Our favorite dog-friendly trails in Banff

By Fred Jéquier

When heading out on a glamping adventure to somewhere like Banff in Alberta, Canada—with its trails galore, forests to explore, and lakes to navigate—many of us would relish the opportunity to share the experience with the four-legged members of our families. We've all been on vacations when, much to their indignation, we couldn't take our beloved canine pals, but by taking your dog to Banff, they'll stop hounding you to include them in your getaway plans.

Keep on reading to find out where you should stay and our favorite trails to hike in this beautiful corner of Canada!

Finding the perfect pad

Before you can set off on a hike with your dog, you first have to pick out that perfect, pet-friendly accommodation. With some wonderful options to choose from for your trip, you can grab those leashes, stock up on treats, and give your furry companion the vacation they deserve!

1. Dog house or dog palace?

This cabin with incredible mountain views will certainly give you paws for thought. It's not just pet-friendly, but it is perfect for a large family vacation, or even a group getaway. Set just outside of Calgary, Alberta, you and your dog can be hiking through Banff National Park together in under an hour.

2. A Golden opportunity

Another great location for you and your pet to relax after a busy day of exploring the forest and discovering new scents is Golden, British Columbia. Just over an hour's drive from Lake Louise, this fabulous cabin will leave even the smartest retriever thinking it's too far-fetched to be true! Glampers can kayak, and puppies can paddle while enjoying the comforts of this charming woodland cabin.

3. "Choose your own adventure" glamping

For a more rustic experience, glampers can opt for a cozy accommodation like this retro campervan, whose homebase is just south of Calgary, Alberta. Perfect for couples and hounds alike, the campervan set up by the hosts wherever guests would like, including any of the many campsites near Banff National Park. While the campervan must stay in one place, you and your canine companion most certainly don't have to and will be able to easily take advantage of the National Park's many trails together.

Pet-Friendly Trails

Now that you've found the ideal spot to stay with your four-legged friend, you can start to think about what you want to do in Banff National Park. You want to see as much as you can, while ensuring that your pet has an equally memorable time exploring the park. The perfect solution? There are plenty of different trail options available, varying in length, location, and difficulty.

1. Mistaya Canyon

This trail may be on the short side for the more seasoned explorer, but it's not to be sniffed at! Suitable for hikers of all skill levels and located about five kilometers south of Saskatchewan Crossing, the Mistaya Canyon Trail is a scenic hike. Just over a kilometer long, it features mesmerizing rock formations, rushing water, and several beautiful waterfalls.

2. Tunnel Mountain Trail

The Tunnel Mountain Trail is just under four kilometers long, starting on the edge of the town of Banff itself. There are some steep parts to walk up, but neither you nor your dog will find it too ruff, as there is time for you to catch your breath and bring a halt to any puffing and panting as the trail levels out in sections. When you get to the top, the climb will absolutely have been worth it. The views of Banff, and the surrounding mountains and forest are breathtaking!

3. Skoki Mountain Loop Trail

If you are hoping to unleash your inner hardcore trekker, this trail is the ideal choice. Nearly 40 kilometers in length, this looped trail features stunning views of Banff National Park and a lake that is perfect for enjoying on any particularly warm days. The Skoki Mountain Loop Trail is sure to be a great day out for both you and your right-hound man. Don't be surprised if any younger pups expect a helping paw to get to the finish line!

Park Rules

It's important to remember that those wagging tails lapping up their vacation time won't be the only members of the animal kingdom in the area. The National Park is home to a host of wildlife, and this means there are certain rules that dogs and their humans need to adhere to. Here are just a few important ones to remember, but glampers should also check out Alberta Animal Health Source for a more in-depth look at the rules.

1. Leashes

Dogs will need to stay on their leash while enjoying their day of hiking. With animals, such as black bears, cougars, and bison, living in the park, you'll want to make sure your pup stays close by. To give them a bit more freedom, the leash can be up to three meters long, so they can still have a sniff around.

2. Meeting the residents

If you do come across any of the local wildlife, such as elk or deer, give them a wide berth, especially during calving season. Sadly, these otherwise majestic creatures can't tell the difference between a friendly wagging tail saying "Hello!" and a wolf or coyote with less friendly intentions, so they won't be welcoming to any canine visitors.

3. Sunny days = hot cars

It's vital to remember not to leave your furry friend in the car, especially on a hot day. Besides, you wouldn't want to take your dog all that way just to leave them waiting for you while you enjoy the National Park, would you? Even if you're just popping into the shop on the way back to your accommodation, try to take your buddy along. They may enjoy having a look at a new town just as much as you.


For more information about Banff National Park, check out our in-depth travel guide, filled with information, tips, and ideas, for your glamping adventure in Alberta, Canada!

Travel Guide: Banff National Park

By Amber Woolley

Banff National Park is home to sensational mountains, vast, white glaciers, stunning alpine meadows, and an abundance of wildlife. Located in Alberta in the Rocky Mountains, this is Canada's first-ever National Park, and it's quite amazing. From a quaint peaceful town with plenty of restaurants and boutiques to an array of outdoor activities, Banff is one place that is never short on adventure. Since this breathtaking place has so much to offer, we don't want you to miss out on any opportunities, so we've created a travel guide to make your trip even more spectacular.

Good to know before you go

Getting there and around

If you are flying in, Calgary, in Alberta, is the main city and the easiest way to get to Banff National Park. Calgary International Airport (YYC) is 88 miles from the charming town of Banff, which will take you approximately 1.5 hours to reach by car. You can also get to Banff and Lake Louise by the readily-available local bus services for around $71 per person.

If you want to travel to Banff by direct train and fancy traveling in style, it is recommended you take the Rocky Mountaineer—where you can uncover this hidden world of unparalleled beauty and experience incredible views of the Canadian Rockies.

The best way to get around Banff National Park is to drive your own car or rent one from a car rental service. It is also important you pick up a park pass, which can be purchased upon entry to the park or in advance online.

For those wanting a truly relaxing getaway where they can focus solely on the incredible scenery, public transport runs throughout the park, making travel from one beautiful spot to the next completely stress-free. Roam is a regular hybrid bus service and you can find out more information here.

Useful Facts

Popular spots you don't want to miss

Every destination in Banff National Park is beautiful and it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

Upper Hot Springs

Banff Upper Hot Springs
Photo sourced from Banff and Lake Louise.

First, we'll begin with the discovery that led to the development of Banff National Park: the hot springs. These were discovered in 1883 by three railway workers looking for healing and wellness. The Upper Hot Springs are one of nine naturally occurring hot springs at Banff. You will experience a striking and scenic backdrop while unwinding in steamy, hot mineral water—sure to be a highlight of your vacation!

Bow Falls

Another popular destination that can't be missed is Bow Falls, which is within walking distance from Banff. The stunning waterfall is shallow, but wide, and is caused by the change of course in the Bow River. Enjoy the view, take a picnic, or hike along the trail by the side of the falls.

Banff Gondola

Fancy a thrill? The Banff Gondola is a must! Experience a 360-degree, bird's eye view of six scenic mountain ranges from 7,486 feet above sea level! This scenic cableway ride will provide beautiful mountain vistas in every direction and will take you up to the summit of Sulphur Mountain.

Trip savvy: Activities on a budget

Visiting Banff doesn't have to be a costly trip; being in the heart of Canada's most renowned park is sufficient enough! Banff National Park is not short of low-cost and free activities that you should definitely take advantage of.

Wildlife viewing

When you step into Banff National Park, the chances are very high that you'll catch a glimpse of a grizzly bear, a mountain goat, or one of the many amazing bird species in the area. Wildlife viewing is also a perfect and exciting activity that can be done with the whole family and is completely free.

Sometimes, it really does help to know the right spot and the right time to be there. Here are some tips to optimize your chances:

1. Choose a quiet area. You have a higher chance of spotting wildlife if there are fewer tourists. A good recommendation is Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A), which is a less-traveled road. Typically, this is where you will find wolves, black bears, deer, and sheep.

2. Search at the right time. Yes, you probably guessed, this means early mornings. Animals are more likely to be feeding at lower levels. If you are not an early riser, the next optimal time is just before dusk.

3. Be respectful and keep your distance. Getting too close to animals can threaten their survival. Seeing them in their natural environment and giving them space is an important wildlife viewing tip.

Self-guided walking tours

Historic Ski Village of Banff
Photo sourced from SKI Magazine.

Do you want to discover more about Banff? A self-guided walking tour is a fun and interesting way to learn about the town's history. Download this easy PDF, which will provide you with five tours that have been optimized for mobile viewing.

Hiking

With a 1,000 miles of trails, hiking in Banff National Park is full of adventure, has some of the world's most spectacular views, and is completely free of charge. The park is perfect for those wanting an easy stroll, as well as those who desire a more ambitious hike. Plain of Six Glaciers is a rewarding hike that should definitely make it onto your bucket list. This hike has one of the most accessible trails and offers extraordinary views of the mountains surrounding Lake Louise.

Banff National Park is also dog-friendly for those traveling with their pet. The only stipulations are that your dog must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. There are, however, some trails where dogs are not allowed so be sure to check this out beforehand.

Hot tip: Check the latest trail conditions with Parks Canada before you begin your adventure.

Upcoming Events

Events in Banff National Park and Lake Louise.
Photo sourced from Banff and Lake Louise.

There are many exciting events all year round at Banff National Park, so be sure to check the calendar before you book your vacation. The following are some examples of the types of events offered:

  • Alpenglow Festival at the Banff Gondola: March 1, 2019
  • Mindfulness and Yoga Retreat at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: April 26, 2019
  • Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival - October 26-November 3, 2019

Safety

Before you depart to one of the worlds most beautiful and wild places, it is important you are all clued up on some important safety tips.

Natural Hazards

Natural hazards can be a big part of the National Park experience, but their impact can be reduced if you are well informed and prepared. If you want to read more on how to keep safe in the outdoors, visit AdventureSmart!

Driving

If driving, you must be prepared for a variety of weather conditions, even at all times of the year. At higher elevations, it may even snow during the summer. This is why it's extremely important to drive with caution at all times. A top tip is to equip your car with the essentials in case of an emergency, such as a shovel, a flashlight, a blanket, food, and water.

Mountain safety tips

  • Never hike alone.
  • Plan your trip beforehand and take a map.
  • Pack a flashlight.
  • Take extra clothes.
  • Bring a first aid kit.
  • Ensure your cell phone is fully charged.

Animal Safety

Wildlife behavior is unpredictable, and animals can get stressed when their space is invaded by humans, especially when they are trying to protect their offspring. It is important to view and photograph the animals from a sensible distance. In general, it is recommended to stay back 100 meters from bears (unless you are inside a vehicle); 30 meters from all other large species; and 200 meters from coyote, fox, or wolf dens.

Health

  • Be sure to take out comprehensive health insurance before your trip.
  • Canada has no essential vaccinations; however, as always, there are some that are recommended by the World Health Organization, such as hepatitis A and B, rabies, meningitis, and MMR.
  • Even though Canada is an industrialized country, bug bites can still spread diseases. Try to avoid bug bites, especially when you will be spending a lot of time outside and in wooded areas. It is recommended to take an insect repellent along.

Where to Stay

If you're visiting Banff National Park, it is already clear you love the outdoors and adventure. This cozy lodge is situated right in the heart of Banff National Park and has breathtaking views of Bow Lake. The lodge is located in the ideal spot to access the famous Canadian Glaciers, waterfalls, and Rocky Mountains, as well as being only a 30-minute drive from the town of Banff.

If you are looking for an authentic ski chalet, this log cabin is the perfect spot for you. With a central location that gives you access to an array of activities, guests are never far from adventure, all while knowing they have a cozy sanctuary to relax in at the end of the day.


Want to keep exploring our glamping accommodations in Canada? Check out our complete collection here!

Guest Spotlight: Shannon Guerrero

By Amy Ahlblad

Editor's Note: We'd like to introduce you to graphic designer and travel blogger, Shannon Guerrero, who recently celebrated a birthday with her friend, Janelle, at one of Glamping Hub's coziest cabins in British Colombia. Read on to hear all about her luxury camping experience!

What are the three words you would use to describe your glamping site?

Cozy, spacious, and secluded.

What was your favorite memory from your glamping getaway?

Putting on a face mask, firing up the Jacuzzi, and relaxing in the warm water on the back porch.

How do you plan your vacations—around destinations, style, or accommodation?

It's hard for me to even choose where I want to go next, because I want to go everywhere. Usually, the decision comes down to price, and everything else falls into place after that, i.e., accommodation and itinerary.

How would you describe your glamping style? Chic and stylish or rustic and outdoorsy?

I would definitely describe my glamping style as comfortable chic. I'm not necessarily the outdoorsy type, which is why glamping is a great in-between option.

What is your biggest piece of advice for planning steps before booking a trip?

Do your research, and be flexible. I love to know all about the location I'm visiting beforehand, but I also like being able to discover things along the journey. I think it's a great idea to keep an open mind while traveling; you should have an idea of what you'd like to do, but put aside time to explore without a specific agenda.

What are your five go-to’s for your glamping stay?

A beautiful setting, location, amenities, good friends, and good food.

Where are you looking to glamp next and why?

I'm hoping to take some mini-road trips around California during the winter, but I would also love to venture off to some of the amazing other accommodations that are on Glamping Hub.


To follow Shannon and her travels, visit her website Shannon Did What? or Instagram here!

Where to Eat, Sleep, and Glamp in the Cowichan Valley of British Columbia

By Jessica Armstrong

Editor's note: This is a guest post written by Joe Schwartz.

Vancouver Island has a unique style compared to the rest of British Columbia. Maybe the separation from the busy mainland has something to do with it, or perhaps its the proximity to the ocean and the laid-back vibes that go along with that. "The Island," as it's known in British Columbia, has always been a place to escape from normalcy—a place to unwind and decompress from the daily hustle and bustle. A lot of folks who live here take this same approach with life, which is reflected in the funky, character-filled communities on the Island.

The Cowichan Valley

Guests will leave this cabin and immediately want to plan their next trip back!

Hopping over to the island's eastern shores, one will notice some distinct changes in geography and climate. While the West Coast takes the full brunt of the Pacific Ocean's storms, the east side is sheltered by the mountains. The temperatures are generally warmer and the water calmer, but the adventurous island vibe pervades on this side, too.

The Cowichan Valley is a great example of this. A broad, fertile valley guarded by forested hills, the area is more British Columbia's interior farmland than a coastal destination.A broad, fertile valley guarded by forested hills, this area is more BC Interior farmland than Coastal destination. A quick detour onto the backroads will pass by vineyards, cows grazing, and lush farmland. It's pretty easy to forget that the ocean is just a stone's throw away.

The Cowichan Valley is a place to escape from normalcy, a place to unwind and decompress from the daily hustle.

Your Dream Cabin

Guests will leave this cabin and immediately want to plan their next trip back!

Detour up to the Cowichan River—along a maze of country roads and up a steep gravel driveway—and you'll have arrived at this incredible, eco-friendly cabin on Stoltz Bluff. Fully off-the-grid and sustainably built, this property and accommodation are an inspiration, not to mention make for a luxurious place to stay.

As the name (and the steepness of the driveway) might suggest, the retreat is built on the top of Stoltz Bluff, overlooking the Cowichan River Provincial Park, and offers incredible views up and down the main valley, which allows for memorable sunrises and sunsets right from the porch. Seriously, the view alone makes it worth the trip.


No need to bring camping gear when this eco-friendly cabin has everything you could ever dream of.

Leon and Tonya, the visionaries behind this project, had no prior experience in building in this style, but were determined to create something that would serve to inspire others. The accommodation and property hit on all the requirements of their original vision: an eco-friendly design that utilizes off-the-grid systems and is located in a private, stunning area that shows off the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. Every detail of the house is hand-crafted, and it's clear it was built with the intent to create a haven of relaxation and contemplation for generations to come.


What to do in the area

One can sample the results of such lush farmland at the weekly farmers' market in the local town of Duncan. Fresh baked goods, Cowichan wines, towering tables of local produce, and plenty of perfectly eccentric folk that live in the area. Wine and food are at the forefront at another Cowichan Valley favorite, Saison Market, where everything tastes freshly picked and lovingly crafted.

Glamping Hub personally thanks Joe and the hosts of this stunning cabin for allowing us to feel like we got to tag along on this incredible getaway through Cowichan Valley!


You can see more of Joe's adventure in British Columbia and learn more about the properties on Gibbon Whistler. Don't forget to book your very own getaway at this eco-friendly cabin, here.

It's time to visit the Jordan River in British Columbia

By Jessica Armstrong

Editor's note: This is a guest post written by Joe Schwartz.

Jordan River is located on the southern reaches of the west coast of Vancouver Island. Only a short drive from the largest city on the island (and the province's capital), Victoria, the Jordan River area maintains a mystique and sense of remoteness not affected by its proximity to a big city.

Nothing looks more relaxing than enjoying the sunset while roasting s'mores right by the ocean.

Step inside your dream accommodation.

Where to stay

Don't you want to call this charming woodland cabin on Jordan Island your home away from home, too?

That funky vibe extends to Vancouver Island's accommodations, too. On the very southern reaches of the island's famous West Coast lies the hamlet of Jordan River. Once a mining and logging town, Jordan River is most well-known for its surf breaks and miles of wild coastline, all connected by the Juan de Fuca trail, a 29-mile (or 47-kilometer) trek along desolate beaches and through tangled forest.

Just outside of Jordan River, nestled amongst the towering Douglas firs, cedar trees, and hemlock is this stunning, secluded cabin. The cabin's hosts, J.S. and Candice, had lived in the area for almost a decade, observing more and more tourists arriving each year. Besides the local campsites, there wasn't much else in terms of accommodation for the area's growing number of visitors.


Guests will feel cozy and comfortable their entire stay at this unique rental in British Columbia.

Taking matters into their own hands, J.S. and Candice built the cabin three years ago, hoping to provide a welcoming space for everyone from weekend road-trippers to international visitors. Their goal with the cabin was to create a clean, well-built, and relaxing space. The minimalist interior design was intended to make guests feel comfortable and not distracted by unnecessary details.

While the modern appearance of the cabin may feel at odds with the towering trees surrounding the cabin, it all comes together perfectly when you're cozy in bed, listening to the wind whistle through the trees, or sipping a warm coffee on the patio as the morning sun filters through the branches above.

Guests will leave this cabin and immediately want to plan their next trip back!

What to do in the area

The Jordan River area boasts quality restaurants and places like the Sheringham Distillery, which offers tours and tastings on the weekends. Just minutes from the cabin are a few options to eat, including amazing breakfast and lunch sandwiches at the Cold Shoulder Café, wood-fired pizza at Stoked Pizzeria, and one of the most incredible dining room ocean views and classy cuisine at the Point No Point Resort (including binoculars on each table for dinner-time whale watching).

Glamping Hub personally thanks Joe and the hosts of this gorgeous and unbeatable cabin rental for allowing us to feel like we were a part of the glamping getaway in Jordan River!


You can see more of Joe's adventure in British Columbia and learn more about the properties on Gibbon Whistler. You can also your very own stay at this cabin on Jordan River, here.

Host Spotlight: Philippe

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: Each month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Glamping Hub hosts and what inspired them to create a glamping site. This month, we have Philippe, who manages this luxury Airstream in Gatineau Hills in Quebec, Canada.

1. When was the first time you heard the term glamping?

About 10 years ago, a couple encountered us at our lakeside tent site, sunning our duvet and sitting down to a full brunch of omelette, bacon, sautéd tomato/garlic/herbs, brioches, juice, espresso...you get the idea. Inviting them to join us, they used "glamping" to describe the experience. We had a good laugh, as it's simply our way of enjoying the best of life.

2. What inspired you to have your own glamping site?

With the purchase of our Airstream, our place enables us to share a piece of of paradise.

3. If you could describe your property or the glamping experience you offer in three words, what would they be?

Rejuvenation, reconnection, and escape.

4. What was your first glamping/camping experience?

I've always glamped, understanding that its basic requisites are great food, comfy living, and paradise settings. The beauty is in stripping back to essentials in order to find remote places of natural beauty, but never leaving behind selected luxuries of life.

5. Why would you recommend people to go glamping?

Good glamping offers a window of opportunity to leave daily routines and possessions behind and to sample a simple, yet superb, lifestyle in the great outdoors—with the option to retreat into a devine and secure interior!

6. What should people expect when they come to your glamping site?

Simply stated, our property is modern living in a pastoral setting: pristine inside and out, guest services, regional attractions, privacy, and discrete, yet responsive, hosts.

7. What makes your property unique?

Starting with the opportunity to enjoy staying in a brand new Airstream, the property is situated to take advantage of infinite views, distant hills, grazing cows...the experience is designed for two and, as such, is gloriously private. Sunny and shady decks, a new barbecue, new bikes, and park passes are just a few of the guests' many privileges.

8. What’s your favorite part about owning a glamping property?

The fantastic responses of our guests! Absolutely every guest has left happy and satisfied. We didn't realize how popular the stay would be for special occasions, like anniversaries and birthdays, and we take special care to make all memorable.

9. What makes your property eco-friendly?

The Airstream is equipped with solar panels, so off-the-grid services are a guest's choice. Our water is spring-fed, and we recycle all grey water (thus providing bio-soaps for guest use). The compact nature of the Airstream lends itself to a leaving a very small carbon footprinte.

10. Anything else you’d like to add?

Our property exists to give guests a fantastic and unique experience.


Interested in a weekend glamping getaway to Canada? See more of what Philippe's accommodation can offer here!