Banff and Lake Louise One Day Tour
Assuming you won’t be able to see the Park anytime in immediate future, Banff and Lake Louise One Day Tour itinerary is packed with the best attractions Banff has to offer. If travelling on days with short day light time, check the attraction hours as the itinerary is planned for days with long day light time.
Go through the primer: Guide to Banff National Park
If starting from Calgary, take highway 1 from Calgary, and go straight to Lake Louise.
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Stop 1: Lake Louise
Stop 2: Gondola
Next stop in the itinerary is Lake Louise Gondola.
Buy Ride and Dine package as you need to pay only few dollars extra for a satisfying lunch. Go up in the Gondola. Admire the views. Walk around a bit, if you want to. Come back and have lunch at the lodge. (by 12:00 pm).
Skip visiting the Gondola, and continue to Moraine Lake, if you want a more relaxed pace or if you want to do Mt Norquay Chairlift [Be here by 4.00 PM].
Stop 3: Moraine Lake
From the Gondola, take Whitehorn drive onto Lake Louise drive and turn left onto Moraine Lake Road. Once you reach the Lake, walk the Moraine Lake shore.
Scramble on the rock pile to view the wonderful scenery of Moraine Lake back dropped by the Ten Peaks.(by 1:30 pm)
Update 2016: Given the volume of tourists visiting Lake Louise area, you may not be able to do Moraine Lake in this time limit. Skip Gondola and the visit the Lake and depending on the time left (traffic conditions) after visiting the Lake, visit other attractions.
If visiting during weekends from July 1 to September 5, 2016 – Visit Moraine Lake first, then go to Lake Louise overflow parking lot to park the car and then take free shuttle to Lake Louise, available every 15 minutes until 04:00 PM. See the rest of attractions, depending on time left.
Stop 4: Bow Valley Parkway & Johnston Canyon
From Moraine Lake, head back on Moraine Lake road, then turn right onto Lake Louise drive and continue on Bow Valley Parkway till you reach Johnston Canyon. Enjoy the scenic drive on the parkway. Make quick stops at interpretive displays, but make sure you reach the Johnston Canyon by 2:45pm.
Park at the parking lot and hike the catwalks of Johnston Canyon, till lower & upper falls. Turn back at upper falls. Replenish at the Johnston Canyon resort. (by 4:45 pm). You may return back at lower falls, if you want more time at Banff.
Stop 5: Lake Minnewanka & Scenic Drive
Next activity on the Banff and Lake Louise One Day Tour itinerary is Lake Minnewanka scenic drive.
Continue east on Bow Valley Parkway stopping just enough to admire the scenic views so that you can start driving Minnewanka loop by 5:30 pm.
Enjoy the view points on the Lake Minnewanka scenic drive. Stop at Lake Minnewanka. Walk around. Admire the lake. Have dinner in the Town (by 7:30 pm).
Stop 6: Banff Town Attractions
End your day by relaxing in Banff Upper Hot Springs (open till 11:00 pm during summer).
If want of time:
If you just have 8 hours to spend (not including driving to Lake Louise & back to Calgary):
Do the trip in this order – Lake Louise, Lake Moraine, Travel to Banff Town via Bow Valley Parkway. Stop at Johnston Canyon, turn back at lower falls. Do the Lake Minnewanka Loop. Then visit Bow Falls & Surprise Corner & Hoodoos.
Another option is to skip Johnston Canyon, Lake Minnewanka & other Banff attractions and go up the Mt. Norquay Chair lift.
If you have time left you can do Lake Minnewanka Loop and rest of Banff town attractions after the chairlift.
If you are traveling in winter see Banff – Lake Louise Winter trip
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