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Canada (Banff, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake)

Photo By: Sonia Azad
Curious about Canada? It's such a large and diverse country. I've visited Vancouver, BC in summertime, Montreal, Québec in winter, and most recently Calgary, Alberta and Banff near the start of meteorological fall (which I think is the perfect time to visit, especially if you love the outdoors!). 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
For now, I'll focus on Banff since that's the place most people ask me about. If you have questions about other parts of Canada, feel free to comment below! 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
Banff is a resort town in the province of Alberta. (For Americans, you can think of Alberta as a really large state in the western part of the country, north of Idaho and Montana.) Banff National Park is located in Alberta, and is both beautiful and increasingly popular among visitors from all over the world! 

My flight path: 
Dallas >> Denver >> Calgary 

Flying into Calgary was easy. The airport is simple to navigate, the city is lovely and there are plenty of things to do before or after your excursion to Banff.

My Top 5 Calgary Recommendations: 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
1. Check out TELUS Spark Science Center for interesting exhibits and immersive experiences! (I got to see the Barbie exhibition here!) 

2. Walk around Bridgeland, into East Village and through Inglewood. You'll discover plenty of great cafés, parks, waterfront restaurants and cute shops to explore along the way!

3. Take a yoga class at either Yoga Santosha or Junction 9!

4. Grab a cocktail at the The Dorian rooftop (27th floor) for incredible views of the city! 

5. Enjoy dinner at this Vietnamese Speakeasy in Calgary's Chinatown. Paper Lantern is very well tucked away and too-easily-missed! Find it and enjoy 'what the kitchen is having.' ;) 

Onward to the wild! 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
There is so much to see and do-- and, of course, there's no way to get to it all in one trip. Here are some of my recommendations for must-sees and dos: 

Best Hikes: 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
-Picklejar Lakes (Kananaskis Country) 
*Pro Tip: Seasonal trail! Check Here  before visiting! 

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-Ha Ling Peak (Canmore) 

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-Bow Glacier Falls (Crazy Diverse Terrain!) 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
-Lake Agnes Trail (Moderately challenging and totally worth it! From the shore of Lake Louise, the Lake Agnes trail is a climb through dense sub-alpine forest. Then, you hit switchbacks, a break in the trees and a clear view down to the pale turquoise waters of Lake Louise!)

Photo By: Sonia Azad
Note: This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, running and visitors, so you'll likely encounter plenty of other people while exploring.  

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-Consolation Lakes Trail (Moraine Lake) 

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Additional Trails & Info about Moraine Lake
Great Resource for how to get to Moraine Lake

Best Views/ Walks: 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
-Lake Minnewanka (If you have enough time, you can rent kayaks, enjoy a picnic, bike and boat rides here! This is a busier spot especially in really nice weather. (Prepare to see some deer, too!) 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
-Peyto Lake Park and walk. (Don't stop at the main lookout/ viewpoint where everyone else takes pictures and turns around. Follow the skinnier dirt trails-- which are totally accessible-- and you'll be amazed by what you find!) 

Photo By: Sonia Azad

Photo By: Sonia Azad
-Barrier Lake: (The water of this glacial fed lake is TOO COLD for this Texan-- but there were plenty of people canoeing, picnicking and kayaking! You can rent equipment onsite or bring your own. ) 

Some of my favorites to stop or stay: 

-Peaks Hotel (Downtown Banff) 
Perfectly located and super comfortable, this is the place to stay! Staff was friendly and accommodating. Highly recommend! 

You can't go wrong here. Accessible trails for hiking, paths for walking and the lake for kayaking! Everything from rooms to restaurants are amazing, the views are stunning, the gym and yoga space are nice and they run shuttles between here and Moraine Lake! Just be sure to book your spots in advance.

This is just a nice post-hike spot to refuel! 

Photo By: Sonia Azad
-Lake Agnes Tea House (Lake Louise) 
You might have to stand in line, but it's a nice reward on your way back down to the lake shore. 
Photo By: Sonia Azad

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