Short Scenic Drives around Banff

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So you’re stuck in Banff with a full tank of gas… how does that work? I don’t know but I’ve seen it happen. Way too many of you tourist types have come up to me on Banff’s main street and asked where to take your gas guzzlers to get the best bang for your Canadian buck!

So here’s a quick blog entry for you people dragging your feet around Banff, going in and out of the same antiques shop, looking at the same antique book ends. Get in your Mitsubishi Iron Horse and get out of town, go… far away into the Canadian Rockies.

For the tenderfoot, the Tunnel Mountain Drive is a great introduction to the Rockies. This 9km trip is a short one but provides endless opportunities to get out and breathe some fresh air. Put on you hiking boots and head to Bow Falls right there among the many peaks surrounding your car: Mount Rundle and the Hoodoos.

So this might be why they call them Vermilion.

So this might be why they call them Vermilion.

If you have the urge to jump into a frigid alpine lake, than the Vermilion Lakes drive is the one for you. Put the pedal to the metal as you cruise by the Trans-Canada Highway, branching off the Mount Norquay Drive, passing the Vermilion Lakes. If you get there at dusk, you’ll probably see why they call them the Vermilion Lakes. There should be plenty of tourists out trying to capture the moment in little metal boxes with shutters. Make sure and yield to muskrat.

Finally, I recommend the Minnewanka Loop and Johnson Lake. You start this remarkable scenic highway northeast of Banff. Together with your partner, wind through the Cascade Ponds and Lower Bankhead. At the Bankhead notice the abandoned coal mines, but don’t go inside. Abandoned coal mines in the Canadian Rockies are known to keep the souls of the old time miners who lost their lives and livelihoods digging for fossil fuels.

Later down the road, you will see Lake Minnewanka. Here throngs of tourists get on boats to and sail around the area. Rent yourself some gear and sink your hook in a nice, juicy trout. Just remember to catch and release so somebody else can come along and sink their hooks in the same juicy trout!

The Minnewanka Loop is some 20km and easy to do in one day. Just remember to get out of the air conditioned car and enjoy what truly brought you and your overworked spouse to the Canadian Rockies: peace with nature.

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