5 Banff Actvities with Brad White

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010

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Banff National Park is full of great Canadian Rockies outdoors activities. So many that you may have trouble deciding exactly what to do with your vacation days. We talked to Parks Canada’s Brad White to get the low down on some of his favorite Banff activities, to help give you some ideas.

White-water rafting is one of the top Canadian Rockies activities.

White was born and Banff, and has lived here for 50 years. He’s worked for Parks Canada for about 28 of those, and is currently a Mountain Safety Program Specialist, doing Mountain Rescue and Avalanche forecasting and control. That’s what we’d call a Rockies insider.

1. Whitewater Rafting: The Canadian Rockies are well known for their awesome whitewater rafting, and White is certainly a fan. “The kicking horse river is a super rafting river” he says. “On a sunny day that can be a wonderful trip on the summer.” You’ll find plenty of Banff rafting guides to help you get on the Kicking Horse.

2. Scrambling: If you’ve never done any scrambling, but love hiking and backpacking, you’re missing out. Scrambling is sort of like beginners level climbing. Ropes aren’t required, but you’ll be moving more vertically than if you were just walking. Usually it’ll take you to the top of a peak for some great views. “I love scrambling,” says White. “The great thing in the Rockies, there’s literally hundreds and hundreds of peaks that you can walk to the top of with only a ski pole.” White suggests picking up a copy of Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies by Alan Kane if you’re interested in giving it a try.

3. Banff Gondola: “If you’re interested in sight seeing, a trip to the top of Sulphur Mountain on the gondola is something you shouldn’t miss,” White says. Lots of people mention the Banff Gondola as a must-see on a Banff vacation. That’s because it’s the perfect way to get some of the best views of the park and the town for people of all hiking abilities.

4. Hot Springs: “Seems like most people that come to the Canadian Rockies want to take a soak in hot springs,” says White. That’s not surprising, considering that if you’re hiking, backpacking, mountain biking or rafting, you’re likely to be a little sore at the end of the day. White recommends several Canadian Rockies hot springs, including Invermere, Radium Hot Springs and Banff Hot Springs.

5. Wildlife Watching: If you’re coming to the Canadian Rockies on your vacation, you’re probably hoping to see some of the area’s famous wildlife. “Between banff and jasper there’s super opportunities to view, goats, grizzly bears, elk, deer,” White says. “You kind of have to get up early in the morning and be prepared. Probably the best time to see bears is to come in the spring. Drive the Bow Valley Parkway, and the Banff-Jasper Highway early in the morning or late at night, you’re likely to see a bear.”

Well, there you go, a couple activity ideas for the Canadian Rockies to get you started. Check out more Rockies Insider Guides here.

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