Banff National Park is a beautiful thing- waterfalls, lakes, and mountain views scatter the landscape and has been on my bucket list since first seeing photos of other people’s travels on Instagram.
I will admit I picked the wrong weekend for a peaceful weekend as it was a 3 day holiday weekend in Canada during my travel to Banff. It made for some crowded parking lots, hiking trails, and lack of affordable accommodation, hence the tiny house Airbnb outside the parks.
The town of Banff itself was very crowded with tons of traffic so I only stopped along the path by the river for some awesome views! A family walking by me told me they lived in Banff full-time. Can you imagine waking up to these views everyday?! How fantastic.
Right outside of Banff is the first National Park site in Canada- the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.
The grotto and hot springs are the home of the Banff Springs snail and is the only place in the world where you can find the endangered creature.
Past the museum and grotto is a bunch of hiking trails. I opted to take a 2 mile Marsh Trail Loop along the water but turned back very soon after starting. The mosquitos along the path were the size of squirrels and were biting me left and right. It was horrible even with bug spray.
So I turned around and heard some noises and was scared that I finally ran into a bear while hiking alone. But a line of horses came up quick and almost ran me over. Apparently it was also a horse trail.
After my horse scare with my 50 new bug bites I opted to return to my car. #hikingfail
Next up were the waterfalls of Johnston Canyon. The walk to lower falls was really easy and only a mile roundtrip.
But if you go another mile or two (more uphill) you will come to some incredible waterfalls.
This part of the trail wasn’t nearly as crowded- also no mosquitos or horses
Unfortunately my Banff adventures are my last on this trip. Both Banff and Jasper are destinations to add to your bucket list. Jasper National Park surprised me in that I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did- I knew Banff would be awesome (thanks Instagram!). If you want a photogenic trips filled with glacial lakes, waterfalls, wildlife sightings (I saw 3 bears!) with fewer crowds than US National Parks- check out our neighbors to the north!
Reader Question: Have you ever done any National Parks in Canada? Which ones? Any desire to visit them if you haven’t?