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A Winter Ski Trip into Sundance Lodge, Banff National Park

Every year, John and I book cross-country ski trips into backcountry lodges in an effort to make the winters fun and enjoyable. Our most recent trip took us to Sundance Lodge in Banff National Park, just days after the winter solstice. The lodge has primarily been used in the summer as a place to stay while on horseback trips. But, with a recent change in ownership, there's a push now to welcome visitors throughout the…

Hiking the Spray River Loop Trail, Banff National Park

The Spray River loop trail is ideal for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and cycling, depending on the conditions and the season. With a trailhead within a few hundred feet of the Banff Springs Hotel, it's a super accessible trail for visitors to the area or for day-trippers from Calgary. We fell into the day-trippers category. Six of us headed up to Banff yesterday for some exercise - followed by a soak in the nearby…

5 Easy Winter Adventures in the Canadian Rockies

With light fading rapidly and lives that are all too busy and plugged in, most of us need a boost to make us feel alive, especially at this time of year. One of the most effective ways to beat the winter blahs is to get outside. And one of the prettiest places in the world to do this is in the Canadian Rockies. Here are 5 easy winter adventures in the Canadian Rockies that will chase…

Fun and Thrills on the Banff Via Ferrata at Mount Norquay

Only two people have ever turned back, my guide for the afternoon, John Thornton tells me. But then he goes on to explain that the people who come to hike and climb the Via Ferrata at Mount Norquay basically self-select and those that are deathly afraid of heights don't even consider the outing. The Via Ferrata is the most recent addition to a line-up of adventure activities in Banff National Park. Since it's opening in June of 2014, it…

A Hike into Sunshine Meadows, Banff National Park

One of the premier day hikes in Banff National Parks takes you to Citadel Peak via Sunshine Meadows. I didn't have time, or the enthusiasm for the full 18.6 kilometre round trip hike but I was keen to see Sunshine Meadows in what I hoped would be peak wildflower season. The hike actually starts with a bus ride. It's only 4.5 kilometres up the road to Sunshine Village - where the downhill skiing happens in the…

A Winter Visit to Shadow Lake Lodge in Banff National Park

Surviving and actually enjoying a long winter in Calgary is possible but it takes some thought. Winter starts early here with the snow usually flying by the end of October and it doesn't typically end until late March. I make the effort well in advance to plan trips throughout the winter so I always have something to look forward to. In May I decided I wanted to spend Alberta's Family Day weekend (a three day…

5 Easy Cross Country Ski Trails in Banff National Park

Banff National Park has much to offer the winter visitor. You can choose from downhill skiing at three different resorts (Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay), snowshoeing and skating, cross-country skiing and at the end of every day you can immerse yourself in the steamy waters of the Banff Hot Springs. I am a big fan of cross country skiing in Banff National Park for many reasons. It's free once you're in the park and…

Cycling the Banff Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff

You can't help but notice cyclists and rollerbladers on the Banff Legacy Trail when you drive the Trans-Canada highway between Canmore and Banff. But until recently I'd never cycled it. The Legacy Trail was built in 2010 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Parks Canada. Its 26 kilometres long one way and a very comfortable three metres wide. It takes you from the outskirts of Canmore into Banff, along Vermilion Lakes Drive all the way…

The Fabulous Helen Lake Hike in Banff National Park

The Helen Lake hike with the optional scramble up Cirque Peak in Banff National Park is one of the premier hikes in Banff National Park. Plan to hike to the ridge above Helen Lake for some of the best views in the Canadian Rockies. While you'll get fabulous Crowfoot Glacier views early on in the hike, if you gain the ridge and scramble even part of the way to Cirque Peak you're rewarded with a…

Hiking a Loop Trail in the Skoki Area, Banff National Park

Last week I wrote about my backpacking trip up to stunning Baker Lake in the Skoki area. But what I didn't mention is the beautiful loop hike that you can do starting and ending at the Baker Lake Campground. It's worth spending two nights at the campground so you can do this. Read: Backpacking to Baker Lake, Skoki Area, Banff National Park Before leaving the campground for the day we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and didn't…

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