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A Weekend in the Canadian Rockies: Banff National Park

A Weekend in the Canadian Rockies: Banff National Park

Old Oct 3, 2019, 6:06 pm
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A Weekend in the Canadian Rockies: Banff National Park

Follow me along on this trip report from my two day trip to Banff National Park in the glorious Canadian Rockies.

Previous reports:

A Whirlwind Trip Around SE Asia: Bangkok, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia

Two Days in Guatemala

A Weekend in Austin, Texas

Exploring Ukraine - Kiev, Chernobyl Nuclear Powerplant and Pripyat

A Short Trip to Panama City, Panama

A Week in the Caucasus: Georgia, Azerbaijan

A Landscape Photography Trip to Oregon

A Trip to Nigeria

A Trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona

A Trip to the Azores.

One Week in India: Mumbai, Amritsar, Agra/Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi CX and EY J

A Snowstorm in Tokyo and Volcanoes in the Philippines

New Years in Seoul, South Korea Delta A350 Suite

Keeping it Domestic: Grand Teton National Park

9 Days in Asia: Taipei, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Shanghai

Two Weeks in South Africa and Namibia: Joburg, Cape Town, Sossusvlei and Kruger

Bienvenido a Cuba!
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Old Oct 3, 2019, 6:09 pm
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I visited Banff back in 2007 before I was interested in photography and have since been yearning to return. Every time I go to plan a trip to Banff at the last second, there was always some sort of obstacle; full flights, bad weather in Banff, no campsites available or not enough time off to warrant the trip. Well, the stars all seemed to align to allow for a trip back to Banff National Park this past June. Follow along as I show some pictures from one of my favorites parts of the world.

Day 1

I flew up to Minneapolis on a Friday night and spent the night in order to catch the first flight out to Calgary the next morning. Below is my A319 bound for Calgary, Canada.

Not all was perfect with this trip as the weekend I chose to go was the weekend prior to Canada Day, meaning the park was absolutely packed. However, I was able to secure a campsite at the last second and my corporate discount on the rental car took the charge from $550 for two days down to $105.

After landing in Calgary, I made my way to my rental car and started out for Banff, about a 90 minute drive from the airport.

Entering Banff National Park.

I'm not normally one to camp, but hotels (and even hostels) in the area were crazy expensive. I decided to just pack up my camping equipment I had bought from my trip to the Tetons a few years back, and camp out for the two nights. The weather was cool and considering I didn't sleep much as sunset was around 10PM and sunrise around 5AM, it was quite a good value.

I stopped at the campsite to set up everything before heading out to explore.

The view that was about a three minute walk from my tent.

I started my day by taking a stroll through Johnston Canyon, one of the most popular "hikes" in the park. It was very easy and also extremely packed (at the viewpoints).

The river.

The trail follows along the walls of the canyon.

The lower falls at Johnston Canyon.

The upper falls.

I decided to cross over into Yoho National Park in British Columbia to visit Emerald Lake.

Emerald Lake obviously gets its name from its color. The road to Emerald Lake had opened the week before my visit.


Getting low at Emerald Lake.


Canadian Pacific.

The view driving back to Banff National Park from Yoho.

Man, why was I born in Florida? This is what I want to see every day. This was also taken just minutes before me getting a speeding ticket for 10 kmh over.

I then stopped at Bow Lake where the views were stunning.

A long exposure of Bow Lake.

Bow Lake.

I pulled aside just before driving up to Peyto Lake. A guy on the side of the road said he had just seen a bear but lost track of it. I stood for a few minutes then drove a hundred feet or so forward and pulled down a random side road. I stopped to listen then these two popped out right in front of me.

I don't know my bears, but they look like grizzlies (based on Google images) but could be black bears. Either way, it's not everyday you see this happen.

I wish I had a long lens at this point as I was shooting with a 16-35.


The short 10-minute hike to the Peyto Lake viewpoint.

Peyto Lake.

Long exposure of Peyto Lake.

I left Peyto a little late and just missed sunset at Castle Mountain.


Day 2

My alarm went off at 3:15AM at the campsite. I jumped in the car and started the one hour drive to Moraine Lake as I had read that the parking lot fills up quickly. When I arrived, it was already about 1/4 full (which was at 4:30AM). I found my spot and waited for sunrise at 5:30AM.

Pre-sunrise at Moraine Lake.

Moraine Lake sunrise.

I climbed down the hillside and got into the water for a different perspective about 30 minutes after sunrise.

Surrounding mountains.

Looking back in the way of Moraine Lake. I had a packed day, so I had to head out after sunrise to secure parking at Lake Louise nearby.


Lake Louise, Alberta.

Lake Louise.

Rocks @ Lake Louise.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

The big hike I endured on during the trip was the Lake Agnes / Big Beehive hike near Lake Louise.

The trail.

Mirror Lake, about half way up to Lake Agnes.

I stopped at the Lake Agnes teahouse when I arrived. I ended up sitting with a couple from Seattle, so we sat and talked for 30-minutes or so before moving on.

Lake Agnes Teahouse.

The clear water of Lake Agnes.

Last edited by ChiefNWA; Oct 3, 2019 at 6:14 pm
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Old Oct 3, 2019, 6:10 pm
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The continued on from the base of Lake Agnes to hike to the Big Beehive. I wasn't quite prepared to walk through snow (more like compact ice) so I was all over the place trying to get through it.

The hike up was rather steep and involved about a dozen switchbacks. It took me about an hour.

Looking back.

Looking back down at Lake Louise (my starting point) from the Big Beehive. Just look at that water color.

Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise.

After some time at the top, I started my way back down.

Hiking back through the snow.

Back at the base of Lake Agnes.

Lake Agnes.

Great views coming back down.

Back down at the base of Lake Louise.

I lucked out and rolled up to Morant's Curve right as a train was passing by. Another photographer there said he had been waiting for almost two hours. Trains are usually pretty common sight here but Canada Day weekend meant limited service.

Morant's Curve.

After Morant's Curve, I headed over to Lake Minnewanka. Last time I was here, we rented a boat and hung out on the lake for a few hours. Being solo this time, I decided against that and decided just to look around and take in the scenery.

Lake Minnewanka is the 2nd longest lake in the Canadian Rockies.

Lake Minnewanka.

I then stopped at the nearby Two Jack Lake where I had my stowed away Subway dinner.

Big Horn Sheep.

Fairmont Banff Springs.

I decided to shoot sunset at Vermillion Lakes as it was decently close to my campsite. The view of Mount Rundle was great but I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Mount Rundle at sunset.

I was up at 4:30AM the next morning to catch the first flight to Minneapolis from Calgary. Overall, this was a fantastic trip and one I had been looking forward to for years. Two days isn't nearly enough time, so another trip is already being planned for in the future. There are a ton of hikes in the park (and neighboring Yoho and Jasper parks) that I'd like to do as well.

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Old Oct 3, 2019, 7:51 pm
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Amazing photos. I visited Banff in 2001 and loved it as well. Lake Louise was amazing - love the view from above. As usual, a great report!
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Old Oct 3, 2019, 9:03 pm
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Amazing pictures!
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Old Oct 4, 2019, 1:41 pm
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Jasper and Banff parks are my favourite places in the world. Even mediocre photographers can get good pictures there, but the good photographers, as you, go above and beyond.
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Old Oct 4, 2019, 2:10 pm
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Those were some of the best pics ever to grace this site. Amazing.
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Old Oct 8, 2019, 1:31 am
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Incredible photos - returning to Canada is on my to do list - Vancouver is all I have done, just stunning
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Old Oct 10, 2019, 2:36 am
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Fantastic pictures, thanks a lot! You got lucky with the weather it seems. Sadly, it was overcast and grey when I went a few years ago...
DanielW likes this.
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Old Oct 14, 2019, 1:47 am
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Beautiful photos, ChiefNWA. The mirror flat and blue lake water looks so photogenic.

Good spotting with the bear and train too.
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Old Oct 14, 2019, 5:14 am
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Brilliant photos. Been through there a few times and your pics capture it in an amazing fashion.
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Old Oct 16, 2019, 2:34 pm
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This part of Canada sure has some stunning scenery!
janehoya likes this.
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Old Oct 18, 2019, 7:55 am
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Wonderful photography, thanks for sharing! Banff (with a side tour to Lake Louise) was my first visit to North America, and seeing these I'm clearly overdue a return...
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Old Oct 19, 2019, 8:33 am
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Fantastic photography, thank you for sharing.
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Old Oct 20, 2019, 12:39 pm
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There is nothing more Canadian than the views and hikes that you have completed.

If it makes you feel better, I recently had a photo radar ticket outside of Melbourne, Australia for 106 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. The revenue grab is pretty consistent around the world (laughing).
worldtraveller73 is offline  

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