“Choose your own adventure.” Around Banff and Lake Louise, the intrigue of new adventures isn’t reserved for storybooks. Every peak of these mountains offers its own array of captivating prospects, and each speaks to those who visit in different ways.
Many an idea for exploration has been ignited by the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival. Since 1974, this annual mountain gathering has brought together adventurous spirits for collective storytelling and inspiration that is catching in the very best way. As the home of the festival, Banff National Park offers the fuel for countless adventures that unfold every day in these iconic landscapes.
The rugged peaks of Banff National Park are known to have inspired the founders of the festival and all who have followed. Among them, Mount Temple stands tall as one of the highest peaks in the park and a landmark fit for the stunning backdrop of Moraine Lake.
At the foot of the mountain lies Larch Valley, an area that bursts with the golden colour of its namesake tree in autumn. The path winds through the larches to Sentinel Pass and beyond to the Grand Sentinel, an impressive rock-climbing objective on neighboring Pinnacle Mountain. The summit of Mount Temple itself can be reached via a lengthy day of scrambling that leads to 11, 621 feet above sea level.
The scenic winding walkways of Johnston Canyon are irresistible to adventurers of all shapes and sizes. Accessible year-round, the rocky ravine can be explored from a trail system that includes cat walks mounted into the side of the rock. The undisputable force of the elements is on display here in the powerful waters that carve through the canyon, leaving waterfalls and giant boulders in their wake. In wintertime, ice climbers can be found here slinging their tools to ascend the mammoth pillars of blue ice that form along the limestone walls.
The Bow River
From most vantage points around Banff and Lake Louise, it’s easy to see the ribbon of emerald blue water that curves along the valley bottom. The headwaters of the Bow River are found at the Bow Glacier, high up among the summits that line the Icefields Parkway. Where the rushing waters pass by the village of Lake Louise begins a stretch of paddling that’s popular for good reason. Connecting the communities of Banff and Lake Louise via the river for which the valley is named is a well worthy adventure.
The Trails of Tunnel Mountain and Beyond
Banff’s smallest summit provides easy access to the outdoors that participants of the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival need as much as food and water. You’ll find many a local getting their daily dose of trail running, mountain biking or rock climbing on Tunnel Mountain.
The summit viewpoint overlooks the town of Banff, but it also provides clear sightlines to the endless chain of the Canadian Rockies. The route up Tunnel Mountain joins more than 1600 kilometres of trails that wind through the forests and alpine of Banff National Park. For those seeking inspiration for adventure, the mountains have the answer.