After we sold our apartment in NJ, we decided we had to have a Canadian adventure before leaving the area. We had been looking at photos of Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and decided that we wanted to experience it for ourselves. We used momondo.com for the first time, as Emille’s research found them to have the cheapest flights. We also use kayak, skyscanner, Brazilian Express, and others. If you know of any other cost-saving companies, please feel free to let us know. We are always looking for great deals.
Partially frozen Lake Louise looked like Narnia from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If we return, it will be during the summer to hike Lake Louise and Yoho National Park and enjoy the outdoors when the wind chill is not a factor, or during ski season.
Emille’s Tip—we booked through WestJet.com and discovered that they, much like many airlines, don’t have proper snacks; so we recommend that you get the AMEX Platinum card, so that you can have a proper meal in a lounge for free beforehand. This tip sounds like a plug, but it’s not; Emille did the research. To paraphrase our favorite perks: the lounges, TSA pre-check, yearly credits ($200 for Uber, $200 for baggage) and flight credit points worth $500.
We arrived in Alberta, Canada, the closest airport to Banff on a cold, 24th day of November, 2017. Well, it wasn’t as cold as NYC in February, but it was pretty cold by a displaced Floridian’s standards. The airport is only about an hour away from Banff. Emille’s Tip—Downtown Banff is a bit pricey and was almost completely booked, so stay at an Airbnb in Canmore, which is 10–15 mins outside of Banff, instead.
It was raining the day we arrived, so we visited the Twin Lakes, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and to sightsee around downtown Banff. We had a memorable lunch at The Maple Leaf (137 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1C8, Canada). The food was delicious and the restaurant was decked out like a rustic lodge. The bison burger was fantastic! Unfortunately, the Bison Restaurant was closed for renovations, and the famous Grizzly House looked amazing but was completely booked.
We tried to visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site (311 Cave Ave, Banff, AB T0L 0C0, Canada) +1 403-762-1566, but every time we tried, either a beer festival or closure on a Monday prevented it.
A two course meal took two hours, but the company, view and wine more than made up for the tardy food service.🍷😂 We love a fruity, robust red wine, so we found the Pelham Henry that we sampled to be delightful. If you like fruity wines, this a must try!
The highlight of the trip was the gondola ride to the summit ridgetop of Sulphur Mountain. The upper terminal has observation decks with stunning views of the Bow Valley and surrounding mountains. We walked the beautiful boardwalk leading to the top of Sanson’s Peak, with even more amazing views and an elevation of 7,402 ft (2,256 m). It was so stunning that we continued taking photos long after we felt like we were getting frostbite. After the brisk walk back to the Banff Gondola summit, we were warming up inside the Sky Bistro, where the view is second to none.
Canmore is a quaint, charming little town. We attended church at Crossway Life and had a great experience and made some wonderful Canadian friends. (117 Bow Meadows Crescent, Canmore, AB T1W 2W8, Canada) +1 403-678-9801
Some names and locations of places we visited:
Johnston Park (Johnston Canyon Hiking Area)
Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB, Canada
Crossfit Banff (#5 200 Hawk Ave, box 4731, Banff, AB T1L 1B3, Canada) +1 403-431-6611
CrossFit Canmore (100A – 56 Lincoln Park, Canmore, AB T1W 3E9, Canada) +1 403-679-1033
Banff Gondola (100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B2, Canada) +1 403-762-7475
My Greek Plate restaurant (110 3 Ave, Cochrane, AB T4C, Canada) +1 587-362-3332
Sky Bistro (Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J3, Canada) +1 403-762-7486
Lake Louise (Improvement District No. 9, AB, Canada)
Yoho National Park (Yoho National Park Field, BC V0A 1G0, Canada) +1 250-343-6783
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