We are a young couple that would like to do sight seeing in British Columbia/Alberta I am in the first planning stage. i'm looking at being in Canada for 9/10 days then flying to Vegas for the last part. I am unsure if we would be better to stick along the Vancouver coast and islands or to do half in Vancouver and half in the Banff area. I would like to do 'touristy' things so whale watching, bear tours and site seeing,however we are not hiking people. So my main question is is visiting Banff worth the visit if we are not going to hike? Thank you
I believe you can find yourself plenty to see even if you are not into hiking. The park is quite big and very scenic. As well, depending when you want to come, but be prepared that starting from around this time of year (late September) you can get snow any day. In your case I would recommend visiting places which are easily accessible by car, very scenic and or you can relax there.
1. Banff Upper Hot Springs easily accessible from Banff town on the same side as famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The pool is not so big, sometime crowded, but it is a nice place to soak your tired body in the evening.
2. Johnston Canyon, Lower Falls well, this will require some walking, but believe me it is worth it! Trail is very well maintained and you will be walking all the time in canyon, many times on a concrete walkway attached to the wall of canyon.
3. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake further up toward the border with BC especially Lake Louise is very scenic and pretty much magnet for all tourists who come to the park. Once there, you can take Lake Louise gondola to the top to get a stunning view. Especially around this time of year visibility is excellent with not so much haze.
4. Close to Lake Louise within ~50km distance is Peyto Lake where you get a gorgeous view on the lake from viewing platform from above. If you venture across provincial border to BC within the same ~50km distance you can see Spiral Tunnel right by the road on the right side and get to Takakkaw Falls in Yoho NP which are one of the tallest in western Canada.
5. Another short hike suggestion (1.5-2h round hike) which is very popular with a great view on entire valley is Tunnel Mountain hike just outside of Banff town.
These are just some of the suggestions and one of the most frequented by tourists. There is certainly more to see and do. Hope this helps, have a great trip!
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