Banff National Park is well known as one of the most beautiful areas in the Rocky Mountains and all of Canada. Home to iconic spots like Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon, and Moraine Lake, there is enough in this outdoor mecca to keep you occupied for weeks on end.
While staying in Banff, you will have an array of accommodation options at your fingertips from camping to 5-star hotels. My recommendation is that you opt for lodging that allows you to immerse yourself in the outdoors so that you can truly appreciate the beauty all around you. Enter: The Parkway Cabin Collection.
The Parkway Cabin Collection is comprised of three distinctive lodges with a deep-rooted history in the Canadian Rockies dating back almost 100 years. These cabins are cozy, charming, and the only accommodation available on the Bow Valley Parkway.
What is The Bow Valley Parkway?
The Bow Valley Parkway AKA Highway 1A is a jaw-dropping road that runs parallel to the major highway connecting Banff and Lake Louise. This scenic 48-kilometre drive provides an excellent alternative to Highway 1 and gives you the opportunity to slow down, take in the beauty of the area, and have incredible adventures along the way.
Along this stretch of roadway, you will find monumental mountains, tremendous waterfalls, and abundant wildlife at every bend. During the summer months, keep an eye out for cyclist that frequent the shoulders. It is beautiful, there is far less traffic, and the speed limit is only 60km/h. In the winter, there are several cross-country ski trails that wind in and out of the woods, spanning the entire length of the parkway.
Why Stay With The Parkway Cabin Collection?
There are three incredibly unique lodging options along the Bow Valley Parkway. Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows, Castle Mountain Chalets, and Baker Creek Mountain Resort. Each of these cozy cabins is situated right in the forest offering wood-burning fireplaces, private porches, stunning mountain views, and the opportunity to reconnect with nature. They all cater to pets, families, couples, or a group of friends looking to spend some time together outdoors!
A stay at one of these boutique cabins presents a step back in time and the promise of a more personal, rejuvenating getaway. With unlimited adventure on your doorstep, serene beauty all around you, and ample fresh mountain air, The Parkway Cabin Collection is a must for your next trip to Banff National Park.
The Stunning Properties:
Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows
Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows is the closest hotel to the town of Banff, located at the base of the Johnston Canyon hiking trail. The first of these adorable cabins were built in the 1920s and they have kept their historic appeal over the years.
Open from mid-May to October, they offer 42 heritage bungalow/cabin accommodations in a variety of sizes and layouts. With assets like wood-burning fireplaces, full kitchens, private porches, and a whole lot of charm, these cabins are a fun and unique place to stay.
On-site, there is a great cafe, a bistro open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a snack shack at the Johnston Canyon trailhead. Between the rooms, the amenities, and the outdoor activities in the area, staying at the Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows is sure to be a highlight of your trip!
Castle Mountain Chalets
Castle Mountain Chalets is located about halfway down the Bow Valley Parkway at Castle Junction. It’s in an extremely convenient spot with quick access to the parkway, Highway 1, and several hiking, biking, and cross country ski trails.
Open year-round, these cabins boast wood-burning fireplaces, huge windows, and spacious floor plans. Not to mention incredible views of Castle Mountain and numerous hiking trails right at your doorstep. The deluxe one-bedroom chalet won our hearts immediately with its lofted ceilings, multiple skylights, and massive jetted tub. We were able to cook meals in the fully stocked kitchen and enjoy them beside the spectacular stone fireplace. It was heavenly.
In the evenings, we would head over to the communal fire pit to roast marshmallows and gaze up at the clear, starry sky. Castle Mountain Chalets is one of our new favourite hotels and we can’t wait for you to try it out for yourself!
Baker Creek Mountain Resort
Baker Creek Mountain Resort is the closest of the three to Lake Louise and one of our go-to spots for a romantic mountain getaway. The cozy log cabins are rustic and luxurious all at the same time with wood-burning fireplaces, comfy beds, and jacuzzi tubs.
On-site, they offer a variety of amenities in all seasons including a skating rink, outdoor fire pits, fat bike rentals, a steam room and sauna, and so much more! One of our favourite things to do at Baker Creek is to walk along the river and take in the fresh air and serene mountain views. They provide a perfect balance between allowing you to unplug & unwind and getting you outside with so many different activities.
Baker Creek Mountain Resort offers an array of rooms ranging from stand-alone cabins to suites in the lodge, perfect for every type of getaway. We are certain that you will fall in love with this wonderful place as much as we have during your stay.
Activities in The Area
One of our favourite things about the area is the abundance of things to do. The Canadian Rockies are chock-full of adventure and beauty. Here are a few of our top recommendations near the Bow Valley Parkway!
Johnston Canyon & The Ink Pots
Johnston Canyon is easily one of the most popular day hikes in Banff, but in our opinion, so worth braving the crowds for! The paved trail is fairly mild and suitable for all skill levels. Open year-round; this hike boasts stunning views of the turquoise river, a catwalk through the canyon, and multiple waterfalls along the way.
If you’re up for it, we would highly recommend continuing from The Upper Falls to The Ink Pots. The path turns to dirt and you lose about 75% of the crowd immediately. “The Ink Pots” are several bubbling pools of green-coloured mineral springs located in a stunning mountain meadow. It’s a great place to have lunch and enjoy some peace and quiet.
Silverton Falls hike
EASY: 1.8km & 106m elevation
Located at the base of Castle Mountain, this hidden gem is well worth the 1.8km round trip hike. The path begins at the Rockbound Lake Trailhead, only a 5 minute walk from Castle Mountain Chalets. It is reasonably flat for the first half with a few switchbacks near the end. The trail offers beautiful views of the valley and the forest before bringing you to the stunning double-tiered waterfall. If you’re up for a longer hike, the main trail will take you all the way up to Rockbound Lake.
Morant’s Curve is a famous photo spot in between Baker Creek Mountain Resort and Lake Louise along the Bow Valley Parkway. There is a small parking lot on one side of the highway, and on the other, a stunning lookout over the mountains, river, and a pristinely placed railroad. Approximately every half an hour, you can catch a colourful train making its way around Morant’s curve and through the trees.
Cross country SKIING
Cross country skiing is an amazing way to explore the Bow Valley Parkway and several different areas around Banff. The ski trails that wind along the 1A Highway are stunning and easily accessible from The Parkway Cabin Collection lodges. A few other options include Cascade Valley Trail near Lake Minnewanka, The Great Divide Trail near Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake Road.
Banff National Park is world-renowned for its massive peaks, turquoise blue lakes, and remarkable glaciers. Hiking is one of our preferred ways to explore the mountains, get some exercise, and connect with nature. You can find everything from easy paved pathways to intense multi-day climbs. We would encourage you to get out there and try it, even if you haven’t done much hiking in the past. Trust us, the scenery will be well worth your effort.
Skating is one of our go-to winter activities and fun for the whole family. There are numerous places to go skating within the area and they all boast phenomenal views! On top of the charming outdoor rink at Baker Creek Mountain Resort; you can visit The Fairmont Banff Springs, Two Jack Lake, Lake Louise, Lake Minnewanka, and countless other frozen lakes scattered throughout Banff National Park! Why not bring some camping chairs and a thermos of hot cocoa and spend the day enjoying?
Lake Louise is easily one of the most visited lakes in The Canadian Rockies. The typical tourist activities include renting a canoe, admiring the Famous Fairmont Chateau Hotel, and snapping selfies. There are several excellent hikes around the lake leading up to spectacular viewpoints and even a tea house. My recommendation would be Big Beehive Trail for a birds eye view of the lake. During the winter months, the staff maintains a large rink for skating.
Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in all of Canada, and for good reason! The turquoise water and stunning mountain backdrop make this a perfect place to hang out for the day. Relax with a book, take a swim, or set out on one of the several hikes in the area. There’s a canoe dock that offers rentals for anyone who’d like to paddle out and explore the lake. This is an awesome way to get some peace and quiet, but I’ll warn you now, they are not cheap!
NOTE: Moraine Lake is not accessible by vehicle in the winter but is track set for cross country skiing.
The Icefield’s Parkway
The Icefields Parkway is highly regarded as one of the most scenic drives in all of the Canadian Rockies. Also known as Highway 93, this stretch of road spans 233 km from the town of Lake Louise all the way up to Jasper. With plenty of hikes, waterfalls, turquoise lakes, and beautiful glaciers, you could easily spend a few extra days exploring this incredible area and all that it has to offer.