Adam and I have finally planned our summer vacation! We’re heading to Banff! I’ve been wanting to go for such a long time, ever since I first saw those iconic photos of Moraine Lake, and we’re super excited to be heading up there after attending a couple weddings, a conference, and celebrating our third wedding anniversary. We’ve started pulling inspiration from YouTube videos and blog posts, and here is our five day Banff itinerary.
Where we Plan to Stay
We haven’t booked the rooms yet, as we haven’t decided when we’re going, but we plan to stay at both the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Fairmont Banff Springs. We decided to do this because of the amount of activities we want to do in each of those surrounding areas, and we don’t want to spend our time driving back and forth.
Overall, we think that spending time in both hotels will maximize our time, especially since we’re planning a shorter trip this summer (we almost always take two weeks off at a time).
Oh, and we can’t wait to share our experience at each of these properties with you; we love to share our hotel recommendations and experiences with you – and don’t worry, as always we will be open and honest.
Even though those posts will come out much later, check out our posts on Ursulino Valletta in Malta and Caille Blanc Villa in St. Lucia. Looking for something a bit closer to home (for our fellow Americans)? Check out Terranea Resort; it was our first ever trip together, and we loved it!
Our Five Day Banff Itinerary
Day One: Arrival
On our first day, we plan to rent a vehicle and drive up to Lake Louise, as it’s farther from Calgary, which is where most travelers fly into.
Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park, about an hour or so northwest from the town of Banff.
We’ve learned, through research, that one must pay to enter the park. We’ll be picking up one of their day passes, which will cost us $80 for the five days.
Want more info on purchasing a park pass? Check out the Banff Lake Louise site.
When we travel, we tend to prefer heading straight to the hotel after a long flight, so that’s what we’ll do here; and, depending on our arrival time, we might relax for a bit prior to exploring the hotel and the grounds. We’ll meander around the lake and spend time exploring some of the trails.
Depending on our arrival time, we might go ahead and attempt the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail. We haven’t decided if we want to make our way all the way up (and past the tea house), but we’re open to it. And, if we don’t get to it on our first day, we’ll attempt it the next afternoon.
And, after all of that exploring, we’ll head back up to the room for a shower. Then, we’ll head out in search of some food. Since it’s a travel day, we’ll be looking for a nice, quick, and casual meal. We’ll probably head over to the Lakeview Lounge for a cocktail and an entrée. We might even head back out for a nighttime stroll.
Day Two: Moraine Lake
Just a quick drive from Lake Louise is the stunning Moraine Lake. We plan to arrive early (before all the tours start, of course!) so that we can wander around in “silence”. We’ll obvi snap photos while there, and then we’ll head up to see the famous “twenty dollar view”.
After finishing the morning at Moraine Lake, we’ll either start a trail there or go back to attempt the Plain of Six Glaciers trail. Either way, we’ll be hiking for sure!
Pro Tip: We’ve heard that it’d be best to pack a breakfast/lunch for Moraine Lake, as there’s just one spot for a meal while there.
After heading back to the Chateau Lake Louise, we’ll grab a quick dinner at Alpine Social. I bet Adam will get the Pork Three-Way Sandwich, and I’ll be getting the Mushroom Risotto. Yum!
And, since we’ll be having an early morning the following day, we’ll probably just head back to the room for a nice, relaxing evening – and a good sleep!
Day Three: Lake Louise Sunrise and Johnston Canyon
Prior to heading back to Banff, we plan on booking one of the Lake Louise Sunrise Canoe Experiences. After checking out some YouTube videos, we’ve learned that Lake Louise is a definite sunrise (versus sunset) spot. We figured that this would be the perfect time to get out on a canoe and explore (and get that iconic Lake Louise snap too, amiright?!).
Afterwards, we’ll check out and drive back toward the town of Banff. Along the way, we’ll stop at Johnston Canyon for a nice, adventurous hike.
So…remember that pro tip up there? Yeah, we’ll be packing a lunch for this hike too. Adam can go hours without food (all while exercising or exerting himself!) but I cannot.
We hope to explore Johnston Canyon in depth, so we’re planning on spending a few hours here. We want to see the waterfalls and the famous hidden cave; and then, when we’re finished, we’ll head back to the vehicle and drive to Banff so that we can check in to the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
Truth be told, we imagine that we’ll be quite tired after this, so we’ll check in, relax, and get prepped for dinner. We like to have one nice “date night” dinner per trip. This seems like the perfect night.
Right now, I’m thinking 1888 Chop House. It looks delicious. But, truth be told, The Vermillion Room also looks delicious. No matter what, I imagine we’ll get a nice bottle of wine and spend a slow, long night together. It’ll be an amazing date night.
Day Four: Banff
After sleeping in a bit, we’ll have a nice breakfast and explore the hotel and grounds. While exploring, we’ll definitely be heading up to “Surprise Corner” for some amazing views of the gorgeous Fairmont Banff Springs.
Afterwards, we’ll head out to the town of Banff. Once here, we’ll walk around before heading over to the gondolas.
The gondolas are a short drive from the town of Banff (about five minutes or so). I imagine we’ll head up, walk along the short trails and marvel at all the views.
Afterward, we plan to check out Bow Falls and Two Jacks Lake; then we’ll head back to the town of Banff for some dinner (depending on the time).
We’ve heard that there’s a delicious Indian restaurant in the town of Banff, so we’ll probably there for some delicious naan (and masala). Yum! After dinner, we’ll head back to the hotel to pack and prep for our flight back home.
We know that Banff is famous for their springs; however, we’re both kind of weird about that sort of thing. While we might make time to head over there, we might not go in. It’d all depend on what it looks like, how crowded it is, and how we’re feeling. Is anyone else weird like this?
Day Five: Departure
Whether we have to wake up earlier than I’d prefer or we get to sleep in, we’ll have breakfast and make our way back toward Calgary. Depending on when our flight is, we might make some stops along the way, pulling over and pausing at various viewpoints for photos and a little walk-around.
If there’s enough time, we might even explore Calgary some. Who knows!? I guess we’ll have to finalize our five day Banff itinerary when we book our flights; but, until then, I hope that this brings you some inspiration or helps you plan your trip. Happy planning!