Banff for the Weekend

Banff for the Weekend

Banff is one of those places you’ll often see plastered across travel brochures for Canada. That’s whether it’s the turquoise waters of Lake Louise in the summer, or the frosty slopes and sleigh rides in the winter. And for good reason too: it’s not coincidence you’ll recognize its scenery. In fact, it’s testament to its beautiful, varied landscapes that epitomize the values of Canada itself: getting outdoors.

Having not ventured beyond the province of BC since moving to Vancouver last year, it was only right I should explore a little further. Fellow Brits will sympathize with my slightly sceptical idea of a ten hour drive to Banff, Alberta. However, let’s not forget this is the second largest country in the world. So shoving our bags into the trunk of the car, we set sail for Banff National Park.

The Road to Banff

In all honesty, one of my favourite bits about road tripping is stopping for breaks in bizarre places. By this, I mean places that certainly wouldn’t be a destination otherwise. Having worked up an appetite by the time we reached Hope, BC, we pulled into one of the few options other than McDonald’s. Introducing the classy establishment of Rolly’s Diner. I’ll forgive you if you weren’t aware it’s also the HQ of the Flat Earth Society. Whilst it certainly helped to fill a hole, I’d love for fellow Brits to explain what the menu’s ‘Yorkshire Rarebit’ is. Anyone?

Rolly's diner, Hope, BC

Having left Hope, we were off on the life defying Coquihalla Highway (it’s famously dicey). Luckily, we made it through without a scrape. The terrain began to change and before we knew it, we were well into the Rockies.

A snowy Coquihalla Highway
Snowy mountains on the road to Banff

Revelstoke, British Columbia

Our next pitstop was the ski town of Revelstoke (or ‘Revy’ as it’s fondly known by locals). An interesting little town, it certainly has a wild wild west feeling to it. We did, however, bypass the local saloon in favour of the Taco Club, much recommended for fellow travellers passing through. The temperatures had also noticeably dropped as we edged our way closer to the Alberta border.

Revelstoke city centre
Man in Revelstoke, BC

RimRock Resort, Banff

By 11pm, we’d made it! Welcome to the RimRock Resort, where we were spending the first night of our stay in Banff National Park.

The lobby of beautiful RimRock Resort, Banff National Park
Our room in RimRock Resort, Banff National Park

Although our view didn’t reveal too much in the midnight darkness, we woke up excitedly to spectacular mountain views in the morning.

Views over the mountains at RimRock Resort, Banff National Park
Beautiful views across Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains
Beautiful view across the mountains at Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff Hot Springs

We proceeded with two of my favourite things: coffee and breakfast! Whilst it was early, we headed to Banff Hot Springs just around the corner from our hotel to beat the crowds.

The snowy mountains of Banff National Park, Alberta
Entry sign into Banff Hot Springs, Alberta
Views across Banff Hot Springs

It was amazing to soak in the snowy mountain views from 40 degree water in the subzero temperatures.

People in Banff Hot Springs, Alberta
Girl in Banff Hot Springs, Alberta
Banff Hot Springs, Alberta

Banff National Parks

After a relaxing dip in Banff Hot Springs, we went into the town centre of Banff to explore the local area. I was interested to see what the famous mountain town was like. It reminded me a lot of Whistler meets the Wild Wild West. A saloon with swinging doors wouldn’t be out of place!

Snowy mountains and a Canadian flag
Banff's main street in Alberta
A British flag in Banff National Park

Naturally, a nod to the UK! After exploring the town, we went for a walk along to Bow Falls. From here, you can see the famous Fairmont Banff Springs building which bears resemblance to a Scottish castle.

Views on a hike across Banff National Park, Alberta
Winter views across Banff National Park towards Bow Falls
Views of the gorgeous Fairmont Banff Springs in the snow
Views across to Banff Springs Hotel
Laura in front of Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta
Couple in front of the Fairmont Banff Springs

Fairmont Banff Springs

It was even more impressive from inside. We stopped in for a quick cup of tea and a glimpse across to the mountains. The hotel itself is extremely majestic and really does resemble a beautiful castle. Although we didn’t stay at the Banff Springs, we were lucky enough to have a night in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise that night.

Wintery views from Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta
Laura in front of Banff National Park

Fenland Trail, Banff National Park

If you’re lucky enough to have an afternoon spare in Banff, be sure to check out the nearby trails for a steady hike. We checked out the Fenland Trail, which was so pretty with its river and mountain views. It was beautiful albeit super slippy in the ice, so make sure you wear good shoes!

Beautiful winter views on a hike through Banff National Park, Alberta
Laura on a snowy bridge in Banff National Park, Alberta
Views from the Fenland Trail, Banff National Park

Lake Minnewanka

If you have a car, why not drive over to the well named Lake Minnewanka for a short hike around. Around or across, depending on the time of year you visit – perhaps the icy lake like us?

Lake Minnewanka, Banff, Alberta
Frozen Lake Minnewanka, Alberta
Laura on frozen Lake Minnewanka, Alberta
Standing on a frozen Lake Minnewanka, Alberta
Laura on a frozen lake, Banff
Views of Lake Minnewanka
Muskoka chairs overlooking a frozen Lake Minnewanka, Alberta
Laura on a Muskoka chair overlooking Lake Minnewanka

Next stop – Lake Louise!


What do you like to do in Banff? Leave your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below!

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Laura
Laura

I’m Laura, a roaming blonde who recently made the leap from my home in the Cotswolds, UK to be based across the pond in Vancouver, BC for a brand new job and plenty of adventures.

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Leave a comment

    • whatlauradoesnext
      Author
      April 2, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      Aw thanks, Alys, that means a lot! It really is a beautiful place, I’d really recommend it 🙂

  1. April 14, 2018 / 10:17 pm

    Great post! Would die to stay at the RimRock but it was sold out so we’ll be staying at the Jupiter. Thanks for the advice!

    • Laura
      Author
      April 14, 2018 / 10:24 pm

      Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful time, I look forward to seeing your blog on Banff 🙂

  2. April 29, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    Gorgeous photos – that hotel view looked incredible!! We were only in Banff a few days but it was long enough to fall in love with it. I’d love to go back now and treat ourselves to a night at the RimRock Resort!

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