One of the loveliest places we visited in Canada. The food was good, the movie theater inexpensive, and the stay way too short. We only stayed overnight, but it was a very memorable stop indeed.
Banff National Park
Our first try to visit and see Banff National Park was en-route to Calgary from Salmon Arms. On the way, we stopped at Glacier National Park of Canada, which was simply stunning. There were very few people around, lots of wildlife, and facilities set up around boardwalks. How naive we were to think this is how it was going to be in Banff as well.
Granted, we rolled into the town of Banff on July 1st, which is Canada Day – a highly popular and widely celebrated national holiday.
The town was packed to the brim. So much so that we circled the tiny town center at a crawl, only to be spit-out back at the freeway with no chance for parking. In our insanity, we decided to also drive back to Lake Louise to see if we could get to at least visit Moraine Lake. The distance from the town of Banff to Lake Louise is roughly 36 miles and usually takes about 40 minutes. It took us over an hour to drive there.
The miniature town of Lake Louise looked like it was under siege. Construction on side roads, blocked parking areas, and traffic cones everywhere. Inexperienced road workers trying to direct chaotic road traffic: pedestrians, bikers, and families with strollers; all this covered in billows of dust.
We did make it all the way to Moraine Lake, just to unsuccessfully take a loop around the hopelessly full parking lot. There was about a quarter of a parking lot coned off and sitting empty (why this was, we’ll never know).
After driving around in circles for about two hours, we finally managed to get out of the traffic nightmare, find a restaurant to take a break, and to catch our breath. We stopped in a restaurant called Craigs’ Way Station in Canmore. There was thankfully no wait, the place was relaxing, and the service was fast and the food delicious.
After coffee and a dessert, we were ready to brave the roads once more.