“Pic of the Week”, August 7, 2020: Vermillion Lakes, Banff National Park

Banff area, summer 2014 (106) Vermillion Lakes

One of the iconic images of the Canadian Rockies is that of the Vermillion Lakes, with the distinctive mass of Mt. Rundle rising in the distance, and Sulphur Mountain to the right.
Vermillion Lakes are three interlinked lakes which lie just outside the Banff townsite.  The lakes are partially fed by warm water from the Sulphur mountain hot springs, which provides a somewhat sheltered micro-environment for animals in the cold winter months, so you’ll often spot wildlife in the area.
The lakes are popular with hikers, and canoes and kayaks can often be seen on the calm waters.  It’s a nice place to enjoy sunrise or sunset, or just to take in the lovely views.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 24, 2020: Lake Agnes, Banff National Park

01 Lake Agnes

One of the most popular day hikes in the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park is to visit Lake Agnes.  A 3.5 km trail through the forest on the north side of the lake gains 400 m (1300 ft) from Lake Louise’s shore to reach the hanging valley containing Lake Agnes.
Lake Agnes is beautifully framed by rugged snow and ice covered mountains.  It sits at 2135 m (7005 ft).  Lake Agnes was named after Canada’s First Lady, Agnes MacDonald, wife of Canada’s first Prime Minister.
One of the highlights of visiting Lake Agnes is to enjoy a snack or meal at its tea-house.  Established in 1905, the Lake Agnes tea-house serves a large assortment of tea but also home made …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 19, 2019: Indian Trading Post, Banff

02 Indian Trading Post, Banff

One of the classic places to visit in the Banff townsite, within Banff National Park, is the Indian Trading Post.  It has been around since 1903 and was originally called the “Sign of the Goat Curio Shop”.  It’s one of those places that hasn’t changed much during the years.  

Situated on the bank of the Bow River, it is removed from the busy touristy part of Banff.  The exterior decorative items are interesting, but not as interesting as what you find when you enter the shop.

The walls of the shop are a museum of taxidermy, with a large variety of local species on display.  Initially dealing primarily in furs, the shop now sells mostly First Nations (Aboriginal) handicrafts.  These include items like …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 28, 2019: Peyto Lake, Alberta

IMG_8829

One of the classic symbols of the Canadian Rockies is Peyto Lake, which is situated adjacent to Icefields Parkway, the road which connects Banff and Jasper.  Peyto Lake is a popular stop with travelers who enjoy taking in this panoramic view from Bow Summit.

The lake is glacier fed, the glacial silt giving it a lovely milky turquoise-green color.  It sits at 1860 m (6100 ft) above sea level.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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Banff National Park’s best Short Hike — Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail

moraine lake

Moraine Lake is located a few miles south of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, in one of the most scenic and breath-taking locales of the Canadian Rockies.  In the winter the lake is buried under a thick layer of snow and not accessible by car.  The road leading to Moraine Lake is a popular cross-country skiing destination once enough snow has accumulated for the Park Service to groom it, but the skiing trail ends well before the lake because of high avalanche risk within its valley.  During the summer months (June – Sept) Moraine Lake is popular and busy, even though it doesn’t thaw out until late June.  Parking is limited so it’s best to arrive early.  The lake …

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Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff

35-02 Cave and Basin (58)

The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is a small site just outside the town of Banff, but is important to Canadians because it was a catalyst to the formation of Canada’s first national park, Banff National Park.

Historic aspects

The Cave and Basin is the lowest of nine sulphurous hot springs, arranged in three groups, on Banff’s Sulphur Mountain.  The water is heated geothermally at a depth of about 3 km (2 mi) and escapes to the surface at these sites.  The Cave and Basin is the only natural cavern in the area big enough to comfortably accommodate groups of people.

Humans have inhabited this region for at least 10,000 years, back to the retreat of the massive …

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A visit to the Historic Banff Springs Hotel

09 Banff Springs Hotel

Situated in the heart of beautiful Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the world famous Fairmont Banff Springs stands like a castle dominating the pretty alpine town of Banff, Alberta.  Nestled between Mt. Rundle, Tunnel Mountain and Sulphur Mountain, it offers some of the best alpine scenery in the world.  It’s just a short 10 minute stroll from the hotel along the beautiful Bow River to the Banff townsite, where a large number of shops, restaurants and other services are located.

Fairmont Banff Springs is a year-round luxury resort that offers access to activities as diverse as horse-back riding and golf, to superb skiing in the winter.  The hotel has been serving guests for more …

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The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.

06b Banff Museum 08-2015

Today we’re going to visit Western Canada’s oldest Natural History Museum, the quirky yet fascinating Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.   I first visited this museum as a boy decades ago and it’s one of the few things around that hasn’t changed over the years.

Situated at a prime location in Banff, beside the Bow River at the corner of Buffalo St  and Banff Ave, there’s a large building constructed of logs, the Banff Park Museum.   It’s been declared a national historic site because the museum’s original exhibits are still on display, a collection reflecting an early (some might even say “primitive”) approach to the interpretation of Western Canada’s natural history.  Also, the architectural style and detailing of …

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