The Banff + Lake Louise Social City Guide

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People say “vacation” and immediately the of-the-moment buzzy destinations come up. Maderas Village? Isla Holbox? Any of the sometimes unpronounceable and far-flung spots on the New York Times’s annual “Places to Go” list? Here’s one that should be right up there: Banff. Consider Banff or nearby Lake Louise, a couple of enclaves in the Canadian Rockies, which a record number of travelers will visit this summer. It’s all so unfailingly beautiful, it can be hard to know where to start. That’s where we—and this list—come in. We’ve gathered up 12 locals who know the mountainous, sweeping landscape of Alberta better than anyone. These are the creatives, chefs, adventurers, teachers, and parents who will show where to explore and where to unwind with a beer after. We like to approach travel this way—a living, evolving best-of list that couldn’t be more current, because these posts are coming in real time. In return? Send us a postcard. Or just @tag us so we can pretend we’re there. This is travel, today.

Bon voyage,

The Gramlist Editors

#mybanff #banfflakelouise #flyfishing #traveldeeper #earthofficial

A photo posted by Rockies Heli Canada (@rockiesheli) on

@rockiesheli

Since 1999, visitors and locals alike have chartered helicopters for any sort of adventures, from birthdays to elopements. They’ll take you up into the clouds, land somewhere gorgeous, and capture it on film.

Followers: 7,333 

A photo posted by Tom Amaral (@scree_dust) on

@scree_dust

What is scree dust? The term refers to the crumbs and small rocks that gather along a mountain’s slope—and it’s a fitting name for climber Tom Amaral’s blog. If you can scale it, he’s done it, and Grammed it.

Followers: 1,215

A photo posted by Whyte Museum (@whytemuseum) on

@whytemuseum

This small but mighty museum celebrates “what happens when peaks and people meet!” It’s a very sweet glimpse into the archives of Lake Louise culture (photos from the ’60s are especially cool). And while founders Peter and Catharine Whyte are perhaps too busy running the actual collection to post often, they’re big parts of the local community.

Followers: 137 

A photo posted by Jeff Spackman (@namkcaps) on

@namkcaps

Creative mind Jeff Spackman takes one of the more inclusive approaches with his very popular social media presence. When he Instagrams live from a shoot, he often also Snaps behind-the-scenes moments (follow NAMKCAPS). Our advice? Visit every place he does.

Followers: 155k

A photo posted by The Bug Parade (@thebugparade) on

@thebugparade

When two is better than one: This husband-and-wife team work together behind their lenses as travel photographers. According to their personal feed, fly-fishing is among their favorite ways to unwind.

Followers: 10.3k 

A photo posted by adriana sinke (@adrianasinke) on

@adrianasinke

Take a look at Adriana Sinke’s feed, and then think about the fact that she used to be an accounting assistant. Our inner Wes Anderson–obsessives love her quiet, moodily lit photos from her global travels, and her Canadian pictures are our favorites.

Followers: 62.3k

A photo posted by Park Distillery (@parkdistillery) on

@parkdistillery

There’s a reason chef Liz Gagnon is pretty much the only person whose photos show up when you search #banffchef. Park Distillery is an absolute must-stop. Liz’s entire menu was inspired by the most OG of traditions: campfire cooking.

Followers: 1,694 

A photo posted by Dave Brosha (@davebrosha) on

@davebrosha

There is something indescribable but unmistakable about a Dave Brosha portrait. We resort to word association to try to put our finger on it: baroque, natural, haunting, weird, momentary. See for yourselves.

Followers: 15.8k

A photo posted by Two Mann Studios (@twomannstudios) on

@twomannstudios

Man, Canadians sure are people people. Another husband-and-wife duo, Two Mann Studios, specializes in shooting—what else—people-first events. They’re hired nonstop for weddings, and it’s easy see why.

Followers: 32.4k 

A photo posted by Erik McRitchie (@erikmcr) on

@erikmcr

Holy saturation! Photographer Erik McRitchie cannot take a boring photo, and the Lake Louise landscape is a more than willing subject.

Followers: 32.2k

A photo posted by The Gathering (@cultgathering) on

@cultgathering

Cult Gathering is exactly that—a festival of unique, sometimes-niche brands getting together to discuss their secret sauces. It was founded by Hugh Forest, the director of SXSW’s Interactive Festival, and the Instagram feed’s a glimpse at who is shaping the local retail scene.

Followers: 1,667 

A photo posted by Wyatt Bronson (@wildernesswyatt) on

@wildnernesswyatt

Wyatt Bronson’s Instagram bio bills his specialties as sarcasm and mediocrity, but we don’t know that we agree with the latter. His photos generously capture the wide variety of outdoor living that Lake Louise is known for. In fact, the last indoor photo he took was from the road.

Followers: 20.9k


THE GET

The-Get-Eagle-Creek-Original-Packing-Cube-Set

A set of zip-around bags to organize your suitcase contents (and almost 2x the amount of stuff you can squeeze in—speaking from experience).

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