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What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

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Perth, Australia
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What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Hi

I have been lurking for a while!

My daughter and I will be in Banff for one full day in late December before catching the Rocky Mountaineer train. Probably staying at the Homestead Inn (seeing Judy"s comments) so as we can walk every where as we shan't have a car.

We would like to see mountains and scenery depending of course on the weather!

We thought of taking a gondola ride up the mountain; a walk by the river (hoping to see some winter birds) or some other 2-3 hour walk from town; and maybe see a hot spring.

Is this practicable?

Many thanks

Jane

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Jane ~> Very practical! It would make the best of your day in Banff. Ask the hotel clerk upon arrival about the transit to the gondola. Don't forget shopping as well.

Enjoy!

Perth, Australia
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2. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Thanks Onward

Could we walk to these attractions (assuming the weather allows this) from town?

Jane

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Gondola: Nope, too far to walk, but you might be able to take the bus there, for $2 one way; the Town of Banff has a transit service, and in summer the Route 3 runs to the gondola. Unfortunately, their winter schedule is not on the website right now, so I don't know if that route runs in winter.

The river runs right near the Homestead Inn, just a few blocks away, so that shouldn't be a problem.

The hot springs are within range for vigorous walkers (I really enjoy the marshland walk in winter, it's a great place to see birds), or, again, you might be able to catch the bus.

Perth, Australia
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4. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Thank you Country Wife

Could I trouble you for the web address of the bus company and I will keep a watch for their winter schedule.

This raises a few more questions!

Is there a taxi service in town and

Is the marshland walk near the river and marked as "the Marshland Walk".

I am amazed there can be birds about in winter - being completely ignorant of birds in a snowy climate. This is getting very exciting.

Thanks again

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

The marshland walk: I was hoping you wouldn't ask, as the name continues to evade me. It is a marsh with boardwalk near the Cave & Basin hot springs; the water comes from the hot springs, which keeps it open all year. If there is too much snow or ice, the area will be closed, because you reach it by taking stairs down from the Cave & Basin parking lot.

pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/ab/caveandbasin/index_E.asp

Don't get *too* excited about winter birds! I learned to bird in the winter, it's an ideal time to learn because... you see the same species over and over again. On an extremely good day, you can see 30 species, but 10-12 is much more typical (magpie, crow, raven, chickadee, Canada goose, mallard...) In general, an area with open water is the best place to look. If you're extremely lucky, you could see a Bald Eagle.

Yes, there are several taxi services; see Inside Banff: Taxis & Rental Cars here at TripAdvisor:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154911-s304/Banff:Al…

The bus schedule is *supposed* to be here, at the town of Banff's website (www.banff.ca):

banff.ca/banff/…

Calgary, Canada
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6. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Round the world ~> You will find that Banff has all the services you need to get around on your day out. Even if you only had an idea of what you wanted to do, as you've mentioned. Than once get there have the hotel help you arrange bus or taxi service. Some people do walk up to the Gondola so you may see them but in my opinion it would waste time as you want to see other things of the town not just the walk up Sulphur Mtn.

Jasper, Canada
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7. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

One thing to keep in mind, regarding daylight hours in Banff in late December.... a "full day" is about 9 am to about 4 pm. :-(

Perth, Australia
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8. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Good point Krp - wow 9am to 4 pm!

Thanks Country Wife, I will keep an eye on the schedule.

I think just Sulphur Mountain and enjoying the scenery, pending the weather, sounds good to me.

Canada
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9. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

I was just in Banff on Monday and Tuesday. I noticed that the public transit bus still runs up to Sulphur mountain--whether it will in December I do not know. However, right now is the realy shoulder season in Banff: in December ski season will be starting up and more people will be in town. I rode up Sulphur Mtn in the gondola and walked down on Tuesday morning (no snow yet so the walk down is do-able). It was a beautiful day to do it; wonderful views and nice weather. I spent the equivalent of a day (arrived there in afternoon and left the next day at noon) there and did little other than poke around the shops, have a nice meal, and go up the gondola (oh, and a I had a few beers in Bill's Wild West Saloon and listened to a didgeredoo player!). There is lots to do right in the town, including the Whyte Museum of the Rockies, checking out the spectacular Banff Springs Hotel, etc., so you won't have any trouble filling up your day even if you do not get out to do some walks. An option that occurs to me for a quick nature walk is to go up to the Banff Centre for the Arts. Just behind there are a couple of nice walking loops that are easily accesible from town (you can walk up to the centre from the townsite).

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: What to do for a full day in Banff in late December

Thanks Arf68, it is great to hear what you did in Banff for the day.

How nice to have such good weather. How long did it take to walk down from Sulphur Mountain?