I would like to acknowledge that this is treaty seven land on which the traditional territories the Dene, Blackfoot, Sioux, Stoney, Nakoda peoples, and is home to many diverse indigenous persons including the Metis.
Have you ever woken up one morning and just had the urge to hop in the car and see where the road takes you? Well dear friends that is exactly what happened to me last week. The mountains were calling and even though it would be just me and the 3 kids, I just couldn’t ignore it. It was time for an adventure.
Leaving the house I had no idea how far we would make it considering I had just decided a hour earlier that this was happening. I packed bentos for the kids and cliff bars, nuts and apples for myself and off we went to see where the road lead. And wouldn’t you know it, two hours later we found ourselves in Banff National Park picnicking at Cascade Ponds.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Cascade Ponds is found in the shadows of Cascade Mountain just off the Trans Canada Highway as you approach Banff from Calgary. Instead of heading South into the town, go North… You can’t miss it, even though I did EVERY other time I have visited the area.
If you happen to be travelling by bicycle on Banff’s Legacy Trail, you will also connect to Cascade Ponds. The trail runs through it.
More than just a pit stop
On the surface Cascade Ponds looks like a quick place to pull in, stretch your legs and visit the washroom before heading on to your next big ticket adventure. But it offers so much more, especially when travelling with little legs that want to explore but just can’t handle the big trails yet.
Here you will find 2.4km loop around the ponds including 2 bridges crossing to the small island. This was the perfect length for my littles to explore, and make memories, and still make it back to the car without complaints of tired legs or boredom.
There is also a large field with several fire pits, and picnic tables that have wonderful views of Mt Astley in the distance.
Planning your visit
This is a spot you really can spend a few minutes to take in the sites or take the day to immerse yourself in nature. It’s a safe enough space that the children can run free and explore without the worry that they will tumble off a cliff but wild enough that their imaginations will fire creating memories and learning opportunities at every turn.
Here are a few activities you might enjoy:
- Birding/ Nature Watching
- Nature walks
- Forest Bathing
- Pond Habitat Exploration
Answer the call
I hope the next time the mountains call you hop into the car and take a drive to discover this beautiful area. We will definitely be returning to Cascade Ponds in Banff National Park again, it’s practically perfect for a Forest Friday.