Banff National Park • Canada

I've been waiting to cross Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains off of my bucket list for quite a few years, and it did not disappoint. No photos can do the electric blue lakes justice. The beauty of this place is indescribable.

Never in a million years did I ever think one day while hanging out with my friends along a river that a moose would decide to take a surprise dip about 30 feet away from us. The locals told us that they had never been that close to a moose before, even after living in the area their whole lives. It was such a special moment for all of us. You can check out our moose friend in the video below.

Now, I have to go back when there's snow on the ground for a different perspective of Banff. 

Thank you so much to Shelby, Kaylee, Evan, Zoe, and Rosalie for your hospitality and for showing me and Lindsay the best time. 

Day 1: Coffee pit stop in Calgary at Caffe Beano, followed by an hour and a half drive to Banff National Park. 

Our first taste of Banff. Shelby and Kaylee brought Lindsay and I to an easy hiking spot on the outskirts of the park where we could chase some waterfalls. Lindsay got a little too daring and sliced her foot open one hour into our trip... classic. 

The downtown area of Banff, where our motel, the Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets, was located is super quaint and walkable to the town of Banff. Here's a quick little list of my favorite places we stopped for a bite: 

BeaverTails - top notch dessert (I got Nutella on mine)
Melissa's - a steakhouse with incredible brunch, whose interior resembles an old log cabin
COWS Banff - ice cream that was worth the wait out the door

In the afternoon we made sure to take a quick dip in a nearby lake despite it being absolutely freezing! The water is runoff from glaciers, so you can imagine how cold it is. I'm also a huge baby when it comes to the cold, what can I say? 

Our final stop of the day to watch the sunset, followed by a little bit of wandering around Downtown Banff at night. 

Day 2: The electric blue lakes! My bucket list destination came full circle. We got up before the sun rose that morning so we could beat the touristy crowds. Banff looked like a scene out of Twin Peaks at this hour. 

The first lake we visited was Moraine Lake. I truly cannot accurately describe how beautiful this place is. I had wanted to see it for so long, and it lived up to every expectation I had built up. We took an easy, short hiking trail up the rock pile to a great viewing point and let it all soak in. Next time, I need to be sure to give myself enough time to go canoeing. If there’s any advice I can give, it’s to get to the more touristy lakes as early as you can before it gets crowded.

Next up was Lake Louise, which was much more crowded, but just as beautiful. Highly recommend getting up as early as you can to see these two lakes, so you can have them to yourself for a moment! 

I am so grateful to Shelby and Kaylee for being the absolute best, most passionate tour guides! When people come to visit New York City, the last thing I want to do is bring people to touristy Times Square. S & K happily drove us all over this area around Downtown Banff, showing us as many places as we could squeeze into two days. My favorite way to see any destination is through the eyes of a local, and I'm so thankful for the experience we had thanks to the two of these ladies!