Hiking/Trails, Banff National Park

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Banff National Park

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    Lake Agnes Teahouse

    by Hermanater Updated Aug 9, 2006

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    Teahouse at Lake Agnes from the Big Beehive
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    Lake Agnes Teahouse was built in 1901 by the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was rebuilt in 1981 and serves soup, sandwiches, drinks and cake to hiker. This tearoom has the distinction of being the highest situated tearoom in Canada. The trail to the teahouse is considered a moderate trail. It consists of a steady climb all the way to the top.

    There are various routes to take to complete this trail. I will try to describe the trail I took.
    The trail to Lake Agnes is very popular and you will be with many people. Do not let this discourage you. The sights on this trail are worth it.

    The trail head (Elev. 1731 m) is located 0.5 km from the Chateau along the shore side trail. The trail is broad and well maintained. The trail follows a steady incline for 2.6 km to Mirror Lake (Elev. 2027 m). Just before Mirror Lake you will come across a wooden barrier/gate. At this junction, go to your left about 100 meters to Mirror Lake. From here on you may encounter horses and what they leave behind….

    Behind Mirror Lake is the Big Beehive. From here you can go left and find a junction to the highline trail and the Lake Agnes Teahouse, or you can go right and head to the Little Beehive, Mount St. Piran or the Teahouse.

    Going to the right for about 0.4 km you will find a junction. The right will take you to the Little Beehive (Elev. 2210 m and Mount St. Piran (Elev. 2650 m). To the left you will see a waterfall and the Teahouse. Go to the left for about 0.4 km to the stairs at the waterfall which will lead you to the teahouse (Elev. 2134 m).

    404 meter rise in 3.9 KM

    There are many side trips from here. Little Beehive, Mount St Piran, Big Beehive, Devil's Thumb.
    I will describe these in other tips, (As I hike them)

    The pictures were taken when there was a lot of smoke from a forest fire in the air. The pictures do not do the view justice :-(

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    Stewart Canyon

    by Hermanater Written May 25, 2007

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    Stewert Canyon...love the color of the water
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    This trail goes along Lake Minnewanka. After crossing the bridge the trail goes left to a junction. The right trail follows the Lake shoreline. Go left here. On your left as you walk along the top of the canyon is the river. The most amazing thing about this river is the color and clarity. Amazing blue color. The trail slowly fades away. If you keep going, you eventually end up at the creek.. A good place to relax and get wet.

    I would guess the whole length would be about 5 - 6 km return.

    Easy trail for kids.

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    Big Beehive (From the Lake Agnes Teahouse)

    by Hermanater Written Aug 9, 2006

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    The Big Beehive
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    This is a continuation of my tip on Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail.

    From here on you will encounter fewer people since most have the teahouse as their final destination.

    Once you arrive at the teahouse and rest, you can continue on to Devil’s Thumb or the Big Beehive.

    Follow the trail around the north side of the lake. You will end up at a step switchback that takes you to the saddle between Devil’s Thumb (Elev 2458 m) and the Big Beehive (Elev. 2270 M). This trail and switchback is approximately 1.1 km.

    The unmarked trail to the right goes up around the back side of the Devil’s Thumb. The trail is 0.7 km long and involves some sections of scree. The view is supposed to be magnificent.

    To the left is the Big Beehive. There is no real trail to the hut at the top but after 0.6 km you will find it.

    From the Big Beehive/Devil’s Thumb junction, head down the south side of the saddle (the side away from Lake Agnes). The trail goes down some switchbacks and is narrow and tougher to navigate. This part of the trail is not as well maintained as the first part going to the teahouse. At the 0.9 km mark you will encounter the Highland / Mirror Lake junction. The right trail leads to the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail. Going left for about 1 km, you end up at Mirror Lake.

    From here it is about 3.1 km back to the Chateau.

    Unfortunately there was a lot of smoke in the air when the attached photos were taken.

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    Larch Valley

    by Hermanater Written Aug 30, 2007

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    Larch Valley
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    This is a hike that starts at Moraine Lake and is considered among one of the most scenic trails in Banff National Park. The valley is accessed through a series of switchbacks that lead 3km to the upper valley and the Minnestimma Lakes. Minnestimma is an Indian word for "sleeping Water". There is a trail leading to Eifffel Lake from here. The trees in the fall turn a bright golden color. To the left is the valley of ten peaks containing Eiffel Lake and Wenkchemna Pass. At the end of the trail you are 520 meters above Moraine Lake.

    The valley is frequented by bears so bear safety should be considered.

    Return is approx. 11 km and 520 m elevation gain.

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    Fenland trail

    by Redlats Updated Aug 23, 2006

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    Hiking the Fenland trail

    This 2 km trail is a flat loop through a wetland (or fen). It is a nice trail to try on a hot day as you are walking on a spongy floor through a forest of spruce trees listening to the sounds of the creek which follows most of the trail. Remember horsetails you might have played with as a kid? On this trail you will find enough to make as long a tail as you wish.

    You can hear birds throughout the walk, and according to the plaques, there might be kingfishers nearby. We appreciated the quiet walk - and you could easily walk from Banff townsite to the trailhead.

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    Hiking trails - Tunnel mountain

    by Redlats Written Aug 4, 2004

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    Tunnel Mountain hike (where the road crosses it)

    We tend to shy away from the walk through all the tourist stores down the main street of Banff. Instead, we search out various hikes that we can accomplish even when we are past our prime.

    One hike we have gone on many times is the climb to the top of Tunnel mountain - just in the back yard of the town of Banff.

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    Lake Minnewanka

    by Hermanater Written May 25, 2007

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    There's nothing mini about Lake Minnewanka. It's a magnificent 22-km long, fiord-like lake. Maxiwanka is more like it. And clinging to the lake's north shore is a trail providing maximal scenery for minimal effort. views up and down the lake are excellent. Also visible are the shriekingly steep cliffs of Mt. Inglismaldie, above the south shore.

    Minnewanka is a Stoney Indian name meaning "Water of the Spirits." According to legend, the lake is haunted by fish-people. Aboriginal artifacts discovered here suggest human habitation 11,000 years ago. The original, much smaller body of water was dammed to create the reservoir we see today. It's the only hydroelectric power source in a Canadian national park. Despite its v ast surface area, the lake is only 97m deep.

    This was taken from the Calgary Outdoor Club Website (http://www.calgaryoutdoorclub.com/)

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    Take a Hike!

    by windsorgirl Written Jul 13, 2004

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    Mirror Lake, Banff NP

    There is no better way to get close to nature and to avoid the hustle and bustle of tourist activity than to lace up your hiking boots and head for the hills!

    There are over 1600kms of hiking trails in Banff National Park passing through unforgettable mountain scenery. The hikes are of varying lengths and difficulty so you should be able to find one that suits your fitness level.

    I have included info on the hikes that I have done under Sports Travel Tips.

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    Sentinel Pass

    by Hermanater Written Aug 30, 2007

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    View of Paradise Valley
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    The trail to Sentinel Pass starts off as the trail through Larch Valley. (see my Larch Valley tip).
    The total trail is 11.6 km and 724 meter elevation gain. The top of the pass offers a top view of Larch valley and a view of Paradise Valley on the other side.

    This was a tough hike for anyone that has not hiked much. From the top of Larch valey, you go around a lake then it is just switchbacks to the top. There are rock formations that standout like sentries....hence the name Sentinel Pass.

    Amazing hike.

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    Hiking to Lake Agnes

    by chewy3326 Written Nov 24, 2005

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    Lake Agnes

    Lake Agnes is one of the best day hikes around Lake Louise. Though it may be a little steep (anyone in relatively OK physical condition can do it), the rewards are ample, from views of LAke Louise, to the Beehives and of course, beautiful Lake Agnes. I believe (I'm not too sure, I did this hike four years ago) that it's 7 km round trip, though it may be 3.5. From Lake Louise, the trail climbs upward immediately. One thing everyone will notice is the large prescence of horse dung, littered along the entire trail. While on the way up, you'll get views of Lake Louise's turquoise waters and the giant massives of Little Beehive and Big Beehive. Towards the end of the trail, near Lake Agnes, you'll reach a waterfall, and then finally the teahouse at the lake. The lake itself is very beautiful, tucked beneath towering glaciated peaks. If I were to do this hike again, I would climb up the Beehives, for better views; it's what I should've done at first.

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    Cave and Basin Centennial Centre (town of Banff)

    by sunnywong Written Feb 25, 2003

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    The Cave and Basin Centennial Centre is built around two hot springs. Visitors can walk through a tunnel to discover the hot spring in the cave and travel back to Edwardian times by strolling around the Basin hot springs and bathhouse. At the centre, which is the birthplace of Banff National Park, there are also year-round exhibits, films, and interpretive trails.

    The 0.4 km Discovery Trail is a boardwalk built on the hillside above the Cave and Basin Centennial Centre. It takes you past the vent (the opening in the roof of the Cave) and to a spring flowing out of the hillside. Signs explain the geology and human history of the Cave and Basin. Benches along the trail allow you to relax and enjoy the views.

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    The Hoodoos

    by Camping_Girl Written Nov 17, 2008

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    The hoodoos are an interesting geologic formation created by thousands of years of erosion. The wind over the years has worn away the softer rock layers, leaving behind uniquely shaped spires of harder rock. Hoodoos can have different coloured layers in them, depending on what rock is exposed by the erosional effects of the wind.

    There is a hiking trail in Banff along Tunnel Mountain Road where you can easily view the hoodoos in the valley. The trail is moderate and roughly a one mile return trip.

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    Hike to the top of Little Beehive

    by BLewJay Written Nov 24, 2004

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    Whether you hike, cross-country ski or snowshoe, hundreds of kilometers (or miles) of trails (from easy to challenging) lead into the spectacular mountain scenery called Banff National Park.

    One of these hikes leads you up to the top of Little Beehive Mountain (the trailhead starts at Chateau Lake Louise).

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    Bankhead

    by Camping_Girl Written Oct 21, 2008

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    Old house foundations
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    Bankhead used to be a coal mine & mining town, but it is now a ghost town. The mine closed in the early 1930's. Upper Bankhead is the site of the original mine and the townsite. Most of the houses were moved into Banff and those that weren't were torn down. All that remains of the town is a few foundations. If you follow the old fire burn trail a short distance from the picnic area you can see a huge tailings pile, from the original mine.

    Lower Bankhead is the site of the second mine site. What remains here is a few foundations and some mining artifacts. The site is accessed by a hiking trail that makes a loop through the area. This area is not wheelchair accessible.

    Upper Bankhead site is marked by a road sign. Lower Bankhead is a short distance before you get to Upper Bankhead, look for an unmarked paved parking lot on the right (east) side of the road.

    There is no admission to tour either area.

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    Sundance Canyon

    by Hermanater Written Sep 17, 2007

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    Sundance Canyon
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    The trail starts at the Cave and Basin National Monument. The trail is a paved roadway for the first 4 km. You will share the road with cyclists, rollerbladers, horses and the occasional parks vehicle. You will pass swamps and marshes along the way. At the 4 km mark there are picnic tables, washroom and a bike lock up. The trail to Sundance Canyon starts at this point. There is a "real" trail to the left. It goes over a bride and up the side of the canyon. This is very scenic. The trail here forms a 2 km loop. There is one very nice scenic stop at the peak.

    This is a nice trail for families. The complete trail is about 10 km and 165 meter elevation gain.

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