National Park Guide:

Banff National Park

National Park Guide:

Banff National Park

Destination: Banff National Park, AB, CAN

 

Length of Stay: 10 nights (May 2018)

 

Lodging: Various Campgrounds ($21.50 - $32.40 CAD/Night)

 

Parks Canada Fee: $9.80 CAD/Daily | $67.70 CAD Annual Discovery Pass

Josh and I couldn’t wait to get to Banff National Park. I’d been drooling over the teal glacier water that I’d seen in photos and wanted to see it with my own eyes so badly. We winged the whole trip. We had 10 days to cover the park. Upon entry, we waited in a long line of cars to get in, despite it being a weekday. Due to our length of stay, it made more sense financially to purchase the Parks Canada Discovery Pass ($67 CAD per person), which enables us to enter any National Park in Canada for an entire year.

Destination: Banff National Park, AB, CAN

 

Length of Stay: 10 nights (May 2018)

 

Lodging: Various Campgrounds ($21.50 - $32.40 CAD/Night)

 

Parks Canada Fee: $9.80 CAD/Daily | $67.70 CAD Annual Discovery Pass

Josh and I couldn’t wait to get to Banff National Park. I’d been drooling over the teal glacier water that I’d seen in photos and wanted to see it with my own eyes so badly. We winged the whole trip. We had 10 days to cover the park. Upon entry, we waited in a long line of cars to get in, despite it being a weekday. Due to our length of stay, it made more sense financially to purchase the Parks Canada Discovery Pass ($67 CAD per person), which enables us to enter any National Park in Canada for an entire year.

On a budget? So are we. Check out our guide.

On a budget? So are we. Check out our guide.

Wildlife in Banff

Be sure to keep the following in mind during your stay:

  • What is a safe distance to stay from wildlife? Refer to Parks Canada’s guidelines for specific distances recommended for specific animals - 30 meters for larger mammals, and 100+ meters for bears. We want to avoid stressing out our furry friends and appreciate their beauty from a safe distance.
  • Where your car is parked if you decided to pullover and get a closer look. The rangers kindly ask that you do not pull over on the side of the road and obstruct traffic. Instead, find a pull-off to safely park your car. There is many along the roadsides for photo ops.

 

Caution!

Watch out for Wildlife on the road, go slow and proceed with care.

Banff Historic Basin and Cave

JOHNSTON CANYON FALLS

LAKE LOUISE BEEHIVE CIRCUIT

 

Dispose of your waste mindfully!

  • Where does all the trash go? Banff does an awesome job of providing waste receptacles for guests. They ask visitors to sort their own recycling into plastic, aluminum, glass and paper. All trash cans are clearly labeled in bear proof containers that only a human hand can open (thanks to thumbs) by pressing on a lever.
  • Keep food/waste in bear proof containers or in your vehicle/indoors. Too much exposure to human food could cause bears to become aggressive if they acclimate it into a normal part of their diet. Lock your food up inside your camper and never leave trash out in the open. Help protect the bears!
  • Be aware of your surroundings when hiking. Travel in groups of 2 or more and talk loudly. You don't want to startle wildlife and you never know if a bear or another animal like a cougar, etc. will be come aggressive. Make sure you carry bear spray when you're hiking to protect yourself incase of an emergency!

Parks Canada Circuit

Wildlife in Banff

Be sure to keep the following in mind during your stay:

  • What is a safe distance to stay from wildlife? Refer to Parks Canada’s guidelines for specific distances recommended for specific animals - 30 meters for larger mammals, and 100+ meters for bears. We want to avoid stressing out our furry friends and appreciate their beauty from a safe distance.
  • Where your car is parked if you decided to pullover and get a closer look. The rangers kindly ask that you do not pull over on the side of the road and obstruct traffic. Instead, find a pull-off to safely park your car. There is many along the roadsides for photo ops.

Dispose of your waste mindfully!

  • Where does all the trash go? Banff does an awesome job of providing waste receptacles for guests. They ask visitors to sort their own recycling into plastic, aluminum, glass and paper. All trash cans are clearly labeled in bear proof containers that only a human hand can open (thanks to thumbs) by pressing on a lever.
  • Keep food/waste in bear proof containers or in your vehicle/indoors. Too much exposure to human food could cause bears to become aggressive if they acclimate it into a normal part of their diet. Lock your food up inside your camper and never leave trash out in the open. Help protect the bears!
  • Be aware of your surroundings when hiking. Travel in groups of 2 or more and talk loudly. You don't want to startle wildlife and you never know if a bear or another animal like a cougar, etc. will be come aggressive. Make sure you carry bear spray when you're hiking to protect yourself incase of an emergency!

Parks Canada Circuit

Length: 6.4 mi (out and back)  The first half of the hike up to Mirror Lake was moderately trafficked. The second half, toward the Big Beehive, is more strenuous than the first, but well worth it. Not as many people, made it up to the top during May as there was still plenty of snow. With views of Lake Louis on one side, and Lake Agnes on the other. It is an incredible, incredible hike.

Length: 3.1 mi (out and back) With over one million visitors per year, Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Banff National Park. The lower falls is very powerful and can be approached via footbridge and pedestrian tunnel, while the upper falls are higher and can be reached by a platform at the base or top of the falls. Check out a hidden cave in our post here!

Length: 6.4 mi (out and back)  The first half of the hike up to Mirror Lake was moderately trafficked. The second half, toward the Big Beehive, is more strenuous than the first, but well worth it. Not as many people, made it up to the top during May as there was still plenty of snow. With views of Lake Louis on one side, and Lake Agnes on the other. It is an incredible, incredible hike.

Length: 3.1 mi (out and back) With over one million visitors per year, Johnston Canyon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Banff National Park. The lower falls is very powerful and can be approached via footbridge and pedestrian tunnel, while the upper falls are higher and can be reached by a platform at the base or top of the falls. Check out a hidden cave in our post here!

There are so many campgrounds to choose from in Banff National Park. It is not permitted to park overnight on the side Park roads or at highway pull-offs. No outside firewood is allowed inside the park, so campgrounds offer unlimited firewood for an additional $8.80 CAD/night. Most campgrounds also have a free shuttle service available. All the campgrounds within Banff are run by Parks Canada, and are all very reasonably priced with varying amenities. We will start with the ones we stayed at and a few others. A full list can be found on the Parks Canada website.

We didn’t plan ahead, so we hopped around from site to site, staying at any from one to three nights each. To avoid this, we recommend pin pointing your stops that you want to make in Banff and plan your route geographically accordingly. Some of the campgrounds are first come first serve, but if you plan to come during the summer sites will book up quickly so be sure to book ahead or show up first thing in the morning to a FCFS site!

No Hookup/Dry Camping

  • Tunnel Mountain Village I Campground ($27.40 CAD/night)
  • Two Jack Lakeside Campground ($27.40 CAD/night)
  • Two Jack Main Campground ($21.50 CAD/night)
  • Castle Mountain Campground ($21.50 CAD/night)
  • Johnston Canyon Campground ($21.50 CAD/night)
  • Lake Louise Overflow Parking ($10.80 CAD/night)

Electric/Water Available

  • Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground** ($32.30 CAD/night) **Electricity Only
  • Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court* ($38.20 CAD/night) *Full Hookup
  • Lake Louise Trailer Campground** ($32.30 CAD/night) **Electric Only

Although we camped the entire time during our stay in Banff. We saw quite a few hostels between downtown Banff and the Lake Louise area. We spent a day in the HI Lake Louise Alpine Hostel which had free (slow) wifi and a small restaurant/cafe on the bottom floor. There is another HI Hostels location in Banff or you can try the new Banff International Hostel. Either way, there seems to be plenty of options in the $50-$60 CAD/night range.

There are so many campgrounds to choose from in Banff National Park. It is not permitted to park overnight on the side Park roads or at highway pull-offs. No outside firewood is allowed inside the park, so campgrounds offer unlimited firewood for an additional $8.80 CAD/night. Most campgrounds also have a free shuttle service available. All the campgrounds within Banff are run by Parks Canada, and are all very reasonably priced with varying amenities. We will start with the ones we stayed at and a few others. A full list can be found on the Parks Canada website.

We didn’t plan ahead, so we hopped around from site to site, staying at any from one to three nights each. To avoid this, we recommend pin pointing your stops that you want to make in Banff and plan your route geographically accordingly. Some of the campgrounds are first come first serve, but if you plan to come during the summer sites will book up quickly so be sure to book ahead or show up first thing in the morning to a FCFS site!

No Hookup/Dry Camping

  • Tunnel Mountain Village I Campground ($27.40 CAD/night)
  • Two Jack Lakeside Campground ($27.40 CAD/night)
  • Two Jack Main Campground ($21.50 CAD/night)
  • Castle Mountain Campground ($21.50 CAD/night)
  • Johnston Canyon Campground ($21.50 CAD/night)
  • Lake Louise Overflow Parking ($10.80 CAD/night)

Electric/Water Available

  • Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground** ($32.30 CAD/night) **Electricity Only
  • Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court* ($38.20 CAD/night) *Full Hookup
  • Lake Louise Trailer Campground** ($32.30 CAD/night) **Electric Only

Although we camped the entire time during our stay in Banff. We saw quite a few hostels between downtown Banff and the Lake Louise area. We spent a day in the HI Lake Louise Alpine Hostel which had free (slow) wifi and a small restaurant/cafe on the bottom floor. There is another HI Hostels location in Banff or you can try the new Banff International Hostel. Either way, there seems to be plenty of options in the $50-$60 CAD/night range.

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By |2019-02-04T06:18:10-05:00May 25th, 2018|Destinations, National Park|0 Comments

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