Banff Travel Guide – Complete 5 Day Itinerary

Oh Banff, Canada, the most beautiful place I have EVER been! Joey and I traveled to Banff for 5 days in August, and we are already itching to go back. It truly is the most naturally beautiful place, filled with crisp air, delicious food, cozy vibes, and all of the adventures! I outlined our 5-day itinerary, and I think it was the perfect amount of time!

Day 1: Travel up the Icefields Parkway
We flew into Calgary pretty late so we decided to stay at the airport our first night, and start fresh in the morning! The drive into Banff was a little over an hour. We made a pit stop in town at our hotel Elk + Avenue, and then headed up the Parkway! You could spend the ENTIRE day driving up and down the Icefields Parkway as it seems there is a new beautiful sight around every corner!

We started our journey with Peyto Lake, about an hour north of town. After a short hike to the summit, we were met the most picturesque view!

We continued driving and made some smaller stops along the way, pulling off to take in some fresh air and beautiful sights. We got hit pretty bad with altitude sickness, so these pit stops were much needed!

We reached the tip of our journey at the Columbia Icefield Skywalk in Jasper! It was slightly scary walking out on the glass over the mountains, but such an amazing view!

We made our way back down the parkway, stopped at Bow Lake (one of my favorites), spent the rest of the evening walking around downtown Banff, and ate dinner at Block Kitchen + Bar, highly recommend!

Bow Lake

Day 2: Johnston Canyon, Bow Valley, and Banff town
Bright and early wake-up call to hike Johnston Canyon! We grabbed coffee and breakfast at Evelyn’s Coffee Bar and drove over to Johnston’s Canyon for 8AM (30 minute drive). Getting here early was crucial, by the time we left around 11AM the trails were so crowded and bogged down!

Make sure you go slightly off of the beaten path to find this beautiful secret spot! Located about half-way up the upper falls trail.

On our way back into town, we took some time and explored Bow Valley, including the picturesque Bow Valley Railway!

We spent the later afternoon and evening shopping around Banff town, and had the BEST burgers ever at Eddie Burger Bar!

Day 3: Moraine Lake

While everyday in Banff was magical, Moraine Lake took the top spot. There is something about this place that I cannot put into words. It truly felt like another land, and I am already dying to go back!

We arrived right before 8AM (about an hour drive from Banff town), and got the absolute last spot in the parking lot! We did not do too much hiking, just soaked in the crisp air, gazed at the views, and kayaked!

When we returned to town we took the Banff gondola up to the Sky Bistro and ate dinner above the mountains!

Day 4: Lake Louise and Vermilion Lakes

Another early morning, we headed up to Lake Louise for 8AM (45 minute drive from Banff town), in order to get a parking spot. We started on our journey to hike up to the Big Beehive! Our hike took about 4 hours round trip and man was it worth it! We stopped half way up to enjoy some tea and apple crisp at the famous Agnes Tea House.

Later that evening we headed over to the Vermilion Lakes (5 minute drive from Banff town) to watch the beautiful sunset.

Day 5: Tunnel Mountain and Banff Town

Our final day! Taking some advice from the locals, we decided to hike up Tunnel Mountain in town. We thought we were hiking pros after the Big Beehive the day prior but man was this hike difficult! It took us just about an hour to get to the summit and the view of downtown Banff was breathtaking (literally because I was so winded from the uphill climb).

After lunch at Park Distillery, we enjoyed a walk along Bow River to end our time in Banff. We entered across the Banff Pedestrian Bridge and walked all the way down to Bow Falls.

All in all, Banff is a place we plan to travel back to frequently! I cannot wait to place our next adventure to this magical destination!

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