The Canadian Rockies are known for a few things. Gorgeous blue lakes, stunning mountain peaks, and thousands of hiking trails, but there’s a lot more to do in Banff besides just hike… up the mountains… to the blue lakes. Last fall I took a trip up to Canada where we spent a week in Banff. Here you can read more about our trip to Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and how we got there.
As a travel agent a lot of people come in all the time not knowing where to travel. They’ve done a lot of our US National Parks and don’t know where to go from there and when I suggest the Canadian Rockies, the response I get most is… “we’re not really the outdoorsy type.” Well good news… you don’t have to be. Here are 8 things to do in the Canadian Rockies for the non-hiker.
1. Canoe on Lake Louise
Ok, so this isn’t the least strenuous activity on the list but it sure is one of my favorites. During our 45-minute canoe ride we rowed to the furthest part of the lake and on our way pack, a piece of ice from the glacier above came crashing down. Like what!? A real life avalanche?!!! One of my number one bucketlist actives for Banff National Park and it got even better than I could imagine!
2. Hot Springs
There are a ton of options for hot springs throughout the Rockies. Some of the most popular are right in town at the Banff Upper Hot Springs right near the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. But locals told us to steer clear, there are better springs not too far away. We didn’t get to take the drive, but Radium Hot Springs is apparently well worth the hour and 45-minute drive south.
Between Banff Ave and bear St. there are hundreds of local shops to support. You can find anything from art galleries, souvenir shops, sports stores, and casual shopping. Some of my favorite stores we stopped in were Branches Marketplace, Rocky Mountain Flannel Company and the Rocky Mountain Soap Company. We even stopped into Banff Doghouse to bring home some treats for our furry friends.
4. Glacier Skywalk
I’m a pretty big scaredy cat when it comes to heights but this glass walkway in the middle of the Icefields Parkway was well worth concurring my fears. Suck it up and get out there! You end up right in the middle of a canyon and it’s only of the best places to see some wildlife. Plus, you get to hear a lot of good history on the drive out there.
Ok we did do it but there are dozens of places to take a helicopter tour of the amazing Rockies. I don’t usually like to leave a place without doing some of my top bucketlist experiences but I also am glad I have someone to bring me back. Seeing the Rockies from above is apparently breathtaking.
Like any 5 star hotel, the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise both have amazing Spas that would relax anyone needing a little get away from reality. Manicures, pedicures and full body massages. There is so much to choose from at both locations.
The food options in Banff are out of this world. It was like we were eating in New York City restaurants. My two favorites, hands down, were Block Kitchen + Bar and the Grizzly House. Your definitely need a reservation at the Grizzly House, and be prepared to wait at Block but both are worth the wait!
8. Moraine Lake Lookout
They say it’s a hike but really, it’s a pretty simple walk. If you can walk on uneven pavement or cobblestone, this .25 mile “hike” will be cake for you and the views will knock your socks off. A lot of the times the best views are from above but sometimes straight on is just a beautiful.