Banff and the Canadian Rockies
Banff and the Canadian Rockies offer spectacular summer adventures
Few hotels in the world can rival the majesty, hospitality and scenery of The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, located in the heart of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Not only is the hotel extraordinary, but the surrounding park offers an astounding array of things to do this summer. A two-and-a-half hour direct flight from Houston to Calgary on United/ Continental and a 90-minute drive will put you in this alpine paradise. The Banff area is well known as a winter ski destination, but the summertime offers an equally exciting array of activities.
The Banff Springs Hotel, a unique blend of opulence and seclusion, has been a symbol of Rocky Mountain magnificence for more than a century. Styled after a Scottish baronial castle, it offers stunning vistas, championship golf courses, classic cuisine, and Willow Stream, a world-class European-style spa. The elegant 38,000-square- foot Spa is at the forefront of the industry, offering first-class pampering surrounded by majestic mountain beauty.
The hotel also boasts several fine dining options. In the Bow Valley Grill, the unique 50-ft. open kitchen allows guests to interact with their talented chefs while their meals are prepared. Banff hosts thousands of Japanese visitors each year, so the fare at the Samurai Sushi Bar and Restaurant is authentic Japansese cuisine.
Renowned for its panoramic beauty, The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course is a challenging layout set in the heart of mountains. Because of its unique natural setting, you may share a fairway with the local animal kingdom. .
Nature the Spectacular
Your choices for activities that bring you face-to-face with nature are extraordinary. Enjoy a fly fishing experience in mountain streams that you’ll never forget. Reel in wild trout in streams and lakes on nature-preserving catch-and-release excursions.
For a unique perspective on mountain scenery, try a 90-minute narrated cruise on Lake Minnewanka. Gondolas offer outstanding panoramic views of Banff and the Canadian Rockies. Go to the top of Mt. Rundle and take in a mountain panorama that you’ll never forget. Hikes and nature walks make you a participant in this scenic wonderland. The countless trails range from gentle walks in mountain meadows to full-on mountain climbing.
The Ice fields are actually part of the Athabasca Glacier. Take a tour in a giant Ice Explorer and actually walk on a frozen glacier, even in summer.
An ATV (all terrain vehicle) adventure will let you see the back country on prepared trails. Riding ATVs requires no prior experience and allows you to see more in less time than hiking.
Get Above It All
Consider a helicopter tour to go places that would otherwise be inaccessible. Heli-fishing takes you directly to the best fishing spots, heli-hiking delivers you to the truly unique trail heads, and heli-camping lets you enjoy the most remote camping spots.
Guest Ranches are backcountry lodges that offer a true western mountain experience by day and all the comforts of home at night. Horseback riding, stage coaches, campfires, cozy cabins, hot tubs, and gourmet ranch cooking take you away from it all in style.
Mountain Eco Yoga teaches you how to find inner stillness and to see things inside yourself and in nature that you may have never noticed before.
River rafting on Kicking Horse River will get your attention. The river boasts big waves, continuous rapids and unparalleled white water as it carves a passage through the spectacular Kicking Horse Canyon.
For a more serene outing, try a canoe trip on the tranquil emerald colored Lake Louise. Or guided Voyageur Canoe tours will take you on rivers and waterways where you’ll see muskrat, beaver, elk, and maybe even bears.
In your own car or a guided tour bus, the Bow Valley Parkway is the relaxed scenic route to Lake Louise. The Icefields Parkway climbs north to Jasper National Park and tours past expansive valleys, snow-capped mountains, roadside waterfalls and right up to the doorstep of a glacier you can actually walk on.
The village of Banff serves as host to millions of tourists from all over the world each year. Scores of shops offer simple souvenirs to fine art and unique items for the discriminating buyer. A visit to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Canadian Rockies is most definitely worth the trip.
By Kelly Foss