Brooke Fryer

Who needs the tropics when you have one of the most fascinating places in the world located in the heart of a national park? Banff is hidden within the Canadian Rockies in the provenance of Alberta. Only a four-hour drive from Edmonton, tourists will quickly find themselves surrounded by clean air, wildlife and snow-topped mountains. Banff National Park is also home to Banff Town, an array of wildlife as well as endless hikes with views as far as the eye can see.

Peak season runs from June to August during the warmer months where snow is hardly spotted, and December to March for those who want a real taste of a white Christmas and Canadian Winter. People who adore all things nature will benefit more visiting the park during the warmer months, where the weather is more forgiving and the animals are out-and-about.

Things to do:

Banff Town is scattered with wooden buildings, fireplaces and lamp lit roads with Mt. Cascade and Mt. Rundle dominating the skyline. With an occasional bear spotted on the main street, there is a wealth of boutique stores, restaurants, bars and 5-star resorts. Banff Town is also home to the Bow River, which runs off glacier water and is particularly vibrant during the warmer months. Canoeing and kayaking is a common activity for all tourists and locals, not only is there a non-obstructed view of the surrounding mountains, plenty of wildlife also come out of hiding to the water’s edge each day.

Lake Louise is a show stopper in Canada, and a spot that many people trek far and wide to experience. Just one glimpse of the turquoise blue water and the soaring mountains create a picturesque background that will give any traveller itchy feet. The lake is most vibrant during the months of July and August, when the glacier is melting and the lake water looks full with colour. During Summer, the lake is a paradise for all lovers of hiking and canoeing. There is one particular hike named Lake Agnes, which has an elevation gain of 400mm, taking tourists to glaciers and one of Canada’s oldest and highest tea houses.

Tunnel Mountain Hike is one of the easier hikes in Banff and the most popular amongst them all. A quick two to three hour round hike, with one of the most beautiful views of Banff Town form the above, is welcoming to all types of fitness levels. Animals are almost rarely spotted on this hike due to the busy walking trail, making it a perfect first hike to ease first timers into the much-loved hiking environment. Although it is the smallest mountain in Banff, the panoramic views will have visitors believing otherwise.