My name is Shirin and I am an Iranian American living in the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to my journal where I share my travels throughout the PNW and beyond!
You will find travel itineraries, PNW bucket list hikes, and PNW weekend getaways, road trip ideas, and more! My aim is provide travel options for the working professional living in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of your free time and get out in this big wide world!
November 18, 2022
Banff is one of the most magical places on this earth. I love it SO much I have now gone back multiple times. And if anyone knows me, I really don’t like to go back to the same place more than once. Nonetheless, Banff is so impressive, you will want to keep coming back. Check below for your Banff Summer Itinerary! Important to realize you will want to alter the itinerary to your timeline and goals.
Banff has mountains, trees, alpine lakes, and nature all around. Here is what a one-week itinerary could look like in Banff, during the Summertime.
First thing to realize, Banff itself does not have an airport. People often fly into Calgary and then drive ~2 hours. If you choose to not get a rental car, you can reserve one of several transport services to take you. However, I do recommend getting a rental car. As you will see below once in Banff you will want to drive all around and beyond! Additionally, there is a train from Seattle to Banff, or, you can road trip (my suggestion!)
-Arrive in Banff (we road tripped from Seattle so we had our car)
-Banff Tunnel Mountain Village 1 Campground (check in after 2 pm)- reserve here! We stayed at sight B43 and loved it! Banff Tunnel is a short walk from Bow River.
-After, check out Castle mountain viewpoint
-Drive Lake Minnewaka Loop. If you have extra time, rent a canoe or hike the Steward Canyon Trail.
-After Lake Minnewaka, stop at Two-Jack Lake, Johnson Lake and Vermillion Lake.
-Bow Falls lookout
-Remained at Banff Tunnel Mountain Village 1 Campground B43
-Explore downtown Banff!
-Sulphur Mountain hike leading to top of Banff Gondola (3 miles: 3 hours- moderate). You can also use the gondola, but I think it was not dog friendly, so we hiked up and down (but honestly I can’t quite remember so look on the website)! At the top of the Banff Gondola, there is a short trail that goes from bottom of the Banff Gondola to the entrance of the Hot Springs. The Hot Springs are very small but enough to soak your feet in!
-Camped at Banff Tunell Mountain Village 1 Campground
-First, start your day by driving to Lake Louise. Unquestionably a must. Here, is the starting point to hike Plain of 6 glaciers (13 km: 4-6 hours- easy). You can stop here, or head towards the top as there is a tea house. Importantly, bring cash if you want anything. If you end up doing the teahouse, go another ½ hour up to see Victoria Glacier! On the other hand, if you’re not a big hiker, no worries! You can just check out Lake Louise.
-Another hike you may hear of in that area is Devils Thumb or Big Beehive. Any or all of these hikes will be some of the most epic views you’ve ever seen.
-Next, go towards Yoho National Park. Here you may want to check out: Spiral tunneling viewpoint, Takkakaw Falls, natural bridge over kicking horse river, and/or Emerald Lake.
-Drove back to stay at Banff Tunnel Mountain Village1 Campground
-First, start your day early with a hike to Consolation Lakes. This starts at Rockpile and leads past Moraine Lake.
-Next, Mt. Norquay Via Ferrata. In order to make this happen, you will need to reserve in advance on their website. Basically, the COOLEST thing I have ever done. Given that we had our dog with us, we had to find a rover sitter to watch him while we did this.
-Camped at Banff Tunnell Mountain Village 1 Campground B43
-Drive along the Columbia Icefields! Seeing that the Columbia Icefields is a 3-hour drive from Banff and 2 hours from Lake Louise, you will want to leave your campsite as early as possible. We left around 4 AM. You may choose to come back to your campsite, or drive 1.5 hours at the end of the icefields to end your destination in Jasper. The Columbia Icefields if one of the most EPIC drives filled with endless scenery and endless vista points.
–Popular stops: Herbert Lake, Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint, Peyto Lake, Mistaya Canyon, Panther Falls, Tangle Falls, Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls
In the event that you are looking to hike along the Columbia Icefields, you may consider: Lake Helen, Bow Lake/bow summit to Glacier Falls hike or Parker Ridge hike
-All in all, you are going to have a long day. After all your stops, you will need a place to stay. We stayed the night at Crossing Resort Icefields Pkwy, Saskatchewan River Crossing, AB T0L, Canada
Go beyond Banff and explore Jasper! Jasper is SUCH a cute town, a little smaller than Banff, but also had way more wildlife and less people!
Things to do: Miette Hot Springs, Mt. Edith Cavell or a steep 2-mile hike to Cavell meadows, Maligne lake or Maligne Lake scenic cruise, Medicine Lake
-Stay at Lobstick Lodge!
Finally, the trip comes to an end! You have soaked in the beautiful views and will not want to leave, but today you will drive back to your destination.
In the event that you have more time and are an avid backpacker, add on Rockwall Trail for an extra 3 nights and 4 days to explore the Kootenay National Park. We did:
Day 1: Paint Pots to Helmet Falls (15 km + 2 km roundtrip to the base of the falls from the campsite). You will need to reserve Helmet Falls Campground; I think this took us about 5 hours
Day 2: Helmet Falls to Numa Creek (12 km to tumbling creek campground + 8 km to Numa Creek) which took about 8 hours of hiking. You will need to reserve Numa Creek Campground
Day 3: Numa Creek to Floe Lake (10 km to floe lake) which took about 5 hours. You will need to reserve Floe Lake Campground
Day 4: Floe Lake to Floe Lake Trailhead
Some other alternatives would be: leaving after Numa Creek Campground, ending at Tumbling creek campground and go to Ochre Trail making a loop back to Ochre Trail, or Berg Lake in Jasper
Now that you read this post, I hope this helps you narrow down what to do for your Banff Summer Itinerary! All things considered, you will have an amazing time whether you spend one day or a lifetime here.
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