Best Things to See in Banff
What Can Banff Offer
Living in Calgary has given me the opportunity to visit Banff on several occasions. Calgary is the closest major airport to Banff being only 124 km from the city. Many tourists rent a car and take the scenic drive west towards Banff Nantional Park.
Once in the park you will be treated to magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains. This quiet mountain town has plenty of hotel's, restaurants and shops. You can relax in the various spa's or venture out on the unlimited hiking trails surrounding the town. At night you can sit by the fire place while you enjoy mouth-watering food in one of the world-class restaurants located on Banff Avenue. There are a few clubs for those interested in that type of night-life. If you are looking for a quieter night you can enjoy live music in several pubs or just relax in one of the many hotel lounges.
After making several trips to Banff with friends and family, there are a few things that everyone seems to enjoy.
Things to Do In Banff
1. Take a ride on the gondola put to Sulphur mountain.
Sulphur mountatin was named in 1916 and is known for its hot springs located on the lower slopes. The mountain rise 7400 feet above the ground and was once used as a meteorological observatory. At the top of the mountain you can view Banff from multiple observation decks while relaxing in one of two restaurants. For those who love to shop you will also find a very quaint gift shop near the restaurants.
2. Stop at the Bow River falls and take in the scenery.
Located conveniently near the Banff Springs Hotel and golf course. The falls are quite small but access to the falls is very good from a tourist perspective. There are some hiking trails around the falls and Bow River that have numerous photo opportunities. Many rafting trips also begin just beyond the end of the falls. The Bow Falls were also featured in the 1951 movie "River of No Return" starring Marilyn Monroe.
3. Stop by the Banff Springs Hotel.
This is a great place to stay or visit. The famous Banff Springs Hotel known as the "Castle of the Rockies" has been seen in almost every Banff postcard every made. This once Canadian Pacific Hotel opened in 1888 in the middle of nowhere. The hotel has been expanded and renovated numerous times over the years as it most recently transitioned to a Fairmont Hotels Property. This hotel features stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and overlooks the Banff Spring Golf Course located alongside the Bow River.
The hotel is the center of many ghost stories that are widely known within Canada. Many people know of this hotel only because of these mysterious stories. You can take a guided tour of the hotel for a small fee (free for guests staying at the hotel) or just grab a map from the front desk and venture out on your own. Here is a list of the most popular ghost stories surrounding the Banff Springs Hotel.
4. Relax in the world famous Banff Upper Hot Springs.
The Upper Hot Springs are located at the base of Sulphur Mountain with a stunning view of Mount Rundle. The pool is fed from the Sulphur Mountain Thrust fault during the summer months. This outdoor pool is the more recent Hot Springs and currently the only one open for public use. The water is kept at a cozy 38C year round.
5.Cave and Basin National Historic Site
This is the home of the original hot springs in Banff. Originally discovered in 1874, the Cave and Basin was located in a tavern hidden from plain view. A heated pool was later constructed and opened to the public in 1914 which continued till 1992. After pool was closed an interpretive center was opened and remains open to the public for viewing. Recently the Canadian government has announced plans to upgrade the Interpretive Center.
6. Tunnel Mountain Hiking
Just down the road from Banff you will find a number of hiking trails facing Tunnel Mountain. These trails provide great views of Tunnel Mountain, Vermillion Lakes, Bow River and the Hoodoos. These are very easy trails that are well marked and very accessible for all most everyone.
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