Lakes /Mountains /Glaciers / Waterfalls, Banff National Park
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Being the middle of summer makes it almost impossible to see Crowfoot Glacier how it normally is during the winter months.
It is still a magnificent site, but compared to pictures i had previously looked at, the glacier really just looked like a dot of snow on the mountain side - well.... perhaps a little exageration, but i would have loved to have seen it covered in snow!
Crowfoot Glacier is a 2 minute drive south of Bow Lake (which is the lake you can see in the bottom of the picture opposite). I actually felt you got a better view of it from the Bow Lake viewpoint than the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint - simply because it had melted back so far.
However, it is another beautiful stop on Highway 93 and a nice place to take a break if you have been driving!
A fantastic view of these mountains and then
a lake in front of us , I am almost certain this lake is called Chephren Lake , but I might be wrong there. It could be waterfowl lake also If I am wrong ,somebody please let me know.
This is a great viewpoint that allows you to look at the most impressive Mount Chephren,a pyramid shaped mountain,that towers over the Waterfowl Lake.
It really was another highlight of our trip, this view was incredibly beautiful,and not many cars drove by here, you must see this.
The mountain is 3266 meters hight, that is 10716 feet.
This fantastic mount Chephren can be seen from Panorama viewpoint Bow Pass, and also from the Highway 93 N.
The hight of this mountain is 3266 meters,
10716 ft. the Cliffs of mount Chephren are most impressive ,and they tower 1600 meters above the valley floor.
This mountain was first named Pyramid mountain by J.Norman Collie,in 1897.
In 1918 the name Pyramid Mountain was changed in order not to be confused by the Pyramid Mountain in Jasper Park.Because this mountain looks so much like a Pyramid in Egypt ,the name was changed to Chephren who was the fourth Pharao of the fourth Dynasty of Egypt.
This Crowfoot Glacier is one of over a hundred that can be seen along the Ice Fields Parkway.Years ago ,this Glacier resembled a crow's foot with 3 large toe like extensions. The lower '' toe '' of this foot has receded so much that only two toe's remain.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.