Ways to Make
Banff and Yoho National Parks (Canada)
Due to the worldwide pandemic, please check for destination travel restrictions prior to visiting/booking
Sunshine Village/Sunshine Meadows
YOU REALLY MUST SEE THIS. A short hike down the trail to the Standish Viewing Deck made it worth every penny. The view was so beautiful it didn't seem real. We were told by two different guides to hike to the Simpson Viewpoint which was four miles we weren't planning on doing that day and probably could have done without. It was a nice view of the canyon but we would have been fine just walking down to Rock Isle Lake and enjoying the view for awhile.
Moraine Lake, Rockpile Hike
0.8 mile RT
If you time it right, you can find a parking spot at Moraine Lake (really early, late in the evening or after it rains). We thought it was even more beautiful than Lake Louise. The best view was up the Rockpile Hike which provided many great view points and some good rock scrambling.
We read about a hike at Peyto Lake but we didn't quite find it. What we did find was well worth the misadventure. We found a beautiful view at a rocky outcropping beyond the crowded viewing platform. Once you hike up the rather steep paved trail from the parking lot to the viewing platform, continue counter clockwise on the loop hike until you reach a side trail to the right. It is marked with a wooden sign highlighting the picas you can see in the area. This dirt trail follows the ridge up and around and briefly through a grove of trees until it opens up at a rock outcropping. We continued on from there but didn't find a better view of the lake so we came back and settled in for the view.
Stay at Lake Louise Campground
We stayed at site K11. This site was great - close to the bathroom, showers and the warming house. The campground itself was memorable for its electric fence surrounding the tent area, giving us a little sense of security but we were still vigilant with food and food scents. It wasn't within walking distance of Lake Louise or Moraine Lake but we were able to visit each of these very busy places with the right timing. The warming houses had wood burning stoves for cooking and drying clothes after a wet hike or the rain.
Fairview Lookout, Lake Louise
1.6 mi RT
Lake Louise was so busy. We had planned to go to Moraine Lake but it was so busy the parking lot was closed so we went on to Lake Louise and got a fairly decent parking spot. We wanted to get a nice view of the lake away from the crowds so we took this hike. The hike itself was moderately steep and not very scenic until you reached the viewing platform. This gave a nice view of the lake and hotel as pictured. Afterwards we strolled a little bit of the lakeshore.
We only stopped for a few pictures at Bow Lake before continuing our journey north on the Icefields Parkway en route to Jasper. There was an overlook from the road or you could get closer to the lake by turning at the sign for the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.
Emerald Lake Loop, Yoho National Park (short drive from Lake Louise)
3.3 mil/5.3 km
This flat, easy hike is a walk around the lake. It starts at the parking lot by the boat pier. We walked it clockwise ending at the Emerald Lake Lodge but you could go either way. At the beginning of the hike there was an educational sign pointing out the famous Burgess Shale fossil beds. There was also a remnant of snow left along the avalanche slope which delighted the kids. As we finished the hike through the grounds of the Emerald Lake Lodge, we pictured ourselves staying there someday, taking advantage of the scenic dining, the lake activities and the fire pit.
Hike Around Lake Louise Campground
There is easy to access hiking just outside the electric bear gate from the campground. It follows the river. We saw several bikers on the trail as well.
There is a really neat Banff sign in town that would have been picture worthy, as was the stop along the road with a large parking lot and great viewing of Mount Norquay.
Eat at Nourish in Banff. This restaurant was a family style restaurant (they brought food when it was ready not waiting for everything all at once) that served amazing plant based food. We enjoyed everything from their smoothies to the Pho Yo and Mac and Squeeze.