Banff National Park – Canada

From our original group of 14 that went to Glacier; six of us decided to go to Banff National Park for a few days.  Before we left, the entire group of 14 decided to travel up to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada to see the Prince of Wales Hotel and eat lunch there.  Perched on Waterton Lake, this landmark 1920s seasonal hotel is beautiful.  See below for the picture of the outside and of the lobby.  You can tell from the first picture of sky above the hotel that it was very smoky.

We arrived here right before lunch time intending to lunch at one of the restaurants in the hotel.  However, since the wild fires were also up in the Waterton Lakes area and the smoke was so bad the hotel was in the process of closing things up.  There was a voluntary evacuation in place for health reasons due to the smoke.  So we had to go to plan b which was to find something open in the town.  We found a restaurant appropriately named Fireside:)  Here’s a picture of those of us who decided to stay and have lunch.

After lunch the group heading on to Banff left and drove through some of the remotest land I’ve ever seen.  There was no where to stop until we were about three hours into the drive.

The place we stayed in Banff was an air b&b that one of the ladies of our group found and it was just a block from the downtown area of Banff.  It was a great location and since it was on the Whyte property we were able to go to the Whyte museum for free.  The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is located in Banff. The museum collects, preserves, and exhibits materials related to the cultural heritage of the Rocky Mountains of Canada.  The Whytes were both artists and some of their work was displayed at the house we rented.

The town of Banff was filled with restaurants and shops.  My favorite shop was the Banff Tea Shop as I love tea.  Our favorite restaurant was Melissa’s.  Of course, I should say this was the only restaurant we went to, but we loved it so much when we went to breakfast that we went back the next night for dinner.  Since I have celiac and cannot eat anything containing gluten, I must say that everywhere I went in Canada had lots of options for me.  I think the US could take lessons from them on this:)

This picture was taken on a walk we took up to see Banff Springs Fairmont.  This hotel is simply awesome.  We walked through the hotel and had drinks on their outside deck.

 

The next day we went up to see Lake Louise.  I had it in mind to do a two mile hike to a tea house on a hillside.  I am an avid walker so two miles sounded like an easy hike to me.  Unfortunately, it was two miles all uphill.  However, we all made it to the top and enjoyed a tea and a cookie at the top.  Before we got to the top, we came to Mirror Lake where we were able to catch our breath a bit before the last section of the hike to the tea room.

Lake Louise is an beautiful lake.  It is known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks and overlooked by a stately chateau.

The Lake Louise Chateau is also a Fairmont and it is quite huge.  However, we all thought the Banff Springs Fairmont had more character.

On the way down from Lake Louise, we came across Moraine Lake.  Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, outside the Village of Lake Louise. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 6,183 feet.  It was also beautiful.

You can see that my pictures are quite smoky as there were also wild fires in that area as well.  We all enjoyed our brief stay in Banff and headed back across the border to meet up with our friends for a final dinner before some of us headed home and the rest headed on to Yellowstone.

Cheers friends; until we travel again!