Day Four – Whitefish MT to Banff AB
Miles: 332.9
Elapsed Time: 10:50

We knew we were embarking on one of the signature days of the trip, and with only 300 miles scheduled we knew we wouldn’t need to ride so hard. We started with breakfast at Swift Creek Cafe, walking distance from our hotel, and were very satisfied with our selection (try a Hobo dish). Road construction made it a little difficult to get out of town but it didn’t last long and before we knew it we had traveled the 60 miles to the border at Roosville. Fairly uneventful getting across the border which we crossed right behind three couples traveling together on Harleys. Once through in very short order we were around the tourers and on our way up C3. Not the best road for riding but it was in good shape and there was decent scenery with lots of fir trees and distant views of the Canadian Rockies. As we approached the Kootenay River crossing we turned onto Wardner-Ft Steele Road for a scheduled detour and to get off the main road for a time. This was a nice option and we enjoyed the lack of traffic and nice gently twisting road. We pulled into the Fort Steele parking lot, but much to our chagrin we learned it was quite the tourist area and we quickly decided to move on. We connected back to the main road, C95 and continued on our northerly course. We stopped for a brief time along the Kootenay Rver in a little pull off or rest area. The river was very clear but had a turquoise color which is a result of the minerals I’ve learned. It was also a nice view of Tepee Mountain that could be seen in the distance. We continued on to a little spot overlooking Columbia Lake which is the source of the Columbia River. The view was really nice and there were some interpretive signs telling about the geology and history of the area. We continued north and stopped for some pics of the sandstone cliffs towering over C95 and one of the creeks that feeds into Columbia Lake. We stopped in Radium HotSprings for lunch and to gas up. This was our first stop in Canada for gas and suffered some sticker shock; $5.70 per gallon which nearly a 50% increase over that in Whitefish. Oh well, nothing you can do about that, so we headed into the Sinclair Canyon just east of Radium Hot Springs stopping for some pictures and then headed up the mountain towards Sinclair Pass. C93 known as Kootenay Highway winds up climbing close to 2k feet in about 7 miles. The ride up to the pass we really good with wide sweeping curves allowing us to keep a risk pace and we stopped at Olive Lake as there is not much to see on the summit. On the East side of the pass we flowed down into the Kootenay Valley and wound our way north up the valley before heading east again through another gap in the mountains crossing the Vermilion Pass at 5.5k feet. We stopped at Marble Canyon and walked around which was definitely worth the visit seeing the turquoise waters of the Tokumm Creek and the Vermillion River meet. A little bit of a walk is required but well worth it. We continued on and decided to run up to Lake Louise as we still had plenty of time in the day. The view at Lake Louise is a very famous one that normally includes the Fairmont Chateau. Lake Louise was named after the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and has been a travel destination since the railways made this a resort location around the turn of the century. Many tourists were about in the afternoon so we didn’t stay all that long.

We rode into Banff, found our hotel and parked our bikes at a remote location and set out for the night. We got some sushi and basically camped out at the Banff Ave Brewing Co. We even went back to get laptops and worked from the bar for a little while catching up on our work.