Kootenay and Banff National Park

When you live in one area for a long period of a time you can sometimes forget the beauty that lies around you. However when you go to such beautiful locations throughout Canada, it’s easy to remember. This was our first time going to Kootenay National Park but our third time going to Banff National Park, and it’s still just as breathtaking as seeing it for the first time.

If this is your first time visiting these beautiful parks, here is our guide for you:

Kootenay National Park

Where to Stay

We had the privilege to stay at the Prestige in the small town of Radium Hot Springs BC. Its a pet friendly hotel that’s part of the Best Western family which is perfect for us. We were staying for two nights but were unfortunately only able to book a pet friendly room for the first night. We asked them to keep us in mind if a room came available and they kept their promise and they were able to book us for a second night, which we were very grateful for. They also have two restaurants; Don Agave Cantina and Conrad’s Kitchen. We tried one for dinner and one for breakfast and both are great options!

Where to Hike

We were blessed with beautiful weather for our day of hiking, and we started bright and early with Marble Canyon. This was an easy 1.4 km to start the day with. It’s a dog on leash friendly trail with loads of geographical information to read on the way. It was the first day of snow for us too so that added to the contrast of the bright blue waters and the yellow and orange rocks surrounding. I definitely recommend this hike to anyone!

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Following Marble Canyon we wanted to make our way up to Stanley Glacier but it unfortunately turned into quite a fog and we wouldn’t have been able to see the view regardless. It just gives us an opportunity to make this trip again so we can do Stanley Glacier and Floe Lake. So we decided to take a spontaneous trip to Banff National Park which was only one hour away.

Banff National Park

Where to Eat

Banff Village is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to, and it never gets old. There are so many cool restaurants and shops to peruse through. We’ve been to a few restaurants on our stops there but this time we headed to The Eddie Burger Bar. It’s a pretty small joint but we were able to snag the last two seats right by the window. It’s like a modern, adult shake shack as their known for their burgers and milkshakes yet they have tons of other options like poutine and local draft beers.

Where to Hike

Our first stop was Lake Louise because no matter how many times you come to Banff, its just a stop you always have to make. We even came here just last year and walked on the frozen Lake Louise which was a super cool experience. It was snowy this year but not cold enough to be frozen so we enjoyed it from the shores. Even though the skies weren’t clear you could still see the crystal clear waters and it was a beautiful as ever.

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Our second hike of the day was Lake Minnewanka, which was a new spot for us! It’s actually a very long 57 km trail that takes you around the lake, but its something you can make as long or short as you want it to be. We took in part of the trail, while trying not to disturb a chilly lakeshore wedding, took some photos and let Diesel off the leash to do some swimming.

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Running out of Time? Skip This Hike

One of the hikes at the top of my list was Johnston Canyon. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Banff and it definitely was beautiful. Unfortunately it was way more touristy than I had anticipated it to be. It was a paved path that was crammed full of people and whats worse, there was money and garbage that was thrown throughout the canyon which was quite discouraging to see. So in our opinion, skip this tourist attraction, and make sure you refer to our guide and do some research yourself about what to see when you’re in Banff!

Have you ever visited Kootenay or Banff National Park before? What are your favourite spots?

All photographs by Colin Christmas

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