C-Level Cirque, Banff

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Elevation gain: 455 m (1,500 ft)
Maximum elevation: 1920 m (6,300 ft)

I’d wild camped the previous night, rushing to the first discrete spot I could find when thunder and lightning started.

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Hanging food in this kind of forest isn’t easy. This time I bent a small tree to the ground. Let it spring back to vertical with my bear bag in place.

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Next morning I loaded up the panniers and headed for the trailhead. That had been my first night ever bike camping. 🙂

My goal was C-Level Cirque on nearby Cascade Mountain. One of the most popular day hikes out of Banff.

Looked like new snow had arrived the previous night.

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The trail begins its ascent through a pleasantly varied forest of lodgepole pine, aspen and spruce, where calypso orchids, blue clematis and many colourful violets bloom in early summer.

Within a half-hour you reach two skeletal buildings, the remnants of an anthracite coal operation that flourished in the area from 1904 to 1922. A town of nearly 1,000 inhabitants called Bankhead was spread across the valley where the trail begins, and these old buildings were a part of the “C Level” operation—the highest coal seams worked within the eastern slope of Cascade Mountain. …

Banff – C Level Cirque

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By the time I reached the first viewpoint, it was snowing. Rather than continue, I opted to turn back here.

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I did see some fresh bear scat on the way down.

related – Hiking with Barry trip report on a sunny day

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One thought on “C-Level Cirque, Banff

  1. Pingback: C-Level Cirque, Banff – John Williams

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