Travel Diaries: Banff/Calgary, Alberta

Hi my friends!

I just got back from one of the most amazing trips of my life for a number of reasons, a few of them being that I faced some of my biggest fears like my fear of heights, I pushed myself to try things I otherwise wouldn’t and stepped out of my comfort zone, and experienced some of the most breathtaking views and gorgeous scenery. As I was sharing what I was up to on my Instagram stories so many of y’all wanted to know where to go and what to do so I’ll be sharing what you should do if you visit Banff or Calgary and other places you should see if you go that I couldn’t!

First of all I wanted to say that we didn’t realize it was Canada’s Independence Day weekend so we couldn’t do a lot because of the amount of rush everywhere and the fact that we hadn’t planned everything out like we should have so to get the most of your trip make sure you go in the off-peak season and book everything in advance! Also, don’t stay in Calgary if you’re planning on doing most of the stuff in Banff!

So let’s start with Calgary. Downtown Calgary has some gorgeous places to see but what’s even better is that you can bike through it and make it a better experience! Download the Lime app and rent a bike and cycle through the city like we did, it was so much fun + the weather was gorgeous so it was amazing! We went to Prince’s Island Park, Crescent Heights, the Peace Bridge, and just cycled through downtown. There’s also a place called the “lookout point”(the physical address is: 240 Crescent Rd NW Calgary, AB) where you can climb up a few flights of stairs and see the whole skyline & city and get some pictures there, and behind there there’s a park where you can do a picnic, people are working out, so much to do!

Big Falls Trail is a hiking trail we went to in Calgary that was so so pretty! It’s nothing like the Banff views but it is really pretty and a super easy hike to do with kids and family if you’re traveling with them.

Of course if you’re visiting Calgary you HAVE to go to Banff, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen and there is endless things to do!

Where to stay in Banff: Stay in Canmore! This is a city really close to Banff but friends said it’s way cheaper to stay there + you get the same views as living in Banff! There are Airbnb’s and hotels everywhere so just do your research, but I highly recommend staying in Banff or Canmore so you don’t have to waste your time driving, and you can make the most of your trip! It’ll also be easier to go to Jasper and other areas without having to drive too long as well.

Hikes:

Sulphur Mountain: This is the hike I did! There is an option to take a Gondola, or Cable Car up/down if you don’t want to do the hike and just see the views, but I recommend hiking up/down at least 1 way! For some background, I have 0, absolutely 0 hiking experience. So for those of you who are like me who have no experience I highly highly recommend investing in some hiking shoes, I’ll link the ones I got below (got them on prime!) and they honestly saved my feet and helped make the hike so easy. Sulphur Mountain’s hike is up hill, about 2 miles, and really really scenic! We saw the most beautiful views the entire time, and you see people from all over the world and meet people during your hike so it was a lot of fun! When we got to the top, it was so stunning, literally unlike anything I’ve seen before. There’s actually a higher point than the one you reach when you get to the top that they have stairs for so we did that too and it was so so pretty. GO PREPARED – take food, take a lot of water, and take some warm clothes because it gets colder as you go up hill! There is food/bathrooms at the bottom where you start the hike and at the top but nothing in between so stay prepared! We took the Gondola back down since we hiked up, and this was absolutely amazing. You’re going from in between the mountain so you can see the views in a different perspective than just hiking up, and this is where I faced my fear of heights! It’s an 8 minute scenic ride and so much fun too.

Lake Agnes Teahouse: This is one hike we were so excited to do because we’re huge tea people but we couldn’t do it due to the logistics of parking and timing etc. but when you go to Lake Louise definitely do this hike!! It’s 1 mile, and when you get to the top you can enjoy a cup of tea in the mountains with a gorgeous view, so sad we missed out on this but def try and do it!

Moraine Lake Shoreline: This hike looks stunning in pictures! Again, we couldn’t do this because Lake Moraine was closed when we went (so sad about this too) but it’s 1.9 miles and it looks absolutely gorgeous!

Activities:

Mountains: Liked I mentioned above, you can take a gondola/cable car up Sulphur Mountain if you don’t want to hike and it is an awesome experience!

Lake Louise: There is so much to do here but DEFINITELY book your kayaking ahead of time! They have packages where you can do kayaking/horseback riding/biking or just 1 or 2 if you want, but please do one of them! If you book ahead of time you’re guaranteed a spot and it’s 100% worth it!

Spirit Island Cruise: So this cruise is in Jasper, but it takes you from Maligne Lake to Spirit Island and my friend said it was the most gorgeous place he’s ever seen, so def book this in advance and do it too!

Ice Fields/Athabasca Glacier: This is also in Jasper but heard it’s amazing! You can do a skywalk, take a go into the Rockies, and so much more – book in advance for this too!

The Fairmont Hotel is also a gorgeous hotel that has it’s own private views of the lakes in both Banff and Lake Louise so check it out if you’re going there!

A lot of y’all asked me about the Food in Calgary and tbh being from Houston the food could not compare, but I loveeeed Tim Hortons (french vanilla was my fav and the ice cap was good too!)

You can see more videos/pics on my Instagram under my “Banff/Calgary” highlights here! Hope y’all found this helpful and have so much fun in Canada if you go! xo.

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