Four Days around Banff National Park, Canada

12 July 2015

Before I elaborate on our few days in Banff, let me start by telling you that Banff is a must-do.


It's non-negotiable.
If it's not on your bucket list, add it. 
If it is on your bucket list, move it to the top.


It's one of the most spectacular, majestic places I've ever seen. It hasn't even been a week, and I'm already counting down the days until we go back. Banff, you're a beaut.

We left Seattle after work on a Wednesday night and drove five hours to Kamloops, choosing to pick up where we left off early Thursday morning. And that's where the good part began. Of all the mountains I've witnessed in my lifetime, the Canadian Rockies are hands down the most dramatic, jagged, jaw-dropping mountains I've ever seen. Just when you think you've seen it all, out pops another peak. Curve after curve, mountains reveal themselves down the length of the highway. They're sandwiched between dusty white glaciers, shelves of snow just hovering over the mountain valleys. And just like that, I moved to Canada (...but seriously). 

With less than four days in Banff, we squeezed in as much as possible: Rogers Pass, Emerald Lake, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Rockpile hike, Bow Valley Parkway , the Banff Gondola, Johnston Canyon, ice cream at COWS, a hike to Grassi Lakes, SUPing on Lake Minnewanka (full disclosure: this was a bad idea), canoeing on the Bow River, exploring downtown Banff and Canmore, three breweries, two brunches, and wildlife sightings including a black bear and cub (!), a moose, a caribou, and lots of mountain goats (including babies).

Four Days in Banff National Park | The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com
The top of Rockpile Trail at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
While we didn't cover every item on the four-day itinerary below, these are my recommendations for making the most out of a few days around Banff National Park. Keep in mind, this itinerary will require some early mornings (and we did not sign up for those). Check back for more Banff posts later this week, including details on the best of Banff.
Four Days in Banff National Park | The Brave Little Cheesehead at bravelittlecheesehead.com

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11 comments

  1. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! Super awesome layout and amazing pin graphics! Nicely done ladies. We exchanged some info about your upcoming Southwest trip via FB. Can't wait to follow along - have a great time! Beth {Vacation Coffee}

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    1. Thank you so much, Beth! We are so thankful you stopped by, and many thanks again for your advice on our little Southwestern road trip. We're getting ready to head out, so check back soon for update! Hope to connect with you again soon. :)

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  2. HI there, so enjoyed reading this post. I was wondering how ow far was Canmore from Banff? How long did it take you to bike to Banff from Canmore on the legacy trail? Thanks we are planning a trip there this summer.

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    1. Hey, Colleen! We didn't get a chance to bike the Legacy Trail while we were in the area, but it's certainly high on the list of things we'll do when we return. Google Maps estimates the distance to be about 20 km (about 12.5 mi) and says it should take about an hour and a half on bike. Bike Pirate has a good article to prepare you for the trek, if you haven't visited their site yet: http://bravelc.com/1R3h0wb. Also, have you checked out our other Banff post? This may be helpful for your planning, too: http://bravelc.com/2549Y7A. Enjoy your trip! We can't wait to get back.

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  3. sounds like you ladies had a great time in the Banff area. I was born and raised in Calgary so spent many a day in Banff national park. I used to skip high school days and go skiing at Mt Norquay or Sunshine Resort. We always used to say that BANFF stood for Beware Absolutely Nothing For Free. It is still true I'm sure but definitely worth a visit if you have not been there.

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    1. Hahaha wow that sounds like a great way to grow up! Since you're a local, is there anything you'd add to this list? We definitely plan to go back! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Just stumbled upon this blog and it is amazing. I just sent this out to a group of friends for a trip next summer. Where did you guys stay on the trip? Did you switch locations each night or set up a home base? Thanks for extra details and can't wait to make this happen next summer.

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    1. Hey! Originally, we booked campsite at Two Jacks but after a few discussions among the group, a few were more comfortable at hotels. I highly encourage looking into the parks campsite options, if you're up for it. We ended up staying in Canmore and drove up each day. We have a few more posts on Banff, if you hadn't found them yet: https://bravelc.com/2egRu0s Enjoy your trip!

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  5. Hello!
    Love the recommendations! I was curious what time of year would be best to do this amazing trip? I've been looking in to planning a week or so up there this year.
    Thanks
    Alexandra

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    1. Thans Alexandra! The best time of year to go is over the summer months of June - September. Fourth of July is particularly busy since it's also Canada day. Good luck with your planning!

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