Since I was a boy, I have always been fascinated by Mount Rundle in Banff National Park, Canada. Maybe it’s because the name is very similar to my first name, Randall. More likely, it’s because Mount Rundle is such a rugged and dominant feature of the landscape around the town of Banff.
Mount Rundle is 2949 meters or 9675 feet high, and is located south of the town. The best views are from the highway, Vermilion Lakes, the surrounding peaks, and around the Banff Springs Hotel area. The mountain was named by John Palliser, an Irish explorer and geographer, for Reverend Robert Rundle who worked as a missionary in the village of Thorsby in central Alberta. Mount Rundle was first climbed in 1888 by James J. McArthur, a surveyor who worked in the area at the time. Since then, it has been a very popular and grueling hike for those willing to take on a little challenge.
This is an early view of Mount Rundle, taken from a pullout along the highway, west of Banff.
The view of Rundle with the Bow River, taken from Bow Falls.
Rundle taken from the edge of the Vermilion Lakes. These three lakes are located just west of Banff.
The view from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
Mount Rundle from the Sir William Cornelius Van Horne statue, located in the central drive at the Banff Springs Hotel. Sir Van Horne was a major figure in Canadian history. He was appointed president of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1888, and presided over an important period of growth for the transcontinental railway. He also helped found the hotel division of the CPR, and was important for overseeing the design and development of the Banff Springs Hotel.
The view of Rundle from the beautiful Cascade Gardens in Banff. The gardens are free to visit and should not be missed.
From the east Vermilion Lake.
Okay, let’s go on a hike to the west peak of Mount Rundle. I hiked Rundle a few years ago and used an old point-and-shoot camera. Similar to Mount Temple, Mount Rundle is non-technical, but a grueling hike. The elevation gain to the summit is 1579 meters or 5180 feet. That includes a tough climb of 900 meters over 6.5 kilometers. The most popular and safest route is the west slope, with the trailhead located from near the Bow Falls parking lot. I crossed the small bridge and walked along the Banff Springs Golf Course to the trailhead. Please check the parking restrictions as they may have changed since I was there.
Approximately halfway up is the Central Gully. Make sure you follow the flagging. Don’t go either up or down the gully.
After a long period in the trees, the hike opens up to the sub alpine.
The strenuous climb continues. The route follows the formation known as the Dragon’s Back on the left.
Looking down the Dragon’s Back. I hope this gives an idea how steep the mountain is.
Final approach to the summit.
I was so happy to reach the summit and the cairn.
It was a hazy day and my photos from the summit aren’t clear. I’ll spare you of the ones with my goofy face. This is an interesting one though. Don’t want to fall here.
These elk were not shy of the golfers. This was taken last summer.
One last look at Mount Rundle, taken again from the Vermilion Lakes.
I hope you enjoyed my post as I looked back again to one of my favorite places, Banff National Park. If you haven’t seen it yet, please read my post, My HIKE TO THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT TEMPLE.
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