Lakes /Mountains /Glaciers / Waterfalls, Banff National Park
Take on Mt. Indefatigable! Words to describe it include: great excersize, spectacular views and the opportunity to experience all four seasons in just one afternoon! Be sure to dress in layers and waterproof gear is always a good idea. There are official & unofficial trails:
Distance 2.5 km to end of official trail
Height gain 503 m
High point 2225 m
I just returned from Banff. The larches are turning yellow.
But the weather is hard to predict.
September is the most beautiful month
Whereas July and August are the safest months, weatherwise.
See My Rockies Trip Photos
Lake Minnewanka is north of the town of Banff & is accessed by Lake Minnewanka Drive. It is a 10 km drive from the town of Banff. The native Indians used to call this place the "Lake of the Water Spirits".
Once at the lake you can take a hike along the lakeshore trail to Stewart Canyon, about a 30 minute round trip. During the summer boat tours can be taken here. The boat tours are available from mid-May to the first weekend in September. This is also a popular fishing and boating area. Please watch out for divers, if you are boating on your own.
There is actually a town at the bottom of Lake Minnewanka. This area was dammed up in 1912 and again in the 30's. The town is one of the better diving areas in western Canada. Divers must be experienced in cold water diving & also in low visibility areas. Look for the little buoys with red flags along the lake when you are here - they indicate divers are under water in the area.
Two Jack Lake is accessed by Lake Minnewanka Drive. This is a really gorgeous blue lake, with 2 nice campgrounds closeby. There is also a day-use picnic area here. Two Jack Main campground is across the highway from the lake, while Two Jack Lakeside is adjacent to the lake. You will see a lot of divers in this lake as well.
You can spot this mulit tiered waterfall directly off the icefields parkway in Jasper National Park. their are signs that mark the viewpoint and a small parking lot. worth a 5-10 minute stop to have a look.
Nicknamed little niagara because of its resemblance to the famous falls this waterfall actually ranks 3rd in Canada (volume not height) hurling a staggering 250+ cubic meters per second over the 30 meter drop.Located on the Kicking Horse River, you will have to keep a close eye for the sign marking the falls. Heading west to Golden, there is no sign posted. the only sign to be seen is when travelling east to Feild.
Takakkaw Falls is located near the town of Field, BC. Look for the sign just east of Field, on the north side of the highway. (On the way to the falls you will also pass a pull-out where you can view one of the spiral tunnels, if this interests you.)
Tak Falls are one of the largest easily accessible waterfalls in the Rockies. You will have a good view from the road as you approach the falls. Follow the road right into the parking lot, where you can get out and havea good long look. The falls can be seen from the parking lot, or if you want to take a walk, you can follow the paved walkway to get a little closer. If you follow the trail all the way, it will take you right up close and personal with the falls.
The road that leads to Tak Falls has two very tight switchbacks on it, and trailers are not allowed. Very long motorhomes are not recommended (we had a tight fit with our 25 foot unit), although there is a turn-around that is used by tour buses. If you are comfortable backing up your RV, you can maneuver the turn-arounds and make the drive up to the falls. It involves driving into the turn-around, then backing up the mountain road a short distance to the next turn-around, and from there you can go forward again to the falls. You will have to do the same thing coming back down the road, too. If you are pulling a trailer, leave it in Field before you set out for the falls.
Along the Ice Fields Highway there are numerous stops and viewpoints. One of the stops allow for viewing the Bridal Veil Falls. Towing a trailer, we did not have time to stop at the first viewing stop but managed to stop at the second one. The first stop may have allowed for a view of the whole water fall. I am not sure but I believe that you can hike to the bottom.
After a short hike from Lake Minniwaka you come to Stewart Canyon - it was lovely & peaceful standing on the bridge watching the great river as it meandered its was through the canyon it had carved so many years before.
I loved the smaller tourist spots it is here you usually get to meet local families. The name Minneanka comes from the Stoney People meaning "Water of the Spirts"
A beautiful lake with boat tours - boat rentals & great picnic spots.
OK, when we came to this sight, we simply had to pull over into the viewing area and get a few photos! Castle Mountain, although not overly tall at 9390 feet (2860 m), is actually the first mountain of the main Rocky Mountain range that you will encounter when entering from the southeast.
Because it was formed from deposits at the bottom of fluctuating ocean levels over millions of years, Castle Mountain is comprised of various layers of limestones, shales and quartzites. Once the ocean receded and glaciers had a chance to work at these layers, they left a reddish mountain that seems to rise up in steps, with castle-like peaks. In addition to smoothing off the entire mountain, its eastern side (on the right here) was gouged out into a giant amphitheatre.
Flowing in front of this impressive mountain is the Bow River. It's origin is not many miles further up the highway, in the heart of the glacier fed mountains. This river flows through Calgary before it joins the South Saskatchewan River and eventually empties into Hudson Bay, half a continent away, via the Nelson River.
The British mountaineer James Outram probably did the lake its greatest justice in his early description, comparing it to "a tiny bit of sky dropped from the heavens and almost lost in the depths of the sombre firs".
The lake was named by Walter Wilcox for Mrs. Annette Astley, the wife of the Lake Louise chalet manager during the years that Wilcox was climbing and exploring in the area.
Walter Wilcox first explored the valley's limits in 1899. Commented Wilcox:
"We were very much pleased with the place, and Ross [Peacock] suggested that, since the other was called Desolation Valley, we might call this 'Consolation Valley' , a name that seemed quite appropriate."
For those who want to take an easy, half-day stroll (or longer hike) which goes through an alpine forest to a pair of sparkling lakes, see my 'Sports Travel' tip on this area.
This hike is also described in the book, 'Best Hikes Along the Continental Divide' by Falcon Publishing.
This is my favourite mountain in the Canadian Rockies. I don't know why. Many reasons, and no reason at all. I just know I fell in love with its beauty and majesty when I first laid eyes on it at the age of five...and I've been in love with it ever since. I try to come back and visit "my mountain" as often as I can, camping at its base, and spending my days exploring the beauty of nature that spreads in all directions from it's rocky skirt.
Emerald Lake, near. The lake is emerald coloured due to the run-off water from the glaciers in the surrounding area. As the glacial ice melts, the run-off dissolves small particles of powdered rock which makes the lake water quite murky but extremely beautiful. It was a little misty when we were there so we did not see it in all its glory but it was still spectacular. The small town of Field near Emerald Lake is also well worth a stop.