Sundance Canyon

If you are using this information for your own trip, please read this disclaimer and description of my abilities.

Sundance Canyon (approx. 7.4km) in Banff National Park is a relatively easy stroll to a more moderate hike up the canyon itself. After having lived in the Bow Valley for a few years, I was a bit ashamed to say that I had never done the walk out to Sundance Canyon, so I did it today. The trail starts on the other side of the Cave and Basin at the end of Cave Avenue in the Town of Banff.

Great Views from the Sundance Canyon Trail

The pathway there is paved, and a bit boring that way, but it offers great views and leads you to a canyon that is well worth the walk. Winding its way along the Bow River, which was pretty high and muddy at this time of year, the trail offers views of the sharp spire of Mount Edith, Mount Cory, Mount Bourgeau, and on the return, Mount Rundle.

Spire of Mount Edith

At one point, I came across a tree that had been cut down and laid across the creek coming down the Sundance Canyon. The trail continued straight however, and it got me thinking that sometime in the past someone used that tree to cross the creek, who knows why. That’s one thing I love about exlporing this area and the Rockies in general – there is always a story behind what you see and mini-mysteries that can keep your mind busy thinking of hypotheses.

Tree Bridge

Sundance Canyon

Either at the beginning or the end of your hike, you can also pay a visit (free to locals) to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site to learn more about the formation of the Parks System in Canada. It’s a pretty funky spot with a lot of history. It’s especially fitting as Banff National Park celebrates its 125th birthday this year. “Discovered” in 1883, this site of natural hot springs (reeking of sulphur) presented a great controversy over its ownership. The dispute was eventually settled by the government claiming the hot springs as for all people in the nation of Canada and establishing the 26 km2 Hot Springs Reserve in 1885. Two years later, the Rocky Mountains Park Act expanded the reserve to 405 km2.

The Cave and Basin

© Meghan J. Ward, 2010.

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