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High in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, two scenic highway hours from Calgary International Airport, Banff National Park is home to multi-colored glacial Lake Louise, the Icefields Parkway, mountain tea houses, golf, hiking, horseback riding, biking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, gondolas, mineral hot springs, alpine wildlife, wildflowers, and much more. A vacation rental near downtown Banff or in nearby Canmore is a money-saving, comfortable alternative to campgrounds and mundane hotel and motel stays. Besides luxurious shelter from Rocky Mountain weather extremes, vacation rental home, condo, cabin, and apartment kitchens provide a fun, money-saving cooking at home option, whether it be an intimate romance, a Banff Centre conference group or a family gathering.
Backed by Mount Victoria, Lake Louise’s blue, gray, and emerald green waters are colored by pulverized rock powders carried into the lake with Victoria Glacier’s meltwater. Nearby Chateau Lake Louise was originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to promote tourism along rail routes. Admire the pricy old Chateau, photograph stunning Lake Louise, perhaps canoe or horseback ride, and be thankful for your money-saving vacation rental choice. Take the family on a half-day hike with fabulous views to Lake Agnes Tea House, or beyond to the Plain of Six Glaciers. After tea and snacks, take the hardiest hikers from Lake Agnes Tea House to the Beehives, a waterfall, and Mirror Lake.
Ride the four-seat gondolas on the 8-minute trip to Sulphur Mountain’s summit, where bighorn sheep browse and the views encompass a distant Banff, Lake Minnewanka, and the Bow Valley. Hot springs and sulfurous odors grace the lower slopes of Sulphur Mountain at Cave and Basin National Historic Site; the renovated Bathing Pavilion reopens in November 2011. Meanwhile, the whole family can enjoy “taking the waters” at Parks Canada’s Banff Upper Hot Springs, Miette, and Radium Hot Springs.
For a Rocky Mountain scenic high, tee off at Banff Springs Golf Course. Choose between the Stanley Thompson 18 Hole Course designed in 1928 and the newer Tunnel Mountain 9 Hole Course. Winters, tee up your golf balls at the HD Golf Simulator, which offers 20 courses. Or take the ski lifts up to Banff National Park’s ski slopes: Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Area, and Sunshine Village. There are chutes, bowls, and long runs for beginners and experts alike.
The Icefields Parkway follows the rugged Continental Divide from Lake Louise to Jasper in the north. Along the way are many hiking trails, viewpoints, and wildlife. The Columbia Icefields, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, and Mistaya Canyon will provide a lifetime of vacation rental memories.