Bouncin’ to Banff
By Kelsey Hipkin
What better way to spend a lovely Tuesday afternoon than a lovely road trip to Banff National Park? There is no better way really, especially when you pack your camera and a couple good friends along
which is exactly what I did yesterday (June 29).
Yes, this is a blog about Calgary and all it’s going ons, but every now and then one needs to get out of the city to take in the sights and fresh air to the west. Also, it just so happens that Banff National Park is turning 125 this year so it was nice to go wish our old friend a happy anniversary. Budding photographers we are we made a couple photog stops (one for some horses, another for Lac Des Arcs) before passing through the park gate ($20 for three of us for 16 hours but it’ll be free on Canada Day).
Banff was born around 1883 when some railway construction workers stumbled upon what would become the Cave and Basin Hot Springs. The area was designated a National Park in 1885, Canada’s first. For more of a history lesson, click here.
Today Banff is a bustling little tourist town year round. In the winter you can shred some fabulous ‘pow at Sunshine or Norquay before heading into town for some ice cold beer and great food at any of the many restaurants in town. ( The Rose and Crown, the St. James Pub and the Magpie and Stump are some of my favorites!). In the summer you can hike, bike, picnic, camp and recreate to your hearts content. (Be sure to respect the land though people, National Parks are to be respected!)
We stopped at my favorite restaurant in town, The Magpie and Stump for some Tex-Mex. The Magpie always has huge portion sizes, friendly staff and great decor…the Sangria isn’t too shabby either!
Being the beautiful day it was and wanting to work off our lunch and stretch our photography muscles, we toured the town. Crossing the Bow River Bridge on the south end of the townsite, we first stopped at the picturesque Banff Administrative building with it’s lush lawns and gorgeous Cascade Gardens. Nature lovers we are, we took off our shoes and had a little romp on the grass. The gardens are a great place for photos, a little picnic or just quiet contemplation.
Next we hit up the Bow River trail which follows the river up to Bow Falls and the Banff Springs Hotel. It’s an easy walk but there’s some stair climbing involved so it doesn’t hurt to stretch (credit the stretching advice to my friend Zoey). With all the rain we’ve been having lately the river was quite high and the falls were a torrent of white water. The sun peeked in and out of the clouds making a lovely rainbow in the spray; it’s moments like that that make one realize how important it is we have the National Parks that we do to preserve Mother Nature’s finest.
After all that walking it was time for a trip to Welch’s Candy Store and some Cow’s Ice Cream. You (well…I) can’t really go to Banff without making a stop at one of these places. Welch’s has anything and everything anyone with a sweet tooth could want and Cow’s was voted the best ice cream in the world so how could you not check it out?
Overall a fabulous day in a fabulous little town…we even made a side trip through Dead Man Flat’s, Morley and Cochrane on the way home.
So hit the road Calgary, you’ll find lot’s of little gems in the town of Banff and area and it’s only an hours drive away.