We had the pleasure of spending a whole week camping in Banff Alberta in September this year. Having that amount of time to explore areas we had never been to on our previous trip to the Rockies was really sweet. As a result we came away with an extensive body of Banff landscape photographs. Of course, like any trip I’ve ever been on, this place only left me wanting more. I can’t wait to go back! Below are the areas we visited in and around Banff. We also spent time in Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks on this trip which I will post about soon too so stay tuned.
1) Lake Minnewanka
“For more than 100 centuries, people have hunted and camped along these shores. The Stoney people called it ‘Minn-waki’ or ‘Lake of the Spirits’. They respected and feared this lake for its resident spirits” Sitting on these quiet shores after all the crowds had left for the day, I was struck by the beauty of the place, yet also quite certain of its harsh and unforgiving qualities, commanding the tempered reverence which our ancient peoples bestowed upon it.
2) Two Jack Lake
We spent the first 4 nights in Banff camping at the Two Jack Lakeside campground. Certainly was a stunning location to start the trip! It’s a popular spot so book early!
3) Banff Resident Elk
Spotted near Two Jack Lake, Banff Alberta. September is a wonderful time of year to view the Elk in the Canadian Rockies as they are beginning the annual fall rut and are quite active. Do be cautious though and give them plenty of space as the males can be especially dangerous to humans at this time of year. This shot was taken at 200mm from the safety of the box of our truck, parked safely off the road of course!
4) Vermillion Lakes
Majestic Mount Rundle reflecting in a calm Vermillion Lakes. Located just outside of the village of Banff, this is an excellent location for wildlife viewing in addition to this spectacular view of Mount Rundle. During this shoot we saw numerous eagles, various water fowl and about a dozen Elk along the edges of the wetland.
5) Banff Hoodoos
The second leg of our time in Banff was spent camping at the Tunnel Mountain Campground which offers close proximity to the Hoodoos. This viewpoint overlooks the Bow River Valley with spectacular views of the north face of Mount Rundle. Below is a closer shot of the Hoodoos:
6) Bow Lake
Located about 30 minutes north of Banff on the Icefields Parkway is majestic Bow Lake. Do not be fooled by the warm tones captured in this image as I froze my arse in biting wind on this shoot. Dress warm! There are a couple more images from this shoot in my Bonus reel down at the bottom of the post.
7) Sunshine Meadows
We spent a day hiking Sunshine Meadows along the Continental Divide in Banff National Park. From the base of Sunshine Village, you can take a shuttle bus or the gondola to the summit where over 20km of alpine lakes and trails await. Incredible place! Check out the Sunshine Village website for details.
8) Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Tucked in the mountains and overlooking the Bow River, the historic castle-like structure is the epitome of luxury. No we did not stay there!
9) Three Sisters – Canmore
Just down the road is Banff’s modest and quaint cousin, Canmore. Less crowded and less expensive, Canmore offers stunning photographic locations too, like this fantastic spot along the Bow River looking towards the famous “Three Sisters” mountain range (Faith, Charity, Hope). We only saw a few other people during the couple hours we spent along the banks of the Bow as we waited for evening light, and they were all locals. As evening fell, the valley came alive with the echoes of the resident Elk bugling for their mates during the beginning of the fall rut. This was such a memorable and magical experience away from the maddening crowds of the more well known areas around Banff. Loved it!
10) Gap Lake – Bow Valley Trail
This sweet spot was found along the scenic Bow Valley Trail beyond Canmore before Kananaskis.
Thanks for taking a look! What are your favourite spots to shoot Banff landscape photographs? Please let me know in the comments below!
Fine Art Prints of my Banff landscape photographs are available on canvas, paper, metal and acrylic over in the store.
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