Exploring Banff National Park in Late Fall


She rose higher than our eyes could reach and made our breath turn into a smoky wave. The Rocky Mountains in Banff reach high into the clouds and are sure to leave even an experienced mountaineer lost for words.

Avoiding the cold at all costs, we have been chasing an endless summer for the past 3 years. After too many perfect sunsets over palm tree beaches, forgetting the purpose of shoes and throwing away all of our warm clothes, it was time for a change.

Hike to the Hoodoos

While we were in the Dominican Republic, a friend in Canadaoffered to host us and threw in the bribe of free wine. The next day wejumped on the plane and flew from the tropical sunshine of a Caribbeanisland, to the cold city streets of autumn in Calgary.

We were totally unprepared and the cold took our breath away, literally.

Being in the city, it didn’t take long for our minds to yearn for nature once again and with that thought, we headed to Banff. It was still late fall, so we didn’t expect the temperature to drop so low and for the snow to fall most days. Owning no hiking boots and wearing layers and layers of borrowed clothing items, we battled the cold and the slippery hills. Managing not to fall onto our backsides, we were running ahead in an attempt to stop us from shivering.

Seeing the size, the endless nature, and feeling the rawenergy; the mountains in Banff are some of the most beautiful we hadever seen.

Tunnel Mountain Hike

Trodding the hills with big cheeky grins, this path winded in and out of pine trees capped white with snow. The ground was slippery with ice, which took our full attention and concentration to not slip over. We took regular stops for photo opportunities and moments of silence as we admired the views over the town of Banff.

Lucky for us this was an easy hike perfect for all ages and conditions. Remember to pack a picnic with a thermos. This will help you to enjoy the incredible view at the peak.

Hike to Tunnel Mountain

Hike up Tunnel Mountain

Hoodoos Trail

On our walk to the trail, we encountered a huge deer beside the path. The deer was glaring at us closely, while we were still totally oblivious to its presence. Spotting it at the last second, we couldn’t have physically turned around any quicker, running into a pole as we bolted for distance. This powerful deer sat quietly as we admired her beauty.

The Hoodoos Trail felt like a fairytale. Huge pine trees reached for the sky beside us at every angle, the snow-capped mountains stood tall into the distance and the icy river flowed quickly beside us. The temperature dropped into the minuses making our faces turn numb and bodies shiver rapidly. We would run ahead of the group to get our hearts racing and to warm up our limbs.

The trail features stunning views of the Bow Valley and the gushing river. At the end of the 4.8km trail, the reward is the view overlooking the Hoodoos and the snow capped Mount Rundle. Taking with us only 1 apple and 1 chocolate bar to share, we recommend taking a picnic to stop you thinking about your rumbling tummies like we were. 

Published: October 28, 2016

Alyssa + Hannah ODYSEAStoryteller

Sharing our passion for the outdoors, photography, marine conservation and new adventures. www.theodysea.com

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.

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