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The Best and Easiest Walk in Banff

by Chris Smith

Banff National Park, Alberta contains over 1,500 km of trails for you to discover more than any other national park in the world. You can’t possible see them all on one vacation (unless you had some sort of 5 year vacation). But you can at least get out and get a taste of Banff’s hiking trail wonders. Here’s the raw data on a couple great trails to get you started.

Now, this is not the best time of the season to be taking walks and hikes around Banff. Though there are no bears around, the temperatures are lower than a hyenas self esteem and the path slippier than a politician. Awful similes aside, it is just too hard to pass up the opportunity for a walk when the nature that surrounds you is so vibrant and beautiful. Ideally throw some spiked shoes on, bring a good map of Banff and a cell phone just in case. Take your pick from the hikes of Banff. Yesterday I donned my warmest thermals and conquered the beautiful Stewart Canyon.

The sights of Banff are too much to turn down at any time.

Make no mistake about it, this is an easy trail. The round trip should take no longer than 2 hours and at this time of year, it is perfect because there aren’t many slopes. The trail starts from the recreational area by Minnewanka Lake. During the summer, you can have a picnic and sit down on the benches. If you were to attempt that now, the only thing you could eat would be frozenness and that’s not even a real word. From here, the track passes onto a wooded dirt track showing great views of a frozen lake that is usually a gorgeous turquoise colour. Eventually the trail gets a bit rockier and heads over a bridge on the Cascade River, reaching a fork on the far side. The route to the right leads down into a river gully where usually you can hop around the boulders like a schoolboy but probably not recommended while icy.

The canyon itself is named after George Stewart, the first superintendent of Canada’s first national park. Returning is as easy as following your footsteps in the snow and getting back to the warmth of your car at Minnewanka car park. As I said, it is hard to turn down the nature of Banff at any time of year. Well it is equally hard to turn down a warm whiskey after a walk like this one in one of Banff’s fine drinking establishments!

You can enjoy all the comforts of home in the town of Banff or step out into the wilderness and the home of some of North America’s wildest creatures and fantastic scenery.

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