Banff to Louis Lake – Alberta, Canada

By John Crawford
Senior Writer/Jasper National Park

ALBERTA, CANADA – Starting your drive in Banff, you’ll want to take in all this world-renowned alpine town has to offer, from memorable hotels and restaurants to art galleries, museums and active outdoor pursuits of every kind. Points of interest include Banff, Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff Gondola, Tunnel Mountain Campground, Vermillion Lakes and Castle Mountain.

Town of Banff
A town rich in history, with world-class art galleries and museums, and an internationally renowned performance art centre. Banff welcomes nearly 4 million visitors a year, with activities ranging from hiking to golf in the summer and from skiing to dog sledding in the winter. Main street buzzes year-round with shops, restaurants and a lively social scene.

Fairmont Banff Springs
The legendary “Castle in the Wilderness” and the most visited landmark in Banff. The shining jewel in a chain of luxurious resort hotels on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, the Banff Springs, which opened in 1888, is part French chateau and part Scottish baronial castle. Over the years, its guest list has been filled with royalty, dignitaries and Hollywood celebrities.

Banff Gondola
Only 5 minutes from the town of Banff, the gondola rises to an elevation of 2,281 metres (7,486 feet) in just 8 minutes on the shoulder of Sulphur Mountain. At the top, you get a sweeping 360-degree view from the upper gondola terminal, with a summit restaurant providing a rooftop observation area. View decks and a summit ridge interpretive boardwalk give you one of the most unforgettable views in all of Canada, with short hikes to the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site, and the famous Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.

Tunnel Mountain Campground
Just 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles) from downtown Banff, this large campground offers a wide-angle view of the valley and hoodoos. With more than 1,000 sites, Tunnel Mountain includes 188 year-round sites with power as well as 321 full-service seasonal sites for trailers and motorhomes.

Vermillion Lakes
One of the oldest known sites of human occupation in Canada (radiocarbon dated to 10,800 years). One of the best and most popular photo opportunities in the Rockies features Mount Rundle reflected in the waters of Vermillion Lakes. 6. Castle Mountain Named by James Hector in 1858, from his expedition notes that described “a most remarkable mountain, which looks exactly like a giant castle.” Castle Mountain stretches along a ridge for nearly 16 kilometres.

Castle Mountain
Named by James Hector in 1858, from his expedition notes that described “a most remarkable mountain, which looks exactly like a giant castle.” Castle Mountain stretches along a ridge for nearly 16 kilometres.

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