Canmore & Banff, Alberta on TransCanadaHighway.com



From Canmore to Banff, you are snuggled in the Bow River Valley, wtih mountains on both sides of the highway. As you move further up the valley, the mountains appear to close in on you.

Just a few kilometres west of Canmore are the Banff Park Gates. Most visitors will need to pay admission. You do not have to pay if (a) you have a Park Pass, or (b) are travelling through to BC, without a stop inside the park (gassing iup is ok). If you fall into one of these two groups, you can use the right-hand lane at the gates, without stopping.

Here are some of the attractions from Canmore into Banff: Minnewanka Power Station, seen from Trans-Canada Highway, with Cascade Mountain behind

Minnewanka Power Station
A few kilometres inside the park gates, on the right-hand side, you will pass the power station for the National Parks region.

Cascade Mountain
This 9,833 ft (2,998 m) mountain is the pyramid that welcomes travelers to Banff arriving from Calgary. It almost looks like the highway will tunnel under the mountain, and at the last minute the Trans-Canada turns left at the mountain's base. Cascade towers a vertical mile above the highway.

lake Minnewanka just east of Banff allows limited boating
Lake Minnewanka
On the northeast side of the Highway is Lake Minnewanka. It was formed earlier this century by a dam at its western extreme to supply power and fresh water to the Banff area. The dam was raised in the 1930s, to increase its power-gnerating capacity.

Big Horn Sheep ram licking salt from road surface
Two Jack Lake
If you continue on the Lake Minnewanka Loop, the road winds in a clockwise direction. As you head due west, you pass TwoJack Lake on the left-hand side. You will also pass numerous herds of elk, deer, and mountain goats.

Continue past the first (east) Banff exit to the second by Mount Norquay:
Mt Norquay 
ski runs in the summer, as seen from Mt Norquay Rd
Mount Norquay
The mountain opposite the Banff Townsite on the Trans-Canada Highway, is on the Northeast side of the Highway. Its 8,224 ft (2,515m) height makes for great skiing--it gets a lot more snow than the town does. The road across from the Banff townsite provides several scenic viewpoints of Banff, often with sheep and mountain goats stopping by for the same view.

Mount Rundle
At 9,673 ft (2,948 m) is the most dominant and unique mountain around Banff. It is an overthrust mountain (see Creation of Mountains), and is regularly featured in numerous TV commercials.

Fenland Trail/Vermillion Lakes Elk cow wading in shallows of Vermillion Lakes
Delicate mountain marshlands, which are feeding grounds for local moose and deer, are accessible to visitors from the Mount Norquay Road (on the west side of the Trans-Canada) not far the train station. This 1.5 kilometre loop offers a view of an isolated wetland, just off the Vermilion Lakes, and interpretative brochures are provided for hikers.

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