Carpeted in snow all winter, the magnificent Banff National Park invites you to a fresh performance as the temperatures rise.
As the popular ski season comes to a close in Banff and Lake Louise, the magnificent Rockies see the arrival of spring accompanied by the Rocky Mountaineer Train, lush pastures and exquisite flowers. Wildlife awaken and welcome their young. Opportunities widen for horse-riding, hiking, cycling and water-sports; the land is vibrant and crammed with fresh, new life – come and explore.
Walking with Clubs
If it is true that golf can spoil a good walk then there is no better place to put this to the test than in Banff National Park! Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course is renowned for its panoramic beauty as well as its captivating and often challenging layout. Expect optical illusions at every hole, cleverly created by the surrounding peaks and plenty of distractions as you stroll beside the Bow River in the shelter of Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle. Originally 18-holes, this course was increased by 9 in 1989 to create 27 holes of Championship golf. The club offers a Spring Tune-up, Short Game workshop and Junior’s programme whilst standard tee-time bookings include a shared power cart, use of driving range and practice facility; club and shoe hire are also available.
If you fancy exploring on horseback, there are several options in the Banff National Park. Look upon this not so much as a horse-ride but more as an efficient mode of transport that will enable you to discover the magnificent wilderness of the Park – western-style. An example itinerary departs from Warner Stables and is a ‘Cowboy for a day’ adventure. Starting your journey along the banks of the scenic Bow River, you are likely to spot wildlife hidden in the thick bush as well as eagles and ospreys soaring overhead. Passing through marshland and lush pastures, you’ll arrive at your barbecue stop, 3-Mile Cabin, but before lunch is served expect to work up an appetite with genuine cowboy games such as lassoing and horseshoe throwing. You’ll trot up Windy Knoll on your return which provides spectacular views of Rockies. If your group includes members who would rather not ride, then a wagon ride option is available so that you can all meet at 3 Mile Cabin.
Hot and Scenic
Banff National Park was originally made famous by its hot springs more than 125 years ago, these can still be enjoyed today and what better way to arrive than on the Canadian Pacific Railway from Vancouver? The Banff Upper Hot Springs are located at the end of Mountain Avenue at 1,585m; expect water temperatures to be around 38-40 degrees and views to be astounding. If you’ve had a busy day’s walking or riding, this rejuvenating dip may be just what you need. Open until 22.00/23.00, they are also a warm place from which to stargaze. You can rent swimsuits and towels along with your admission charge so don’t panic if you are underprepared for this!
Love the Lake
For a fantastic opportunity to connect with family or friends, take to the water in a thrilling action-packed, white-water raft adventure; you can choose between mild and wild, half and full day, and family friendly. Wild Water Adventures in Lake Louise offer packages that include barbecue lunches on the famous Kicking Horse River. The Whitewater Exciter is their flagship trip which operates twice daily and is suitable for all ages and abilities. A gentler expedition is a relaxing ‘Float’ which you can do for three glorious hours on the Bow.
River with Rocky Mountain Raft Tours; on these scenic trips, you’ll see and learn about the World Heritage Site, view wildlife, waterfowl and abundant wild flowers. If canoeing or kayaking appeal to you, then Banff Canoe Club located 5 minutes from downtown Banff will help you explore the gentler leg of the Bow River and Forty-mile Creek into Vermillion Lakes. Whatever water activity you choose, there are experts on hand to guide you all the way, and protective clothing is available too.
Pedals and Wheels
The road and mountain biking season in Banff National Park spans from May to October and takes you on some of the most scenic roadways and trails in Canada. Rides will follow through sub-alpine forest and along sparkling glacier fed lakes whilst the Rockies Mountain range will stalk you relentlessly – in the nicest possible way. Bikes can be hired along with helmets, panniers and trail maps or you can take a guided tour – long or short, this is a superb way to enjoy this stunning countryside.
Festivals Canadian-style Performance in the Park
Plan your trip to the Banff area in June and make sure you apply for tickets to the two-day Performance in the Park (10th-11th). This outdoor event goes on no matter what the weather, so dress appropriately! At the time of writing, the line-up has not yet been published, but rest assured it will be stellar!
Spring in Banff
New life, a budding new landscape and an exciting programme of diverse art and culture conspire to herald the arrival of spring from 1st April-31st May. All welcome!
Lake Louise WonderFall
Celebrate autumn at Lake Louise, which sees the most thrilling natural golds, yellows and oranges on the planet. Throughout the area are special forest hikes, food events, photographic events and special activities such as grizzly bear walks.
Fly in, drive in or take the iconic Rocky Mountaineer Train – just make sure you arrive somehow! Spring, summer and autumn are magical in this part of the world so be prepared to ‘fall’ under the Rockies’ spell.