Banff and Beyond

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March 31, 2011

Lake Louise and Banff National Parkby Dee Reed

RVers too set on their destination will often miss the real adventure — the trip. When RVing to Lake Louise and Banff in Alberta, Canada, travel the Bow Valley Parkway — a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of driving route. Take in incomparable views on either side of your RV. Stop at interpretive panels that explain the flora, fauna, and history of the Canadian Rockies. Bring along your camera and have it close at hand to snap images of the steep cliffs carved by rushing whitewater, erosion, and time. Highlights along the drive may include wildflowers, bears, elk, wolves, big horn sheep, coyotes, and other wildlife. Keep an eye out for views of Bow River, Castle Mountain, Johnston Canyon, and Sawback Range.

An RV trip along this route will land you at two of the most beautiful destinations in the world: Lake Louise and Banff National Park. The park is Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885. It had become a popular destination a few years earlier when hot springs were discovered on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. You’ll still find plenty of reasons to RV to Banff National Park, including more than 2,500 square miles of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers. Summer activities include fishing, biking, canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, and swimming. Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, ice diving, ice skating, snowshoeing, and waterfall ice climbing are favorite winter events. RV camping is also a favorite pastime and takes place year-round.

You’ll be astounded at the immense beauty when you first gaze on Lake Louise, Canada’s “Diamond in the Wilderness.” Its shimmering waters vary between turquoise to dark green. The Victoria Glacier reaches almost down to the shores of the 1 2/3-mile long deep-water lake. Although the water is too cold for swimming, its ideal for canoeing. You won’t be the first people “camping” in the region, because the earliest inhabitants, the Stoney Indians, named Lake Louise “Lake of the Little Fishes.” A surveyor for the Pacific Railroad discovered the lake in 1882 and aptly named it Emerald Lake. It was changed to Lake Louise in honor of Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise.

Although the setting is beautifully pastoral, you’ll find colorful festivals, fun activities, and great restaurants and stores in the towns of Banff and Lake Louise. The area is also home to many world class ski areas. And what could be easier than making your RV your home base while enjoying the slopes.

For more info about RV travel visit the Good Sam Club Trip Planning section where you can route your RV trip, read interesting RV travel articles, learn about points of interest, find RV campgrounds and print out RV checklists.

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