No powder - no problem. Summers in Banff are an outdoors dream and Issy is here to tell us why.
And with that in mind (and as an all-season resident here in Banff for just over a year now), I’ve come up with a little list of things to convince you that Banff is a must-visit location for working holidaymakers come snow or sunshine.
I have no words for the sunrises and sunsets in Banff and the surrounding area. Just imagine a clear sky, a sunset/sunrise, crystal clear water and mountains. You’ll get yourself the most picturesque view where the mountains reflect off of the lake whilst you get pink, blue and purple colours in the sky. It really is something else.
My favourite sunrise location has to be Lake Moraine, which is probably a lot of people’s screensaver on their laptops and is an absolute must in the summer season in Banff (as they close the access road to Lake Moraine during the winter months). About a one-hour drive outside of Banff, tourists flock to watch the immense sunrise at Lake Moraine. The sun reflects the 10 peaks like a mirror in the emerald blue water.
Unfortunately as of last year, no public vehicles can access the road anymore. But fear not, there are many companies in Banff that run sunrise buses. But make sure you book early as this can’t be missed. I know you're googling it right now and I promise it is 1000000 x better in person.
There are so many activities in Banff that are only doable during the summer months. This includes canoeing Lake Louise, cruises on Lake Minnewanka and all the lake days. If I do somehow convince you to move to Banff for the summer season you'll want to get yourself a local ambassador pass and a local bus pass. The ambassador pass is a one-time free pass to enjoy a lot of the activities in Banff and the bus pass is free for locals so getting out and about in the summer months = sorted. Now for how to make the most of them…
A bucket list activity when visiting Banff for sure. Canoeing in crystal clear glacier water surrounded by the Fairmont Chateau and endless epic mountain views, there’s a reason they’re able to charge a whopping $145 CAD for an hour canoeing on Lake Louise (thank god for the ambassador pass that gets it for free one time!)
Not pronounced as you think it might sound (min-a-wonk-a) is a beautiful glacial lake situated around twenty minutes outside of Banff. During the summer they run 60-90 minute lake cruises that drift along the river so you can ogle at the beautiful mountains around you whilst listening to a tour guide tell you all the interesting facts about the Lake.
The bus pass allows you to use all the local routes in and around Banff, some of these only run through the summer season, whilst others do run all year round. The best one to use in the summer though is Route Number 6. This takes you to not one, but four ponds and lakes. Some of my favourite days in Banff were lake days with my friends where we'd just catch the bus, sunbathe, paddle board and swim in the lakes all day until sunset.
"Some of my favourite days in Banff were lake days with my friends where we'd just catch the bus, sunbathe, paddle board and swim in the lakes all day until sunset."
Whether you consider yourself a super fit fanatic or someone who prefers an easygoing workout, there are endless amounts of cycle and hiking trails. My favourite hike was Cascade Mountain, and it is not for the faint-hearted, but it was absolutely worth the 20km round trip. Trailing through the trees to start, resting in the middle at Cascade Amphitheatre and then rock scrambling to the peak, you get 360 views of Banff town right around to Lake Minnewanka.
After you’ve accomplished your mammoth hike, you can sit and have a patio drink on Banff Avenue and stare at the Cascade Mountain thinking “I did that!!!”
There are so many hikes from easy to moderate to hard all around Banff, so there really is something for all abilities. I’d recommend downloading the app “All Trails” which gives you the most popular hikes in an area, the distances and the difficulty (with honest reviews too so check these).
If hiking isn’t your thing, there are also some unreal cycling routes around Banff. The most popular one is The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course loop. This hotel and its grounds are renowned for its panoramic beauty, so soak up the mountains on two wheels and pitstop for a chill sesh by Bow River along the way. The course is also known to be a popular wildlife spot, so if you’re really lucky in the summer you might see elks, deer or even a bear!
Banff Avenue (the main strip of Banff that has most of the shops and restaurants) is closed off to cars during the summer months, usually from May until around October time. The main reason for this is so that the bars and restaurants can open up their outdoor patios/terraces and pedestrians can walk on all of Banff Avenue without the worry of cars (as it does get super crowded). The best thing about this is the patio drinks and eats. It’s a hard day to beat when you’re eating a burger, enjoying a pint with friends surrounded by 360 views of the mountains.
I have experienced both the summer and the winter in Banff and I must say, what makes Banff such a special place is that you can find amazing outdoor activities to do all year round. So, after just a handful of reasons why Banff summer is just as good as the winter, maybe I’ve convinced you to stay all year round instead of just the winter season. If it’s a yes, I’ll catch you at an outdoor terrace on Banff Avenue looking smug that this gets to be my life right now.
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