Banff Summer Activities: Hike the trails in the heart of the Canadian Rockies

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010

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If you’re looking for dramatic, stunningly beautiful scenery, the Canadian Rockies are the place for you. Many who vacation in the mountains come simply for the sights, and it’s understandable. Of course, Banff National Park and its surroundings are huge, but there are many full- and half-day tours available to help you get to all of the highlights. Here are some of them:

– THE GLACIER TRAIL: A full-day tour (it takes approximately 9 hours) that takes you to some of the Rockies’ most celebrated locations: its wealth of glaciers. You start at Lake Louise (itself a destination to behold, and an easy place to spend your entire vacation!) before embarking on the famous and spectacular Icefields Parkway. Tour guides will regale you with tales of early pioneers of the Banff National Park area as you wander among the many glaciers to be found along the highway. The tour includes an alpine picnic lunch and then a trip to the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefields Centre. You even have the option of climbing aboard an Ice Explorer and venturing out onto the glacier!

– LAKE LOUISE AND MORAINE LAKE: Welcome to the “Jewel of the Canadian Rockies,” Lake Louise, and its sister, Moraine Lake. Lake Louise is one of the highlights of Jasper National Park,

Take a hike along the shores of Lake Louise, one of the Canadian Rockies' most popular and beautiful destinations, and vistas like this will await you. Trails abound in Banff National Park and its environs, and all of them will enchant you.

the northern sibling to Banff National Park, and one of the Rockies’ most popular
destinations. And Moraine Lake is equally enchanting, if not quite as well-known. You’ll fall in love with the lake’s emerald-green waters and the stunning backdrop of the mountains that surround it. You’ll get to walk the shorelines of both lakes, and the 4-hour duration will give you plenty of time to take pictures and learn about the history of mountaineering in the area. The tour culminates in a short walk to a point in the Valley of the Ten Peaks that overlooks Moraine Lake. The entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

– DISCOVER BANFF AND ITS WILDLIFE: If you’ve come to the Canadian Rockies to see wildlife, this tour of Banff National Park is a must. The tour covers the history and development of Banff and takes you to some of the park’s most historic places. Guides will show you how the Bow Valley was shaped over 11,000 years of human development, and how three railroad workers found the Cave and Basin and changed all of that. And, of course, you’ll find out a lot about animals’ behaviors on the tour – where they live, what they eat, how they adapt as the seasons progress, and more – and we can almost guarantee you’ll see many of them. Other highlights on the tour include the majestic Bow Falls and Lake Minnewanka.

– FULL DAY EXPLORE LAKE LOUISE: Lake Louise is one of the crown jewels of the Canadian Rockies, perhaps the single most famous part of Jasper National Park, and a top draw for a vacation near Banff National Park. Of course you can take a full day to tour the place! You’ll get more than five hours to explore the place at your leisure. A tour guide will give you a history of Lake Louise and highlight landmarks on the drive out and on the return trip; what you do in between is up to you. If you feel like getting out on the water – and on those pristine waters, the temptation is hard to resist – then you can rent a canoe. If you feel like taking a stroll, the walk up to the Lake Agnes Tea House is particularly enchanting. Or, if you feel like having a nice, lazy day, there’s a lot of shoreline available for lounging. And the shopping arcade in Chateau Lake Louise is bound to have the perfect souvenir or memento.

Canadian Rockies Activities, Columbia Icefields

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