BEYOND BANFF
More of Our Canada|July 2020
Exploring the areas around the famous resort town proved to be an eye-opening and memorable experience by Lauren Bauman, Kitchener
Lauren Bauman

Peaceful Johnson Lake is a natural bird habitat.

My husband, Larry, and I recently spent our spring vacation in Alberta. While the charming town of Banff is a must-see, exploring beyond Banff, either by car or on foot, is absolutely spectacular.

Larry and I set out with our GPS-equipped rental car to spend two days covering a veritable cornucopia of vistas and hikes, all within a relatively short distance.

On day one, we drove the Minnewanka Loop area northeast of Banff. A mere 24 kilometres in length round trip, this scenic circular route passes a trio of pretty lakes with imposing views of several mountain ranges. The entire route can be covered in about an hour, but stopping en route to enjoy the scenery is a must.

Our first stop was Lower Bankhead where, along an overgrown, self-guided trail, we explored the ruins of an abandoned coal mining town. It was constructed by the C.P.R. and operated from 1904 to 1922 before shutting down. You can still see the coal slag heaps left behind.

Lake Minnewanka, which means the “lake of spirits” was indeed worth checking out. In fact, standing on the huge rocks of the stony beach set against the jagged, mountainous backdrop proved popular for taking “selfies.”

the cascading Upper Waterfalls at Johnston Canyon. Right: Lake Minnewanka’s rocky beach.

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