Seeing the Canadian Rockies had been on my bucket list for EVER and the perfect opportunity finally came up! My boyfriend and I got tickets to Shambhala Music Festival, which takes place every summer in southern BC, Canada. The festival is kind of in the middle of nowhere so you have to drive some distance to get there no matter where you fly into.
We decided to fly into Calgary, being that it’s only a 1.5hr drive to Banff, and then make our way down through Canada from there. We rented a car from TURO for the week, and so happy we did! Driving through this beautiful country was such a treat.
We definitely did not have enough time to PROPERLY explore the Canadian Rockies, but we got a great little taste that left us wanting to come back forsure!
We opted to explore Banff and the surrounding area from Canmore, as this was a more affordable option (although still rather expensive in my opinion!) The most affordable option we found was the Canmore Hotel Hostel, which ran about $50 per bed per night. Our short stay here was fine, a bit of a loud and wild environment but it was funny and tolerable to us. Canmore was an adorable small town that we enjoyed walking around and asking the locals for recommendations on hikes.
This is how we heard about ‘East End of Rundle’ hike, which came highly recommended by everyone we walked to. I will say though… they may have under stated the difficulty of this hike. My boyfriend and I found it VERY challenging, but it was still beautiful!
All the famous blue lakes and mountains you see online in this area are actually rather spread out over some distance, so plan to spend several hours driving each day if you are staying in Banff or Canmore.
We were turned off to go visit the more popular lakes, as we heard they get super crowded. We decided to visit Emerald Lake which did NOT disappoint! It was so beautiful it didn’t even look real! They have a cafe here where you can order food and drinks and you can also rent canoes for the lake.
We wished we had more time, as we would have kept going towards the glaciers and Jasper National Park, but it was time for us to head south towards the festival.
We knew that the Banff area would be beautiful but we had NO idea that the drive south to Salmo would be just as gorgeous!
The photo above is not in any national park, just the side of the road in Canada! Insane! We stopped several times to admire the beauty.
Luckily we talked to some of the people staying at the hostel and asked for any road trip recommendations they had and one guy told us about Lussier Hot Springs.
Luckily it was exactly on the route that we were taking down the 93 South. Although we did have to turn off down a sketchy dirt road to get there! I read online of it being scary to drive down and didn’t see what the big deal was at first….but with the narrow road and cliffs towards the end, I got scared! We made it just fine though.
It’s a down hill walk to get there, on a paved path with plenty of parking and really nice folks to chat with! The walk up hill is a little tiring if your legs are sore from hiking!
We ended our road trip at the Salmo River Ranch, where Shambhala Music Festival is located, in southern BC, Canada.
If this festival has been on your radar, I would highly recommend making the trek out there! What a beautiful festival in a gorgeous location with magical people!
We camped in these perfectly shaded woods for 4 days. The weather was excellent for camping and we enjoyed chatting with our neighbors and lounging outside the tent in the afternoons.
There was plenty to do on the ranch everyday from Yoga, floating the river, delicious food vendors, markets to shop, art galleries to explore and awesome speakers and seminars.
And most importantly, the music was amazing! We discovered new artists that blew our minds and danced under the moon all night.
Canada has a special place in our hearts after this trip and we will definitely be back!