With Banff only an hour away from Calgary, it’s pretty easy to say that Banff is my favourite getaway, whether that’s a day trip or a longer stay. For an early birthday gift, Chris and I went for a weekend trip and came up with about a million things I wanted to do.
It turns out we didn’t have the stamina I had expected because we ended up napping for about 4 hours. Nevertheless, we were still able to meet some gorgeous wolf dogs, explore the Banff Springs Hotel, and slide our way to near death at Johnston’s Canyon.
Before I even booked a hotel, I booked an interactive tour of the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. A non-profit organization, they are dedicated to providing a safe home for high and low-content wolf dogs.
Our tour allowed us to enter two enclosures. The first enclosure housed four high-content wolf dogs. Since they have more wolf-like tendencies, they were pretty much uninterested in us humans, but treat enticement is a wonderful thing. One of them even nudged my knee with her nose! Pretty much all the interaction we got from dogs with such high levels of wolf in them, especially since they weren’t familiar with us.
The second enclosure included three low-content wolf dogs. Immediately, the difference was astounding. Loki was attached to my hip the entire time I was walking through the area, and Rocky would not stop guzzling the treats out of our hands.
The tour itself was great. Our guide was obviously passionate and well-informed, and provided comprehensive explanations. We learned about Nova, who was high-content Arctic wolf, meaning his coat was pure white. Loki, true to his name, was a master escape-artist and could scale 6 foot fences.
The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary is one I highly recommend to anyone who loves dogs. The importance of this sanctuary cannot be underestimated, and they’re doing some truly wonderful things for these dogs!
The rest of our trip in Banff consisted of self-guided explorations, including a trip to Johnston’s Canyon. Like many people, I’ve seen Instagram photos of the frozen falls and sheets of ice. So, despite the fact that neither Chris nor I brought decent shoes (I’m the worst; I only had booties), we decided to head over to Johnston’s Canyon.
We didn’t get very far. The walkways were icy, and I could barely walk on level ground, let alone the steep slopes that are a natural part of any hiking trail. Chris and I sucked it up for a while until we got to a section where we realized something really important: the further away we go, the more likely we won’t be able to get back thanks to lack of appropriate footwear.
But hey, Johnston’s Canyon is still a sight to see even if we didn’t make it to the falls! We’ll be returning soon with some ice cleats instead of slick booties and dress shoes.
Of course, you can’t go to Banff without exploring the famous Banff Springs Hotel. Not only does the hotel offer a labyrinth of halls, ballrooms, and rooms for you to explore, but the view is, as always in Banff, gorgeous. I think I read somewhere that literally anywhere you point your camera in Banff, the photo is postcard-worthy. Which is true.
For dinner, Chris and I went to the Three Ravens Restaurant at the Banff Centre. Unfortunately, I didn’t get good pictures since it was dark, but Chris was able to snap a shot of our appetizer: Smoked Elk Tartare with Dehydrated Bison.
This stuff was heavenly, and surprisingly, not gamey at all. The meat was tender, and each bite was different thanks to beets, sous-vide egg, balsamic pearls, and more. If you want a romantic fine dining experience with a view of Banff on the side, Three Ravens is the place to go.
This was our first day in Banff. The second day was composed of a short trip to Lake Louise, beautiful as always, but nothing compared to the day we had before.
I’m already planning on having another night in Banff. Let me know if you have any suggestions on what we should do next time! Dog sledding? Snow shoeing? Comment below!