I finally got to go to the place of my dreams: Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. If you've never heard of it, it's time to look it up. From its monstrous mountains, to its alpine lakes, this park has something to enthuse anybody who enjoys the outdoors. This article is about the main hike I did while visiting Banff - Fairview Mountain. From the peak of about 9,100 feet, it was definitely the most incredible and picturesque hike I had ever been on.
You start off this trek by parking in what might be the most popular attraction in Banff National Park, Lake Lousie. Thousands of people flock to this incredible alpine lake every year to get a glimpse of its surrounding mountain views and perfect turquoise water. Lake Louise is also home to the famous Chateau Louise, a very gorgeous (and very expensive) hotel. Its hard to believe that you have to start by being surrounded by hundreds of people to end up in complete wilderness surrounded by nothing but trees and mountains.
From the parking lot, you start off on the paradise valley trail. This connects the parking lot to Fairview Mountain. From the get-go, this trail is uphill. It continues up switchbacks between Fairview and Saddle mountains for a couple of miles until you reach the Paradise Valley intersection. This is where you can choose to summit either Saddle or Fairview mountain. I chose Fairview because of the notoriously breathtaking views from the summit. As you continue to the top you will notice a sign that shows you the amount of grizzly bear activity in the area for the day and whether you need to summit the mountain in a group of 4 or more or not. I highly recommend bringing bear spray to this area it is a very popular bear spot - however, I did not see any.
The final push up to the summit is a steep section of uphill switch-backing on top of shale and broken rocks. Unfortunately, I could not reach the full summit of Fairview mountain due to a bad thunderstorm rolling in, forcing people who were already at the top to come back down. I did however reach about 8700-8800 feet in elevation, making it the highest hike I've been on. This mountain is truly a thrill for those seeking a good workout with some stunning views. Plus, now I have a reason to go back and, next time, I'll reach the top.
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