In the spring of 2017, I was asked to go to Calgary for work so I decided to take advantage of being only an hour away from Banff and head up the weekend before to check it out! Since Josh had never been skiing we decided to spend most of our time on the slopes instead of hiking, but we did manage to fit in one short but beautiful hike at the end of the trip.
When we arrived in Canada, we headed straight for the mountains! We picked a little hotel right in the middle of downtown Banff because we wanted to experience the town as well as the mountains. Since we got in late at night, we missed out on all of the views, but we saw some pretty spectacular scenery on our way from the hotel to Sunshine Village Ski Resort the next morning.
When we got to Sunshine Village we rented equipment for a pretty reasonable price (and also fairly cheap since the Canadian dollar was worth less than the American dollar). We bought lift tickets for 2 days that and went straight into a full day ski lesson. Even though Josh had never skied before and I had only been once, we wished we had done the half day instead. Once we finally hit the slopes and we had so much fun!
After our first day of skiing we walked around town and checked out the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The hotel looks like a huge castle and has multiple restaurants inside of it. We grabbed drinks and appetizers at a cute little place inside the hotel that had a perfect view of the mountains. Afterwards, we went to the pub in the hotel and had dinner.
Our second day in Banff was filled with more skiing and exploring around town.
On our last day we decided to hike to the falls in Johnston Canyon. Johnston Canyon is a very popular, short, and easily accessible hike with spectacular views. Since we were short on time and the weather wasn’t great it was a good option for us. Before we headed to the trailhead we picked up some crampons in town. I would highly recommend wearing crampons if you hike this trail in the winter; we saw several people having a hard time getting around on the ice.
Johnston Canyon – Upper Falls
Distance: 1.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 700 ft
I was shocked at how many people were on the trail during the off season, but despite the crowd, the hike was really great with incredible views. The water color was unreal, and the frozen falls were really neat to see!
After the hike, we had a little extra time so we stopped by Lake Louise. The views weren’t quite the same as what you see online or on instagram because the lake was frozen over and it was snowing so hard you could barely see the mountains in the background. Regardless, it was worth the trip.
We warmed up with lunch inside the Fairmont Chateau hotel overlooking the lake.
After lunch we headed toward Calgary for the work week, but stopped along the road to soak in the views one last time.
If there is one thing i learned from my trip to Banff it’s that I am have to go back in the summertime!
Do you prefer summer or winter hiking? Comment Below!