The Canadian Rockies - Banff & Lake Louise

Aug 09, 2013
With summer upon us, it’s time we take a look at the jewels of the Canadian Rockies, Banff and Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

Lying 128km from Calgary and 400km from Edmonton, Banff is located in Canada’s first and oldest National Park in the Bow Valley. Inspired by the discovery of cave hot springs in 1883 and the development of the Trans-Canada Railway, Banff has become one of Canada’s premier must-see destinations. Since its humble beginnings as an attraction for higher class citizens, the town has grown to welcome over 5 million visitors a year, boasting over 6500km²/2500sqmi of open valleys, alpine meadows, sharp mountain faces and glacial fed lakes.

The town of Banff is surrounded by the Sulphur Mountain Range, Mt Norquay and the 3000m/10000ft peaks of Cascade Mountain and Mt Rundle. Constructed shortly after national park’s inception, the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel stands tall where the Bow River and Spray River meet. Known by many as the ‘Castle of the Rockies’, The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel offers the most luxurious of stays, rich in history with uncompromising grandeur. Relax and unwind inside the hotel’s European inspired Willow Stream Spa complete with whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas, and a selection of tantalizing treatments for singles and couples.

Just a short walk from town lies Tunnel Mountain, the most accessible and popular hike of the locals. Known as “Sleeping Buffalo” by the First Nations due to the silhouette it casts when viewed from the east, the summit offers an expansive view of the township that is definitely worth the 2-hour roundtrip.

From whitewater rafting, horseback and wagon riding, to numerous hiking and biking trails, canoeing and kayaking. There is plenty Banff has to offer adventure seekers, all while set within the breathtaking backdrop of the Rockies. If whitewater rafting is too intense, we recommend river floating as an alternative. Hiking too much? The Banff Gondola will escort you to the summit of Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views of the town. Looking for a different perspective? Entertaining lake cruises, fishing charters and boat rentals are available on Banff National Park’s largest body of water, Lake Minnewanka. Captivating helicopter excursions are also available for those looking to take their adventure to new heights. With an array of pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and retail stores, we challenge you to not finding something to see and do.

Lake Louise, in contrast, is smaller. Named after the 4th daughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta in the 19th Century, the lake is one of the most photographed landscapes within Canada. With Victoria Glacier in the distance, you can rent a canoe or kayak, go horseback riding or wander the Lakeshore hiking trail at your own pace. The moderate hiking trails reward hikers with not just impressive views of glaciers and mountain peaks, but also a nice resting spot inside European style teahouses (open seasonally) at Lake Agnes and the Plain of Six Glaciers.

We want you to experience this area the best way possible and we feel that the dark horse and hidden gem of this area is Moraine Lake not too far down the road. With a remarkable backdrop of the Valley of Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is a must-see during the summer and is easily overlooked due to its popular neighbour. That’s all we’ll mention.  Just remember to blink….or pinch yourself.

We’re based in Banff. Find out how you can include this beautiful town into an itinerary by speaking to one of our Vacation Planners on 1-877-791-5500 or through LiveChat above.
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