Monday, June 29, 2015
Banff NP Townsite
Banff is a typical resort town with restaurants and shops lining the streets. About half of the businesses have accessible entrances. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition.
RV parking is limited to a few spots but since the town is compact and level once you’re parked it’s easy to walk/roll everywhere. If all the parking in town is filled try the train station on Railway Ave. We parked at the west end of Wolf Street, near the Bow River Trail. The trail is paved and level with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Trail
While in town we visited the Luxton Museum, the Whyte Museum, and the Banff Park Museum.
The Luxton Museum houses exhibits about the First Nations people who lived in the area and displays of very nicely crafted artifacts gathered by Norman Luxton, a prominent local businessman. The museum is accessible but the short ramps between the rooms are a bit steep. Museum
The Whyte Museum, founded by Catherine Whyte, has interesting local history and art galleries. The museum is accessible. A few paintings by the Whytes are located on the lower level. Wheelchair access to this level is by a small lift operated by museum personnel. Museum
The Banff Park Museum is housed in a beautiful natural wood building built in 1903. It was founded as a natural history museum and most of the mounted animals and birds were collected between 1890 and 1930. The first floor is accessible. The second floor is accessed by a long flight of stairs. Museum
We also visited a few spots near town – The Hoodoos, Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Vermillion Lakes, Fenland Trail, Bankhead, and Johnson Lake.
The Hoodoos are spires of sedimentary rock that are left standing after other material had eroded. A lookout point is accessed by a very steep, paved trail. It’s definitely worth the trip but wheelchair users will need to have help. Trail
Cave and Basin NHS is the site of Canada’s first national park, established in 1885 to protect the natural hot springs. The beautiful visitor center incorporates the original swimming pool building constructed in 1916. The site has displays about the natural and human history, a short walk through a cave to a hot pool, another pool outside, a huge movie screen, views of the mountains, and boardwalks.
The museum is accessible. The top deck is accessed through the snack bar building but be careful because the iron gate on the deck will lock behind you and the only way out is a stairway. The boardwalks are not accessible. The upper one has steps. The lower one has a sloppy horse trail bisecting it.
A long steep walkway leads from the RV parking lot to the visitor center. There are two accessible parking spaces near the visitor center but you must stop at the welcome center first to get permission to drive up the hill. The spaces are long enough for a small RV. Cave and Basin
Vermillion Lakes can be easily viewed from the road. Lakes
Fenlands trail is narrow, rough and muddy which makes it not accessible. Trail
Bankhead is the site of a mining town that supplied coal to the locomotives of the Canadian Pacific Railway. In the 1920s the town was disassembled and some of the buildings were moved to Banff. An overlook and trail provide interpretation for the site. The overlook is accessible. The trail has steps and is not accessible. Bankhead
The trail around Johnson Lake is narrow and rocky with steep slopes and not accessible. A very steep paved path leads to a good view point with picnic tables. Trail
We camped at Tunnel Mountain Village 1 but I forgot to take a picture. Campground