BANFF, ALBERTA

Soooo I posted my first ever vlog on youtube. Im extremely nervous and excited. Mostly nervous. I have no idea how to edit videos and am awful with anything technological regardless, now I need to edit videos all on my own. I downloaded a video editor on my laptop but it isn’t exactly what I was looking for, although it is extremely user friendly.

My first video is a short introduction into Banff, Alberta. If you’ve ever heard of it you’d know its a small town in the Canadian Rockies that is vibrant with tourists!! Although there are many tourists, who can blame them? Banff creates this magical scene for a person, especially those who may have never been in the Rockies. It has endless opportunities to see wild life, experience the mountains, glaciers and lakes of Alberta all first hand. There’s hundreds of hikes around the area for all levels and will satisfy your need for fresh air and breathtaking views. Ive decided to make a short and sweet list of my personal favourite hikes that I have done around the area, and what they have to offer. I will also add my favourite places to eat, and just some personal most-loved things about Banff.

HIKE

  1.  Sulphur Mountain- This is a great hike for someone that wants to take full advantage of the Banff experience. The great thing about it is, you can take the gondola on the way up (or down) if you’re really not in the mood for the two hour hike with an elevation gain of about 650m. The trip really is worth it though and not to mention fulfilling. At the top you will find the mountain top experience.  The ridgetop boardwalk is the highlight for me. There you can see all the surrounding mountains as well as all of Banff and then some. Truly a stunning view and well worth the hike (or gondola ride) up.                                                                                                                                                  IMG_9041
  2. Lake Agnes teahouse- This one is located in Lake Louise, Alberta which is about an hour passed Banff. This is a basic hike that is a must do. With only 3.5 Km to go to reach the teahouse situated on the lake, you just can’t go wrong. Not to mention you can have a relaxing cup of tea while looking over the water and mountains upon arrival.  IMG_8802
  3. Johnston Canyon- Yet another must-see hike. This short and easy hike leads to a cave which reveals a water fall. Before you’ve reached the end however, the forested hike is out-shined by the canyon which follows you right until the end. When I did this hike it was winter so most of the canyon was either frozen or concealed by snow, but I would imagine in the summer, hiking along the sound of water and breathing in fresh mountain air would be the best way to spend a day in the mountains. IMG_7565

There really is too many hikes to choose from. How must one pick only a few hikes out of the hundreds that Banff has to offer? The answer is; you simply can’t. The hikes I listed are the ones that I would consider noteworthy, although all the ones Ive done have been, I can’t add them all.

FOOD

I want to start of by saying that I am not a fine dining type of gal. I like to eat out A LOT therefore fine dining is rarely my go to. I am not going to be sharing any of the many fancy places Banff has to offer, but instead will be sharing the places I deem the best in terms of overall experience all while staying on a stable budget.

  1. BeaverTails- Okay, I am fully aware this is no where near a restaurant or can even be considered as a sit down place, but you absolutely cannot go to Banff without having a beavertail. You just can’t. No matter what kind of level of sweet-tooth you may be, beavertails will always satisfy. I personally always get the plain beavertail, the one with cinnamon sugar. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water.
  2. Bear Street Tavern-  This is mainly a pizza place but has lots more to offer than just your average pizza. Lets not forget their genius combo of chilli oil and hunny that is made to be dipped with the pizza. The last time I went was with Nico and we got the godfather pizza and the pull pork nachos that sent me straight into a food coma. Once you start eating you just can’t stop, its that good.  Fun fact, this place was featured on the Tv show “You gotta eat here” and for good reason too. If it was on Tv it must be real, right??? But really, the overall vibe of the restaurant is fun and inviting, the service is great and the food is amazing. It is a MUST while visiting Banff.
  3. Park distillery and restaurant- The thing that I enjoy most about this place is that it is an actual distillery which is a rare find. The environment is super laid back and is a great place to stop for lunch with lots of options on the menu. No matter you’re craving, you will more than likely find it here. The drinks are also awesome. The last time I went I got my signature drink (gin and ginger) and it was cool to know that the gin was made right there.

HIGHLIGHTS

1.The gondola on Sulphur mountain- I know I talked about this earlier in the post but I thought Id write about the actual gondola experience, rather than the hike. The last time I went on the gondola, was my first. It was everything you would expect from a gondola but nothing can prepare you for the mesmerizing views. Also the steep incline on which its traveling but I don’t want to talk about that. The view was surreal and although we had bad luck with the weather and the further we went the less we saw, I could still see everything I needed to be assured that facing my fear of heights was definitely worth it. I know I talked about the ridgetop boardwalk but I’ll say it again- it is amazing. The top of the mountain is also home to the famous 360- degree observation deck where you can truly see the unimaginable and be part of the one of a kind experience. You can also have a bite to eat after all the sightseeing you’ve been doing as there is a restaurant right there on the top of the mountain. Banff really has thought of it all. I personally have never eaten there, but have heard nothing but good things.  Something I have never seen or heard anyone talk about is the abundance of birds and chipmunks you will see. Obviously not as exciting as a grizlly but feeding a chipmunk is still one of my highlights from the day as it was something I wasn’t expecting to be doing. I knew the ride up would be fun and that the views would be dreamlike, but I just never expected to be so up close to a little creature. To any animal lover, I know you’d feel the same.

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2. The hot springs-  This is just my opinion, but the Hidden Ridge resort is home to the better hot springs that you can find in Banff. In reality its not hot springs its actually just two large hot pools, but they still get the job done nonetheless.  Unfortunately you can’t use the facilities unless you are a guest, but luckily if you are planning on staying the night, the Hidden Ridge resort is the place I would go to without a doubt. The two hot pools that they have are overlooking the mountains and downtown Banff. The views really can’t get much better from a pool and lets jus say its nice to enjoy some relaxing pool time without bumping shoulders with a stranger at every turn, which is unavoidable if you visit the Banff Hot Springs. I am not trying to bash the hot springs at all and I still visit them often when I go to Banff for a day trip, but something about the pools at the Hidden Ridge resort get me excited to throw on my swimsuit mid winter and dive in.

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3. mountain biking- Whether you have your own mountain bike or are renting one from Banff, you have access to some of the best mountain biking trails you can find. With beginner all the way to experienced levels of trails, you will find a trail that will accommodate to your needs and will exceed you expectations. I was never much of a biker, I’ve always preferred going on a hike than a bike ride but one year for Nicos birthday, I rented some bikes and went on a blue trail (medium level), and let me tell you it was some of the best fun that I’ve had. It was so exciting to just be there and doing something new and challenging. It is something I do every summer now and I just can’t get enough, it really is a thrill and I know I’ve said it before but the views; unreal. If you are someone that wants to try something different in Banff that is both intoxicatingly fun and challenging, this is the activity for you! Not to mention once you’re done the  mountain part of the bike ride and are drained of energy, its always nice to take a relaxing ride through the town before getting a bite to eat.

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Thats a wrap!

Regarding the youtube video I posted… It unfortunately did not turn out the way I wanted it to and the editor seemed to have taken over most of my video with its adds. So I will be on the hunt for alternative ways to edit but I am going to share the link regardless so you know how to find me on youtube.

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