Winter Activities: Banff snowshoe trail explores history of Canadian Rockies

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Monday, February 15th, 2010

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Strap on a pair of snowshoes and take our tour to the Painted Pots for a unique vacation experience in Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies.

BANFF, Alberta – When winter hits the Canadian Rockies, and the snow covers all the eye can see, it’s time to break out the snowshoes.

If you haven’t been snowshoeing up here in Banff, we have a tour that we think will get you hooked. It’s a marvelous adventure for a winter vacation, one you’re sure to remember for a long time.

On this tour, a guide will lead you to the Paint Pots, a great introduction to the history of the fur trade that was so important to development in this corner of the world. The guide will regale you with stories of the traders as he leads you along the snow.

You’ll pick up an easy trail that leads through the Vermilion River Valley to the Paint Pots. The terrain is mostly flat, and as you go along you’ll get to search for tracks of the snowshoe hare, moose, and wolf.

There are plenty of other things to see along the way, as well. Fairly early in the tour, you’ll cross a river via a suspension bridge. You’ll get a look at the destruction caused by the Tokumn Creek Fire of 2003, a blaze that threatened Banff itself. You’ll also see the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket Jacket, which was traded between one of the largest fur trading companies and natives of the area. And you’ll even get to try to trap one of the guides with one of the snares used by fur traders.

Plus, the Paint Pots themselves are well worth the visit. The mineral deposits have often been used by native peoples for pigment in rock painting.

You’ll be provided hiking boots and a pole, but be sure to dress warmly. We strongly recommend ski wear for this trip.

And we have a special treat for you. When you get near the Paint Pots, we’ll treat you to hot maple taffy!

Other tours take you on trails around Lake Louise, Jasper National Park and Canmore.

For more information, call 1-877-565-9372.

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