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I also came across a Little Free Library.

little free library

I love stumbling upon those, they always make me happy. We had midday coffee from Little Wild coffee shop where I got a London Fog.

coffee and Canadian money

It’s my go to evening latte when I don’t want a lot of caffeine. We wrapped up our day downtown with dinner at Banff Ave Brewing Co. We tried poutine, my new favorite dish, which was accompanied by great rooftop views. 

poutine and mountain views

Day 2: Gondola & Banff Tour

On our next full day we woke up early for a Gondola ride. The Gondola took us up Sulphur Mountain to an overlook with, once again, amazing views. At the top of the Gondola ride we were able to take a short walk up the boardwalk to the peak of the mountain. There we were able to look over Banff and see Bow River and our hotel.

The Gondola ride was apart of a tour package and after we drove around Banff to see areas we couldn’t have without a car. Our tour guide had so much insight to share, she was a lot of fun to listen to. We saw Sleeping Buffalo Mountain, drove past Tunnel Mountain and concluded at Bow Falls. After our tour ended, our guide mentioned there was a Market open on Wednesday, we walked the trail from Bow Falls to downtown and strolled through.

Banff mountain market

We ended our night at Eddie Burger Bar that included great service and even better food. Then we had dessert at BeaverTails, which is a Canadian treat. I had the Strawberry Cheesecake beavertail.

fried dough dessert

Day 3: Lake Louise

For our last full day we wanted to go to Moraine Lake to see the beautiful water. However, when we got to Canada we asked everyone for recommendations and told them our plans. They were extremely helpful and said that if you want to go to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake you need to leave on the first 8X bus out in the morning. The bus to Lake Louise was Can$8 one way. According to the locals Moraine Lake will turn people away once they get too many people in there. The locals said this needed to be shared more. Moraine Lake’s popularity rose after Instagram and now it’s overcrowded. The town takes serious measures to protect the habitat. Lake Louise was very enjoyable.

lake Louise

The lake was very beautiful, we canoed from one end to the other. After our hour ended we took a hike up to St. Agnes Tea House. It was about a three hour hike up and back down. The closer we got to the top the colder it got. It started to rain which turned into snow once we reached the peak. Along the way we saw Mirror Lake

mirror lake in mountain

and Lake Agnes at the top. You can find the backpack that I purchased specifically for hiking here. It was compact, easy to travel with, and had pockets to hold all of my stuff.

overlook of mountains

We packed these three days full of activities. This Banff trip was an amazing follow up to the Denver trip i posted about here. These two trips have given me an immense appreciation for mountains and hiking that I didn’t have before. I always thought I was a beach person, which I still am. But a new favorite of mine is feeling the cool air at the top of a mountain and the breathtaking views that accompany it. 

book and river

Travel Tip:

Always bring a book with you (or two) and stay hydrated. If you bring an empty reusable water bottle with you, Starbucks and most restaurants will fill it up with cold water for free! This is also nicer for the planet.

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1 thought on “How To Spend A Week In Banff National Park

  1. lot. If the parking lot at Lake Louise is filled up, you will need to either park in the town of Lake Louise or in the Lake Louise overflow parking lot and take a shuttle bus in. There are also shuttle bus services that connect Banff and Lake Louise for those without a car.

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