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A Summer Drive in Banff

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Enjoy a day at your leisure, taking in the sights and sounds of Banff National Park. These areas offer some of our favourite places and hiking trails. Please visit us at the Concierge Desk for recommendations and up to date trail conditions. As you are enjoying this scenic drive, please be cautious when encountering wildlife. Remember to stay at least three bus lengths away. Take it slowly if needed, while enjoying your surroundings!

1. BOW FALLS
Bow Falls is formed by the flow of the Bow River over limestone bedrock between Mount Rundle and Tunnel Mountain. You will also view the confluence of the Bow and Spray Rivers – the reason why the hotel was built at the location you see today.

> From the Bow Falls parking lot, follow Bow Falls Drive back up to turn right on Spray Avenue. Follow Spray Avenue down to the next set of lights and turn left on to Mountain Avenue. Mountain Avenue will lead you to the Upper Hot Springs and Banff Gondola parking lots.

2. THE UPPER HOT SPRINGS
This restored 1930 era bathhouse is the location where visitors step back in time and “take the waters.” Enjoy the outdoor spring-fed hot pool, with spectacular views of Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain and many others. Please see the Concierge Desk for current hours of operation.

3. BANFF GONDOLA
Discover a spectacular view of the Canadian Rockies from on top of the world. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the eight-minute ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Here you will marvel at the panoramic view of Banff National Park and the Bow Valley. Located at the summit you will find an observation area, the Summit Restaurant and a gift shop. Gondolas depart every couple of minutes throughout the day. Please visit the Concierge Desk for hours of operation and ticket information.

> Follow Mountain Avenue back down to Spray Avenue and turn left. Turn right to the cross the bridge and then take your next right on Buffalo Street leading you to Surprise Corner.

4. SURPRISE CORNER
Enjoy the spectacular view and take a photograph of our “Castle in the Rockies from this famous vantage point.

> Continue driving from Surprise Corner as this road will lead you on to Tunnel Mountain Drive.

5. TUNNEL MOUNTAIN DRIVE & THE HOODOOS
Follow Tunnel Mountain Drive and enjoy the viewpoints of the Town of Banff along the way. The Hoodoos offer a brilliant vantage point to enjoy the expanse of the Bow Valley and direct views of Mount Rundle. From the parking lot at the Hoodoos, a short asphalt path climbs gently past a number of viewpoints, making it easy to view these unusual formations.

> Continue on Tunnel Mountain Drive, leading you back down to Banff Avenue. Turn right at Banff Avenue and continue past the highway entrances, following the signs to Lake Minnewanka. Continue straight on the road towards Lake Minnewanka.

6. LOWER BANKHEAD
In the early 1900’s, Bankhead was a bustling, modern community and a thriving industrial centre; producing 200,000 tons of coal annually. Enjoy this 1.1 kilometre interpretive walking trail that leads you through the ruins of this old mining town.

> Continue driving to Lake Minnewanka.

7. LAKE MINNEWANKA
Follow this scenic drive leading you to Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in Banff National Park. Take in the rugged mountain scenery with towering peaks rising from the water’s edge. On foot as you enter the picnic area, there is a picturesque and easily accessible walking trail leading you to Stewart Canyon within 25 minutes. Not to be forgotten is the scenic boat tours leaving on the hour from the docks. Learn the history of this area and why it holds
a spiritual significance to Banff National Park. Please visit the Concierge Desk for further information and reservations on the Boat Cruises and Charter Fishing Trips that are available at the Lake.
Continuing on the loop drive from Lake Minnewanka, you will drive past Two Jack Lake and often view bighorn sheep on the road between the two lakes. The picnic area at Two Jack Lake, offers one of the most scenic places to stop for a packed lunch or snack.

> Continue on the same road, to take a left turn leading to Johnson Lake.

8. JOHNSON LAKE
Johnson Lake offers a small beach and water temperatures that warm up enough for a refreshing dip. This lake is the “local’s” swimming and fishing hot spot. The 3.5 kilometre walking trail around the lake, provides diverse vegetation and incredible views of Cascade Mountain. Picnic tables are available by the lakeshore.

> Return back to the main road and turn left, continuing until you reach the entrance on to Highway 1, traveling west. Take the next Banff entrance with the sign indicating Mount Norquay. Turn right to lead up the road to Mount Norquay.

9. MOUNT NORQUAY ROAD
This road leading up to the base of another local favourite, offers some of the best views of the Town of Banff. While these breathtaking views are available from the lookout points on the road, it is best to keep your eyes out for wildlife. Animals such as bighorn sheep, wolves, deer, elk and bears have been spotted along the sides and crossing the road.

> From Mount Norquay Road, turn right at Vermilion Lakes Road, just past the highway entrances.

10. VERMILION LAKES
This scenic drive is 4.5 km. in length passing by the three shallow Vermilion Lakes and one of the best wetland environments in the Bow Valley. More than 200 species of birds make their summer home by these lakes. Expansive views past the lakes to Mount Rundle make this a popular place for photographers.

> When exiting Vermilion Lakes Road, turn right back onto Mount Norquay Road. Take your very next right into the Fenland Trail parking lot.

11. FENLAND TRAIL
This 2 kilometre walk through the woods leads you through an interesting landscape that is slowly changing from marsh to forest. Enjoy the self- guided brochure, available at the start of the trail, offering you little known tidbits on the natural history, flora and fauna found in the area.

> From the Fenland Trail, turn right following Mount Norquay Road, leading on to Lynx Street. As you continue on Lynx Street, turn right at Wolf Street and take your next left on to Bow Avenue.

12. BOW AVENUE
Enjoy this scenic drive alongside the Bow River to return to the Bow River Bridge. If you have time, stroll the Riverside Trail past interpretive signs and designated Heritage homes. There are many benches along the way to sit and enjoy the views!