As I try to get back into regular blogging (again) and work on some of these features, it’s time to dial back the clock nearly a year for this one.
It’s crazy to think this trip to the Pacific Northwest and Canada was nearly a year ago. When getting on a plane didn’t require masks and worry. When the ability to go to places didn’t require six feet of separation. It’s nice to remember these things and hope they will get back there.
This trip was a geocaching-based one and got bigger as it was planned. We covered a lot of miles and saw a lot, but one thing was getting to Banff and Banff National Park, even just for a day. I’d like to go back some day when I can spend more time there, that’s for sure.
On this day, we hit two places – Lake Louise, and then the Banff Gondola. I’ll put the two of these together as they were on the same day. Be sure though – they are highly different.
First, by the time we reached Lake Louise, it was too late to get parking, so we had to get a shuttle. And that took forever, it seemed. We waited for one at the wrong spot and if we had just driven back up to one area, we would have been there much quicker. Alas, live and learn when you don’t know the area.
But, we did arrive. And we explored. Though we didn’t go hiking up, we took the trail around the lake for a bit. It’s a striking area, that’s for sure. The Lake Louise “hike” was a bit more than four miles, but if you had time, there are many more miles to explore. And it seems quite a bit of different terrain, too.
Remember, though, that the Banff area is very touristy. And with that brings a lot of people. I think to visit a spot like Lake Louise would mean getting there very early, spend your time there and then try to get out of there by 12 or 1 p.m., and then go visit some areas that might not be as crowded.
Lake Louise itself, though, is striking. The color of the water and the wandering trail that takes you around the outside of it is wonderful. There are also a few geocaches, which is cool. It’s truly amazing to see what kind of things nature can give you.
And photo opportunities? Plenty! There’s no chance you could leave here and claim you didn’t have anything to take photos of, that;’s for sure. But don’t just focus on the photos, focus on the beauty.
The great part about this trail was all of the different people. Because it’s not the most strenuous stroll you will take, there were people of all shapes and sizes. It’s nice when you can get that in a place like this because it allows everybody to enjoy the scenery and brilliance.
This was a definite on the list to hit. The gondola ride up was a blast. And there weren’t many people when we got there.
Remember, we went in the fall, and later in the day. That’s a check mark to each item as that meant fewer people. When on top of the mountain, there are a series of “trails” that take you to different parts and viewpoints. While
I might not consider this a trail, per say, it’s nice to know when you get to the top of the gondola ride, it’s not just one viewpoint and back down you go. Instead, you can go find a bunch of different places and there’s also (of course) a gift shop at the top as well.
We didn’t have issues parking here, but I could see where it could be tougher during tourist season. Either way, it’s worth coming to and experiencing this.
When done, I would encourage you to jump down into Banff and explore a bit. We only got to do so for an hour or two (including dinner), but what a cool town. This is definitely a place I want to visit again – preferably in the spring or fall when there are fewer people.
Positives: Lake Louise is an amazing and relatively easy hike. If we had more time, I think we would have tried some of the other trails and maybe looked to see where things led. The Banff Gondola is a great experience and spending time at the top of the mountain is really wild. A lot of fun.
Cons: Parking at Lake Louise. Do the research. Either get there really early, or know where the best place for the shuttles is. The gondola has a price tag, so make sure you know that ahead of time and make a reservation if possible.
Overall: Both are well worth the time. Lake Louise is breathtaking. There are some great spots to stop and soak it in. I have no doubt if you explore the other trails, the views will be simply amazing as well. The gondola “trails” give you some awesome looks and make you appreciate where you are. Make no mistake – if you go to places like this, appreciate what you see. If you ever get the chance to visit the Banff area, spend more time there than I did. I really want to go back one day … it’s truly an amazing place.
To watch a Relive video of this hike, please see below!