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Summer Day Trip from Calgary

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Birmingham, United...
posts: 9
reviews: 60
Summer Day Trip from Calgary

We have a week in Calgary booked for the summer, staying with friends who have moved out there and been living there a few years now. Mainly planning to see things around Calgary itself but hoping for a day trip to Banff National Park. We're hoping when we do that we can travel by car. What can we fit into the day?

Having done an initial browse on trip advisor it seems to me we will want to head for Lake Louise.

As we are the active kind I thought that possibly would be good to hike to Lake Agnes if weather is nice.

There again, are their gift shops in Banff that are worth stopping at?

Are there any other view points that are good places to stop?

All I'm really asking is what you would you recommend squeezing into a day trip from Calgary?

Thanks!!

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,255
reviews: 71
1. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

Hi Basilio: Welcome to the forum! If you click on the "itineraries" question under Top Questions for Banff (top right of your screen), you'll be taken to a page on itineraries. As you scroll down, you'll see that the first one on the list is for a 1-day trip out of Calgary. This contains the distilled version of what everyone has suggested over time.

Lethbridge, Canada
posts: 68
reviews: 14
2. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

Oddly enough, for one-day itineraries out of Calgary the suggestions say, "Bypass Banff townsite and carry on to the village of Lake Louise." I think Banff has a charm all of its own and deserves a visit, rather than skipping on to Lake Louise. Lake Louise area is beautiful, but I like Banff.

Are there gift shops at Banff that are worth visiting? Well, that depends on what you are looking for. There are many gift shops in Banff, some with cheap nick-nacks, and there overpriced and cumbersome goods at the Banff Springs and Rimrock Resort. But there is certainly a lot there.

If you leave early in the morning, you could stop in at Banff and then go on to Lake Louise and back in the same day. It'd be a long day, but it could be worth it for you.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,255
reviews: 71
3. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

Just to clarify, the 1-day itinerary to which I directed the OP includes both Lake Louise and the town of Banff (with main streeting/shopping as desired). Here it is, in its entirety:

Drive west on the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1). Bypass Banff townsite and carry on to the village of Lake Louise. Visit Moraine Lake. Walk to the top of the pile of rocks at the north end of the lake. Have lunch. Walk Moraine Lake's lakeshore path. Drive to the lake of Lake Louise (5 km or 3 miles from the village of Lake Louise). Walk Lake Louise's lakeshore path or, better still, do the hike to Fairview Lookout. The trail departs to the left of the boathouse from which they rent canoes. It's an uphill walk of 1.6 km (1 mile) in one direction. Drive to Banff townsite. Drive all the way to the end of Banff's main street, which is Banff Avenue. Cross the Bow River, turn left, and drive to the back of the National Parks Administration Building. Walk to the gardens in the front of the building and take the classic postcard photo looking across Banff townsite towards Mount Norquay and Cascade Mountain. Have a look at the Banff National Park Museum on the north side of the bridge if desired or if weather is inclement. Stroll through the town and have a cup of coffee. Drive back to Calgary.

edmonton
posts: 2,058
reviews: 43
4. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

i'd head towards lake louise area first and work your way back.

one small nice hike is up johnson's canyon which is between banff and lake louise.

day light hours are long so even if you are back in banff by around 4-5 - that would give you enought time to enjoy the town, have some dinner and then take the easy drive back to calgary. for an easy stroll in banff, walk along the bow river to the fall (under the banff springs hotel). if you feel like just sitting and enjoying the view, you could go to the hot springs for a soak - and if you like massages, their spa there has always given a great body massage and then soak in the hot springs.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
posts: 2,872
reviews: 24
5. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

^^^ I agree with going to LL/Moraine Lake first and then working your way back to Banff, this makes the most sense, and I think you will end up spending more time in Banff.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,255
reviews: 71
6. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

One of the (many) nice things about Banff in the summer is that all the stores are open until at least 9 pm. So your shopping in Banff can be done late in the day, after you've done all your sight-seeing and had something to eat.

Birmingham, United...
posts: 9
reviews: 60
7. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

Thanks very much for all your advice and 'banff' for highlighting the 1 day itinerary already listed. It seems the general consensus would be to stop off in Banff on the way back.

Thank you MarkOnline for info re shops... I guess we will see what time we have and have a browse! I never know quite what I am looking for when on holiday.

Looking forward to opportunity to walk a bit and certainly your posts have helpfully pointed out lakeside paths, fairview lookout and johnson's canyon.

My friend and I are going to print out your very helpful replies to make sure we get the most out of out trip. Thanks very much :)

Edmonton, Canada
posts: 78
reviews: 39
8. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

All these are great suggestions. But...

If you can arrange a SECOND day trip out of Calgary, then I would recommend a day trip to Drumheller and the badlands.

http://www.traveldrumheller.com/

Since you seem very excited to see Banff and the Rockies, however, I would make that your first priority, and only do Drumheller if you can get out of Calgary for an additional day trip.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,255
reviews: 71
9. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

You're very welcome, Basilio -- enjoy your day in beautiful Banff National Park!

Lethbridge, Canada
posts: 68
reviews: 14
10. Re: Summer Day Trip from Calgary

"Just to clarify, the 1-day itinerary to which I directed the OP includes both Lake Louise and the town of Banff (with main streeting/shopping as desired)."

So it does. That might teach me to post when I'm sick with the flu!

(It probably won't).