Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park - Hiking Alberta

 

There are many hiking options in Banff National Park near Cascade Ponds.

 

 

But first, a very nice rainbow in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, enriches the day.

 

Rainbow in Bowness, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Rainbow in Bowness, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The east entrance to Banff National Park is just a few kilometers west past Canmore, Alberta.  There is an entrance fee for the park

Most local residents purchase an annual pass each year as frequent visitors to a number of National Parks in Canada will save bundles.  Annual pass discounts are available for Campers Village customers. 

Another few kilometers of driving west along the base of Mount Rundle approaches massive Cascade Mountain with its distinctive, thin ribbon of cascading water, flowing hundreds of meters down the sheer east face.  The first Town of Banff exit to Lake Minnewanka heads north a very short distance past a Texas Gate, to a small parking area on the left. 

The short hike into the base of Cascade Waterfall (½ kilometer: 50 meters elevation or ¹⁄₃ miles: 165 feet elevation) crosses the Banff Airstrip, on very civilized crushed stone trail and, on this day, includes a wonderful wildlife viewing opportunity.  The constant trail grade hosts one area of downed trees, likely caused by a late season avalanche from the sheer cliffs overhead.

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Beautiful young stag grazing in the morning sun near Cascade Falls, Banff National Park

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Older buck feeding in the field (airstrip) on the access to Cascade Falls, Banff National Park

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada The cascading waterfall on Cascade Mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada At the foot of Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada The waterfall rises hundreds of meters up the steep face of Cascade Mountain

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada A view of Mount Rundle from the base of Cascade Waterfall in Banff National Park

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Tiny Tunnel Mountain above Banff Town with Sulphur Mountain in the background

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada A view of Cascade Ponds and the TransCanada Hwy looking east along the Bow Valley Corridor

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Mount Rundle and Tunnel Mountain across the airstrip and the TransCanada Highway

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Final view of Cascade Falls before heading back

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada The Cascade Waterfall Avalanche Warning Sign - Still a lot of snow pack at higher elevations

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Mount Rundle and Tunnel Mountain from the airstrip - Banff National Park

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Final view across the airstrip at Cascade Waterfall on the east face of Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Cascade Waterfall - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada A view at distant mountains looking straight down the Banff Airstrip

 

Back at the trail-head, the short distance into Cascade Ponds offers a pleasant refuge an hours drive west of Calgary in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

 

Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

Cascade Ponds - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada Cascade Mountain, Waterfall and Picnic area - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

 

There is a real opportunity here to visit a place with easy, convenient access where light hiking or cycling, combined with a picnic in the mountains provide lots of fresh air, exercise and relaxation.  Cascade Ponds offer a very beautiful place for a walk and inspirational conversation.

An easy 2.5 kilometer (1⅝ mile) relatively flat hike along the Cascade River links Cascade Ponds with Lower Bankhead.  Combined with a summer day picnic and a dip in the ponds there is significant potential for a memorable and relaxing day.

 

 

 

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Comments

I pass Cascade Falls regularly year round. In winter, the short access makes it a potential waterfall ice climb and I have seen teams climbing on it. They have more, let's call it courage, than I do. I believe the opportunity might occur on an occasional year when there is a brief opportunity to climb safely for 20 minutes before accumulating snow pack above creates a life threatening avalanche risk. Personally, it is out of my league. Too risky. Real ice climbers may disagree with me.

One of my favorite waterfalls in Banff!

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