Banff was Su and I’s starting point of our Canadian Rocky Mountain trip. It was after a 1000km detour drive from Vancouver, through the interior of British Columbia, until we reached this little town. Little, but it has everything a big city can desire; schools, hospital, shopping center, train station, hotels, bustling streets full of restaurants and shops. It’s a place that integrates thoughtfully with nature (see very last photo). The drive though, wasn’t as smooth as I had expected. The interior of BC was hot and dry for the most part, then we were hit by a massive thunderstorm that forced us to stop and take cover (yea, it’s that bad).
Banff is really a jewel. It’s surrounded by world-class natural beauty and it has lots of places to explore.
Tunnel Mountain is at the heart of Banff. Everywhere you go in the Town of Banff, looking up, you’ll see this big piece of rock. Just a few minutes walk from our lodge we found a good place to enjoy the view. It’s like watching a very slow motion film of a rock coming out of the earth. Action film at its best.
It wasn’t a long hike through the Johnston Canyon but on the day we went it was cold and a little rainy. I thought it was summer, worn just a t-shirt and shorts, came back with wet hair and cold damp clothes. The trails don’t receive much sun and since they are beside the stream of glacier water it was a cold and uncomfortable hike. Nonetheless it was worth it.
Throughout the drive from Johnston Canyon and in-and-out of Banff on Hwy 1 is Castle Mountain. From certain angles you can see that the mountain is actually a horseshoe, a hollow dip in the center.
This national historic site is home to some of the most stinky hot springs, literally. At this alien-like place, the water is very warm. Due to the sulphur content, this place smells like rotten eggs.
Who says Lake Louise Ski Resort is only good in the winter? Summertimes this place offers just as amazing view as in the winter. Mount Temple, Mount Aberdeen, Mount Victoria and Mount Saint Piran can all be seen in one view. Surprisingly it wasn’t very windy at this high of an altitude. It’s a good place to grab a cup of drink and just relax.
Less popular but more peaceful place for a visit is the Two Jack Lake. It’s a spill out lake from Lake Minnewanka. When we went, there was almost no one coming in or out. The entire lake was ours to enjoy.
About a 15 minute ride on the gondola takes you to the observation deck on the Sulphur Mountain.
This is the best place to see the entire view of Banff. This is a very popular tourist spot. I think anyone who comes to Banff comes to this place, so expect a lot of people.
Some trails also lead up to the top of the Sulphur Mountain. Actually, any terrain can be a trail if you are brave enough.
The view is purely amazing. A quick meal up here almost taste instantly better with the view!
I didn’t realize this until we were leaving Banff. As we drove along the highway there were these bridges. At first I thought those are for pedestrians or cars, but after seeing a few of them I have not seen a single person or car crossing on it. Those turn out to be for wild animals to safely cross the highway. The bridges are “paved” with trees and wild plants. This is just another indication how Banff plays harmonously with nature.