The Weekly Postcard: Banff National Park, Canada

Did you ever find yourself in front of a breathtaking scenery? For those of us who travel a lot it most likely happened a few times in our life. And when it did, the first thing that came to mind was: this place is Paradise! What is Paradise? Did anybody really see it? Probably not, but for us humans Paradise is the epitome of perfection, a place where you can find beauty and peace, where you instantly forget about your busy life and daily worries, a place where you can connect with your inner self, or with a higher power in the Universe. Such is the setting of Banff, Canada’s oldest national park in the Rocky Mountains. Everywhere you look is a perfect picture: dazzling glaciers, spectacular rivers, alpine meadows and snow covered peaks . What makes Banff  so special is its combination of vast unspoiled wilderness, mountain lakes, and wildlife.

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We visited the area for 4 days only – enough to get a taste of the unparalleled majestic scenery, but too little to take in its stung views and be able to accomplish but a fraction of its arsenal of activities . Even if we stayed another month, we still could not have covered the entire area. The park is comprised of the town of Banff,  Lake Louise, Castleguard Caves, more than a thousand glaciers and glacier lakes and hundreds of hotels and restaurants.

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Columbia Icefield Glacier

Banff is located about 80 miles from Calgary International Airport, so to get there you need to rented a car. There is also a direct bus service from the airport to Banff and Lake Louise, but then you won’t be able to visit much without a car. The roads are very well-maintained and well marked, so driving around is not a problem. We stayed at Lake Louise, but on the way from the airport we stopped in Banff for lunch. Banff is a charming small-town with a lot of shops, great restaurants and many other attractions. It is worth spending at least a day there, boating on Lake Minnewanka, riding the Gondola to the top of the Sulphur Mountain, or visiting the excellent Jasper Brewing Co. for a taste of craft beer brewed on the premises. We just had time for a gondola ride atop of the mountain and experienced a 360º spectacular view of six mountain ranges.

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Banff National Park is open year round and is considered a travelers’ mecca for a good reason. It is home to an incredible diversity of animals, from small bats and rodents, to large bears, wolves, caribou, or Bighorn sheep. Encounters with the wildlife are not accidental but almost imminent, which makes the visit even more exciting. In fact you have to exercise utmost care at all times because you can come across a huge bear with cubs, or a large caribou even on the highway.  It is advisable to respect posted notices about wildlife in known areas and to carry bear spray if hiking or biking.

Summer is popular for hiking, mountain biking or cycling, paddling, and climbing. In winter three major downhill ski resorts operate within the park, great for downhill and cross-country skiing. The ski season at Banff is one of the longest in North America, running from November to May. Weather in the Canadian Rockies is very unpredictable: in a single day you can have a mix of sunshine, snow, wind, and rain, so dressing in layers is a good idea. We were lucky that we didn’t experience any bad weather in August, but still if you visit the glaciers you can count of high winds and cold air.

 

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43 Comments on “The Weekly Postcard: Banff National Park, Canada

  1. Hi Anda,

    What an absolutely stunning collection of images you have here.

    Banff looks like paradise because it’s so clean, and pristine, and its views are eye-popping. I vibe with the nature thing too. Chance encounters with bear or caribou make me feel alive, and yep, even if I run into a bat here and there I feel invigorated.

    Here in Savusavu Fiji, we see monstrously large fruit bats swoop in to rain the 20 or so papaya trees on the front lawn. These guys – also know as flying foxes – have about a 3 foot wingspan. They look like little dogs with wings. So cute but oh so loud at night as they screech, and claw at each other, fighting for the best fruits. As you can imagine their fighting carries deep into the jungle night here in a remote area but I’m used to it by now; doesn’t keep me up.

    Adding this one to the list Anda. Way different climate and views but the pristine beauty reminds me of Fiji, in that everything is so clean, clear and crisp, it just wakes you up to nature, and to endless beauty.

    Thanks so much for sharing, and I’ll tweet this soon for my travel blogger buddies….I know they’ll dig it 😉

    Signing off from Savusavu.

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…5 of the Most Savage Thunderstorms I’ve Experienced During My World Travels (Plus a Critical Blogging Lesson that Top Earners Teach You)My Profile

  2. You pictures are STUNNING! Can’t believe we are Canadian and never been to Banff. I think that makes us “Bad- Canadians”?

  3. I head so many stories about beautiful Canadian nature. Haven’t been there yet, but I think it’s time to visit my family living there 🙂
    BTW great photos!

  4. Hi Anda, I love your description of paradise, made me think of my own description and found it pretty matches up yours. I will be happy to visit then this paradise of Banff. I have heard about how beautiful it is but had no idea of its grandeur. Your photographs are so stunning and brings the beauty of Banff to life. The gondola ride with 360 degree view of paradise must be exhilarating. I wish to go hiking here sometime soon. Hopefully, we’ll be lucky with the weather like you did. Thanks for hosting this weekly link-up.

  5. Anda, I think these pictures redefine the word “breathtaking”. I’m definitely adding this wonderful place to my list!

  6. Ah, what a gorgeous place. Such beauty is hard to believe exists. Added to the list. Thanks!!!

  7. Banff national parks is famous for it’s glaceries and icefields.In this park a nature centric road trip is the easiest ways to visit banff’s the major sites and catch the leaf action of velleys and rivers.

  8. Pingback: Best Getaways for Outdoor Enthusiasts

  9. Beautiful photos, glad to have found your blog through your interview with The Guy Who Flies! I would love to go to Banff for kayaking and hiking, amazing place.

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