Travel Diary: Our Winter Wonderland in Banff

Feb 28, 2018

I was just itching to get back to the mountains when a trip to Banff landed (very luckily) in my lap! My sister-in-law, Lauren, was coming to visit all the way from South Africa with her newest squeeze, Jay, and they were heading out to ski for a few days in Banff. Obviously, we had to join them! So we packed up for a spontaneous-ish road-trip and spent the weekend showing them around our favourites in the magical winter wonderland!

Read: Our Travel Diary in Jasper, Just Before Winter Hit.

Roadtrippin’ to Banff:

The drive from Edmonton to Banff is ±4 hours, but in winter, prepare for some delays. If it’s winter and us driving, expect delays with our luck! (See our Missed NYC Flight Story). This past weekend there was an icy wind so the roads were quite bad — we ended up passing 3 accidents! To plan ahead, google the live traffic report to keep on track of the traffic. And have that road-trip playlist ready!

Dinner at Bear Street Tavern:

The Bear Street Tavern is always incredibly busy, and sadly, you cannot book in advance. We arrived at 7pm to a packed restaurant and had to wait 45 minutes for a sitting but they do take your number and you can head off for a pre-drink somewhere else before they seat you. I love that they offer gluten-free pizza bases and unique pizza toppings! Check out the rave reviews on Tripadvisor here.

Coffee and Breakfast at Wild Flour:

My favourite spot for breakfast and coffee in Banff is Wild Flour and we have literally been every single time we have visited the town. I always order the Breakfast Berry Crumble — Yes, it is basically dessert for breakfast. Stop judging. It is gluten-free and SO good. They also make a mean cup of coffee #CoffeeSnobApproved!

Winter in Banff

Hiking Up Tunnel Mountain:

On our first visit to Banff we did this hike on Christmas day in JEANS! Super unprepared, we pushed on and loved the view from the top, so of course, we had to take our visitors up there to see it for themselves! This time, armed with the proper winter clothes, we took to the mountains and remained VERY warm all the way up and down. One small problem though, I hadn’t realised how little tread my boots had and so I dodged a few slippery spots going up, but had to surrender to sliding down to the bottom on my bottom! Yes, go ahead, you can have a good laugh! It was actually so much fun, but I do have some interesting placed bruises as a result of my tobogganing, minus the sled. By the way, I’d still advise proper shoes! Check here for trail conditions.

Winter in Banff

Exploring Lake Louise:

If you visit the Town of Banff, you cannot miss Lake Louise! Although it is a 40 minute drive, it is totally worth it. Stop in at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise along with the droves of tourists and lose yourself in a winter wonderland! Check out the winter activity guide here. There were people ice-skating, playing ice-hockey, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing! I was dying to go on a sleigh-ride but we ran out of time while waiting on our lunch table. My favourite is the ice castle sculpture and ice bar! Just look at the photos!

If you visit the Town of Banff, you cannot miss Lake Louise! Click To Tweet

Winter in Banff

Winter in Banff

Lunch with a view of Lake Louise:

Yet another thing you cannot miss! Food with a view is probably my favourite thing in the world (after coffee, my cats and Craig). And this view is gorgeous in winter, but also in summer! We popped into the Fairmont for a bite to eat in their Lake View Lounge. You will most likely have to wait (±45 minutes) for a seating here too but they will take your number to let you know when your table is ready. We all grabbed burgers and soup, and clearly loved it (check out the action shot I got below of the boys digging in!). Do yourself a favour and order the sweet potato fries. You can thank me later!

Winter in Banff

Dinner at Grapes:

Grapes is a tiny little wine bar located inside the castle of a hotel, the Fairmont Banff Springs and is must-book-in-advance-kinda-spot! We’ve been a few times before, and because we’re cheese, meats and wine kinda people, we love going back! Order the Medley board and dig in!

Winter in Banff — We Want More!

If you’re looking for other winter activities in Banff or Lake Louise, check out the tourism website here. Next time we visit we’re planning on heading to the Banff Hot Springs and going a dogsledding adventure! If you visit and do any of these, tag us on Instagram!

Packing for our next getaway, 

Edmonton Blogger


  1. Erika

    March 1st, 2018 at 7:28 AM

    I usually dont read travel post and when I do, they just dont interest me but yours is amazing! I enjoyed every minute of it! I love the way you write and your images are awesome! The way you tell your story makes the reader hang on to every word and leaves them wanting gor more! Keep em coming and stay awesome!

  2. lcdorkin

    March 1st, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    Ah Erika, you made my DAY! Thank you for those kind words!! I am seriously so passionate about travel and writing these so it makes my job a little easier, but it’s even better when I know they’re fun to read. I’ll try my best to keep ’em coming — and keep them interesting! 😉 x

  3. Tammy

    March 1st, 2018 at 7:42 AM

    I’ve been reading a couple of travel blogs and this on is one of the coolest! Love the variety in photos it’s not all just you, it’s what you did and your view and perspective of your travel! Thanks for this insight <3

  4. lcdorkin

    March 1st, 2018 at 8:21 AM

    Ah, thank you Tammy! So appreciate the positive feedback! I really my heart into it and try make it worth the read! 🙂

  5. lau

    March 1st, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    what a well written and prepared post! I loved the pictures and the explanation, wonderful blog!


  6. DD's blog

    March 1st, 2018 at 9:07 AM

    Beautiful photos, I hope you enjoyed and have a good time … I add this place to my wish list 🙂

  7. Darcee

    March 1st, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Wow! We visited Edmonton, Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake last summer and all spots were incredible. However, after seeing your post, we must go back in the winter! The Ice castle and Bar look amazing, not to mention the hiking and beautiful views. Thank you for the guide!

  8. Shelbie (9to5hiatus)

    March 1st, 2018 at 1:13 PM

    Ahhh these pics make me so envious! It looks gorgeous up there, it’s always been on my to do list for Canada. Looks like you had a lot of fun 🙂

  9. Kelsey

    March 1st, 2018 at 2:01 PM

    This looks magical! I don’t usually think of going somewhere cold for vacation, but this place looks like it could change my mind. ????

  10. lcdorkin

    March 1st, 2018 at 2:12 PM

    See the trick is to counterbalance it with a back to back holiday in the sunshine! We’re off to Mexico in 2 days! 😉

  11. Heidi

    March 1st, 2018 at 3:50 PM

    This looks so beautiful! Looks like you had lots of fun! 🙂

  12. GiGi

    March 1st, 2018 at 6:00 PM

    OKAY… THAT MOUNTAIN is 10000% breath taking! I legit have zero words for how amazing and magical it is!!!

  13. Claire

    March 2nd, 2018 at 7:07 AM

    Gorgeous view! Thanks for sharing your exciting trip there! 🙂

  14. Erin Kay

    March 2nd, 2018 at 8:11 AM

    What an unusual and interesting place! I’d love to visit someday!

  15. Nicola

    March 2nd, 2018 at 9:08 AM

    Oh my gosh this place looks truly magical. Definitely going on my bucket list.

  16. Danika Howell

    March 4th, 2018 at 3:08 PM

    Really liked reading the post!! Really great photos and content!!

  17. lcdorkin

    March 5th, 2018 at 11:15 AM

    Thanks so much Danika! So sweet of you to say! x

  18. Brooklyn | La Ti Do

    March 6th, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    I LOOOVE Banff! Looks like you had an awesome time! My favorite time to go is Christmas. It just feels to “magical”! 😉
    <3 Brooklyn |


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