Wildflowers of Banff National Park

 

TRAILS AND FLOWERS OF BANFF

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Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with more than 1500 kilometres of trails to explore. Wildflowers of Banff Park will feature 10 of the best trails with a wide variety of flowers.

From late May until early September each year, the park is a cornucopia of colours. Each of Banff Park's three ecoregions presents a rainbow of wildflowers, from montane, to subalpine, and alpine.

 

Wildflowers of Banff Park is an invitation to explore the trails and discover new flowers along the way!

Johnson Lake is close to the town of Banff. It is an easy trail at a lower elevation, with flowers that bloom early season in the valley and forest. It is a great area to explore, with flowers in their prime from May to July. This montane zone features purple Calypso Orchids in May, to yellow blooms of Cinquefoil in July

Spray River is also close to the town of Banff. It is a moderate trail that follows the moist banks of the Spray River, with flowers that thrive in this environment. It is another great early-season hike, with flowers in their prime from May to July. Open slopes along the river feature carpets of Kinnikinnick in May, to brilliant red Indian Paintbrush in June, and showy blue Asters in mid-summer.

Sunshine Meadows / Quartz Ridge features a mix of rolling subalpine and alpine meadowlands. High-country flowers bloom from late June to August, carpeting the area with an incredible variety of wildflowers. With a shuttle-bus from the valley, hikers can spend the day exploring this open area. From fields of pink Mountain Heather, to white Anenome and tiny blue Forget-Me-Nots, this is a favourite haunt of flower-enthusiasts.

Healy Pass hikers can start in the forest and gradually climb to the high country, or start with the shuttle-bus to Sunshine Meadows and aproach across subalpine and alpine slopes. High-country flowers bloom from late June to August, with yellow Glacier Lily, white Globe-Flower, and Indian Paintbrush that vary from white to yellow, and pink to red. In mid-July this area is carpeted with a myriad of wildflowers, including Fleabane, Marigold, Larkspur, Valerian, and many, many others!

Bourgeau Lake begins in the forest and climbs steadily up a series of switchbacks to subalpine and alpine slopes. High-country flowers bloom from late June to August, with meltwaters feeding a wide variety of wildflowers, from yellow Columbine, to red Azalea and snow-white Saxifrage. This area offers a mix of waterfalls, rocky amphitheatres, and meadows.

Eiffel Lake / Wenkchemna Pass is near Lake Louise, and features flower-filled meadows on one of the highest maintained trails in the Rockies. It is a mix of forest, rocky scree slopes, and open meadows. High-country flowers bloom from July to August, with stunning views of the Valley of Ten Peaks. As the valley warms, winds carry the aroma of wildflowers across the trail.

The Plain of Six Glaciers trail begins at Lake Louise and climbs gradually up through forest, rocky slopes, to an open alpine area. The lakeshore trail is bordered with colourful subalpine flowers, then climbs to rocky alpine slopes where hardy, high-country flowers bloom from late June to August. Although rocky and windswept, this area offers a surprising array of wildflowers in a majestic setting.

Molar Pass is north of Lake Louise, with some of the finest wildflower meadows in Banff Park. This trail climbs gradually through subalpine forest, then opens up to lush meadows with showy wildflowers including Marsh Marigold, Valerian, Ragwort, Western Anenome and Globeflower. High-country flowers bloom from late June to August.

Helen Lake is an area of high lakes and alpine meadows surrounded by castle-like peaks north of Lake Louise. As you gain altitude, flowers gradually change from subalpine to alpine, offering a rainbow of colours in mid-July. Carpets of white and pink heather cover the higher slopes in early summer. Paintbrush, Gentian, Ragwort, Valerian and many other high-country flowers bloom from late June to August.

Parker Ridge and Nigel Pass are on the Icefields Parkway, with a mix of subalpine and alpine vegetation. At Parker Ridge, tall Paintbrush, Purple Fleabane and Valerian, lead to ground-hugging White Mountain Aven, Moss Campion, and Forget-Me-Not. These colourful flowers make the most of the short blooming season of early July to mid-August. Nigel Pass has fewer hikers, and climbs moderately through open forest dotted with Fireweed and Buttercups, across open slopes with Glacier Lily, to flower-filled marshy meadows.

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