A Family Trip to Banff


Banff 2

We made the trip to Banff National Park last week for some family adventure.  Here’s photos and the to do’s and not to do’s for all ages.

1.  Mountain bike up from the village to Lake Louise.  The amount of people up there are insane!  You’ll want to bike it.  You can rent bikes down at the village if you don’t have your own.

Family Banff Trip 1

2.  Rent a Canoe at Lake Louise.  This was my favorite part of the trip. You get away from the crowds and enjoy the view in peace and quiet.  It is $45/half hour & $55/hour – but completely worth it. We did the hour and went down to the other end and back with stops. We still made it back easily in 45 minutes.  Here’s a photo of my husband teaching our little one how to turn the canoe…

Family Banff Trip

We did witness a teenage girl drop her phone while getting out of her canoe, she cried. Hold on to your stuff in transition!

Another note about Lake Louise, the trains run right through the village – all night long. I’m not sure about all the hotels there, but the Mountaineer Lodge was just ok. Between the trains and hearing your neighbors, we wouldn’t stay there again. We were originally going to go up to Jasper too, but with the wildfires and road closures, we decided against it.

Our mountain views were hazy everywhere we went because of all the wildfires, like this photo below…

Family Banff Trip 11

3.  Drive up to Moraine Lake later in the afternoon (4 or 5pm).   Less crowds, simple as that.  I’m sure early in the morning would be great too.  Here I am, jumping for joy…

Family Banff Trip 3

Family Banff Trip 2

The water was so blue. I wished we could have done more hiking, but with signs like this…

Family Banff Trip 4

we decided to pass!  There are a couple of short hikes along the lake that you can do without restrictions.

Speaking of wildlife, I had heard from so many people that we would see a ton, I was disappointed.  We did see one moose while biking at Vermilion Lakes, one ram, one deer, and a few mountain goats on the side of the road.  That was it!  So bummed.  I did like the bike ride at Vermilion Lakes too.  Another thing worth doing!

4.  Camp at Two Jacks Campground near Lake Minnewanka.  We did two nights (all I can handle in a row). That was fun, and they actually had campfires allowed when we were there.   I was freaked about the bears, so I slept in the back of the truck (again, no bears seen).

5.  A must do short hike with the family is Johnston Canyon Falls Hike.  It’s 3 miles roundtrip (and paved).

Family Banff Trip 8

It is really crowded.  We planned on doing this one early, but didn’t get there until 11am.  Oh well. Once you get into it about 1/4 mile, the crowds did thin out.  Above photo is the lower falls.  There are cool catwalks all along the way…

Family Banff Trip 9

and you must go to the upper falls.

Family Banff Trip 10

6.  One thing you can probably skip, is the Cave and Basin area.  We stumbled upon it and checked it out.  The cave is ok, but smells disgusting.  We then took our bikes on the path to Sundance Canyon to check it out.  What they don’t tell you, is that there are a ZILLION mosquitos!  Here’s us on the way up, before we knew what we were getting ourselves into…

Family Banff Trip 567

Look how happy we are.  I should have taken after photos.

My strong suggestion is to just go up to this bridge, then turn around. My son and I have about 50 bites each – no joke. We did have bug spray on too! After the mosquitos, I was done camping for the trip. We went down into Kamloops for one night, but the wildfire smog was really bad. So, we decided to come home after that.

Our hearts do go out to all those that are affected by these wildfires.  😦

Have you ever been up to Banff for a family vacation? What things did you do?


3 thoughts on “A Family Trip to Banff

  1. Wow this looks like such a fun trip. My uncle was a professor and used to lead a week long biological camping trip to Banff. I have always wanted to go. Thanks for sharing the pics and tips.

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