It’s week 3 of my Honeymoon series and it’s finally time to start talking about our itinerary! Instead of doing them all in one giant post (it would be WAY too long), I’ve decided to post day by day. Before we get started, you gotta check out this video my hubby and I made of our trip. You can find our Banff Travel Diary here. I promise, it’s worth a watch!
So technically, Johnston Canyon was our second day in Banff, but our first full day there. The first day of our honeymoon was spent traveling. We flew from Detroit to Toronto, and then Toronto to Calgary. We picked up our rental car (who we so fondly named Tom Cruze) and drove an hour west to Canmore. Once we checked into our hotel, we went to the grocery store and got settled in. Then we went for dinner and ate the best wings OF LIFE. You can read more about them on my Banff/Canmore post here!
Now on to the good stuff!
For our first full day of our honeymoon we decided to wake up early and hike in Johnston Canyon. This is an easy hike, with a walkway, so we knew it would be a good starter hike! (You gotta give yourself time to adjust to the elevation change!) Because it is an easier hike, it’s perfect for people of all ages and fitness levels. This means this hike can get super busy, especially if you are visiting in the summer, like we did. So the earlier you wake up, the less crowds you will have to deal with. Please Note… The Bow Valley Parkway doesn’t open until 8:00 am. So if you get there at 7:30 thinking you’re smart because you get to beat the crowd, you won’t be able to go very far. (THIS WAS US) Luckily, during our half hour wait we saw some wildlife and were able to take some pretty pictures. It was also lucky for us that we were there on a very cold morning (Like 7 degrees Celsius) and when we did make it to the trail head, it wasn’t very busy.
We had almost the entire trail to ourselves, and it was so beautiful! We stopped more times than I can count to take pictures and just admire the scenery. Even with all the stops, this hike only took us about two and a half hours (going to the Upper falls and back).
On our hike back down, there were HUNDREDS of people. No joke. It was so packed and not nearly as peaceful as our hike up. We were so happy we went early in the morning!
After our hike, we stopped at a few view points along The Bow Valley Parkway, made our way back to the hotel, and got ourselves ready for our evening.
We spent our evening in downtown Banff. First up, our ride on the Banff Gondola. Okay, I’m going to be super honest here, this was a HUGE letdown for us… but only because we happened to be there during a Sleet/Snowstorm in the middle of June. We were so disappointed. We paid quite a bit of money for those tickets, and since we had signed up for a certain time, we couldn’t change it. We couldn’t see anything when we got to the top, and because of all the construction they were doing, there wasn’t a place where we could wait out the storm. However, don’t let this stop you from taking the gondola ride. It is a super unique experience, and people RAVE about the views at the top. Some day, when we go back, we will buy tickets again.. and hope for better results next time! (Dying over the picture of Trev at the top… that was the best I could get! hahaha)
Next up was a visit to Surprise Corner. Oh my goodness you guys. This is honestly one of the prettiest things I have EVER seen. Surprise Corner boasts the best views of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. It is so stunning.
After stopping at Surprise Corner, we headed up to the Mount Norquay Lookout. By this point, the snow had stopped and the sunshine was starting to peak through the clouds. (Great timing, Mother Nature.) We spent almost an hour at this lookout because the view is so STUNNING. You can see all of Banff, and the Vermilion Lakes from here. We even saw a train storming through the town. It was so awesome. I could have sat up there for days and never gotten tired of the view.
After that, we went spent some time in downtown Banff. My favorite purchase? Mittens… that I wore every single day. Turns out the Canadian Rockies can be super cold, even in June! We had dinner reservations that night at The Grizzly House thanks to my awesome aunt! (Thanks again Aunt Amy… best wedding shower gift EVER!) You can read a little bit more about this super unique restaurant on my post from last week.
We finished our day watching the sunset at Vermilion Lakes. Holy cow. It was breathtaking. That streak you see across the mountain? That was sunlight. These pictures haven’t been edited at all!
It was a perfect first full day in Banff. We did a little bit of everything, and it was the perfect way to get ourselves acclimated to the area. Next Travel Tuesday, I’ll be talking about our trip up the Icefields Parkway to go on a glacier adventure! It was one of my absolute favorite days on our trip. You won’t want to miss it!
Have a fabulous Tuesday everyone!