Thursday, October 13, 2016

Western Canada Diaries - 7. Bow Falls and Vermilion Lakes

[ Continued from Part 6 - Lake Minnewanka Cruise  ]

One of the convenient factors about exploring Banff National Park is that most of the popular tourist attractions are located along Trans-Canada Highway 1.

The trip to Banff Gondola and the Lake Minnewanka Cruise can take up to a whole day. We therefore rested for the evening (and this is why you must book hotels in Banff ahead of time - they can get very expensive during the peak season). The plan for the following day was to complete as many attractions as possible before heading to the Columbia Ice fields.

The next morning the weather took a turn for the worse, and unluckily on and off rain was forecast throughout the day. Still, we were there for a holiday, so we had to make the best out of it. The good thing about a mountain destination is that the weather can change quickly, and often. So we took advantage of periods of sunshine to take some nice pictures and travel on the road when it was raining. Somehow, it mostly worked out!

If you look at the map above, you will see Bow River winding and twisting its way through the park. Close to the Banff Gondola was a place where the river went through a small water fall. This is known as Bow Falls.

The river continues onto Bow Lake.

The lakes of Banff National Park remain some of its biggest attractions. The beautiful clean water complimented by a majestic mountain background makes for nice breathtaking views. Pictures never do justice to the amazing beauty that is nature at its most pristine.

You can canoe (or raft) through the Bow River (this is downstream of the waterfall, so you don't go over the falls). Like almost all lakes in the park, motor (or power) boating is banned, so there is no fuel pollution. All boating is manual.

Along the Bow Falls, there is a pathway (note: it's not accessible for strollers as there are stairs) that you can take for a hike. It's an easy hike and we did it even with kids in tow. It leads to more scenic viewpoints, and you can see the grand Fairmont hotel (it looks like a castle).

The viewpoint is actually called Surprise Corner, as from here you can see the Bow River, the Bow Falls as well as the Fairmont hotel (called the Banff Springs Hotel).

This is also the lookout point if you want to do a panoramic shot of both Bow Lake and the Bow Falls.

Around 5 minutes north of the town of Banff (and Bow Lake) is Vermilion Lakes drive, which is a small road off the highway that goes past the Vermilion Lakes. As we were enjoying the view (and just before taking the pictures!) it started to rain. Hurried we scrambled to the car, so most of the pictures we have of this wonderful sight is dotted with rain.

I am also including a picture from the park's official website describing the Vermilion Lakes.

This shows Mount Rundle in the sunrise.

Overall Bow Falls, Bow Lake and Vermilion Lakes should take around a couple of hours. You can of course spend as much (or less) time as you need. Choose a clear day (if feasible) and go as early in the day as you can for the best photographs. An attraction in Banff not to be missed.


nadia said...

Subhan'Allah! I'm in awe with the scenic beauty of the place!

Salma - The Write Balance said...

So much beauty in Banff. I need to take another trip and taken a closer look!