What to do in Banff: day 3....


As dark turned to dawn, we eventually emerged from our lodge, only lured out of our cosy nook by our rumbling tummies. A breakfast of pancakes and real Canadian maple syrup with a steaming mug of coffee woke us from our slumber.




We needed the fuel as we had a busy day a head hiking and mountain sight seeing. As we had so much to do and so little time, we took the Gondola up to the top of Banff mountain, where bright sunshine at the bottom gave way to heavy cloud at the top.

As we stepped off the cable car, a variety of trails opened up for us to explore but for most, reaching the summit was the holy grail. A boardwalk led the way across and up, up, up to the top the top of the peak with amazing look out points in every direction.



The many peaks of the Rockies showed in all their glory, piercing up into the air like jagged stone knives. A 360 degree panorama showed an abundance of bright blue glacial lakes, rivers and meres, vast bodies of water appearing so small from the height of the mountain.

At the very top of the mountain, an old weather station remained from before the mountain became accessible to all by gondola and nicely boarded walkways. The real pioneers of the Rockies were those who conquered it without gadgets.

After a hot coffee and cake from the café, we boarded the gondola and made our way back down into the bright but crisp day, trying not to freak out about the vast amount of space and nothingness between us dangling from a string in the sky and the ground below.

After braving the cold at the top of Banff Mountain, Banff hot springs seemed awfully welcoming so we paid our $7, which seemed very reasonable, and made our way in. Luckily we had our own swimwear with us but if not we noticed they had a hiring facility too.




It was certainly a popular attraction and a far cry from the serenity of Scandinave Spa in Whistler, but as we eased ourselves into the toasty water, our aches and troubles floated away. We took in the views of the mountain and tree tops, taking a second to breathe that bit deeper. The excited chit chatter of the many other tourists around us somewhat dampened the relaxing effect but we enjoyed a dip for an hour before making way for other groups of people.

We had other things on our agenda to enjoy and so off we popped to downtown Banff to get picked up for our evening wildlife safari. As we boarded the mini bus, there was a buzz of excitement in the air as people chatted animatedly about our chances of seeing a grizzly bear. Our knowledgeable guide outpoured amazing facts about the local animal kingdom that had people in his rapture.





We were taken to popular animal corridors at dusk to give us the best chances of seeing wildlife and along the way we saw the cutest white tailed deer, horned sheep and the best sighting was enormous and majestic elk rutting and bugling, where they make a bizarre high pitched noise to attract females. I honestly can’t describe what it sounds like but it’s weird so Google it for yourself.

Alas we didn’t see a bear but we did find out a lot of facts about them – did you know they eat 80,000 calories a day before they hibernate? That is a lot of berries and what not!

We grabbed dinner in the town afterwards from one of the bewildering array of restaurants on offer. I particularly liked a Canadian bar which had one of my favourite dishes on the menu – Poutine- and a sign on the wall for me to pose with to prove I’m such a massive fan.

Full and well watered, soon the yawns started to creep in and we were ready to bunk down for the night. As we left we were warned that a pack of wolves had been spotted in the ally acting boldly and my silly over active mind imagined wolves dressed like the three muskateers unsheathing their swords with a swish of their capes.
Our ride picked us up and bade us farewell at our door, where there was just time for a bedtime mug of tea and to light the fire before climbing into bed and snuggling into the duvet. Eye lids grew heavier still until the next thing we knew it was morning.

If you want to read the earlier instalments of this trip, you can catch them hereherehere, here and here...

2 comments

  1. Hello, I am deciding on the Buffalo Mountain Lodge and the Hidden Ridge Resort, I believe they are both located in the same Tunnel Mountain area. Have you seen the Hidden Ridge and would you recommend the Buffalo as a to stay? We are a mature couple in our thirties, looking for great scenery (as a first visit here), and not too far from the town and things to do during winter. Thanks

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  2. Hi Desiree, funnily enough we did stay at Hidden Ridge Resort as well and I have a blog post about it going up soon. Both were lovely and the hot tubs with views at Hidden Ridge were really something but on balance, I would say Buffalo Mountain Lodge swung it for the other facilities it offered and cosy bar area. I also liked that they offered a free taxi service to and from town. Both are within a stones throw of each other and up the mountain so offer great scenery and ample opportunity for hikes. I really hope that helps and you have a fantastic stay - it is a beautiful place!

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