Review my Banff Itinerary
We are taking a 7-day trip to Banff from Winnipeg in the 2nd week of Aug which is also a long weekend. Heres some infor about us -
- travelling with a 4yo and my parents which are in mid-60s
- 1st trip to the Rockies and we are looking for a relaxing trip with all the sightseeings and stuff
- Not much into hiking
- It’ll be me and my wife driving, but mostly me
Day 1 (Sat, Aug 5th) – Start from Winnipeg at 8:30-9 am. Reach Brooks whenever but I am guessing it will be around 9-10pm with all the stops and everything.
Day 2 – Start from Brooks at 9 am. Check in to the AirBnB acco in Calgary. Drop luggage and go to Heritage Park. Return from Heritage Park and if time permits, explore mall or buy some ready to eat stuff to save $$ on eating out.
Day 3 – this is Monday which is a holiday. Start at 9 am and go to Banff, park the car at free parking lots in Banff downtown. Do Banff Gondola, Banff cruise with the shuttles. Then Morainne Lake and Lake Louise visits. If time and energy permits, do Hector Lake lookout.
Day 4 – this is going to be a long day, so start at 6 am and go to Columbia Icefields and do skywalk. I have decided not to do glacier bus ride (reasons mentioned below). Then go to Athabasca falls and while returning do as many lookout points as time permits.
Day 5 – go to Johnston canyon trail. Don’t think we will be able to do the whole trail, but whatever we could. Then just go see all the points like waterfowl lakes, peyto lake, bow lake. Then towards the evening go to upper hot springs and relax in the pool.
Day 6 – explore Calgary, chinook mall, etc and plan on returning to brooks at around 9-10pm.
Day 7 – start at 9 am and return to Winnipeg.
Brooks hotel and Calgary AirBnB has been booked. I am yet to book tickets for the activities - gondola, cruise, skywalk, heritage park.
1) Which lookout points are must-do, which ones can be skipped – Herbert Lake, Hector Lake Lookout, Bow Lake Lookout, Peyto Lake Lookout, Waterfowl Lakes, Mistaya Canyon, Weeping Wall, Cirrus Mountain, Bridal Veil Falls, Tangle Falls Lookout, Quartzite Boulder Field, Sunwapta Falls, Kerkeslin Goat Lick, Athabasca Falls
2) How is the traffic situation on the drive between Calgary to Columbia Icefields. Can we rely on the times shown on Google maps plus some buffer OR is there lot of traffic?
3) How are the shuttle and wait times for Banff Gondola and Banff cruise. Is day 3 realistic as its also a holiday?
4) Is there parking available near Banff lake cruise (lake minnewanka scenic drive) or you *have* to take the shuttle from Banff downtown? in my plan, i am taking the shuttle but can drive there if someone tells me that i can park near the cruise itself.
5) Any other tips?
Considered but skipped (for now)
- glacier ride - don’t think we will enjoy that much and it looks expensive for the price. Also this is a busy day, so we would rather see athabasca falls.
- Fort Calgary (still thinking to do on day 6)
- Drumheller Dino visit (my son would love this, but thinking maybe some other time in future).