Tunnel Mountain doesn’t actually have a tunnel
Of the popular Rocky Mountain peaks in and around the town of Banff, Alberta, only Tunnel Mountain could be considered a relatively easy climb. In fact, the biggest challenge you’re likely to encounter on the one- to one-and-a-half hour hike is the conundrum of its name—a real head-scratcher as there’s nary a tunnel to be found on the entire mountain. The puzzle dates back to the mid-1880s, at a time when the Canadian Pacific Railway was expanding its rail line through Banff—the same rail line that now brings Rocky Mountaineer into town on the “First Passage to the West” route. CPR’s initial proposal was to lay the rails along the shortest possible route, which happened to be straight through the heart of the mountain. Perhaps realizing exactly how much dynamite would actually be required to blast a tunnel clean through, the plan was abandoned, and the rail line was instead laid around the mountain, following the course of the Bow River. Nevertheless, the name stuck, and Tunnel Mountain’s status as a great Rocky Mountain mystery was secured.