Visiting Banff has long been a dream of mine. Believe it or not, when I lived in Dubai I used to get tired of the weather, the constant sun and clear skies were just too perfect. (Looking back from a rainy NYC, I should have been more appreciative of the weather …oh well!!) Sitting at home or in my office in Dubai, I used to google places with completely different climates -destinations like rainforests, tropical jungles or mountains. I still remember sitting in the office one afternoon, daydreaming about traveling and googling places, when I saw an image of Banff for the first time. The second I saw the picture of the bluest lake with a mountain seemingly emerging right from the shore, I was hooked.
It took me more than 5 years, but this year I finally made it to Banff. I’m happy to say it exceeded even my wildest expectations. Banff is filled with glacial lakes, picturesque mountains, forests, streams and some of the most scenic stretches of road you’ll ever see.
I planned my trip to Banff as part of Socality Camp so most of the trip was planned for me. I arrived in Calgary and from there it took about 90 minutes to make it Banff. We stayed at the Hotel Rimrock, a luxury chateau right at the base of the Banff Gondola. Hotel Rimrock is a great place to stay since you can explore Banff town, jump on the gondola or use it as a home-base for exploring the rest of the park. While it’s a bit away from the heart the town, Hotel Rimrock has the advantage of being perched up high so the views are just incredible.
Travel Tip: I visited Banff in May and it was still quite cold, especially at night. There was also quite a bit of rain so packing properly will make the trip a lot more fun. If you want some ideas, check out my Banff Packing Guide.
One of the things to be aware of before you plan a trip to Banff is the time of year you visit. Because Banff is so far north during the summer you get a lot of daylight hours. It’s great as a photographer since the early morning and evening golden hours are super long but it also means you might want to take a midday nap!! If you visit during the winter be aware that some of the roads close seasonally because of the risk of avalanches.
While in Banff, I took advantage of the long daylight hours with trips to all the top lakes (Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Emerald Lake), hikes on some of the scenic routes and even took a couple hours to go canoeing. On the second day there, I actually took the Banff Gondola up just before sunset and was so happy I did -the views from the top are unreal!! At night, the town of Banff is super cute and there are a number of places to grab a bite and see some of the local music scene.
Travel Tip: There are two Fairmont hotels in Banff that sometimes get confused. The Fairmont Banff Springs is near the town while the Fairmont Lake Louise is the more picturesque hotel perched right at the edge of Lake Louise. Hotel Rimrock where we stayed is a more budget friendly option that is more likethe Fairmont Banff Springs.
Thanks to Owen Belanger, Nick Balera, Joshua Phillips and Oliver Covrett for providing some of these featured shots. If you’re looking for a photographer in Banff definitely reach out to Oliver who lives not far from Banff!!