After stopping at the Canada Olympic Park, it was on to the Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park. This was the nature portion of the trip that I was really looking forward to, especially since the weather was perfect for this venture to the Rockies. It was a couple hours of driving to get to the mountains, but the drive was quite enjoyable. It is incredible to see the difference when approaching them as from a distance, they appear to be quite close together similar to other mountain ranges.
As you get closer and closer, they feel like they're getting bigger and bigger, then you become surrounded by them. It's pretty easy to just kind of get lost in their majesty as they are gorgeous!
Before long, I entered Banff National Park, and from there made my way to the town of Banff that is located inside the park. It's a nice little town that sits in a valley between the mountains, offering some incredible views of the peaks which surround it. It was a busy day with some heavy traffic, but that didn't hamper my enjoyment of visiting.
While in town, there are several shops to visit, but the highlight for this stop was lunch at Banff Ave. Brewing Co. I went with their Bow River Pilsner, and a delicious buffalo chicken sandwich!
As luck would have it, I was able to park the car close to a path that would lead to one of the main hiking trails outside of town. This particular path sat along side the Bow River, which leads back to Calgary. So I went ahead and put on my hiking boots, grabbed my winter coat and took a walk across the train tracks.
The trail that I took was the Fenland Trail, a 2+ kilometer trail that goes alongside Echo Creek and Vermilion Lake. I didn't see much in the way of wildlife other than some squirrels, but this is where I found some of my favorite views from the valley looking toward the mountains.
Wanting to get a view from above, I decided to drive up Mt. Norquay Scenic Dr. which would lead to the Mt. Norquay Ski Area.
After a bit of a climb, there was a place to park the car to wonder out to a scenic lookout over the valley that the town of Banff sits it. The views were absolutely breathtaking! In a way way, standing on this lookout and seeing the neighboring peaks gave a great sensation of feeling like you're on top of the world.
Coming out to Banff was a real treat for some gorgeous views, and the day was not yet finished as there was another amusement park to visit on the way back to Calgary.