Little Miss Turtle | Banff NP in a wheelchair

Banff National Park & Lake Louise in a wheelchair

Banff and Lake Louise | A Paradise for Nature Lovers

 

Canada has always been one of my top dream destinations. In 2017 Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary and grants free admission to the National Parks. This lucky coincidence made me think of planning a huge journey that I will remember forever! On April 19th 2017 we took off to New York and would spent the next four weeks travelling from East to West. From New York City we went all the way to Vancouver. Our travel route was the following:

New York City  – Niagara Falls  – Montreal – Quebec City – Calgary – Canmore – Banff NP – Lake Louise – Jasper NP – Edmonton – Vancouver

 

I’d like to start with the highlight of this whole journey:
The road-trip through the National Parks of Banff, Yoho and Jasper! They simply are breathtaking. Wild Canadian nature as far as the eye can see! If you’re lucky you’ll see Grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions, wapitis, elks and of course the snow-covered Rocky Mountains.

 

Road-trip through Banff, Yolo and Jasper NP

The tour : Calgary – Canmore – Banff – Lake Louise – Lake Emerald/Field – Jasper – Edmonton

 

Banff National Park – The Basics

Calgary International Airport is closest to Banff (144 km/89 miles). We went there with Air Canada, departing from Montreal. I rented a car from AVIS Car Rentals and our road trip began. I recommend you to stay at least 3 days as there is so much to see! Getting around by car is an easy, tranquil and comfortable way to explore the scenery as a wheelchair user. Please note that you need to have a National Park Discovery Pass in order to access the parks. You can order one on the official website (the regular price is about 10 CAD per person/day).

 

Banff and Tunnel Mountain seen from Sulphur Mountain (Sanson's Peak)

Banff and Tunnel Mountain seen from Sulphur Mountain (Sanson’s Peak)

 

Travel tip for you

My travel tip for you: Hotels in Banff are very expensive. It is much cheaper to stay in Canmore, a nice town nearby (26 km/16 miles). You’ll find a large choice of hotels, restaurants, grocery stores like Safeways and a very wheelchair-friendly infrastructure. From there you could also visit the Bow Valley Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country.

 

General Accessibility

You can reach almost all major natural attractions by car. In general, the viewpoints are wheelchair-friendly and most have handicapped parking lots. Here’s a list of attractions with great wheelchair accessibility:

 

  • Banff Gondola (completely accessible & discount for accompanying person)
  • Vermillion Lakes Drive (accessible viewpoints)
  • Fenland Trail near Vermillion Lakes (easy stroll)
  • Bow Falls (accessible lower viewpoint)
  • Tunnel Mountain (accessible viewpoint)
  • Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive (accessible viewpoints)
  • Two Jack Lake (accessible viewpoint)
  • Lake Louise (accessible viewpoint)
  • Saskatchewan River Crossing (accessible viewpoint)

 

Vermillion Lakes Drive in Banff NP

Vermillion Lakes Drive

 

Tunnel Mountain viewpoint

Tunnel Mountain viewpoint

 

Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka

 

Two Jack Lake

Two Jack Lake

 

Lake Louise

Lake Louise

 

Lake Louise in a wheelchair

Lake Louise in a wheelchair

 

Saskatchewan River Crossing viewpoint

Saskatchewan River Crossing viewpoint

 

In May 2017 Bow Lake was still almost completely frozen. The roads leading to Peyto Lake as well as Moraine Lake hadn’t been open yet. So unfortunately we didn’t see much. But it was quite impressive to see those huge amounts of snow on the road.

 

Snow and ice on the road to Bow Lake

Snow and ice on the road to Bow Lake

 

Ice-covered Bow Lake in May 2017

Ice-covered Bow Lake in May 2017

 

Next Destination

After some marvellous days in Banff and Lake Louise, we took a short detour to Yoho National Park to visit Lake Emerald. Our next destination was Jasper and we were so excited to drive all the way up there on the famous Icefields Parkway, one of the most beautiful highways on earth. Of course we stopped to see the magnificent Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains. Read more in the upcoming post about Jasper National Park…!

 

Please leave a comment below or send me a message if you like this post or if you want to share your own travel experience.

 

Banff National Park

Banff National Park
82.5

General Accessibility

9/10

    Accessibility of sights

    9/10

      Wheelchair-friendly restrooms

      9/10

        Wheelchair-accessible trails

        6/10

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          2 comments

          • Françoise Lenoir 18/09/2017   Reply →

            Qui , avec tes très belles photos, les aspects pratiques très judicieux n’aurait pas envie d’aller visiter ces belles contrées accessibles à tous. Même moi qui ai vécu 26 ans au Québec, je me sens toute petite car je m’aperçois que bien des sites hors du commun m’ont échappé…Mais le Canada est si vaste !
            Suivez, tous autant que vous êtes à lire son récit de voyage, les traces de Littlemissturtle: les émotions seront au rendez-vous et vous serez en osmose avec la beauté du monde…C’est cela la vie
            Merci, Mélie, pour ton partage touchant

          • Françoise Lenoir 18/09/2017   Reply →

            Un sentiment de merveilleux, de grandiose, de sérénité; voilà ce que tu nous communiques avec l’envie de suivre tes traces…!

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