Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is probably one of the most expensive National Parks to visit. Don’t let that stop you from fulfilling your bucket list item.
There are many options depending on your preference of travel and comfort. My husband and I love the outdoors, so we opted to camp in one of the beautiful camp grounds. We stayed at Two Jack Main Campground. There is also a Hostel option. Of course the town Center of Banff has fine hotels to choose from, but remember, we are doing this on a budget. You are not there to sleep all day in a resort. You are there to be with nature.
(Two Jack Main Campground)
(Whistler Campground, Jasper)
(Part of the welcoming committee)
What to bring:
Park Canada offers equipped camping on certain campgrounds. You can rent the rest of the items you need in town from a reputable outfitter. Between equipped camping sites and renting camping items, you don’t have to bring any gear at all.
The town center was just 15 minutes from our campground, yet we felt worlds away. There are dining options downtown if you must, or go to Safeway or Nester Market for groceries. Don’t buy a lot, remember, it is bear and wolf country. The Banff Farmer’s Market is every Wednesday in Downtown Banff, get the bacon and elk sausage – it’s the best I’ve ever had!
(Rise and shine it’s breakfast time!)
(Banff Farmer’s Market)
Fly into Calgary International. Rent a small car. You don’t need an SUV. Stay in Calgary for the night. Visit Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and purchase Bear Spray and the Park Entrance fee.
What to buy in Calgary:
Find a store that sells everything. Grab basic can goods and a cheap pillow you can leave behind after your trip. Two key essentials are water and a lock for the bear box. Prices of food increases in Banff. The drive from Calgary to Banff is about an hour and a half.
Decide the fee to fit your needs. There is a day pass, and an annual Discovery pass. There is more information on Banff park fees and camping fees here.
Once you get to the campground:
Check in is at 2:00 p.m. You have plenty of time to explore and get the lay of the land before you go to your campground. You must get up early everyday and get to your destination first thing in the morning. Parking is a premium at Lake Louise and other hot spots. Arrive there around 8:00 a.m. The GPS is probably better than other directional gear so you get satellite service. Signage is well place and you cannot get lost. There is one major highway.
(Peyto Lake, a glacier fed lake in Banff)
(Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise)
(Chocolate and coffee at Bear’s Den Smokehouse & Patio)
(The other side of Lake Louise)
Enjoy your adventure. Here are some websites to get you started. Don’t let the tour buses bother you. It is a good option for tourist thats are not too mobile.
Helpful Websites to get you started:
-Written By Vi Phillips
Vi is an incredible photographer who is just as passionate about photography as she is about UCF Knights and staying in shape! She is selling her beautiful collection of Canada photos, and in the process of creating a website. Comment below for any questions or comments you have for Vi.