After seven days of hiking, it was time for a break. We spent Day 8 of our Canadian Rockies adventure exploring the town of Banff, the most commercially developed town in the area. Packed with tourists, it was a quite the contrast with our previous week of park wilderness. A pretty place, but perhaps not as quaint or charming as nearby Canmore which was smaller and less busy.
Of course we couldn’t go the whole day without some kind of hike, so after Banff we drove to Peyto Lake, about 45 minutes north of the town on the Icefields Parkway. It was also close to the Lake Louise campground, where we would be car-camping the rest of our trip.
The main and historic downtown stretch was really busy, with shops and restaurants teeming with visitors. There are plenty of chain stores, and prices are what you’d expect in a high-tourist area. We took advantage of a local laundromat and while we waited for our clothes to finish, wandered around town with camera in hand.
Near Peyto Lake
The friendly staff at one of the Banff visitor centres had recommended we check out Peyto Lake, located just north of Lake Louise off the Icefields Parkway. This particular stop had a great view with minimal walking effort, which suited us just fine. On the way there we pulled over several times to admire the stunning mountain landscape along the parkway.
At the lake, a short walk from the parking area lead to a lookout over the turquoise waters below. It was beautiful, especially in the shifting light and cloud cover.