Banff National Park

Banff Travel Blog

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Castle Mountain in the background

Upon the collection of our rented mobile home (Roadtrek RS) and stocking up on groceries from the supermarket, we headed towards Banff National Park which is 1.5 hours drive from Calgary. Banff National Park contains some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world and we were just excited to see it with our own eyes.

Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park and consists of 6,641 square kilometers of unparalleled mountain scenery nestled in the heart of the magnificent Canadian Rockies. The plan was to drive through the National Park from Banff to Lake Louise, onwards to Icefields Parkway with the towering jagged peaks and finally to Whistler.

Start of trek to Cascade Amphitheatre
Lots of time was spent on reading up on the nicest places were to visit, hike and camp, although ever place and corner in the Park seemed to be very nice and attractive. I was hoping that I would be able to catch a glimpse of some of North America’s wildest creatures like the grizzly bears, caribou and wolves. Well, we saw plenty of interesting wildlife including the cute black bears but none of these ferocious ones.

Mount Rundle dominates the skyline from the campsites at Tunnel Mountain. This mountain with its rock layers looks most dramatic in the evenings when it gives a warm glow in the sunset and the sun's rays cast long shadows over the mountain, accentuating the rock layers like waves. I could never fail to admire this beautiful mountain every time it comes into sight while hiking or biking in the area.

Start of trek to Cascade Amphitheater

The Hoodoos, standing guard over the Bow River with Mt Rundle in the background makes a really picturesque sight. The hoodles are actually pillars of limestones eroded into strange shapes by the winds and rains.

One of the most memorable treks in this area was the hike up to Cascade Amphitheatre. The trail to Cascade Amphitheatre is approx. 7.7km one way with an elevation gain of 650 meters and starts right the ski resort right into the forest. The walk through the forest was quite a nightmare with the mosquitoes flying out from all directions and swarming around us. We had to move constantly to avoid the mosquitoes from resting on us and biting us. So it was a little tough when we could not stop even for a moment to catch our breath while on the ascent.

Pointing up towards Cascade Amphitheater ... there is where we have to trek up

As I was pretty much covered, I was somewhat badly bitten on the face and fingers instead. The Cascade Amphitheatre looked like a huge amphitheatre surrounded by the mountains and it was cool and windy up there, giving a little respite from the mosquitoes. Of all the things I was prepared for including a pepper spray for the bears, I was unprepared for these ferocious mosquitoes!

Another memorable trek in this area was the hike in Sunshine Meadows situated at around 2220m and known by many as the most stunning alpine setting in the Canadian Rockies. Indeed, we feasted our eyes on the unobstructed views of some of Rockies' highest peaks. There were plenty of Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels running in and out of the the ground blossoming with the alpine flowers.

Mount Rundle in background
Even though it was July, there were still some snow patches along the trails. The access to Sunshine Meadows in the summer is via a shuttle bus that runs from Sunshine Village up a private road. The shuttle bus is the distinctive "Yellow School Bus", quite an experience to be on such an old bus.

We were told that there is a particular bear that makes its den somewhere near Sunshine Village and is usually spotted in the carpark in the early hours of the morning. We went there especially early in the morning hoping to catch a glimpse of the bear lumbering across the carpark but unfortunately it did not appear on that morning.

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Castle Mountain in the background
Castle Mountain in the background
Start of trek to Cascade Amphithea…
Start of trek to Cascade Amphithe…
Start of trek to Cascade Amphithea…
Start of trek to Cascade Amphithe…
Pointing up towards Cascade Amphit…
Pointing up towards Cascade Amphi…
Mount Rundle in background
Mount Rundle in background
Beautiful scenery here
Beautiful scenery here
The Hoodoos - limestones carved in…
The Hoodoos - limestones carved i…
The Hoodoos - limestones carved in…
The Hoodoos - limestones carved i…
By the Bow River
By the Bow River
Ground squirrel munching away
Ground squirrel munching away
Yellow School Bus - shuttle bus …
"Yellow School Bus" - shuttle bus…
Start of the Sunshine Meadows
Start of the Sunshine Meadows
Sunshine Meadows - most stunning a…
Sunshine Meadows - most stunning …
Snow pataches remaining on the tra…
Snow pataches remaining on the tr…
A quiet time in the nature by Minn…
A quiet time in the nature by Min…
Our recreational vehicle and mobil…
Our recreational vehicle and mobi…
Breakfast in mobile home in Banff …
Breakfast in mobile home in Banff…
A young elk near our lot in Tunnel…
A young elk near our lot in Tunne…
An Elk roaming in the campsite
An Elk roaming in the campsite
Our cook preparing dinner inside t…
Our cook preparing dinner inside …
Dinner time!
Dinner time!
Banff Fairmount Spring Hotel in ba…
Banff Fairmount Spring Hotel in b…
Banff
photo by: jeffy