Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tunnel Mountain – Ain’t No Tunnel Though, Banff

Tunnel Mountain, Banff, AB

This is “Tunnel Mountain” from the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course.  Taking pictures into the sun is not easy, many times you get funny colors bouncing on your lens.  In yesterday's posting on our visit to Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway, I said that we visited the outskirts of Banff yesterday evening, so this is the post I promised about that.

Tunnel Mountain, Banff, AB

This is the view from close to where the campground is located taken a few days ago.  The Campground is Tunnel Mountain Road, and contains the Tunnel name too.  When you drive an RV and you hear “Tunnel” you always want to make sure your RV will fit inside such tunnel.  But surprise, surprise…Tunnel Mountain has no tunnel, and Tunnel Mountain Road and Tunnel Mountain Drive (yes, there are two different streets named Tunnel Mountain) have no tunnels to worry about.  WHAT?  Yes, no tunnel.  Kinda like Banff without an “i” between the n and the fs.  Kinda like…well, we will stop there.

Info plaque about Tunnel Mountain

So Tunnel Mountain got its name because the Canadian Pacific Railway survey was going to put the railroad through the mountain, creating a need for a tunnel.  But that plan was scrapped when the general manager said that the railroad was not going to be delayed for 18 months, found another route which was shorter, saving the railroad millions of dollars.  Too bad that common sense does not rule in today’s construction projects…such as the Big Dig in Boston, which is the most costly construction project in US history.

Bow River Falls, Banff, AB

On our drive yesterday around the outskirts of Banff, we found the Bow Falls, made famous by the 1953 Marilyn Monroe film "River of No Return", which featured the falls.

Bow River, Banff, AB

I prefer the view of the river after the falls myself.  When we passed through the area, which is where the golf course just starts meeting the road, this place was packed due to a couple of bus tours.  Bus tours is a huge business in Banff, Jasper, etc.  This time of year, if you run into a crowd, and see buses parked, just wait for a bit and the crowd will be gone along with the buses.

Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, Banff, AB       Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course, Banff, AB

It’s times like this that I wonder why I gave up golf!  Reminds me of some of the golf courses in the Colorado Rockies…always a great background to keep you cool when you put your ball into the water.

Bow River, Banff, AB

The road through and past the Golf Course turns into a one-way road and does a large loop through the trees, along the river, and full of wildlife habitat…but we did not see anything outside of geese, ducks, ground squirrel and other birds.  But it is a nice drive.

Elk by Campground

As we were driving back to the campground, we did see an Elk alongside the road.  At times there is a large herd of Elk in this area…but we have only seen this one.  Marcia saw a couple of Black Bear on our way to Lake Louise yesterday, and we both saw a couple of deer…one right in town standing on someone’s front lawn. 

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, AB

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is one of the premier Railroad Hotels, like the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel.  Canada has a number of Railroad Hotels, each a National and Local landmark, and they make up much of Canadian Railroad History. The Banff Hotel opened in 1888, went through a series of additions and remodels, most of it burnt down in 1926 and was reopened in 1928 with the look seen today. In 1968 it was winterized, and is now open year-round.

Downtown Banff, AB

Banff was first settled in the 1880’s due to the railroad.  Banff got its name from George Stephen, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, who was born in Banff, Scotland.  Banff is the only incorporated town within a Canadian National Park, having incorporated in 1990.  It averages over 70 inches or snow each year, and it can snow on any given month of a year.  It is at 5,000 ft in elevation, and has a population of over 7,500 people.  It has truly become a year-around city for tourist, and is one of the most popular tourist locations in Canada.

Administration building in Cascade Gardens for the Banff National Park

One landmark is the administration building in Cascade Gardens for the Banff National Park.  The gardens around the building are pretty and many weddings are held there.

St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Banff, AB     Saint Mary's Catholic Parish, Banff, AB

There are a variety of homes in Banff, none of which are available for under 1/4 million dollars, and who knows what the upper limit is.  The last two pictures are two churches we passed, St. Paul's Presbyterian Church on the left, and Saint Mary's Catholic Parish on the right.  Banff is truly a “Tourist Town”, we have found the people friendly (including the lady at the bank who told me that the bank only exchanges dollars for its customers, but who pointed me to a money exchange down the street before I could ask).  There are a wide variety of different people visiting here, and more and more RVs arrive each day.  We were lucky, however, in that we have been able to extend our stay by one day here at the same campsite.  Seeing snow in the forecast for Jasper and especially Hinton, our next stop, for Friday and Saturday, I was happy to be able to extend our stay here by a day.  The guy at the front gate wondered how I was able to do it…he said last year that could not be done…just our luck I guess.

Note:  Pretty much took Wednesday off from sightseeing.  Did a bit of laundry, and had a few hours of recuperation after I awoke with an eye ache.  I think I might have had a hair in my eye, which might have scratched my eye…after eye drops, a warm compress, and few more hours of sleeping to rest the eye, all is fine.


  1. Lens flare used to be a bad thing .... now I hear "oooooh, nice lens flare". ????? So you can always say you MEANT to do that!! Beautiful images!

    1. New terminology to me, "Lens Flare". Thanks Nancy! YOU need to come spend a few weeks us here, with your cameras and experience your shots will be out of this world for sure!

  2. Yup, cost of living is really high there. Like most tourist towns I suppose.

    1. As for gas and food, with the exchange rate it still cost more, but not that much more.


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