Living in Canada, I feel so blessed to have such a beautiful backyard (not literally, but you know). Travelling within your own country is so important, and let me tell you Banff National Park is one of my favourite places in the world. I feel so at peace when I’m in the mountains. I can’t wait to explore even more Canadian National Parks with my 2017 Parks Canada Discovery Pass (get yours free here if you haven’t). Nick (my boyfriend) and I try to get away to the mountains whenever we can and it’s our place. Here are a few of my favourite hikes I’ve done in the national park over the last couple years. There are so many more to explore!
Johnston Canyon (website)
Johnston Canyon was one of the first hikes we did in Banff National Park. Being we had never been hiking before, it was a great starting point. The walk was beautiful, following along a river up to the falls. The pathway got narrow at times and I could see it being slippery in the winter if there was ice (we visited in the spring). Nonetheless it was a serene walk up to the falls. We walked up to the Upper Falls, but if you’re feeling more adventurous (which we wanted lunch) you could hike up the ink pots.
Grassi Lakes is a short drive outside of Banff National Park in the Canmore area. It’s a great beginner hike in that it offers two paths up to the lake: “Easy” which is a gravel, even path uphill to the lakes or “More Difficult” which is not extremely difficult but you do need to watch your footing a little more and expect to climb a rocky, uneven rock staircase upwards. I highly recommend the more difficult route however for the absolutely beautiful with views of Canmore and Bow Valley. We did see people of all fitness levels on the more difficult route as well as pets and children! Once you get to the top, the lakes are breathtakingly beautiful. The upper lake is also a popular area for sport climbing (which gives you a minor heart attack watching these people scale the side of a mountain).
Now this hike has to be one of my favourites thus far. Right next to Lake Louise, you venture up towards literally Narnia. It is a moderate hike and takes about 1-2 hours to reach the top depending on fitness levels, and some portions of the trail become very steep. After passing Lake Louise, on your way up to the Tea House you encounter Mirror Lake. Our experience here was magical as it started snowing (keep in mind, this was in September). After Mirror Lake, at the top is the Lake Agnes Tea House, a little cottage-like building providing warm soups (I had potato leek), tea and cookies. There is so much history at Lake Agnes Tea House and it was built in 1905 as a refuge for hikers. The workers at the Tea House actually hike up their supplies and food! Isn’t that incredible? Keep in mind however, this trail and tea house is only open from early June to October.