The surprise at the corner on Tunnel Mountain Road in the town of Banff is the sudden appearance and incredible view of the Banff Springs Hotel. The beautiful building known as the “Castle Of The Rockies” sits in the backdrop of Sulphur Mountain while in the foreground the majestic Bow River cascades down into the Bow Falls. This famous and iconic view of the hotel is promoted all over the world. There are historic pictures, paintings and postcards that date back to the late 1800’s.
There is no sign marking the view point. I’m not sure that Surprise Corner is an official name, most likely it’s something that the locals came up with. From downtown Banff it’s a five minute drive. You can access the corner from Banff Avenue by driving along to the top end of Buffalo Street, it turns into Tunnel Mountain Drive. A sudden view of the hotel will appear on the right hand side. Walking from town takes approximately half an hour. Near the view is a parking space. Across the street is an viewing platform, watch for traffic as you cross the road.
The best time for lighting is in late morning or mid-day. A small parking area sits at the bend in the road just past the observation deck.