Last year, Michael and I did a day trip to Banff and it worked out so well. This year, on our spontaneous trip to Calgary, we decided to bring my parents to convince them to move with us to Alberta in the future. My dad was SOLD. He LOVED everything, he’s already planning a road-trip for next year. He grew up in the mountains after all, and after moving to the Prairies, well, Alberta was a glimpse of home.
Because we were only in Banff for a day, we decided against driving and commuted all the way instead. I was following a few people on Instagram who had to turn around because they were not able to find a place to park on the big lakes.
One day is definitely not enough to explore but if you just want to get the famous lakes, this is a good way to go.
Calgary to the town of Banff: On-It transit
On-It Regional transit is a weekend transit program that encourages Calgarians to leave their cars in the city and commute to Banff. All for just $10 one way. We took the first trip out at 7:06 and got to Banff Train Station a little after 9:00am.
We grabbed a bite at the station, freshened up, and hopped on the tour bus at 9:35.
Around Banff National Park: Hop-on Hop-off Banff
For only $60, Hop-on Hop-Off Banff lets you visit key locations within Banff National Park at your own choosing. This is helpful if you want to go to a location and move at your own pace. During the first few minutes in the bus , the guide helps you choose which locations suits your interests best. We decided on Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.
Quick stop over at Bow Valley River and Castle Mountain
We spent around 3 hours here. You can take the short hikes, rent out a kayak, or buy a snack and enjoy the view.
It was very busy at Lake Louise as expected. We spent about an hour here just taking in the sites.
TIP: You may be tempted to take pictures from the board walk where all the people are but if walk a little bit farther away from the crowds and find a rock to stand on anywhere around the lake. This way you still get to have a great view of the lake and the mountains in the background without all the other people in the picture.
The colours of the famous lakes in Banff comes from the minerals from the glaciers. As stewards of God’s wonderful Creation, I urge us to do our part, however little, to preserve these wonders.
The hop on bus got us back to the town centre at 6:00pm and since our bus to Calgary wasn’t until 9:15pm, we got to walk around and explore the town. What I love about the place is that even if the interiors are modern, all the exterior design have a cabin-like feel, even the McDonalds and Lululemon.
We ate dinner at Magpie and Stump, a Mexican restaurant. We were STARVING so idk if it was just my hunger or I LOVED the mole chicken wings.
At 9:15pm we hopped on the On-It bus back to Calgary and arrived at around 11:00pm. The cherry on top is that Alt-Hotel has a no check-out time policy if you book direct on their website so we stayed in the day after until 5:00pm to get our much-needed rest.
We would go back and do this tour again if someone visits us in Canada. But I really do want to visit Banff during the winter so stay tuned!