The Town of Banff is surrounded by mountains rivers and forest in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
New Brunswick friends are in Banff, Alberta to attend a conference. The introductory tour nearly always begins with the fascinating features of the Town of Banff followed by the short hike above Bow Falls at the base of Tunnel Mountain.
Tunnel Mountain was named for the original plan to build a railroad tunnel through the mountain but a more lucrative route made this project unnecessary. The tunnel was not built, but the name stuck.
The summit of 5,545 ft. (1,690 m) Tunnel Mountain was the site of a fire lookout from 1941 until 1967. On Tunnel Mountain Road above Bow Falls there are viewpoints overlooking hoodoos and rapids on the mighty Bow River where rainbows wander in the mist on this warm, sunny day.
The drive west on the Bow Valley Parkway finds deer and elk feeding on the tender grass along the roadside on the way to Johnston Canyon.
At Johnston Canyon, recent warm weather has elevated water levels and rapid emerald water flow is embellished with the sound and froth of curling white water.
The short, easy hike into Johnston Canyon begins from the massive parking area of this year-round popular attraction onto paved paths, bridges and ramps bolted to canyon walls which offer grand views past tumbling white waterfalls, as the easy hike proceeds through forest suspended in fields of moss.
The largely suspended path past minor and beautiful rapids and waterfalls deliver hikers to the Lower Falls in Johnston Canyon. The approaching ramp leads to a bridge crossing past the base of Lower Falls.
Passing through a small and slippery tunnel provides up close and personal, protected access to the powerful waterfall where mist dampens hair and fogs eyeglasses. The roar of the adjacent waterfall is exhilarating.
Conversation with strangers is animated by the mood altering negative ionization from the spray. Close proximity to powerful falling water is always a special experience.
After return to the main trail there is the opportunity to continue hiking along the creek and canyon side past Stella Falls and on to the Upper Falls. There is blue-green ice visible from the viewing platform at the base of the 50 meter (165 ft), roaring Upper Falls. Water, trickling from caves high above, feeds growth on the canyon walls.
There is an opportunity to continue up and past the Upper Falls in Johnston Canyon to the picturesque Ink Pots. The Ink Pots are a cluster of vibrantly colored spring-fed ponds, fed from an unknown source and adjacent to the powerful river which feeds Johnston Canyon waterfalls.
The Ink Pots reside in a large sub-alpine flatland surrounded by large and majestic mountains which host trails further into the alpine back country. It is an overwhelmingly beautiful site.
After returning to the Johnston Canyon trail head, the next attraction will be the drive past iconic Castle Mountain for a photo opportunity along the TransCanada Highway at the Mount Rundle Lookout for the famous view across Vermilion Lakes to Mount Rundle looming above the Town of Banff.
The afternoon begins with a tour of the Cave and Basin where exploration by railroad pioneers preclude the formation of Banff National Park.
Near Cave and Basin, a steep descent on trail and lengthy stairs drops past sulfur encrusted creeks to bird watching blinds along the shallow shore waters of Vermilion Lakes.
A short drive though the Town of Banff and up Tunnel Mountain Road takes in viewpoints overlooking Banff Hoodoos with Mount Rundle behind Bow River.
The loop around Tunnel Mountain on Tunnel Mountain Road overlooking the Bow Valley hosts a large assortment of attractions and mountain viewpoints over the amazing Bow Valley.
This day's weather has been perfect for a quick day tour to a few of the many attractions surrounding the Town of Banff in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.