Soak in the fall in Banff and Canmore

By Shane Flug

As the leaves change colour and the air gets cooler, the Canadian Rockies in fall are a sight to behold. With crisp mountain air to breathe and a lower sun making for dramatic memories to capture, the harvest season is a great time to be one with nature in Banff and Canmore. The best part is that both parks are just a short drive away from Calgary. Here are some outdoor and other activities to schedule for your next outing. [Photo Credit: iStock.com/kavram]

Soak in the fall in Banff and Canmore

Soak in the sights and sounds

You'll truly see sights and sounds to behold when you venture out in the wilderness during the fall with leaves crunching underneath your feet, hues of the trees turning yellow, red and orange and the sounds of elk rutting season in the distance. With peak tourism season come and gone like July’s green leaves, chances to spend quieter weekend getaways with your loved ones and sightsee with smaller travel groups are abundant.

From now until November, Discover Banff Tours is offering its Fall Colours sightseeing package at $72 per adult. Admire the majesty of the freshwater crashing on the limestone at Bow Falls and maybe even spot the wildlife at Bow Valley Parkway.

For those who like to relax with a hot dip, take this weekend for a last chance to venture to Banff Upper Hot Springs at the top of Mountain Avenue before it closes for maintenance until Oct. 30. Also try hotel rooftop hot tubs such as the ones at the Moose Hotel & Suites for your next full weekend stay.

In Canmore, fall provides a literal golden opportunity to see the changing colours of the larch trees. Larch hikes such as the Mt. Lorette Ponds trail offers picnic spots where you can chow down on a leftover turkey and cranberry sandwich while fishing for the perfect Instagram photo of the nearby ponds and scenery. Plan your trip by month’s end before all the larch tree needles fall and check out Tourism Canmore’s blog for other hike recommendations.

Soak in the harvest festival season

When temperatures cool down, Banff and Canmore’s food and cultural communities get warmed up. Feast your eyes on the latest in outdoor living media with the Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival, a nine-day festival scheduled Oct. 28 to Nov. 5 at the Banff Centre. Don’t miss guest appearances by famous adventurers such as Sir Chris Bonington and Tommy Caldwell. See the full schedule and save a $2 per event by buying a custom festival pass.

For foodies, taste 16 days of culinary celebrations during Banff’s Taste For Adventure food festival. Quickly take a free tour of the Park Distillery or make a dinner date night out of one of 20 participating restaurants’ special chef menus for the festival.

The weekend of Oct. 13, Canmore goes WILD with their annual town fall festival chock full of creative and outdoor events. Go for a paint night at artsPlace Oct. 13 or head to the Civic Centre and learn about our feathered friends at the fan-favourite Birds of Prey live exhibit Oct. 14.

And for those who like to get scared, see Canmore’s spookier side for Halloween Oct. 28 to 31 during Canmore Ghost Walks.

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More fun things to do near Calgary this fall:

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Soak in the music

Summer folk festival season has come and gone, but that’s not stopping roots and rock music acts from making some tour stops in the Rockies. In Banff, Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon and the Rose & Crown are both can’t-miss venues for rock and country acts year-round. Catch indie folk-rock troupe Northern Quarter at the Rose & Crown Oct. 24 or Wild Bill’s country-rock favourite Brent Lee Band Oct. 25 to 27.

In Canmore, don’t miss folk double-bill Amelie Patterson and The Doll Sisters Oct. 14 at artsPlace, Cape Breton country-folk quartet Pretty Archie at Creekside Villa Oct. 19 and Latin Grammy- and Juno-winning singer-songwriter Alex Cuba at Communitea Café Nov. 8.

The colours, sights and sounds of the Canadian Rockies always serve as the perfect backdrop to make memories during fall. Grab a light jacket and soak it all in.

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