Category Archives: Family Travel in the Canadian Rockies

Photographing with a Family in Tow in the Canadian Rockies – Part I

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I recently got an email inquiring about how to get some photography in on a summer vacation to the Canadian Rockies with a family in tow.

The challenges are obvious when you have young kids in the car and you’re not that familiar with the area,  so I’ll begin by breaking down some tips for the Banff townsite area.

Because Banff is jam-packed with hotels, shops and restaurants, it can often be a place where a Mom or Dad can sneak out for a few quick shots after dinner, or better yet, incorporate a photo destination in the day’s plans with the kids.

An excellent place to start is the Banff Gondola.  Kids will love the ride to the top and the short, easy trails that are found there.  Adults will love the view and better yet, photographers will REALLY love the view.  Try for a morning ride up to get the best light, though a late afternoon ride in late summer or early fall also provides some excellent light for photography.

The view from Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola

The view from Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola

Another good morning trip for photography with a family in the Banff area is a drive along the Lake Minnewanka Loop.  There is loads of wildlife, and some spectacular scenery.  Stop at Lake Minnewanka and let the kids explore the shoreline while you take shots, or visit Johnson Lake for a quiet stroll around the lake.

Mt Rundle from the trail around Johnson Lake

Mt Rundle from the trail around Johnson Lake

If you want to photograph some wildlife and you think looking for it will keep your family engaged, a drive along the Bow Valley Parkway just west of town in the late afternoon often produces some good photo opps for bighorn sheep, elk and coyotes.

Bighorn Sheep ram along the Bow Valley Parkway

Bighorn Sheep ram along the Bow Valley Parkway

And finally, if you do get some free time after the kids have gone to bed, head immediately to the Vermilion Lakes area just outside of town near the Mount Norquay highway overpass.  Photographers can, and often do, spend days on end photographing the sublime reflections and colours to be found in the Vermilion Lakes area.  Sunset is amazing from several different spots along the road, all within five minutes drive of downtown Banff!

Mount Rundle and First Vermilion Lake at sunset

Mount Rundle and First Vermilion Lake at sunset

Happy shooting!

John

Stuff for kids to do in the Canadian Rockies


The “what’s there to do here” page

There are a variety of little known places that are perfect for the ever eternal question – If located in Hotel you can get in to these things seperately.
Have fun!

Banff

Waterslide/Pool at the Douglas Fir Resort
Skateboard Park at the Banff Community Rec Centre
Small arcade/bowling alley at the Banff Springs Hotel
Small online gaming/internet shop on Bear Street
Movie Complex on Bear Street with afternoon matinees
Video/DVD/PlayStation rental shop – Avalanche Video
Rental stores for skis / skates / bikes etc

Canmore:

Pool at the Canmore Community Rec Centre
Video/DVD/PlayStation rental shop – Avalanche Video (Large family section)
Rental store for skis / skates / bikes etc

Jasper:

Movie Complex on the main street with afternoon matinees
Video/DVD rental shop

For a great family experience Visit Kinbasket Wetland tours

See animals, fish and birds in nearby

Golden and the Columbia Valley, British Columbia.

Family Walks and Hikes

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There are a variety of walks and hikes suitable for a family day outing. We have highlighted a few select walks from Mike Potter’s Hiking Lake Louise and Backcountry Banff. Have fun!

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Banff

Johnson Lake
Fenland Trail
Tunnel Mountain
Lake Louise and Icefields Parkway

Moraine Lake Rockpile
Bow Glacier Falls

For a great family experience Visit Kinbasket Wetland tours

See animals, fish and birds in nearby

Golden and the Columbia Valley, British Columbia.

Picnic Areas – Banff National Park

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Picnic Areas

Banff National Park

Recreation Grounds
Banff Townsite,
18 tables, toilets, 2 kitchen shelters
Central Park
Banff Townsite
17 tables, flush toilets
Johnson Lake
Lake Minnewanka Road
16 tables, toilets, 3 fire rings
Canal
Lake Minnewanka Road
6 tables, toilets
Two Jack Lake
Lake Minnewanka Road
8 tables, toilets, 2 fire rings
Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka Road
35 tables, flush toilets, 3 kitchen shelters, 2 fire rings, 6 fireplaces
Upper Bankhead
Lake Minnewanka Road
25 tables, toilets, kitchen shelter, fireplaces
Cascade
Lake Minnewanka Road
60 tables, flush toilets, kitchen shelter, fireplaces
Valleyview
Trans-Canada Highway
10 tables, toilets
Vermilion Lakes
Trans-Canada Highway
toilets
Taylor Creek
Trans-Canada Highway
3 tables, toilets
Fireside
Bow Valley Parkway
16 tables, toilets
Muleshoe
Bow Valley Parkway
10 tables, toilets
Sawback
Bow Valley Parkway
13 tables, outhouse toilets
Johnston Canyon
Bow Valley Parkway
2 tables, toilets
Baker Creek
Bow Valley Parkway
8 tables, toilets
Corral Creek
Bow Valley Parkway
17 tables, toilets, 8 fire boxes, fireplace
Boom Lake
Banff-Radium Highway
4 tables, toilets
Fairview
Lake Louise area
24 tables, toilets, 2 kitchen shelters, water
Moraine Lake
Lake Louise area
8 tables, flush toilets, 2 kitchen shelters
Herbert Lake
Icefields Parkway
15 tables, toilets
Bow Lake
Icefields Parkway
5 tables, toilets, kitchen shelter, fire boxes
Saskatchewan Crossing
Icefields Parkway
4 tables, toilets
Coleman
Icefields Parkway
10 tables, toilets, water

Emergency Services


Emergency Services

We want your family vacation to be as safe and enjoyable as possible. One never knows when an emergency situation may arise. Be prepared to help others and yourselves.

Banff

Fire/Ambulance/Police 911
Hospital 762-2222
Warden’s Office 762-4506
Poison Centre 1-800-332-1414

Lake Louise

Fire/Ambulance/Police 911
Hospital (Banff) 762-2222
Warden’s Office 762-4506
Poison Centre 1-800-332-1414

Canmore & Kananaskis

Fire/Ambulance/Police 911
Hospital 678-5536
Police – RCMP 678-5516
Poison Centre 1-800-332-1414

Jasper

Fire/Ambulance/Police 911
Hospital 852-3344
Poison Centre 1-800-332-1414