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5 Adventures for One Epic Day in Banff National Park

Make the most of Canada's 150th Anniversary and visit their national parks for free this year.

By: Alyssa + Hannah ODYSEA + Save to a List

Spring in the Canadian mountains is unlike any other I’ve experienced. The once bright blue glacial lakes are still frozen snow pits, and the rocky mountain peaks are partly frosted revealing every groove and cliff towering above.

Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park

Recently, I made the huge decision to move from the southernmost tip of Australia to the great white north. Despite being based in the city of Calgary, I’ve vowed to make the most of every single weekend and every bit of time off to head for the mountains and the outdoors. 

Within a week of arriving and settling in we had one weekend free for adventures. But with snow still falling and insulation yet to be set in the van for camping, we opted for a day trip to Banff National Park and crammed as much into that one day of adventure to satisfy our souls for another week.  

Banff National Park is barely an hours drive from Calgary, and with the 150th Anniversary of Canada all the National Parks are free. Yes, we are definitely making the most of that this year. 

I could go on and on about the awe-inspiring rocky mountains, abundant wildlife and scenic views but I'll keep it simple and let these photos speak for themselves. 

1. Lake Minnewanka

Just over an hours drive from Calgary and 5 kms from the town of Banff is Lake Minnewanka. In Spring it will look something like this with half of the 25km long lake frozen, and the other half a clear turquoise green reflecting against the surprisingly warm spring sun.

Lake Minnewanka by Irving Crea Photos

2. Johnston Canyon

A further half hour drive on the way to Lake Louise you’ll find Johnston Canyon. Take the easy 30 min walk winding along Johnston Creek to reach the lower falls and experience the gushing waterfall drop into a deep blue creek below. A further and steeper 30 minute walk will take you to the upper falls.

3. Lake Louise

This world-famous lake obviously can’t be missed. The last time I visited Lake Louise it was just before winter hit and the water was yet to freeze, although everything was dusted in snow. Visiting again four months later and the surroundings look the same with its snowcapped mountains, apart from the lake being a massive frozen snow pit.

Lake Louise in Spring

4. Vermillion Lakes

Drive around the Vermillion Lakes just outside of Banff and spot the deers feeding lakeside. 

By Irving Crea Photos

5. Hoodoo's Lookout

Finish they day with awe-inspiring views over the Hoodoo's just outside of the town of Banff. 

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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