Over the summer, my husband and I went on a road trip from Montreal to Western Canada. It took us four days to get to Banff and although I didn’t know what to expect, my jaw dropped as I saw the rocky mountains appear from afar. I found myself speechless in front of the spectacular show that was unfolding before my eyes. It felt like mother nature was claiming its power over humans and was demanding respect in the most beautiful (and imposing) way. So here is a list of 16 things you can do while in the the Rockies:
Spend a day in Canmore, aka the most charming town you will ever visit
Stop at every single coffee shop you’ll come across. I fell in love with them.
2. While in Canmore, try paddle boarding with Bow Valley Stand Up Paddleboarding
3. Visit Johnston Canyon
4. Try Horseback Riding With Brewster Adventures
We went horseback riding with Brewster Adventures at Lake Louise. What an absolutely fantastic experience it was! It was my first time horseback riding and I didn’t expect to be nervous when I got on the horse, but I was quite anxious. I felt like my life was being placed in an animal’s good will and I silently prayed to God that everything would go smoothly. That’s until Laurynn, one of the employees came and calmed me down in the blink of an eye: she reassured me, told me there was absolutely nothing to be scared of and that Little John, “my” horse, was a good boy. Phew, I was ready for the Destination Lakehead Ride: two hours of traveling along Lake Louise, which emerald water we could marvel at through the trees, as our ride progressed. At the end of the trail, we stopped and Melissa, one of our guides took pictures of everyone on their horse with the gorgeous lake and the Chateau Lake Louise in the background, which I thought was a great idea, as it enabled us to have souvenirs of the ride. I have found that horseback riding is extremely relaxing and I can’t recommend enough Brewster Adventures for rides in the Banff – Lake Louise area. It’s an amazing activity for everyone, kids included. They offer longer rides as well, between three to seven hours, for those who would like to spend half a day or the entire day horseback riding. Oh, and there’s the Western BBQ Dinners, that provide authentic Western atmosphere and entertainment, which we would have loved to try, had we had more time in the area. Check out their website for more information.
5. Visit Marble Canyon (pure gem.)
6. Try Canoeing with Banff Canoe Club
Back to our fantastic experience at Banff Canoe Club: Instead of taking it easy like most people do when they rent canoes, my husband and I made it really physical by paddling as fast as we could for an hour and we absolutely LOVED it. My arms and core were burning at the end! Ask instructors how to execute the movement correctly though otherwise you will feel like you’re paddling for nothing. I 100% recommend canoeing with Banff Canoe Club if you plan on visiting Banff soon. It’s an amazing way to either be active or just relax with your travel partner(s). Chek out their website for more info: http://www.banffcanoeclub.com/
7. Enjoy the incredible views while you drive
8. Visit Field. Strange but very beautiful.
Field looked like a haunted village, but it is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in the Canadian Rockies. The weather was gloomy and there was not a soul in the streets, which only added to the strange atmosphere that reigned, the day of our visit. However, the landscape was absolutely mind-blowing; punctuated by charming old houses with the most gorgeous flower gardens, and surrounded by immense mountains which peaks were hidden by a cloudy sky.
10. Try Mountain Biking With SnowTips Bactrax
If you’ve been following me, you know I am all about being active. So when we go on vacations, I like to stay active. My husband did mountain biking all his teenage years and I had not ridden a bike in almost twenty years. But I decided to try mountain biking for the first time ever in Banff. After all, we were in mountain biking heaven. When we got to Snowtips Bactrax, the bike rental store (which is one of the best in town, by the way), the gentlemen there were really great at helping us find the right bikes for our height and guided us to choose a trail. As the gentleman was telling us about a trail that was scenic and would make for a nice and peaceful ride, I told him I wanted something more physical. Now mind you, I had never done mountain biking before, but thought “I’m pretty athletic, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal!” and I didn’t want it to be a pleasant ride anyway, I wanted to exercice while trying something new. Well, it wasn’t the best idea I had. While my husband had the time of his life, I carried my bike for a couple hours because it was way too hard for me. I really recommend Snowtips Bactrax for bike rentals though, just don’t make the same mistake I made. If you’ve never done mountain biking, stick to the easy and scenic rides! Again, the store carries an amazing range of great quality bikes and provides helmet, padlocks and great service.
Check out their website for more information.
11. Takakkaw Falls, one of the highest falls in Canada.
12. And The Natural Bridge
13. Visit Emerald Lake and marvel at the clear waters that don’t change whether the sun shines brightly or not.
14. Try hiking up Mount Whistlers in Jasper and take in the most breathtaking view you’ll ever see.
15. Hike up the Plain Of Six Glaciers in Lake Louise…
16. …And stop by the Tea House, for a drink or snack.