The Tunnel Mountain Trail is a short hike that is easily accessible from Banff downtown. The trail is well maintained with graded elevation and some steeper areas makes it slightly difficult for people who are not used to hiking under such conditions. The majority of the trail areas are flat and enables people to climb to the summit easily. Tunnel Mountain provides some spectacular views of the valley and panoramas over the town of Banff. The trail starts with a higher elevation and as you climb up the mountain, you will start to see Banff town and bow valley.
On the east facing cliffs from the summit, you get to see the beautiful Golf course that is across the Bow river.
The Banff golf course winds along the Bow River and immersed in the beauty of the peaks of Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle.
There is an information sign board at the start of the hike where we learnt that Tunnel Mountain Has No Tunnel 🙂
The Tunnel Mountain trail is ~ 2.8 miles round trip and takes around 2 hours of time to complete the hike. Due to the higher elevation there are chances that you can run out of breath.
So please be prepared and take water and enough breaks on your way. If you have respiratory problems, be prepared to take your inhalers and would recommend to take 1 -2 puffs before you start the hike so that you have enough lung capacity during your hike to the summit.
After the Tunnel mountain hike, we had our packed lunch at the Central park located in the downtown of Banff. This is a nice park with plenty of options to relax, picnic tables available with good washroom facilities. There was Farmers market display during our visit to this park.
Lake Minnewanka is a 4.5km drive north east from the Town of Banff. The trailhead is located along the west shore of the lake north of the picnic area and continues along the entire length of the lake. This is the longest lake (20 Km) in Banff National park and the lake offers boat cruise tours, kayak and canoe rentals. After visiting Lake Louise and Moraine lake, Minnewanka was not that outstanding as hyped in the internet forums. If you have limited time in Banff, my recommendation would be to visit Lake Louise and Lake Moraine as must see attractions and skip Minnewanka lake.
The spiral tunnel is close to Yoho National park. You can view both upper and lower spiral tunnel points. Once you come out of Hwy #1, you will see the north tunnel. This is the place where you can see the trains going into the tunnel and, after a few minutes, you will also see the front end of the same train coming out of the tunnel, above the bottom end of the train which is still going into the tunnel. This is a beautiful sight to watch and the only downside is the frequency of the trains. They don’t have train schedule displayed at the view point, so it’s extremely hard to predict the entry of trains into the spiral tunnels.
They are located along the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1), a short drive west of Lake Louise, and east of Field, British Columbia. If you are visiting Lake Louise, you can plan Spiral Tunnel viewing as it’s very close to Lake Louise.