One of the biggest changes in the mountains this year is the closure of public access to Moraine Lake. Earlier this year, Parks Canada made the decision to close the road and parking lot to Moraine Lake to personal vehicles. A few factors went into the decision, most importantly to help to protect the popular area’s delicate ecosystem for future generations to enjoy.
But, there are still a few ways to see the natural wonder responsibly this summer. The first and easiest option is to book a shuttle through Parks Canada. A return ticket costs $8 and includes return fare. The shuttles fill up extremely quickly and should be booked in advance. There are also plenty of private shuttles and tours, like Mountain Park Transportation and Wilson Mountain Sports, though these cost a bit more and should also be booked in advance.
For the fall season only, another option is Roam public transport, which departs from Banff and takes you straight to the lake (once again, this should be booked well in advance, especially during Larch season). Learn more about how to experience Moraine Lake at banfflakelouise.com.
Earlier this year, Basecamp Resorts opened its newest property in Banff, Basecamp Suites Banff. This new hotel offers apartment-style accommodations, which are perfect for larger groups looking for a fully equipped unit to stay in while they explore the mountains for a few days. These suites have a full kitchen, multiple bedrooms and rooftop hot tubs to relax and enjoy the mountain views.
101, 316 Marten St., 403-763-2445, basecampresorts.com/banffsuites
Owned and operated by Banff Lodging Company (which already owns 11 other hotels, suites and condos in the area), Hotel Canoe & Suites is tentatively set to open in summer 2023. The new hotel will add 192 new suites to the area, with a wilderness-inspired design that features kitchen nooks in each room, incredible mountain views and outdoor hot pools for guests. Hotel Canoe & Suites will also bring a new coffee and wine bar to the Banff dining scene.
2000, 600 Banff Ave., hotelcanoeandsuites.com
As of May, the Maple Leaf restaurant in Banff has collaborated with chef Shane Chartrand to offer a new three-course menu of feature dishes honouring the recent rise and recognition of Indigenous cuisine as fine dining. Choose between dishes like poached mushrooms with pear relish, a composed dish with bison and apples and a huckleberry galette for dessert. This unique Indigenous dining experience is available nightly.
137 Banff Ave., 403-760-7680, banffmapleleaf.com
Calgary’s ever-popular Bridgette Bar has opened a new mountain location in Canmore. The shareable and wood-fired menu fits right into the vibe of the mountain town, offering the same relaxed, contemporary dining atmosphere Calgarians have come to love. Plus, the restaurant’s famous matinee happy hour is available here as well, running from 2 to 5 p.m. daily.
1030 Spring Creek Dr., bridgettebarcanmore.com
Set to open on June 30, this new hotel from Basecamp Resorts will have something to please everyone. The “refined rustic” vibes of the suites, mountain views from every room and the sustainably-focused, attached restaurant are just some of the exciting features in this new addition to Canmore. Plus, MTN House will feature Canmore’s first full-service Nordic spa with hydrotherapy treatments, facials, massage services and more.
1 Silvertip Tr., Canmore, 403-609-4422, basecampresorts.com/mtnhousecanmore
Opening on June 29, new Jasper restaurant Aalto is inspired by the wilderness around it — the waters of Pyramid Lake and the towering mountains all play a role in informing the dining experience here. Situated lakeside at Pyramid Lake Lodge, Aalto serves what they call “lake food,” a unique, Jasper-inspired take on seafood complemented by local and seasonal produce.
6 km north on Pyramid Lake Rd., 800-541-9779, banffjaspercollection.com
The Railrider Mountain Coaster at Golden Skybridge, Pursuit’s iconic mountain adventure park in Golden, is the newest adrenaline-filled attraction to get your blood pumping. Reaching speeds up to 40 kilometres per hour, the coaster sends riders 650 metres down the mountain, winding through the forests of the Columbia Valley on a track that runs more than 3.5 kilometres and eventually cantilevers over the valley below.