Proudly Presents Another

   Great Canadian Rockies  Pilgrimage

April 17or18 to 24 or 25, 2020

(The Spring School Vacation Week)

(The Spring School Vacation Week)

The Town of Banff, Alberta, Canada

The town of Banff is a spirited place, alive with adventure and wonder. In all directions you’re surrounded by strikingly beautiful and rugged mountains that seem to burst straight out of the ground. You might see a herd of deer wandering down the main street during your early morning jog. The lively streets of downtown are lined with top-class restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as a vibrant range of art galleries and museums. The locals are warm, open, and genuinely connected to the inspiring environment in which they live. The town of Banff offers you endless options for rejuvenation and exploration every day. 

 

Nestled high in the Canadian Rockies, the town of Banff is located within the Banff National Park. Once “Siding 29” on the Canadian Pacific Railway, the town of Banff was intended to be a tourist town from its very inception. The park’s first superintendent, George Stewart, even oriented the town’s first street so that it offered the best possible view of Cascade Mountain.

Banff was incorporated as a municipality in 1990 and has a population of around 8,000 permanent residents. The town site covers 3.93 square kilometres (1.52 square miles) and is at an elevation of 1,383 metres (4,537 feet), making it the highest town in Canada. Banff is flanked on all sides by towering mountains, including Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay, and Cascade Mountain.

 

THINGS TO DO
The list of things to do in Banff is amazingly diverse. No matter the season, there is a wide range of activities for people of all ages, abilities and interests. Hike the 4.3-kilometre (2.6-mile) trail up Tunnel Mountain to get a loftier perspective of the town and valley; enjoy brunch on a sunny outdoor terrace; or learn more about the history and culture of the area. 

EVENTS
There are inspiring and fun events happening all year round in Banff. The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, SnowDays, Banff Marathon, and Banff Yoga Festival are just a few of the events you will want to take part in while you are here. Have a look at the events calendar to check what's on when you are in town.

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE
Terraces fill year-round in Banff (a signature of the best alpine towns)... when locals and visitors emerge like marmots to soak up the sun at every opportunity.– Crai Bower, SF Gate

Whether it’s time to refuel before your next exploit, or you are looking to make your meal the main event, the town of Banff serves up a variety of dining options, including regionally sourced Rocky Mountain Cuisine, family-friendly fare, and meals for eco-conscious eaters and vegetarians.

Later on in the day there’s a variety of pubs and lounges in Banff where you can relax by the fire and chat with family and friends, or if you still have the energy, visit Banff Avenue for its high energy night spots. Learn more about dining and nightlife here.

SHOPPING
Head to Banff Avenue and Bear Street for an all-out shopping spree, or to just find a few essentials. A variety of shops sell genuine Canadian goods and everything else you can possibly imagine. Pick up a new piece of gear for your adventuring, browse original art at one of the galleries, and don’t forget a souvenir to take home to friends and family. Read more about shopping here.

GETTING AROUND
The Banff town site is small, which means it's easy to get around and accessible for everyone. Walk and cycle the convenient roads and trails that lead to most amenities and attractions, or use Roam, Banff's public transit system. Find out more about how to get around Banff. 

Points of interest
Points of interest

Summer on the Icefields Parkway
Winter on the Icefields Parkway
 

NOTE: Bow Summit and the Peyto Lake trails and viewpoint will be closed for rehabilitation for part of 2019. We invite you to explore some of the many other breathtaking places on the Icefields Parkway.

Looking for a view from the edge? Check out these roadside attractions:

Herbert Lake A photographer’s favourite. The still waters of Herbert Lake provide a perfect panoramic reflection of the stunning Main Range peaks, including Mount Temple. The picnic area provides an ideal place for a picnic stop. Google Street View
 
Crowfoot Glacier When this glacier was named a century ago, it looked like a three-toed crowsfoot. Since then, one toe has melted, and the middle toe is slowly disappearing. Google Street View
 
Athabasca Glacier A magical area that can be seen from the road, explored with a commercial guide or visited on a special bus tour. Do not walk on the glacier; crevasses and other hazards can be deadly. Google Street View
 
Need to stretch your legs? Try one of these short strolls:

Bow Lake and Bow Glacier The source of the Bow River, Bow Lake is one of the more scenic and accessible lakes for fishing. Google Street View
 
Bow Summit and Peyto Lake (Closed for part of 2019.) A short uphill walk from the parking area leads to a view of the glacial-fed, brilliantly turquoise Peyto Lake. Google Street View
 
Sunwapta Falls A torrent of plunging water not far from the highway, Sunwapta Falls are just one of the many waterfalls in Jasper created by hanging valleys. Google Street View
 
Athabasca Falls Feel the spray of the Athabasca River as it thunders into the canyon below. Stay behind railings and on designated trails. The rock beyond is slippery and dangerous. Google Street View
Looking for adventure? Step into the wild with one of these classic day hikes:

Helen Lake 6.0 km one way; 455 m elevation gain; 4 to 5 hr round trip Trailhead: across from Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint. A breathtaking lake in a valley abounding with alpine wildlife and grand vistas.
 
Parker Ridge5.4 km return; 250 m elevation gain/loss; 3 hr round trip Trailhead: 9 km south of the Icefield Centre. After a series of switchbacks you’ll be rewarded with dramatic views of the Saskatchewan Glacier.
 
Wilcox Pass 2.4 km (1 hr) return to first viewpoint, 8 km (2-3 hrs) return to the pass. Trailhead: 3 km south of Icefield Centre at Wilcox Campground. Rise quickly above treeline to the expansive meadows of this glacier-carved landscape.
 
Valley of the Five Lakes 4.5 km loop; 66 m elevation gain/loss; 2 hours Trailhead: 9 km south from Jasper on Highway 93. Five small, brilliantly blue-green lakes are the highlights of this outing, considered a local family favourite.
Looking for backcountry information? Refer to Jasper National Park Backountry camping or Banff National Park Backcountry camping

Time for lunch? Visit a scenic picnic site:

Bow Lake Enjoy your lunch at one of the most breathtaking lakes in the Rockies. A vibrant blue colour set against a magnificent mountain backdrop.
 
Coleman Creek Sit next to the edge of the water and listen to the relaxing gurgle of the river. Look for mountain goats on the cliffs.

Banff is a resort town in the province of Alberta, located within Banff National Park. The peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, part of the Rocky Mountains, dominate its skyline. On Banff Avenue, the main thoroughfare, boutiques and restaurants mix with château-style hotels and souvenir shops. The surrounding 6,500 square kilometres of parkland are home to wildlife including elk and grizzly bears.

HISTORY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

I do not suppose, in any part of the world there can be found a spot, taken all together, which combines so many attractions…(Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada, House of Commons Debates, 1887)

For centuries, aboriginal peoples have lived in the foothills and forests of the Rocky Mountains, hunting bison and other big game animals, fishing, and trapping. The area that is now Banff National Park was also a sacred place where medicines were gathered and healing sought in the natural hot springs. 

After initial contact with Europeans in the 17th century, aboriginal people started trading furs, hides and fresh meat with European settlers and explorers in the 18th century. With intimate knowledge of the rugged terrain, they were also invaluable guides to traders, explorers, railway and government surveyors, and missionaries.  

Soon after the establishment of the Banff National Park, a policy developed of excluding aboriginal peoples from national parks and prohibiting traditional hunting and gathering. This policy has been reversed over the past 50 years. Parks Canada has sought to build stronger relationships with aboriginal peoples to ensure more holistic stewardship of the land and celebrate traditional aboriginal values.