2015 Montana, Calgary Stampede, Icefield Parkway travel blog

Banff, AB - Tunnel Mountain Campground Village II - site A41

Banff, AB - Tunnel Mountain Campground Village II - site A41, another...

Banff, AB - Tunnel Mountain Campground Village II - site A41 -...

Calgary to Banff, AB 0 - our route - 71 miles

Calgary to Banff, AB 1 - approaching the Canadian Rockies

Calgary to Banff, AB 2 - what passes for a rest area,...

Calgary to Banff, AB 3 - more construction

Calgary to Banff, AB 4 - as we top a hill and...

Calgary to Banff, AB 5 - getting closer

Calgary to Banff, AB 6

Calgary to Banff, AB 7

Calgary to Banff, AB 8

Calgary to Banff, AB 9 - didn't see a one!

Calgary to Banff, AB 10

Calgary to Banff, AB 11 - the road to the campground

Calgary to Banff, AB 12 - Christmas decorations still up or maybe...

Calgary to Banff, AB 13 - downtown Banff

Calgary to Banff, AB 14 - a Presbytarian Church

Calgary to Banff, AB 15

Calgary to Banff, AB 16 - Misty's favorite animal, the Orca, on...

Calgary to Banff, AB 17

Calgary to Banff, AB 18

Bow Falls

Bow River headed downstream

another shot of the Bow River

Cave and Basin 1 - the spring inside the cave - HIGH...

Cave and Basin 2 - the displays depicting the history of the...

Cave and Basin 3 - the courtyard outside the cave

Cave and Basin 4 - the outside hot spring once used as...

Cave and Basin 5 - peeking through the trees to the marsh...

Cave and Basin 6 - the view of the mountains from the...

Cave and Basin 7 - notice the earth roof on the entrance

Fenland Trail 1 - the 40 Mile Creek is alongside about half...

Fenland Trail 2 - it is a well maintained trail and heavily...

Fenland Trail 3 - another shot of the creek at a different...

Hoodoos 1 - the hoodoos at Banff - not much compared to...

Hoodoos 2

Hoodoos 3 - but the scenery surrounding them is breathtaking

Hoodoos 4 - the Bow Valley

Hoodoos 5

Lake Minnewanka 1 - one of the boat piers

Lake Minnewanka 2 - one of the local beggars

Lake Minnewanka 3

Lake Minnewanka 4 - the Stewart River comes out of Stewart Canyon...

Lake Minnewanka 5 - looking back down the lake

Lake Minnewanka 6 - the Stewart River flowing through Stewart Canyon

Lake Minnewanka 7 - and into the lake

Lake Minnewanka 8 - one section of the Stewart Canyon Trail

Lake Minnewanka 9 - a tour boat on the lake

Lake Minnewanka 10 - one of the many mountains surrounding the lake

Lake Minnewanka 11 - this young lady crossed the road in front...

Lake Minnewanka 12 - with many of her friends

Lake Minnewanka 13 - the velvet is still on their horns

Lake Louise Trip 1 - as we start out on Trans Canada...

Lake Louise Trip 2 - this is the first of five wildlife...

Lake Louise Trip 3 - the clouds are still hanging low

Lake Louise Trip 4 - Lake Louisa, full of glacier water

Lake Louise Trip 5 - the Victoria Glacier feeding it

Lake Louise Trip 6 - the stream catching the overflow

Lake Louise Trip 7 - the Fairmont Chateau Hotel right wing

Lake Louise Trip 8 - the left wing

Lake Louise Trip 9 - another shot of Lake Louisa from the...

Lake Louise Trip 9A - Misty managed to catch both of us...

Lake Louise Trip 10 - one of the glaciers over Moraine Lake

Lake Louise Trip 11 - a little closer

Lake Louise Trip 12 - Moraine Lake

Lake Louise Trip 13 - the rock pile next to Lake Moraine

Lake Louise Trip 14 - the huge log jam at the lake's...

Lake Louise Trip 15 - the entrance to the Bow Valley Parkway...

Lake Louise Trip 16 - the Bow River flowing beside it much...

Lake Louise Trip 17 - Doris thinks this peak looks like one...

Lake Louise Trip 18 - the Vermillion Lakes from the TCH 1...

Lake Louise Trip 18A - a great shot Misty took of the...

Lake Louise Trip 19 - as we climb Mt. Norquay just outside...

Lake Louise Trip 20 - Banff from near the top of Mt....

Johnston Canyon 1 - the canyon walls are close at times and...

Johnston Canyon 2

Johnston Canyon 3

Johnston Canyon 4

Johnston Canyon 5 - the lower Johnston Falls

Johnston Canyon 6

Johnston Canyon 7 - at the top of the lower falls

Johnston Canyon 8 - they really did a good job of putting...

Johnston Canyon 9 - one of the lesser falls

Johnston Canyon 10 - a Golden Mantle Ground Squirrel along the trail

Johnston Canyon 11 - another of the lesser falls

Johnston Canyon 12 - at the bottom of the upper falls

Johnston Canyon 13 - some of the flotsam at the outflow of...

Johnston Canyon 14 - another shot of the upper falls as we...

Johnston Canyon 15 - at the top of the upper falls

Johnston Canyon 16 - another nice falls feeding the upper falls


It was a short 71 mile drive from Calgary to Banff, AB, going from the northern plains and agricultural areas to the Canadian Rockies and into the Alpine town of Banff. There wasn't a large elevation change but the change in scenery was dramatic.

We are staying at the Tunnel Mountain Village II campground inside Banff National Park. When I made reservations the beginning of April, I mistakenly made reservations at the Tunnel Mountain Village II campground instead of the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court campground. The main difference being that Village II only has electricity (30 amps) hookups while the Trailer Court is full hookup, also 30 amps. The campsites in Village II are also a little smaller making positioning a little more critical while setting up. Never the less, we are fine here in Village II as our tanks will last a week if we are careful.

After arriving Wednesday we headed into town to get info from the visitor center so we could plan our stay. We had lots of planning time since it rained all day Thursday and Friday and we just stayed in the Mothership. That is one very nice thing about staying a week, we are not rushed and have plenty of time to see the things we want.

Saturday, we went back into town to do a little shopping and looking around. Banff reminds you of a typical alpine village with many small boutiques, shops, and sidewalk cafes as well as full-fledged restaurants. We started out about 10:00 a.m. and the traffic, both foot and vehicle, was very light but by early afternoon, it was very busy and crowded.

We then did some driving around to the various sites around town including Bow Falls and the Vermillion Lakes drive. Our main excursion was a 3.8 km hike along the shores of Lake Minnewanka to Stewart Canyon and back. It was a pleasant hike with great views of the lake which is very heavily used - lots of picnicking, boating, and hiking was going on. Doris did well on the hike though her stamina is still low and she was very tired by the end.

Sunday, we hiked the Fenland Trail near Banff. About half of the 2.1 km trail is alongside a creek that feeds the three Vermillion Lakes we visited on Saturday. It was a nice leisurely walk except for the mosquitoes that wanted to tag along. They were not as bad as the hike near Glacier NP but just enough to be aggravating. We then went to the Cave and Basin Historical Site which was the beginning of the Canadian National Park System. Though the cave spring and spring fed marsh surrounding the area are the main attraction, the display they have of the history of the national parks was very nicely done as well.

Monday, we took the 36 mile one-way trip up to Lake Louise so Misty would get to see it since we will not have time for her to tour much when we come back to Lake Louise after visiting Jasper. We will be taking her back to Calgary to catch her plane early the day after we get to Lake Louise. We had a thunderstorm early in the morning that delayed us but we finally left and were able to get to Lake Louise about 10:30 under overcast skies. I say this because blue skies give you a much more vibrant and vivid picture of any water feature. The pictures came out OK but would have been much better if we had clear skies. We also visited Moraine Lake while there and found it to be very pretty as well. One very interesting thing we saw was the wildlife overpasses. There were five of these built on the short 36 miles to enable wildlife to cross the highway safely. The roadsides are fenced so that the wildlife are funneled to these points. Several million dollars were spent in the effort.

Today, we didn't have much left that needed our attention in Banff but we did want to visit the Lower and Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon. That is about 15 miles back up the Bow Valley Parkway towards Lake Louise and you have to get there early to get a parking spot. Fortunately we were able to get there about 08:45 and easily found our parking spot. It was one of the prettiest hikes we have been on as we stayed beside a nice sized stream all the way up to the upper falls. If you are in the area, this is a must see as far as we are concerned. The lower falls is beautiful and about half-way to the upper falls. That last half has a lot of uphill but it is worth it! Overall it is a 4.8 km trip or a little over three miles.

Tomorrow we head up the Icefields Parkway for a one week stay in Jasper National Park. Hopefully we will be able to find a WiFi hotspot to make its posting like we did here in Banff.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |