Banff, Canada’s oldest National Park, offers stunning beauty around every corner. Awe-inspiring mountain peaks, sweeping valleys, free-flowing rivers, and my personal favorite, jaw-dropping glacial lakes.
Banff covers 2,564 square miles, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts over 1,000 miles of hiking trails, Canada’s longest cave system, Castleguard caves, and is home to Alberta’s southernmost herd of the endangered woodland caribou. The list of things to see and do while visiting Banff is endless!
I’ll be guiding our upcoming Canada: Banff Multisport Adventure this August. There’s not enough time to explore every nook and cranny of the park during our tour so we’ve whittled our itinerary down to feature some of the most iconic Banff sights – I can’t wait to show you them in person!
When people think of Banff, they tend to picture Lake Louise. This staggeringly beautiful turquoise lake is located at the base of the Victoria Glacier and is one of the world’s most photographed glacial lakes. According to BeyondBanff.com, “as the melt water from a glacier that feeds a lake starts to flow in the spring time it carries with it glacier silt or rock flour. The silt is created when rocks underneath the surface of the ice are grinding from the movement of the glacier. The rock flour is very light and stays suspended in the lake water for a long time. The sunlight that reflects off this rock flour is what gives the lakes their spectacular turquoise blue or green colour.” We’re lucky as our tour is scheduled for August, which is said to be one of the best times to see the lake due to how the sunlight hits the water. (July is also said to be a spectacular viewing time.)
Another gorgeous glacial lake, Lake Agnes’s claim to fame is its historic teahouse where hikers can take a break and grab cup of hot tea and a snack. It was originally built in 1901 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, as a place for hikers to take shelter from the elements. It didn’t start serving tea until 1905. The original log structure was replaced in 1981, but it still features the original windows, tables, and chairs.
Plain of Six Glaciers
On the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, we’ll make our way around Lake Louise and up the trail to yet another historic teahouse. This time with views of, you guessed it, six glaciers! Mount Aberdeen, Lefroy, Victoria, the Lower Victoria and Lefroy glaciers, and the hanging glacier on Popes Peak.
Another crowd favorite you’ll see on our trip is the Big Beehive which is a huge rock jutting up over Mirror Lake. As you can see in the image above, it resembles its namesake. (Fun fact: I’m an amateur beekeeper so the Big Beehive and its partner, Little Beehive, are an extra fun sight for me!)
The remarkable Sunshine Meadows are surrounded by some of the tallest peaks in the Canadian Rockies and offer unobstructed views of sweeping valleys and pristine alpine lakes (the Laryx, Grizzly, and Rock Isle). To start, we’ll take a fun gondola ride up to the 7,300 ft high meadows to then explore to our heart’s content on a variety of trail systems.
One of my favorite parts of being a guide is getting to share incredible experiences with others. I’m very much looking forward to sharing all of these incredible, iconic Banff sights with you next August. Come join in the fun!