Alberta & BC Rockies Nearby - Banff to Lake Louise Attractions
About 40 minutes northwest of Banff is the town of Lake Louise, which is home to the spectacular lake, hotel and ski area.
For the best view, take Highway 1A, the Bow Valley Parkway. This route is less busy (trucks aren't allowed), and the road travels higher in the valley so the views are better. When you get to Castle Mountain (shown below) you can stop in the town of Lake Louise, or continue on 1A to the lake itself.
Banff-Lake Louise Highway Attractions
Here are the attractions between Banff & Lake Louise (from East to West):
- Animal Bridges
- When the Transportation-Canada Highway was "twinned" in the 1980s and 90s, there was much concern over the impact on wildlife, both the migratory large mammals, and the animals that hunt them, fearing both may end up as unfortunate "road kill". The solution was to build fences along the highway and a series of tunnels under the highway, along with several wide animal bridges over the highway.
- Johnston Canyon
This is about halfway between Banff & Lake Louise (about 25 km west of Banff)on the northeast side of the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A). You can hike up the canyon to the lower falls. It is quite spectacular to see the erosive power of water in the mountains: the canyon is 30 m (100 ft) deep and the lower falls are 15 m (50 ft) high. Much of the hike is on a catwalk built into the side of the canyon. Hikers walk above the rapids on their way to the lower and then upper falls. The waterfalls, the lower falls being a 1.1 km hike and the upper falls being a 2.7 hike, are truly spectacular. The trail is fairly busy during the summer and those who visit it once usually come back again and again. You can hike another five km to see the "Inkpots" rock formation.
- Castle Mountain
- This mountain, where the Bow Valley Parkway meets Highway 93 into Yoho National Park, is halfway between Banff and Lake Louise. This mountain, named for its appearance, is 2, 766 m (9, 128 ft) . It was called Mount Eisenhower from 1946 until 1979 when its name changed to Castle Mountain. The highway intersection is still called the Eisenhower Junction.