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Located just 1.2 miles (1.9 kilometers) from the city center, the Bow Falls are one of Banff's top attractions. Though not particularly high, these falls are wide and create a mesmerizing picture against the forest-covered landscape. Outdoor enthusiasts can take the Bow Falls Trail and hike to the falls. The scenery is picturesque and the trail is easy for all ages. Keep an eye out for local wildlife like elk, mousse, and bears on your visit. Don't miss this easy-to-reach photo op while visiting the city; you're sure to create memories you'll cherish for years to come.
Just a short drive away from Banff lie the pristine Vermilion Lakes. The three lakes lie sprawled at the foot of Mount Norquay, surrounded by the peaks of the Canadian Rockies and sheltered by the blue canopy of an open sky. The lakes and their surroundings offer visitors a chance to indulge in a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing and wildlife watching. The site is especially popular amongst amateur and professional photographers who cannot resist the lure of the lakes' untouched beauty. The lakes are clearly visible from the highway and make a remarkably breathtaking sight indeed, especially at sunset when the scene is awash in the red, gold and crimson hues of the setting sun. The scene inspires romance and is a great choice for a leisurely drive on date night.
These steaming sulfur pools in the mountains which have been around since 1883, are frequented by locals and visitors alike as they seek to soak away their skiing and hiking aches. Especially inviting in winter and on cold rainy days, these hot pools are open year round. Located 1,585 metres (5200.131 feet) high, it is famous for being Canada's highest hot spring. The water flows from the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault and the source is believed to be Mount Rundle. When the flow is affected during winters, local municipal water is added to the pool. For a touch of extra luxury, there are spa services offered on site, including massages, facials, and soothing body treatments.
The name Minnewanka comes from the word the Stoney Nakota First Nations people used to refer to the lake: "Minn-Waki," or "lake of the spirits." Aboriginal people first began exploring the lake's shores and waters over 10,000 years ago. They believed that the dark waters housed spirits to be respected. The early Europeans also felt the power of the lake, which they called Devil's Lake. It wasn't until the late 1800s that the lake began attracting tourists. Two cruise boats began operating out of Minnewanka Landing, a small town on the edge of the lake. Today, that town is underwater, as the lake was dammed in the 20th-Century. Visitors to the lake can explore the old town on scuba diving trips, or take a tour of the lake on a boat tour.