Banff National Park & Lake Louise in a wheelchair

Banff and Lake Louise | A Paradise for Nature Lovers

 

Canada has always been one of my dream destinations. In 2017 Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary and granted free admission to the National Parks. This lucky coincidence made me think of planning a fantastic journey that I will surely remember forever!

We took off to New York and spent four weeks traveling from East to West. The trip started in NYC and ended in Vancouver. Our travel route was the following:

 

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

 

I start with the highlight of this journey:
The road-trip through the National Parks of Banff, Yoho, and Jasper was just 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 on your way through 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

 

Wheelchair-accessible Banff National Park – The Basics

Calgary International Airport (YYC) is the closest airport to Banff (144 km/89 miles). We flew Air Canada, leaving from Montreal. Once arrived, we rented a car through and our road trip began. My recommendation is to stay at least three days as there is so much to see! Getting around by car clearly is the most comfortable way to explore Banff National Park as a wheelchair user. Note that you need to have a Parks Canada Discovery Pass 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

My travel tip for you: Hotels in Banff are very expensive. It is much cheaper to stay in Canmore, a charming 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 the major natural attractions by car. In general, the viewpoints are wheelchair-friendly, and most have handicapped parking lots as well as accessible restrooms.

 

List of attractions with great wheelchair accessibility:

 

  • Banff Gondola (entirely accessible & discount for accompanying person)
  • Vermillion Lakes Drive (accessible viewpoints)
  • Fenland Trail near Vermillion Lakes (easy, flat 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 in Banff NP ©

 

Tunnel Mountain viewpoint in a wheelchair ©

Tunnel Mountain viewpoint in a wheelchair ©

 

Lake Minnewanka ©

Lake Minnewanka ©

 

Two Jack Lake ©

Two Jack Lake ©

 

Frozen Lake Louise in May ©

Frozen Lake Louise in May ©

 

Lake Louise in a wheelchair ©

Lake Louise in a wheelchair ©

 

Accessible Saskatchewan River Crossing viewpoint ©

Accessible 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 enormous amounts of snow on the road.

 

Snow and ice on the road to Bow Lake in May 2017 ©

Snow and ice on the road to Bow Lake in May 2017 ©

 

Ice-covered Bow Lake in May 2017 ©

Ice-covered Bow Lake in May 2017 ©

 

Next Destination

After some marvelous 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. Continue reading about wheelchair accessible 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 in Banff National Park! You can also follow Little Miss Turtle on Facebook.

 

Banff National Park

8.3

General Accessibility

9.0/10

Accessibility of sights

9.0/10

Wheelchair-friendly restrooms

9.0/10

Wheelchair-accessible trails

6.0/10