I'd like to invite you all to enjoy the scientific program at the meeting. At the
same time I hope you take the chance to explore the unique environment
of the Canadian rockies. The meeting is held within convenient
walking distance from the Banff town center, the hub for exploring Banff
national park. However, the opportunities does not stop there. Adjacent
to Banff is Jasper in Alberta, Kootenay and Yoho across the continental
divide in British Columbia. Together the four parks make up the Canadian
rocky mountain parks, and are listed with the United Nations (UNESCO) as a
world heritage site. In fact there are five UN listed world heritage sites
wholly or partially in Alberta - more than in any other province or state in
North America. The other four are: Dinosaur, Head-smashed-in-buffalo-jump cultural historic site,
Waterton-Glacier parks, and Wood Buffalo park. The first three out of these four are within convenient driving distance of the conference.
Below I give only a brief sampling of the almost endless possibilities to
explore in and around Banff and the Canadian rockies. I will update this
site with more specific information as the conference approaches.
Please feel free
to contact me if you would like any more information.
View from halfway up Tunnel Mountain. The conference center is located a
bit further down the slope. Picture by Martin Jagersand.
Numerous roadside stops along the Icefields Parkway offer everything from
overlooks and interpretive displays, through short side hikes, to long multiday
Hike to Sentinel Pass, near Moraine lake after ICML 2004.
There are several possibilities for activities out of Banff, of which I
list only a few here. They are listed roughly from easy quick walks near
the conference center, to more involved adventures.
Within walking distance from the conference center
- Tunnel mountain hike The conference center is located on the
lower slopes of tunnel mountain, a small mountain within the Banff town site.
A trail leading to the top passes right by the center. The hike could be
easily done in a couple of hours even over lunch break. See the picture above
for a view from tunnel mountain. Several other part day, full day and multiday
hikes start from Banff and vincinity. See for some hike descriptions.
- Banff museum Housed in a turn of the century building, the
Banff park museum a historical landmark. It was designed for and still houses natural history collections. A more recent focus is on resource management exhibits.
The museum is downtown, a short walk or ride from the conference center.
- Historic Banff Established in 1885 Banff is Canada's oldest
The Banff town site still preserves a lot of the architecture and
feeling of earlier times. Taking the self guided Banff historic walk is one way to experience and learn more.
- Cave and Basin National Historic Site The CPR - Canadian Pacific Railroad passes through Banff. In fact the impetus for establishing the national
park came when railroad workers discovered hot springs at nearby Sulphur
mountain. The workers tried to lay claims to the area. The railroad owners
also saw it as a potential source of passengers and profits. Wisely the
government decided to set it apart as a national park, which has been successively expanded into what is today's Banff. The original springs can be seen by
visiting the Cave and Basin historic site.
Half day trips
- Lake Louise Nearby Lake Louise is blue lake set amid mountains. The shoreline is dominated by a
large hotel, and the area can get quite crowded in the summer.
- Moraine Lake More remotely situated, Moraine Lake has fewer visitors. The
of the nearby 10 peaks is immortalized on the old Canadian 20 dollar bill.
- Bankhead The old coal town ruins of
is the starting point for several back country trails, as well as a historic
site. In the early 1900's coal for the CPR railroad was mined here. An
interpretive trail leads around the mine and various processing sites.
- Route 1A Bow valley parkway Route 1a between Banff and Lake Louise is a more scenic alternative to the busy Trans Canada Hwy.
Along the way are numerous pullouts and interpretive displays.
Day and multiday adventures
- Icefields Parkway Paralleling the continental divide and going
between Banff and Jasper, the Icefields Parkway is a spectacular drive.
A trip guide lists
the roadside attractions.
- Columbia Icefields One of the areas premier attractions are
the Columbia Icefields (see picture below). Athabaska glacier is right
near the road. An interpretive center explains the evolution of
glaciers and gives tours.
- Jasper Just north of Banff, Jasper national park is a bit quieter in the
busy summertime compared to Banff. The area around Maligne lake and river
offers some of the most spectacular hiking and boating.