Red Chairs

As part of their visitor experience programs, a number of Canada’s National Parks installed pairs of red Adirondack chairs in various locations in the parks. Some are at locations offering stupendous scenery, others highlight specific natural features that exist in the parks; some are easy to reach, perhaps a short walk from a parking lot, others require a bit of a hike to reach. According to Parks, “All of them offer a place to rest, relax, and reflect on the place you’ve discovered and the journey you took to get there.”

I make a point of visiting the red chairs whenever I’m in the vicinity, or hiking through on a trail. For these artworks, I decided it would be nice to have the red chairs themselves be the focal point, so these are a series of pencil drawings with the chairs in colored pencil to make them pop out a bit more.

One favorite spot is at Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. Not only is Takakkaw itself a truly stunning location (the falls are among the tallest in Canada), but it’s also the location of a number of trailheads for some beautiful hikes: Twin Falls, Yoho Glacier Moraine, and Yoho Lake Loop are some of the hikes I’ve done from this area. These chairs are a short walk from the parking lot along a paved trail.

Red Chairs Takakkaw Falls
Red Chairs: Takakkaw Falls

I also quite enjoyed the red chairs along the Glacier Lake Trail. Located approximately 2.6km from the trailhead, this pair of chairs sits on top of a bluff overlooking the Howse River. It’s also a great spot for a breeze, which gives you a break from the relentless onslaught of mosquitoes in the area. Bring your bug spray and your bear spray for this hike.

Red Chairs Howse River
Red Chairs: Howse River

Another spot that isn’t frequently visited is at Muleshoe, a small day use and picnic area in Banff. This is a fine example of a montane valley, and the red chairs are located by a stand of aspen. This would probably be an awesome spot to visit in the fall, when the aspen leaves turn golden. I’m told the area also attracts elk in the winter, as well as their predators.

Red Chairs Muleshoe
Red Chairs: Muleshoe

The red chairs at Lake Minnewanka, on the other hand, are very popular. A nice flat walk from the parking lot, the chairs sit on a rocky point where the lake curves, and they offer great views across the lake to Mounts Inglismaldie and Girouard. You’ll have to patiently wait your turn if you want to sit in the chairs, or better yet, go during the slower seasons, or on days of poor weather. The views can get quite dramatic across the lake on those days, in some ways even better than a nice, sunny day.

Red Chairs Lake Minnewanka
Red Chairs: Lake Minnewanka

As you’re driving towards home, but before you pass the park gates, you can make a final stop at the Banff Legacy Trail parking lot for a last set of red chairs. These chairs overlook the Bow River, the railroad tracks and offer a view of the full expanse of Mount Rundle, which stretches between the towns of Banff and Canmore.

Red Chairs Legacy Trail
Red Chairs: Legacy Trail

I hope you enjoyed these depictions of the red chairs. I have visited quite a few more, but I’ll save those for another blog post!

If you enjoyed the artwork, some of it is now available for sale on various products on Please follow the link to see what’s available:

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