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How to Spend 4 Days in Banff, Alberta

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How to Spend 4 Days in Banff, Alberta

My friends and I did a road trip from Vancouver to Banff earlier this month, and we had an absolutely amazing time spending 4 days in Banff.

This trip was my first time leaving Ontario, and it was so cool to see other parts of Canada!

We spent around a day and a half in Vancouver and 4 days in Banff.

A lot of hours were spent traveling and driving, but at least we had the boys driving the entire time 😉

We visited at the end of May and got to enjoy the spring weather, which was mostly cool weather.

Here’s how we spent an epic 4 days in Jasper and Banff National Parks, Alberta during the spring!


Road trip itinerary: 4 days in Banff

We squeezed in a lot of sights and activities during our British Columbia to Alberta road trip.

It was a bit rushed, but we wanted to pack enough sights as possible during our short trip!

Here’s a look at our Banff and Jasper road trip itinerary, which we did in 4 days!

Day 1

  • Village of Jasper
  • Athabasca Falls
  • Columbia Icefield
  • Lake Louise

Day 2

  • Bow Summit

Day 3

  • Cave & Basin
  • Johnston Canyon
  • Banff Gondola

Day 4

  • Lake Louise
  • Moraine Lake

Day 1: Jasper, Athabasca Falls, Columbia Icefield, & Lake Louise

After spending 48 hours in Vancouver, we stayed overnight in Blue River, British Columbia.

Our first day in Alberta was dedicated to exploring sights in both Jasper and Banff National Parks.

RELATED POST:
The Ultimate 6 Day Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip

We visited the village of Jasper, Athabasca Falls, Columbia Icefield, and Lake Louise.

Village of Jasper

In the morning, we took the short drive over to the village of Jasper for a little exploring and breakfast.

It was really cute, and I wish we had more time to explore the village!

We then headed over to Athabasca Falls.

Coffee in Jasper, Alberta
Photo by Jerry D.

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls was a nice area to walk around.

There were so many tourists here – I guess that’s what happens when you visit Banff during the busy spring and summer seasons!

You can do river rafting here as well, which is definitely a unique way to experience Athabasca Valley!

LOCATION: Jasper National Park, Jasper, AB | Website

Athabasca Falls, Banff, Alberta
Athabasca Falls, Banff, Alberta

Jerry and Henry hopped over the fence to take photos by the waterfall, thus ruining all the other tourists’ photos.

We thought it was hilarious (although I’m sure we annoyed many people trying to get nice photos).

Athabasca Falls, Banff, Alberta

Afterwards, we went to the lake area at the falls.

The photos below are nothing compared to how the scenery looked like in real life.

It was really beautiful here.

Athabasca Falls, Banff, Alberta
Athabasca Falls, Banff, Alberta
Athabasca Falls, Banff, Alberta

Columbia Icefield

We wanted to go on the Glacier Skywalk, but it was closed by the time we decided to finally purchase tickets.

The next time I visit Banff, I definitely want to check out the Glacier Skywalk!

Instead, we visited the Columbia Icefield glaciers.

The Icefield was a little difficult to hike up, especially because I twisted my ankle earlier that day.

Nevertheless, the scenery was beautiful and the hike was fun.

If you’d rather go with a guide, you can do a full day tour with roundtrip travel from Banff to Columbia Icefield, which also includes the Glacier Skywalk!

RELATED POST:
How to Spend 24 Hours in Calgary

LOCATION: Jasper National Park, Jasper, AB | Website

Columbia Icefield in Banff, Alberta
Columbia Icefield in Banff, Alberta
Columbia Icefield in Banff, Alberta
Columbia Icefield in Banff, Alberta

Lake Louise

We stayed at the Lake Louise Inn that night.

We stopped by Lake Louise, and although it was gloomy outside, it was still a gorgeous sight.

The Fairmont Lake Louise was right by the lake, so we ate there for dinner.

The food was pretty good, especially considering it was a hotel restaurant!

LOCATION: Lake Louise, AB | Website

Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta
Hotel Restaurant in Fairmont Lake Louise, Alberta
Dinner at the Fairmont Lake Louise.
Fireplace in Lake Louise, Alberta
Our cozy fireplace at the Lake Louise Inn.

Day 2: Bow Summit

We also ate at the Fairmont the next day for lunch before heading out for the rest of our adventure.

It was more of a chill and relaxed day, so the only thing we had on our plan was visiting Bow Summit.

Hot chocolate cocktails at Fairmont Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta
These hot chocolate cocktails were delicious.
Burger at Fairmont Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta

Bow Summit

We hiked up the Bow Summit to get a view of Peyto Lake, but it began snowing pretty hard within minutes of us arriving at the top.

Once the snow and fog hit, we could barely see anything.

So yep, it snows in Banff even in May.

We ended up leaving soon after, but it was fun while it lasted!

LOCATION: Hwy 93 North, Improvement District No. 9, AB

Banff, Alberta
Bow Summit, Banff, Alberta
Bow Summit, Banff, Alberta
Bow Summit, Banff, Alberta
Bow Summit, Banff, Alberta

Old Tyme Candy Shoppe

We visited the Old Tyme Candy Shoppe earlier in the day after visiting the Fairmont for lunch.

It’s a cute little candy shop located in Lake Louise, with all kinds of candy, snacks, and even ice cream.

We picked up a package of Bean Boozled jelly beans to play with in the evening.

RELATED POST:
A Winter Guide to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta

Trust me, you never want to taste the barf flavoured jelly bean.

But it’s still a fun game to play with your friends!

LOCATION: 5c Samson mall, Lake Louise, AB | Website

Bean Boozled jelly beans

Day 3: Cave & Basin, Johnston Canyon, & Banff Gondola

Our third day in Banff was dedicated to exploring Cave & Basin, hiking Johnston Canyon, and going up the Banff Gondola.

Town of Banff

We spent the morning exploring the town of Banff, and it was really cute.

The mountain views from town were absolutely incredible!

We had a quick breakfast at McDonald’s before heading out for a day of wandering around Banff.

LOCATION: Banff, AB | Website

Town of Banff, Alberta

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

We went to the Cave and Basin Historic Site, not really knowing what to expect (as Henry had added it to the itinerary).

There were some historical artifacts and spaces as well as a small hiking trail.

While we did have fun wandering around, this can definitely be skipped if you’re more interested in seeing the beautiful scenery in Banff.

LOCATION: 311 Cave Ave, Banff, AB | Website

Cave and Basin Historical Site, Banff, Alberta
Jerry beat me badly in a game of historical checkers.
Cave and Basin Historical Site, Banff, Alberta
Cave and Basin Historical Site, Banff, Alberta
The water in this cave smelled like rotten eggs, but it was at least pretty.
Cave and Basin Historical Site, Banff, Alberta
Every body of water in this area was a different shade of green or blue – it was really cool.
Cave and Basin Historical Site, Banff, Alberta

Johnston Canyon

We went to Johnston Canyon afterwards.

The hike one-way was about an hour long, and it was rainy and wet.

I personally think it looks better in photos than it did in real life.

RELATED POST:
The Ultimate 6 Day Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip

We still had fun exploring though!

LOCATION: Banff National Park, Banff, AB | Website

Johnston Canyon in Banff, Alberta
Johnston Canyon in Banff, Alberta
Johnston Canyon, Banff, Alberta
Photo by Jerry D.
Johnston Canyon, Banff, Alberta
Here’s the final waterfall at Johnston Canyon! Photo by Jerry D.
Johnston Canyon, Banff, Alberta
Photo by Henry Z.

Banff Gondola

Our last spot of the day was the Banff Gondola, which we took up to Sulphur Mountain.

We got there around 7 PM and were worried we wouldn’t make it for the returning gondola at 8:30 PM.

It would’ve been like the horror movie Frozen (not the happy kids movie).

Fortunately, we did make it back!

LOCATION: 100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB | Website

Banff Gondola in Alberta
Banff Gondola to Sulfur Mountain, Alberta
Banff Gondola to Sulfur Mountain, Alberta
Banff Gondola, Alberta
Banff Gondola, Alberta
Banff Gondola to Sulfur Mountain, Alberta
Banff Gondola, Alberta

Day 4: Lake Louise & Moraine Lake

Our last day in Banff was more like a half day, as we had to drive back to Calgary for our flight the next day.

We stopped by Lake Louise to drop off Irene (who was meeting her family), then headed off to Moraine Lake before leaving for Calgary.

Lake Louise

We revisited Lake Louise and enjoyed the sunny view we weren’t able to see a few days before.

It was packed with other tourists, but it was still lovely!

The water was so clear and blue – nothing like the waters here in Ontario.

Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta
Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta

Moraine Lake

We visited Moraine Lake as a last minute thing.

It was definitely one of the coolest places we visited during our 4 day Banff road trip.

We hiked up using the dangerous method of climbing up rocks, not knowing there was a makeshift “staircase” on the other side of the hill.

It was still well worth it though!

RELATED POST:
How to Spend 24 Hours in Calgary

LOCATION: Banff National Park, Banff, AB | Website

Moraine Lake, Banff, Alberta
Moraine Lake, Banff, Alberta
Photo by Henry Z.
Moraine Lake, Banff, Alberta
Photo by Henry Z.
Chipmunk at Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta
We befriended a chipmunk eating a chip.

Staying overnight in Calgary

We stayed the night in Calgary and flew home the next morning.

The Calgary International Airport is the closest one to Banff, just an hour and a half away by car.

If you have some time to spend in Calgary, I’ve got a blog post all about how to spend 24 hours in Calgary!


Driving along the Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic highways in the world, which is why Henry wanted to drive along it from British Columbia to Alberta.

We stopped along the highway many times because the view was so astonishing.

Here’s a bunch of nice photos of the highway from the entire trip.

Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta
Driving along Icefields Parkway in Banff, Alberta

Banff flights & accommodations

Looking to book your flights and accommodations for Banff?

I love booking all of my flights and hotels on Expedia and collecting points towards free rewards.

I use Airbnb when I’m traveling on a budget, and I have a separate blog post all about how to find the best Airbnbs.


So that’s how we spent 4 days in Banff and Jasper – you can watch my Banff vlog to see more of our trip!

It was such an epic road trip, and I’d definitely love to do a Banff and Jasper trip again someday – hopefully in more than 4 days.

If you’re looking for tips for your next road trip, I’ve got a blog post all about road trip tips!

I’m extremely glad to be back home in Toronto, but at the same time, I can’t wait to travel to Hong Kong next week for the first time.

Have you been to Jasper and Banff National Parks during the spring? How would you spend 4 days doing an Alberta rockies road trip? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

P.S. if you liked this post, you might like this post on the British Columbia portion of our Vancouver to Banff road trip, or any of my other posts on traveling in Alberta.

Be sure to keep up with me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

Planning a visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada? Here's your guide on how to do the ultimate Banff road trip in 4 days!

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