Where We Be
You'd never know it from these early morning
photos, but Banff in summertime is a hopping
place. It's the main tourist town for anyone
wanting to explore Alberta's Canadian Rockies.
From here it's only a half hour's drive to iconic
Lake Louise, with the Bow Valley Parkway
offering a scenic connection between the two.
We could easily satisfy several summers' worth
of hiking in the area, what with three contiguous
national parks to choose from: Banff, Yoho, and
Kootenay. The sheer number of trails and hiking
opportunities makes it worth a stop at Banff's
visitor center, where we picked up hiking maps
for as far north as Jasper National Park.
As a couple who live in Colorado and know what
pretty mountains look like, we can attest to the
scenic beauty of the Canadian Rockies. If you
like alpine scenery, this is definitely a part of
the world you should explore.
|On a slide-note (!), we came across this huge jumble of rocks near Crowsnest Pass on the way to Banff. A plaque explained
that this is Frank Slide, a huge landslide that decimated the coal mining town of Frank back in 1903, killing at least 70 people.
|For this trip we had originally planned to spend a few nights at a campground near Banff, but it was a Canadian holiday weekend and
everything was booked solid. The Trans-Canada Highway was so backed up with traffic heading west that we took one look and headed
east instead! We took a vacation from our vacation and stayed at a Calgary Travelodge before visiting Banff after the holiday crush.
|Banff Avenue is the main thoroughfare through town
|We stopped for coffee inside a mall and
liked this art exhibit of downhill skiers
|Banff offers a pleasant mix of chateau-style lodgings,
boutiques, restaurants, and of course souvenir shops
|We liked the chalet style architecture in Banff.
You could almost be in Switzerland or Austria.
|Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade are visible right from town
|Outside the visitor center is this colorful plaque commemorating the establishment
of Banff National Park in 1885 -- making it Canada's oldest national park
|On a previous trip to Alberta with my family, we stayed for three nights at wonderful Baker Creek Chalets on the Bow Valley Parkway.
If you're open to a little splurge, we highly recommend a stay here, both for the lodgings and for the delightful cafe on premises.
|Reduced speeds and pulloffs make for a relaxing drive
as you parallel the Bow River and keep an eye out for wildlife
|We stopped for a lovely little picnic right here by the river
|The Bow Valley Parkway (1A) offers a scenic alternative to Trans-Canada
Highway 1 if you're traveling up to Lake Louise (which of course you should)
|The resort town of Banff looks deceptively quiet at 8:30 am,
but just wait -- by 10 am it will be bustling with tourists