February 13, 2016
This waterfall took me a while to get my bearings as to where it might be located. I've read summer hikes of this trail, however I never heard anyone speak of a waterfall. I proceeded skeptical, in search of what ice climbers call Bear Spirit.
The very first parking lot when you start the Bow Valley Parkway, located on your right will commence your hike. This hike is so near to Banff, and found on the way towards the ever popular Johnston Canyon; however I'm surprised that it took a lot of research for me to uncover it's whereabouts.
|View into the Sundance Ridge from parking lot|
Pulling into the parking lot (almost right off the main highway it's so close) I noticed I wasn't alone. On this trip I noticed that ice climbers were in full swing at almost every location I attempted in Banff this weekend in February. This was enough to make me more confident of the waterfall existing, however what also made me excited was that I noticed a waterfall on the highway before turning into the Bow Valley Parkway.
Though there isn't an area on the road to pull over, Sundance Ridge did have a visible waterfall from the highway. I attempted to get an angle from the viewpoint of the parking lot and trail on my way to Bear Spirit, however I wasn't at a visible angle. I'll do some more research and attempt to find a trail that leads me into the valley where the waterfall drains.
I only traveled a short distance along the trail to Bear Spirit to my first drainage on my left (aprox 100-200 meters). It would be another roughly kilometer and a bit to follow the drainage in order to get up close to the waterfall. Though I would be able to barely make out the ice sheet from the start of the drainage.
The weather wasn't clear at this moment, and had a few flurries in the mix, though I did manage to get a distant picture of the waterfall. As the hike wasn't puppy friendly (like most trails in Banff) I opted to return and complete the full trail on another day.
|Distant view of Bear Spirit|