Banff & Lake Louise

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We like the Banff / Lake Louise area. We expected the towns to be pretty deserted this time of year since it is after ski season and not yet tourist season. We were wrong. There are quite a few people in town and in the campground. We were also wrong in our thinking that the trails would be muddy and possibly snow covered. It looked like the trails have been snow free for quite a while - they are dry. Our thinking was based on what we had read about the area in early spring (April & May) we were pleased to find that we could hike and bike on the trails and that areas that are generally closed because of impassable roads are open.

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We stayed at Tunnel Mountain Campground in Banff, Alberta. We had seen the campground when we were here in September and wished that we had brought the RV so we could stay there. We were surrounded by gorgeous mountains with much less snow than we anticipated. Only one small loop of this huge campground (over a thousand sites) is open. The rest of the campground seems to be the home of at least two elk herds. One morning when I opened the door for Moxie and I to go out for a walk, a herd of elk were passing by the RV. One evening, Moxie and I went for a walk and got between two elk herds in the unopened part of the campground. Each herd had a buck, juveniles and many females. We walked up and down and across rows in the campground trying to keep a proper distance from the elk. I think we walked about twice as far as I had intended.

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Johnston Canyon was closed for renovations when we were here in September. It is the only major "don't miss" item we missed in the guide books. We got to see it this trip. It is beautiful canyon with a milky green river running through it. The hike through the canyon is an engineering feat; walkways were bolted to the sides of the canyon walls and hung out over the river.

There are miles and miles of mountain bike trails that leave from the campground. We can ride from the campground to Lake Louise (30 miles away) in one direction and to Canmore (about 20 miles away) in the other direction. We can also ride into downtown Banff (about 5 miles away). It looks like every RV here has more bikes than the number of people who would comfortably fit in the RV.

Lake Louise has quite a bit more snow and ice than Banff. We went to the Fairmont Lake Louise Chateau for lunch one day. Lake Louise was still frozen. There was also a lot more snow on the mountains.

Good thing we are not on a strict time schedule on this trip. We have been on the road for 8 days and have gone less than a thousand miles - oh well, its the journey not the destination that matters.

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