Banff National Park

Lake Louise

Of all the places I have been over the many years, there’s a lot of images that remain in my mind of beautiful settings.

But I cannot name a place other than Lake Louise that has so much beauty in such a compact area.

The lake is only 2 km long and 1/2 km wide. When the sun is out, the water is turquoise, fed by Victoria Glacier in the back as it grinds rock to a fine powder. .

My nephew decided to get married last year, and he and his fiance had been fervently planning this “destination wedding” for almost a year.

Although being a guy, I suspect that it was mostly his now-wife who did most of the planning 😉

Apparently these “destination weddings” are the in-thing, now. You would sure know who your friends are by willing to fly sometimes halfway around the world to attend a wedding!

This was my 3rd time in visiting the area.

Back in the mid 60s, my family went on an overnight train from Vancouver to Banff, which even now I remember as a spectacular trip. I think they are still offering those. They go through some spectacular areas of British Columbia and Alberta.

Then in 2005, with some fellow driving friends we decided to take a trip across eastern Washington, cross the border at Republic (a small gold rush town), then take the back roads through Alberta and British Columbia.

That too was a memorable trip.

Incidentally, a bit of area trivia:

The province of Alberta was named after one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, Louise Caroline Alberta.

While I do remember that the Union Pacific Railroad, in an effort to boost its passenger traffic out west, built Sun Valley ID, I wasn’t aware of all the hotels that the Canadian Pacific Railroad built to boost its traffic.

And these weren’t just run-of-the-mill hotels, but Grand Hotels – and they remain so to this day. The hotel where we stayed at Lake Louise, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, was also originally part of the CPRR chain. I can remember the first time I was there, circa 1965, it was half the size that it is now, and it was confirmed to me when I was there.

I was there 3 nights, and have to say, while the Fairmont is normally way above my spending comfort zone, they pamper you.

You only live once.

And this is one of a handful of hotels I’ve had that had a view not of a parking lot or a highway!


Lake Louise, as viewed from my hotel room

Although it has been decades since I have been to Jackson Hole, WY and the Grand Tetons, I remember how majestic these were. The Canadian Rockies are at least as impressive if not more so.

Once I left Calgary on the Trans Canada Highway, within 50 miles or so, this is a sample of what I saw…

Banff National Park 1

Banff National Park 2

A bit of trivia for the Trans Canada Highway: It is apparently the longest paved highway  (7,821 km or 4,860 mi) in the world. It’d be fun to drive some day…

Banff National Park 3

Once I learned that it was a $1200 fine if they catch you using your smart phone while driving, these pictures stopped 😉

Banff National Park 6

A serene canoe ride…

The canoe ride had its moments 😉

Banff National Park 5

An overall view after a short hike

If you want to see this area, I recommend going in October. The hotels are going to off season rates, all of the summer crowds are gone. The middle of October is really the sweet spot. They put the canoes away on the 15th or 16th.

It’s a beautiful area.

If you have the time (which at 3 days, I didn’t), the road to Jasper – about 150 miles – is also spectacular. You pass some glaciers, which you can visit.

Banff, about 40 miles back towards Calgary, is also beautiful…


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One response to “Banff National Park

  1. Pingback: People Acting Stupidly? | The Lexicans

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