Say what? Where is that? Just outside of Calgary in the province of Alberta within the beautiful and wildly gigantic Canada.
When I first came across images of the astounding turquoise waters of Banff National Park, I almost (I think I actually did) chalked it up to a combo of the following: great filters, awesome photographers and the Google image highlight reel syndrome. The last mention is something I made up as a blanket term for all the images we see when we Google search a destination andddd the reality of what we will actually see when we arrive (sometimes there is a bit of an unexpected discrepancy :) – but that’s part of the fun in exploring!). but image after image, real people and real posts, had me calling a friend and booking a five day trip. And… oh my goodness, oh my goodness.
Banff National Park embodies so much of what I love. I adore the outdoors, adventure travel, simplicity, natural states of being and natural wonders that literally leave you without words. I don’t use ‘without words’ lightly either. I’ve been all over world and while I have been lucky enough to see and experience so many absolutely incredible cities, landscapes and people, I have been left speechless only a few handfuls of time. Banff left me speechless.
And yes, it really is that blue!!! When the sun strikes the water, take a seat to watch earth do its magic.
We flew into Calgary where we rented a car for our excursions. Calgary is about an hour and a half from Banff Village and quite a beautiful drive at that! Blast tunes and enjoy.
Take some time to explore the cute little village. We watched live music at St James's Gate Irish Pub while enjoying some adult beverages. Nothing fancy just a relaxed atmosphere, which was perfect for us!
Grab breakfast and coffee at Whitebark Café. So dang cute. (http://whitebarkcafe.com)
We set out to explore two ‘must-see’ lakes and to finally demystify the google image dilemma. Welp, no dilemma here, Lake Loiuse and Lake Moraine are absolutely two of the most gloriously pristine lakes that I feel like I couldn’t even dream up in my sleep. So, we found them to be as advertised :)
Go kayaking on Lake Louise! And Lake Moraine, again so silly pretty. Grab a blanket and warm drink and hike the boulders surrounding the lake. Realize how incredible it is that you are there at that moment.
Explore Johnston Falls / Canyon – hike to the two waterfalls! A bit further up (about another hour up hiking) leads you to these natural pools called “Ink Pots” and a really beautiful river and open land. It is like you’re in the middle of this gorgeous landscape with no one else around when you reach the top.
We left early to explore the Columbia Icefield. While on the glacier, we got stuck in a blizzard. So…seeing the actual glacier beyond down at our two feet was less feasible :)
We spent the rest of the day exploring random roads and stopping to soak in the landscapes and beauty that surrounded us. I recommend doing this whole heartedly.
If you have time, definitely go to Jasper National Park too. I have heard amazing things as well but our timing didn’t allow for it unfortunately. Next time!
And lastly, why exactly is the water so turquoise? Because this is glacial water, when the melted water is carried down from the surrounding mountains, it contains a fine rock sediment (some call is rock flour) that is formed from the grind between the glacier and the underlying rocks. This rock flour becomes suspended in the water and reflects light producing that stunning color I told myself wasn’t real!