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Canada's Banff National Park Vacation

Updated on October 10, 2012

Pristine Lakes of Banff Canada


Iconic Canada

Yes, the highways are lined with bear proof fences.  That is all the closer I wanted to get to this Grizzly Bear!
Yes, the highways are lined with bear proof fences. That is all the closer I wanted to get to this Grizzly Bear! | Source

Lake Louise Ice Poppies


Banff National Park Vacation

Canada’s Banff National Park is located in the Western half of Canada. This 2,564 square mile national park located on the border of Alberta and British Columbia is home to some of the most beautiful Rocky Mountain vistas and clear cold deep lakes.

Banff National Park is easily accessible and offers extensive holiday and vacation excursions whether you are interested in outdoor excursions or indoor pampering. We visited Banff during the summer season.

Banff is easily accessible. Even though there is an excellent road system in and out of Banff you will be entering an extensive wildlife endowed as well as untouched wilderness area.

As we drove in the Banff National Park we were treated to multiple views of bears, elk, moose, and various mountain goats. During the stops there were many sightings of beautiful birds as well. The fields were also awash with wild flowers.

Calgary Dining Experience


Calgary Olympic Park


The City of Calgary in Alberta Canada

The town of Calgary is 2.5 hours from Banff and offers some excellent tourism opportunities. We found excellent dining, wonderful hotels, museums, and an extensive mass transit system that augments the enclosed walkways through-out the town.

The Glenbow Museum is one such excellent attraction. The Glenbow offers an excellent mixture of authentic pieces from the history of Canada intermingled with excellent audio visual exhibits. It is well worth the visit.

A visit to the site of the Calgary Olympic Park, the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics, is a must. When we visited there were Mountain Biking events going on and it was fun to sit in the massive floor to ceiling windowed dining area and watch all those daredevils performing on the large dirt jump park just outside. While the young adults were the most accomplished, we especially liked watching the young kids as they learned how to dirt bike too!

We had a wonderful meal at a modern Indian Restaurant. We also were introduced to a dish called Poutine. Poutine is basically French fries with gravy and cheese ladled on it. Whereas, your restaurant table setting comes with salsa fresca here in the Southwest, it comes with a large bottle of ketchup in most of the Western part of Canada!

We also visited the very famous coffee and donut shop, Tim Hortons. At least two mornings we waited in line at Tim Hortons with the locals for a breakfast of the famous Tim Horton coffee and a sweet roll or breakfast sandwich. Then we would take the mass transit to the downtown area. The mass transit in Calgary is very easy to master.

This stop was over and we were on our way to Banff.

Downtown Banff


Town of Banff

The town of Banff offers some spectacular views, shopping, camera stores, and excellent restaurants. It is a great place to spend the afternoon or linger for longer in one of the hotels or resorts.

We shopped for souvenirs, had a nice lunch, and found a great camera shop as I needed some more storage space for all the digital pictures that I took! This whole trip was turning out to be a picture post card!

Then it was onward to the Columbia Ice Fields.

Glacier from Afar

The bus is a mere dot on this picture!
The bus is a mere dot on this picture! | Source

On the Glacier

Don standing on the Glacier, note the blue cone warnings for a possible crevasse.
Don standing on the Glacier, note the blue cone warnings for a possible crevasse. | Source

Columbia Ice Field

Just 2.5 hours from Banff, straddling Jasper National Park and Banff National Park is the Columbia Ice Field. This remarkable location allows you to visit a great museum as well as have a long view of the ice field and then take an excursion where you walk on the ice field and possibly even have a sip of the water that is melting off the glacier!

These are pictures taken on the Athabasca Glacier. The Athabasca Glacier is the remaining part of the thick ice mantle that covered most of the mountains in Western Canada.

The Athabasca Glacier is creeping forward several centimeters a day. The glacier is shrinking due to the climate change and is revealing a rocky moon scape looking ground as it shrinks.

The tourist is warned to NOT walk unescorted on the Athabasca Glacier (or any such glaciers in the parks) as there are crevasses (deep hidden fissures) where people have fallen into and died.

The only bad part of this trip was that I only lasted two weeks!

Western Canada: Banff National Park and Calgary

show route and directions
A markerBanff National Park Canada -
Banff National Park, Banff, AB T1L 1K2, Canada
get directions

B markerCalgary Canada -
Calgary, AB, Canada
get directions

C markerGlacier Banff Canada -
Columbia Icefield Glacier Experience, Banff National Park, Icefields Pkwy, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canad
get directions


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    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Thanks and agreed it is a wonderful place!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I loved this wonderful hub, it brought back memories of our trip to Banff, we also visited the Athabasca glacier.

      My daughter lives in Calgary, so we love to visit!

      Last year we stayed in Canmore and enjoyed it as much as Banff.

      Thank you and voted up

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      only too glad to be a part of some pleasant memories! Thanks for this.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 5 years ago from Minnesota

      When I was a young girl we vacationed in Banff. I remember the glaciers and thinking it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I also remember walking up a trail and at the top was a famous tea house. They had no electricity up there or refrigeration, and they used mules to haul the supplies up there. I wish I could remember the name of the tea house...and I wonder if it still exists (this was 30 years ago). Probably has got a lot more modern over the years! Thanks for reminding me of this great vacation spot. Now I have my own family to explore this natural wonder and I'm going to put it on our vacation list. Voted up!

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      You will love Banff! Thanks for the vote too!

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 5 years ago from Southern Spain

      Beautiful hub about a place we plan to visit next year ! We have booked a cruise to Alaska so want to visit more of Canada after the cruise ! Voting you up for shore and sharing ! Found you while hubhopping .

    • profile image

      sdzulu 5 years ago

      Awesome trip. Well worth the time and money.