Banff

Banff Travel Blog

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May 26
Hotel: Fairmont Banff Springs
Today the plan was to pick up our rental car and explore the area around Banff. We had arranged a one-way rental from Avis to drop off in Calgary the following Saturday. That ended up being pretty pricy; a one-way rental that was 1 day too short to be counted as a weekly; also picking up from a neighborhood Avis station. Nome of the coupons/AWD I tried really brought the price down any! There was also the issue of parking; the Fairmonts in Banff and Lake Louise charge ~$30-$35 per night for parking! Luckily I had read on Flyertalk just before leaving that there were places to park nearby for free.
In Banff you can park along the road leading away from the hotel. In Lake Louise there is a public parking lot a few minutes walk away from the hotel.

We caught the bus into town; route 4 runs from the Fairmont hotel every 20 minutes or so and is $2. We had to do laundry today as well, we had found a coin-op laundry right next to Avis. The book had also mentioned Melissa's as the place to go for breakfast; this was also nearby (well, everything is close in Banff). So in 10 minutes we had already dropped off our laundry, gotten car keys and were sitting down for breakfast. I had the huge Swiss apple pancake; delicious covered in cinnamon with tart apple chunks inside. Our waitress also gave us lots of good info about things to do and see in the area. After breakfast we headed to the Banff Tourist Information center to purchase our Park pass.
Banff is in the Banff National Park and you officially need the park pass, we bought ours for 4 days and it is good at any Canadian national park. For a few $$ more we could have bought one valid for a whole year! We went to the Safeway to pickup some sandwiches and snacks for lunch, then drove out to the Banff gondola. The gondola station is up past the Rimrock hotel and near the Hotsprings. For $28 the gondola whips you up over 2000 ft to the top of Sulphur mountain, with gorgeous views all around. You can also hike up but we noticed the trail was still covered in deep snow in some places. The top gondola station is situated on a ridge with sharp dropoffs on either side. There is a trail and walkway across to another mountain peak; we decided not to go over there after seeing the tourbus-load of people heading back to get on the gondola; we managed to get in ahead of them line for the ride back down.
Gondola, Banff, Alberta


After the gondola, we drove over to Lake Minnewanka and Johnson Lake. Along the lakes we came across a herd of bighorn sheep just grazing along the side of the road. I guess they're alot more used to people here. At Johnson Lake we had a picnic lunch then spent an hour or so on an easy walk around the lake. Nothing spectacular, but peaceful and quiet. After here we headed to the Hoodoos on Tunnel Mountain road. Hoodoos are formed from uneven erosion; they often look like fairy castles or mushrooms (Cappadocia in Turkey is an example). The ones here were pretty small in comparison though. We came around to Surprise Corner, which offers a stunning view across the valley to the Banff Springs hotel. We were back just in time to pick up our laundry; then headed to dinner at the Bison Restaurant.

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Gondola, Banff, Alberta
Gondola, Banff, Alberta
Moose And Squirrel!! Banff, Alberta
Moose And Squirrel!! Banff, Alberta
Lake Minnewanka, near Banff
Lake Minnewanka, near Banff
Hoodoos near Banff
Hoodoos near Banff
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Bagpiper, Fairmont Banff Springs,…
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
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The grande dame of Banff
The Fairmont Banff Springs is huge grey stone chateau-style building. The Fairmont was one of the original hotels built by the railroad to attract tou… read entire review
Banff
photo by: jeffy