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Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

Overlooking Banff

Today we are in Banff, AB, Canada, a town located within the borders of Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies.

Back in 1885 the park’s “town” was a stopping place along the brand new Canadian Pacific Railway and used bear the rather unexciting name:  “Siding 29.”

As visitors began discovering the newly established park, services moved closer to the mineral springs, which were the main attraction at the time.

Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

"Animal Crossing"

The new name “Banff” comes from Banffshire, Scotland—the birthplace of one of the major railway financiers.  Today the main attractions in Banff are the hot springs and the great ski areas.

Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

Phil at Johnston Canyon

We stayed at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel—the premier hotel in the area.  It is located at the upper hot springs and was built over a century ago.

We traveled north from Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway.  Throughout the National Parks, the highway is fenced on both sides in order to to keep brown bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, grey wolves, cougars, and other four-legged residents of the park out of traffic.  The only problem is:  how do the animals get across the road?  Well, Canada’s solution is to build bridges OVER the highway, complete with ground cover and trees, so the various critters can cross.

Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

Trail overhanging stream in Johnston Canyon

Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

Upper Falls in Johnston Canyon

We also hiked up Johnston Canyon in the Bow Valley.  This is a STEEP hike of 3 miles round-trip.  It’s fantastic hiking along the cliff sides!  It seems that around every bend there was an even greater view of the river flowing and of the beautiful waterfalls.  There are two major sets of falls here—creatively named the “Lower Falls” and the “Upper Falls.”

Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

View from the Fairmont over Lake Louise

We then continued to Lake Louise, which is probably the most famous site in the Canadian Rockies.  The emerald hues of the water and the glacial backdrop of Lake Louise have wowed visitors since the 1890s.  The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel was built right on the edge of the lake with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.

Bluer than Blue Views in Banff, AB

(Notice the blue water of Lake Moraine behind us)

Near Lake Louise is Moraine Lake.  While Moraine Lake lacks the glacial background, its waters are even more amazing than Lake Louise.  They’re both glacial-fed and have the deepest blue colors I have ever seen. Tomorrow we head up the Icefields Parkway toward Jasper.

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