Beautiful Banff National Park – What is There to See?

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The Canadian Rockies is the most famous landmark in Canada. Also, they are what most people come to Canada to see. I can understand why. This was simply nature, at its best. Personally, I love nature and there was just so much to see here in Banff National Park. Again, we are road tripping so, therefore, visiting places at our own pace. I highly recommend hiring a car as it is the easiest way to see everything.

Highway 1A – A Scenic Drive Through Banff National Park

There is the quick and main highway 1 that runs through Banff National Park. However, the best option for tourists is to take the more scenic Highway 1A. Highway 1A is also known as Bow Valley Parkway. The chances are higher to spot bears and wildlife. Remember to stay far away as possible and do not feed wild animals.

Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park
Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka – A Glacier Fed Lake in Banff National Park

Arriving at Lake Minnewanka early in the morning was very pleasant. The sound of nature ringing out rather than the hustle and bustle of the tourists. Lake Minnewanka is a short 5 km drive from the town of Banff. This lake is impressive in size as it stretches over 21 km. Signs signalled that there was a bear active in the area. This meant that you are advised to travel in a group of 4. Unfortunately, we were a pair, therefore, no early morning hike for us. Plus, we left the bear spray in the van (again).

Lower Falls At Johnstone Canyon
Lower Falls

Johnstone Canyon and The Ink Pots – A Banff National Park Hike

To beat the tourists, it is best to go to all places early morning. Banff National Park is the reason why people come to Canada. Therefore, you can only imagine how busy this place gets. Our early morning hike to Johnstone Canyon only had a couple of other people. This meant no queue for the Instagram shot.

Hole View of Johnstone Falls, Banff National Park
The Hole Viewpoint
Ink Pots at Johnstone Falls, Banff National Park
The Ink Pots at Johnstone Canyon

1.2 km to the lower falls and an extra 1.2 upper falls. This is where most people turn around and go back. We didn’t we continued further to get to the ink pots. The ink pots are a further 10.8 km from the trailhead. The ink pots are the water source for the falls. They are vibrant blue in colour, round in shape, and dotted all over the field. These are pretty and worth the extra trek. It had been raining the day before therefore after the paved trail it did become muddy and slippery in places. Be careful! We managed not to fall!! Result.

The Cory Pass – A 13 km Hike in Banff National Park

This hike was definitely my favourite for many reasons. It was 13km but very hard work. This is no easy hike especially for us as we aren’t experts. Although, we had more stamina than when we did the Grouse Grind. Yet, if this was our first hike of the trip… I wouldn’t have made it. Grouse Grind was easy compared to this.

The saying is the harder the work, the greater the rewards. This was no different. We hiked hard. The reward was what I think are the best views within Banff National Park. This trail starts at the Fireside Picnic area off Highway 1A.

The starting point of the hike

The total elevation for this hike was 1075 metres. The trail quickly gained 450 metres. This section was without a doubt the steepest. There were splendid views over the Bow River and Township of Banff. Wildflowers were surrounding the trail as it started to flatten, however, it was still up and down a bit.

After this section, we reached the rocky path which took us uphill again. This was the start of the second hardest section of the hike. It looked like the trail ended at a bottom of a rock. Yet, the only way was over, we had to scale the rock. We climbed over safely and started to hike along the rocky path.

The View From the Cory Pass Hike
The View A Little Way Up on The Cory Pass

Taking in the 360 views

We took regular stops not just because we needed them; because you just have to take the time to appreciate the view.  There were spectacular views in every direction and the landscape changed so much in a short amount of time. You will not be disappointed. Nature is such a joy and Canada has so much of it.

Reaching the top of the Mountain

Top of The Cory Pass Hike, Banff National Park
The Hard Work Paid Off As We Reached The Top

At the top 2350 metres above sea level, it was cold and windy. Patches of snow left the resemblance of Winter. A gentle reminder of how cold Canadian Winter can be. The sense of accomplishment was through the roof, never would I have thought I would hike a steep mountain. A quick lunch break because the wind was strong and cold. Then, we headed around the back of the mountain on stone cairns which slipped from under us as we trod carefully. This was home to some Mountain Sheep. They have hooves designed to walk on these, we had runners on.

The Cory Pass, Banff National Park
The Hike Around The Back of The Mountain Range

Next, was a forest path and with the trees lining either side the views soon disappeared. We tried to pick up our pace as it looked like rain could fall any minute. Therefore, before we knew it, we were back at the fork where we turned left in the morning. This meant 1km to go till we were back at the car park.

The Last Surprise on the Cory Pass

This hike had already delivered so much but it had one last surprise for me. As I looked along the trail there it was a big brown fluffy behind. The only place I had seen this before was Grouse Mountain. I turned back to my friend to tell her and grab the bear spray. A WILD GRIZZLY.

Mountain Goat Hiding from The Grizzly Bear
We Didn’t Get a Snap of The Grizzly Bear so
Here’s a Mountain Sheep

In that thirty seconds, the Grizzly Bear made its way off the trail and up slightly. And all you could see was his head in amongst flowers. He was happy. He had a food source. And lucky for us hadn’t noticed us. This was unbelievable and topped off the hike perfectly. It was scary and exciting all at the same time. The adrenaline rush from completing a difficult hike and seeing an incredible Grizzly in its natural habit was mind-blowing. A must-hike in Banff National Park.

Lake Morriane – A Favourite

We visited Lake Morrianne in the evening expecting the crowds to be less. However, that was not the case. We managed to get a car parking space but only just. Luckily, someone was left as we arrived. A stroll along the shoreline to find the perfect dinner spot. Yes, dinner was glamorous tonight: ham rolls by the magnificent lake.

Lake Morriane, Banff National Park
Dinner at Lake Morriane

Lake Louise – Lake Anges to Big Beehive to Plain of 6 Glacier Hike

Sunrise Over Lake Louise, Banff National Park
What A Start To The Day A Beautiful Sunrise With Alpine-Glow

This day started with a magnificent sunrise over the most popular lake here in Banff, that’s right… Lake Louise. With snow still capping the Mountain Peaks that pink alpine glow was present as the sun rose. A treat to start the 20 km hike with. Firstly, we stopped by Lake Anges and the Teahouse. The teahouse served a good breakfast. Although it was very busy we were able to get seated straight away due to being one of the first there. So, it wasn’t long before we set off again.

Big Beehive Lookout

We slowly made our way up to the big beehive lookout. The route up was switchbacks that were steep! We made it in one piece, just with a lot of breaks. It was worth it; the wow factor was definitely here as I overlooked the incredible Lake Louise. The vibrant blue colour of this lake speaks for itself. A must-see.

Big Beehive Lookout Over Lake Louise
Big Beehive Lookout Point

Plain of 6 Glaciers

We made our way back down. It was downhill all the way. This was the moment the hike got tougher. Tougher because my sore legs had to carry me the rest of the way. Too many hikes in a short amount of time were affecting my body. I had to hobble down as my knee was too painful when doing the bending motion. This wasn’t the best situation but it wasn’t going to end my hike. Even though I had this small issue, I continued to the plain of six glaciers. This was relatively flat but still a further 4 km (roughly) there and back. Again, just like everything in Banff National Park the views were outstanding. Also, the sound of the ice breaking off the glaciers was ringing deep into the valley.

The Shoreline of Lake Louise

We could finally start to relax we were on the home straight. A nice stroll along Lake Louise shoreline. Sheltered in places away from the burning rays of the sun. The excitement and sense of accomplishment ran through us. I never thought I would ever hike over 20 km in one day but I did. I think I have found a new hobby… hiking. I am a fan; the hikes may be tough but the reward melts away all the moments that you think you can’t make it. Again, another must-hike in Banff National Park.

Summary of Banff National Park

Well, I am amazed and in awe, by all, I witnessed during my road trip through Banff National Park. I understand why the Canadian Rockies are the number one tourist attraction for people from all across the world. If the Canadian Rockies aren’t on the bucket list, add them, and you will be left speechless over and over again.

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