Travel to Canada

Day 2 Banff N.P. – Banff area

Banff: The Banff National Park, the crown jewel of the Rockies, has some of the finest mountain scenery on the continent. The park was founded more than a century ago and was the first Canadian national reserve to protect the hot springs that are located just off the present town of Banff. In 1985 UNESCO declared the park World Heritage. History began in 1841, when the Canadian Pacific Railway began digging tunnels and designing the railway line. Executives and supervisors were so impressed with the area that opened a hotel (the Banff Springs).

Banff - Bow river

Banff N.P. - Bow river

The town of Banff, located at the foot of the Cascade mountain (2998 meters), Mount Rundle and Tunnel hill, is a very tourist town. In winter is full of skiers while in summer while the tourists flooding the streets, plenty of gift shops, restaurants. The more wealthy tourists can stay at the famous Banff Springs hotel, a Scottish Baronial castle with six hundred rooms built in 1888, where you can see the pipers dressed in traditional Scottish costumes. This hotel is barely a few meters from the falls of the Bow River.

Banff - Hoodoos

Banff N.P. - The Hoodoos

Summer is the best time to visit the park, covering an area of 7.000 km² (including the area of Banff and Lake Louise) and more than two dozen peaks above 3,000 meters. Mountain Avenue, after four miles, reached the summit of Sulphur Mountain, where a cable car (5.5 km long and 670 meters high) allows you to enjoy a breathtaking view. At the top a 20 minute walk leads to a meteorological observatory that was built in 1903. From Mount Tunnel, which was excavated for the rail pass, you have stunning views of the town of Banff, the Bow River Valley and Mount Rundle (2949 meters).

Banff - Lake Minnewanka

Banff N.P. - Lake Minnewanka

At the core of the town you can find some of the attractions such as the Banff Information Centre, a center that explores the history of Canadian parks and the geology of the area (Banff is built on an aquifer cave fed by a natural hot spring). Visitors can take a dip in sulfurous waters of Upper Hot Springs (discovered in 1880 during construction of the transcontinental railway line) where the average temperature of the water that feeds the public swimming pool is 40 °C. The Banff Park Museum was built in 1903, exhibits collections relating to the interpretation of nature, wildlife and natural history of Canada.

Banff - Stewart Canyon

Banff N.P. - Stewart Canyon

Canada Place a free exhibition on the land, people, history and culture of Canada. It has some audio-visual, photographs, inventions, etc.. to show details of Canadian history. Outside the building you can walk through well-tended gardens. Next to the camping area of Banff you can find The Hoodoos, where a small paved path leads to these rocky pillars formed by erosion. Several posters explaining the process of formation. There are also beautiful views of the Bow Valley. At the exit of the village are the Vermilion Lakes. It is the largest wetland area of the Bow Valley. There are three interconnected lakes along Transcanadian Highway, a rich ecosystem chosen by dozens of species of migratory birds such as supply point and rest on their long journey to the south.

Banff - Johnson Lake

Banff N.P. - Johnson Lake

Somewhat further from the town is the Lake Minnewanka, about 10 km. from Banff. Lake Minnewanka is Banff´s largest, with nearly 20 km. long. In this area there are several picnic areas and trails, most notably the one leading to Stewart Canyon. You can make excursions by boat. Nearby is the Johnson Lake, which can surround via an easy path or we can have a bath, because it has a small beach. Coming back to Banff we can stop in Lower Bankhead,, where a footpath runs through the ruins of an abandoned coal mine, the first settlement of Banff, which enjoyed its best period in the first half of the nineteenth century. Along the trail along various posters and photographs describe the life of the miners of the time.