Walking Banff – the Fenland Trail Loop to Vermillion Lake

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Banff National Park, Alberta

What to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Banff? Obviously there is the option of heading up one of the three local ski hills to enjoy a day on the slopes. The other extreme is also open – doing some shopping and enjoying a coffee in Banff town. However, if you feel like seeing some gorgeous nature and stretching the legs then the Fenland Trail is a great choice. It is only a short jump out of Banff and starts right at the Bow River. Your final destination will be the Vermillion Lakes – beautiful regardless of season.

A beautiful sunset at Lake Vermillion.

A beautiful sunset at Lake Vermillion.

Just as you walk out of Banff town across the train tracks, you immediately take the first turn off the road away from humanity and into the wilderness of the woods. Lions, tigers and bears – oh my (especially the bears) Trees that have been weakened in storms rock back and forwards making a whining noise that sounds like some sort of very depressed animal. The ground had begun to form a path of ice as winter fast approached and keeping ones balance was enough of an effort. The river was half frozen and the thought of sliding directly into this ice bath kept me on my toes.

Squirrels rushed around trying to claim any remaining nuts around the wood. A jogger somehow kept her balance as she moved swiftly past our careful walking crew. What struck me about the sights that surrounded me was the absolute serenity. This is such a gorgeous part of the world; you could happily stroll in here on your own for hours just walking slowly through the wildlife.

It is not the longest walk but eventually the Vermillion Lake comes into view. In summer you will see people swimming and canoeing here but at this time of year just after the water has frozen, there was just one family of four with their ice skates strapped on playing some hockey. The father even took the child’s stroller onto the ice for a spin. There is no way you could ever get bored of the sights of the Canadian Rockies or the activities to do around Banff. My only regret was that I hadn’t rented some skates from town to join the hockey game!

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