The summer of 2019 was not what I had expected-I had a lot on my plate personally and I had a hard time finding ways to be happy. I was struggling mentally and emotionally and I knew that I needed to get away if just for my peace of mind. And then, Banff/Jasper happened.
Banff has been on my bucket list for quite some time-and now was the perfect time to check it off my list! Since this had to be a last minute trip for us, I had only booked airfare in advance. (Most hotel bookings were non-refundable at this time of year and we wouldn’t take the chance of losing all that money if we couldn’t go) I had done very little research beforehand, however I had read that the drive from Banff to Jasper was amazing, and that Jasper National Park was worth the trip. https://www.jasper.travel All I can say is WOW!
This part of Alberta, Canada is beyond breathtaking-from the turquoise glacier water in the rivers and lakes to the majestic mountains towering above you-it is truly the pinnacle of nature’s beauty. The weather was ideal, the people were friendly and the hikes were something special.
Of note were Maligne Canyon and the Valley of Five Lakes hikes. Both are in Jasper National Park.http://www.hikejasper.com/Hiking-Valley-of-the-Five-Lakes-in-Jasper.html
In Jasper, we stayed at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge https://www.fairmont.com/jasper/ This is an older property with cabins throughout, situated on beautiful Lake Beauvert. The main “lodge” houses indoor and outdoor dining options with spectacular views of the lake. Jasper is one the national parks designated as a “Dark Sky Observatory” . The stars were plentiful and bright while we were there.
Banff is a wonderful small city with a busy main street filled with touristy shops and restaurants (There’s even a Lululemon!). However, get off the main street and there are beautiful walking paths along the Bow River , hikes up Tunnel Mountain and a wonderful Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity .https://www.banffcentre.ca There are many hotels to consider although the standout is the Banff Springs Hotel. A turn back in time that is updated and luxurious with outstanding views of the mountains.
For me, this trip was just what I needed-a complete change of scenery and a way to re-set my brain. Nature has a way of doing that for me and it completely worked. I know that I want to spend more time up there in the future-but maybe next time I’ll wait til the crowds go home!