Beautiful B.C. (but mostly Alberta today)

Recently my attention was drawn to a post on David Kanigan’s blog. It featured a  place that has always been an old favourite of mine, a mountain beside the highway between Calgary and Banff.

Mount Eisenhower

When I was a child I had a calendar with this mountain pictured on one of the pages. I thought it had a unique shape and was impressed because in those younger years I still thought that all mountains had the traditional volcano- like triangular look, and this one was so different.

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Castle Mountain

Imagine my surprise when I saw this mountain “in the flesh” on a special holiday  through the Banff area when I was about 14. I was thrilled to see the famous calendar mountain.

Many years later I was passing that way again and wanted to be sure not to miss seeing Mount Eisenhower, meaning to take photos of it (in case I wanted to make my own calendar).  Mount Eisenhower no longer existed. It took a fair bit of digging to discover that this mountain was now called Castle Mountain. After reading some of the comments on David Kanigan’s blog, where he featured this mountain, albeit from a much different angle, I learned that the original name of the mountain  – well, original … let’s say in recorded history – was Castle Mountain, named by James Hector in 1858.

In 1946 it was renamed Mount Eisenhower, in honour of the U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower, but in 1979, public pressure caused the name to be changed back to Castle Mountain. A pinnacle on the southeast side of the mountain is still named the Eisenhower Tower.

Last year when I had occasion to go on a trip from Calgary to Banff and Lake Louise, I made sure to get pictures of Castle Mountain as we drove by it.

I looked forward to seeing Lake Louise. Many years ago I had seen it and remembered the bright turquoise colour of this beautiful lake surrounded by a framework of mountains. What a shock it was to see the lake frozen solid and being used as a skating rink. Someone had made a beautiful wall of ice to look like an entrance to the lake.

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Lake Louise with skaters and cross country skiiers

Driving on, I had to see where the gondola lift took me up Sulfur Mountain so many years ago.  On the way, I saw the famous hotel peeking through the trees. Do you recognize it?

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Hiding behind the trees is the Banff Springs Hotel

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On June 1st, 2013 Canada’s castle in the Rockies, the Banff Springs Hotel, turns 125!

This trip took place near the end of March, so if you’re planning to visit this area, maybe try it a little later in the spring or summer. It was beautiful in March, but in summer it’s gorgeous, and you have the added bonus of most likely seeing plenty of wildlife (black bears, deer, and elk) along the road as you drive the scenic route through Banff National Park.

40 thoughts on “Beautiful B.C. (but mostly Alberta today)

    • Thanks. I would love to have had the chance to get photos of the lake (and that beautiful greenish colour of the water) in the summer but actually, I’d never seen it frozen so that was something new to me.

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  1. What beautiful mountain photos.. if I had taken those a calender would definitely be on the cards… I love that someone took the trouble to build a fence and entrance gate to the lake, and the old hotel 125 years old.. wow, I would love to see more photos of it…thanks for the share .. wonderful post…

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    • The Banff Springs Hotel that is 125 years old is just outside the town of Banff, about 40 miles from Lake Louise which has a hotel of its own, the Chateau Lake Louise, almost as old. The Canadian Pacific Railway had the idea to build three of these luxury hotels. The third is the Chateau Frontenac (1893) in Quebec City. Very fancy hotels in their day and heritage sites today.

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  2. So you are not doing just hot stuff, Anneli. Nice post and pictures. personally I couldn’t belive mountains were vulcanos before I saw one myself, with smoke comming from the top, in Chile.

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    • I wonder who did it. I wondered about it when I was there and I wonder whenever I see the photo of it. Maybe the Chateau Lake Louise hired someone to do it. I don’t know. But I bet lots of people have their photos taken in front of it.

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  3. Gorgeous photos Anneli. We did this trip during the spring many years ago and it was beautiful. Stayed in one of the log cabins in the park and had a terrific visit. Dined at the Hotel..one meal only:)
    I have no lovely photos ..thanks for your effort!!

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  4. Lucky you, Dawn. I’ve only seen it from the outside, although we did go inside the Chateau Lake Louise for a look at the old splendour. Wish I’d taken some pictures there. It was historic opulence. Thanks for commenting, Dawn.

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  5. We used to go to the Rockies (Jasper) for Christmas Day when the kids were younger. It was such a magical setting. We skated on the lakes, went on canyon crawls, saw Santa’s deer by the hotel hot tub … couldn’t ge much better than that.

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  6. Even though I am a Swiss-“girl”, I am so impressed of your pictures of those very beautiful mountains! I wish I could go and see them in real. But your pictures are so good and so real that I can spare myself the long long trip to see them with my own eyes. Thanks so much for sharing those wonderful pics!!!

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  7. Beautiful! You can’t always see the mountains in the spring (through the snowflakes) but it’s all magical. Is there anything more picturesque than a castle in the mountains? Nice story. I learned something, as usual. The Mount Eisenhower name was new to me.

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  8. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been to Canada. I used to travel through Canada quite frequently in my younger days, driving to and from Alaska, but these days I mostly travel by airplane. Your photos are absolutely beautiful!! Thanks for sharing them with us!

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  9. Banff and Lake Louise would probably be a little bit out of your way if you were going through to Alaska, but there are other beautiful areas on the more direct route. It’s a LONG trip by car though, so by plane is the way to go and then you can see what you’ve missed by visiting my blog. Thanks for doing that! I think Alaska has some fantastic mountain scenery. I’ve never been there, but have seen glimpses from afar when fishing on the north coast of the Queen Charlottes. On photos, Alaska looks beautiful.

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  10. Banff and Lake Louise and the surrounding area are the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I have wonderful memories from there.

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