Canada's Banff National Park Vacation
Pristine Lakes of Banff Canada
Lake Louise Ice Poppies
Banff National Park Vacation
Canada’s Banff National Park is located in the Western half of Canada. This 2,564 square mile national park located on the border of Alberta and British Columbia is home to some of the most beautiful Rocky Mountain vistas and clear cold deep lakes.
Banff National Park is easily accessible and offers extensive holiday and vacation excursions whether you are interested in outdoor excursions or indoor pampering. We visited Banff during the summer season.
Banff is easily accessible. Even though there is an excellent road system in and out of Banff you will be entering an extensive wildlife endowed as well as untouched wilderness area.
As we drove in the Banff National Park we were treated to multiple views of bears, elk, moose, and various mountain goats. During the stops there were many sightings of beautiful birds as well. The fields were also awash with wild flowers.
Calgary Dining Experience
Calgary Olympic Park
The City of Calgary in Alberta Canada
The town of Calgary is 2.5 hours from Banff and offers some excellent tourism opportunities. We found excellent dining, wonderful hotels, museums, and an extensive mass transit system that augments the enclosed walkways through-out the town.
The Glenbow Museum is one such excellent attraction. The Glenbow offers an excellent mixture of authentic pieces from the history of Canada intermingled with excellent audio visual exhibits. It is well worth the visit.
A visit to the site of the Calgary Olympic Park, the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics, is a must. When we visited there were Mountain Biking events going on and it was fun to sit in the massive floor to ceiling windowed dining area and watch all those daredevils performing on the large dirt jump park just outside. While the young adults were the most accomplished, we especially liked watching the young kids as they learned how to dirt bike too!
We had a wonderful meal at a modern Indian Restaurant. We also were introduced to a dish called Poutine. Poutine is basically French fries with gravy and cheese ladled on it. Whereas, your restaurant table setting comes with salsa fresca here in the Southwest, it comes with a large bottle of ketchup in most of the Western part of Canada!
We also visited the very famous coffee and donut shop, Tim Hortons. At least two mornings we waited in line at Tim Hortons with the locals for a breakfast of the famous Tim Horton coffee and a sweet roll or breakfast sandwich. Then we would take the mass transit to the downtown area. The mass transit in Calgary is very easy to master.
This stop was over and we were on our way to Banff.
Town of Banff
The town of Banff offers some spectacular views, shopping, camera stores, and excellent restaurants. It is a great place to spend the afternoon or linger for longer in one of the hotels or resorts.
We shopped for souvenirs, had a nice lunch, and found a great camera shop as I needed some more storage space for all the digital pictures that I took! This whole trip was turning out to be a picture post card!
Then it was onward to the Columbia Ice Fields.
Glacier from Afar
On the Glacier
Columbia Ice Field
Just 2.5 hours from Banff, straddling Jasper National Park and Banff National Park is the Columbia Ice Field. This remarkable location allows you to visit a great museum as well as have a long view of the ice field and then take an excursion where you walk on the ice field and possibly even have a sip of the water that is melting off the glacier!
These are pictures taken on the Athabasca Glacier. The Athabasca Glacier is the remaining part of the thick ice mantle that covered most of the mountains in Western Canada.
The Athabasca Glacier is creeping forward several centimeters a day. The glacier is shrinking due to the climate change and is revealing a rocky moon scape looking ground as it shrinks.
The tourist is warned to NOT walk unescorted on the Athabasca Glacier (or any such glaciers in the parks) as there are crevasses (deep hidden fissures) where people have fallen into and died.
The only bad part of this trip was that I only lasted two weeks!