Town of Banff, Alberta
Jump ahead to Bow Falls
With my vacation coming to a close, and having spent half my time in the Banff area, I was beginning to feel like an expert on this picture-perfect tourist town. I knew how to get around without listening to my GPS's know-it-all voice, and I knew where to find groceries and gas, and best of all, I knew a good place to go at sunset.
Banff Avenue is the main route through town, and it's where you'll find all of Banff's trendy stores and souvenir shops. I took this picture standing at the end of the bridge that crosses Bow River...
... where you'll find this great view of one of the area's most recognizable peaks, Mount Rundle. Cross the bridge and turn left, and you're headed towards...
Bow Falls is located directly below the Fairmont Banff Springs. Drive up to it if you have the time, to see how the "other half" takes a vacation. As for the falls itself, watch for signs that lead to this viewing area. You can also hike to the top of the hill for a view of the falls, directly above the brink.
Bow Falls isn't huge -- only about 30 feet high -- but it still impresses, with a high volume of water tumbling downhill.
The best view at this spot isn't the falls itself, though. Just use the falls as a soothing white-noise generator, while gazing at the surrounding mountains, as the last sunlight of the day illuminates them.
At this point, just below the falls, Spray River empties into Bow River. Spray River begins 64 kilometers upstream, passing through the Spray River Reservoir -- a spot I visited on a very rainy drive into the mountains above Canmore, on Day 2.
Eventually, the sunlight was gone, and the mountains stopped glowing with brilliant colors. I knew this was truly where my vacation ended. Sure, the next day I'd drive back to Calgary and see a few things on the way, but I would be leaving the mountains behind, and in a little more than 24 hours I would be back home. So I lingered a little longer, before calling it a night.
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