Sulphur Mountain (from the Cave and Basin)

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View from Sanson’s Peak, looking towards Tunnel Mountain, the Bow River and Lake Minnewanka – on a day that was, weather-wise, nothing like the day that I ran Sulphur Mountain – Photo: Canmore Runner

Sulphur Mountain, 2,451m elevation and, it turns out, a total treat. I hadn’t expected it to be thus. This was never on my ever-burgeoning list of “must-do runs”, partly because of its status as one of Banff’s major tourist attractions. Every summer, thousands of tourists take the 8-minute gondola ride to Sanson’s Peak, or hike there from the Upper Hot Springs along a series of switchbacks that wind their way up beneath the gondola. Of course, there has to be a reason why it’s so popular and it might just be the “breathtaking vistas in every direction” and the “stunning bird’s-eye view of six incredible mountain ranges”. As luck would have it, you can still enjoy those same vistas while mostly avoiding the masses en route by taking an alternative and challenging 8km trail to Sanson’s Peak that begins at the Cave and Basin historic site. Continue reading

High Rockies Trail 2 – Out-and-Back from Goat Creek

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Backside of East End of Rundle (left) and Ha Ling (right) from the High Rockies Trail  Photo: Canmore Runner

The sun was out, the sky was blue, the temperature was heading up towards 20 degrees and my brain was saying “get ye away from this desk and off to the High Rockies Trail”. So that’s what I did. Continue reading

Stoney Squaw Loop

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Ms. Canmore Runner at Stoney Squaw, Banff, looking north towards Mount Cascade – Photo Canmore Runner

West of Tunnel Mountain, at an elevation of 1884m, Stoney Squaw is a promontory extending east from the slopes of Mount Norquay. It lies at the end of a meandering, 2.2km trail that makes its way steadily upwards through the trees before offering up great views of Banff, the Bow Valley and Mount Cascade. From there you can loop back to the trailhead along a fast, twisty and at times steep and technical descent. Covering a total distance of around 4.5km, with some 393m of elevation, it’s a shorty but a goody. Continue reading

Tunnel Mountain aka Sleeping Buffalo

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Mount Rundle and the Bow Valley from Tunnel Mountain  (Photo: Canmore Runner)

Happy International Mountain Day!

To mark the occasion, it seemed rather fitting to post a trail running route that celebrates one of the “shorter” mountains in the Bow Valley: Tunnel Mountain. Elevation 1,692m and runnable (up and down) in around 32 minutes (and i’m no speed demon)! But don’t be deceived. What Tunnel Mountain lacks in elevation and technical difficulty is compensated for with stunning summit views of Banff and the Bow Valley.

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Lake Minnewanka – Out and Back

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Lake Minnewanka from the trail to Aylmer Pass. Photo: Canmore Runner

I’m truly baffled as to why it took me so long to head out on the trails around Lake Minnewanka. What a spectacular place to run. I’ve walked there, i’ve taken the kids and visitors there, i’ve eaten ice cream there, i’ve even potted around the lake in a small boat and walked across it last winter when it was frozen. But it wasn’t until this week that I finally ran there with Ms. Canmore Runner (who has run there). It seems i’ve been missing out on something quite stunning.

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Mount Bourgeau – Truly Epic

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Summit bound…

Mount Bourgeau. Altitude 2,931m, named by James Hector in 1860 after Eugène Bourgeau, a botanist with the Palliser Expedition. First climbed in 1890.

125 years and countless hikers and runners later, Canmore Runner puffed his way to the summit in the great company of Mike Fitzpatrick, coordinator of Canmore Trail Culture and Mount Bourgeau alumni. Continue reading

The Cory and Edith Pass Loop: Pure Awesome

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Fitzy, showing the way.

Last week I had what easily ranks as one of my most epic running experiences to date – the Cory and Edith Pass Trail Loop, just outside Banff. What’s more, I ran in the great company of Mike Fitzpatrick – “Fitzy” – the founder of Canmore Trail Culture (find it on Facebook!), the local trail running group and the subject of a future post. Continue reading