Although it was only for a day - visiting Banff again was nothing but spectacular. Once you leave the mountains for awhile, revisiting them again can make you feel ALL the feels. When I was living in Alberta, visiting the mountains was a very regular thing people would do a few times per year. So to be able to come back after a couple years to say hello to these majestic, sky-high formations - left me in a state of being forever grateful.
This post is not sponsored in any way. All opinions and images are the property of This is me, Merisa Lee! unless otherwise cited.
Liam and I have always been the adventurous brother/sister duo - it runs in our blood. From random day trips to spontaneous late night car rides, Liam was always my go to partner-in-crime for exciting adventures. So naturally, when I asked him two days beforehand if we could go to Banff overnight - he promptly said yes.
Where we stayed
When we knew our "Epic Sibling Banff Bonanza" was a go, I quickly hopped online to book us an overnight accommodation. I was lucky enough to spot Basecamp Lodge in Canmore (which is only approximately 20 minutes away from Banff).
Upon arrival, the front-desk receptionist gave us a warm welcome and after some chatting, she upgraded us to a better suite than the one we had originally booked. So we were very appreciative of that gesture!
Basecamp Lodge was one of the nicest places I've stayed at to this day - with it's rustic and modern decor, tidy rooms and friendly staff, it's a place I'd be thrilled to re-visit again.
The town of Banff
After waking up super late and missing the free breakfast at our accommodation (I know, I know. I should be ASHAMED to have missed a free breakfast), we packed our things and headed off to Banff.
Being only a few minutes away from Canmore, it was a quick ride over to the city centre.
The absolute best way to experience the town of Banff is to park your car and just walk. There's so many shops, restaurants, coffee nooks - and even a mall - to be explored. If you're not keen on hiking or other related outdoor activities, there will be enough in town to keep ya busy for the day!
Banff is just one of those places that looks like a constant postcard, 24/7. The mountains grazing the skyline pretty much make every angle of this town looks #gorgeous.
The Banff Gondola experience
After we'd explored the town on foot for awhile, Liam and I were ready for our next destination: the Banff Gondola.
The gondola is about a 10 minute drive from the centre of town, so we were there in no time. We were greeted at the base of the gondola with a literal Christmas movie set (or, so it looked like). I mean, two long-horned sheep pulling a set of gondola-sled-cart-things? So much cute!
Once inside the base, you can purchase your ticket at the front desk and head to the gondola loading station, or sit and enjoy a cuppa' cheer at Starbucks - which is conveniently located inside.
The cost of one adult ticket to ride the gondola is currently CA$64 - however if you're an Alberta Resident, the cost drops to CA$52.
Okay, okay - now to the actual "riding up the gondola" part!
If I can give ya one tip when riding up the gondola for the first time, it would be this: make sure to sit facing the view! And if you're scared of heights - don't worry - because the ride is only about 8 minutes long!
Once at the top, you'll walk through the terminal building onto the observation deck where you can walk around and soak in the views.
Hiking the Sulphur Mountain boardwalk is truly the most incredible experience! Every step leads you to amazing views of the Bow Valley mountain ranges, and eventually ends at Sanson’s Peak.
The kilometer-long boardwalk offers visitors several vantage points to be able to explore many different sights. If you bring your camera - I can guarantee it’ll be FULL by the time you’re finished hiking Sulphur Mountain!
It always excites me to glance up at the mountains, but there's something totally unique about being level with its peaks. Being able to see that far out at all that wilderness is truly remarkable.
More to do at the Banff Gondola
Done hiking, but not done exploring? Head back indoors to the interpretive center where there are interactive exhibits, a theater and the 360 observation deck! (You could take your pic with this cute fella!)
You can also stop in for a bite to eat at one of the two restaurants, or at the coffee bar.
To find out more about the things you can do at the Banff Gondola, check em' out here.
After descending back down the mountain on the gondola, we headed back home. I gotta admit; I was a little sad watching the mountains become smaller, and smaller again. But to know that they’ll always be there, anytime I want to see them, makes me feel hopeful for my next visit.
I’ve been to Banff a million times it seems - but there was something special about getting to come here with my lil' brother. (DEFS better than a previous junior high camping trip I did back in '09 riding on a sticky bus for 4 hours.)
If you haven't visited Banff before and are planning your amazing trip there, check out the Banff & Lake Louise Tourism site for some great recommendations and ideas!
Until my next adventure,