The Vermilion Lakes are located due west of the town of Banff and can be accessed from the townsite (via Forty-Mile Creek) or directly from the Vermilion Lakes Road. Oddly, Forty-Mile Creek is listed as Echo Creek on the google map below.
The Banff Canoe Club rents both kayaks and canoes. We launched from their beach which gives access to both the Bow River and 40-Mile Creek.
The first lake is located about a 15-minute paddle up 40-Mile Creek, which includes passing under a train bridge and navigating some deadfall.
The first lake is a pleasant paddle with a roundtrip of about an hour. Access to the other two lakes is via another creek (along the north side of the lake paralleling the road--hard to see from the water). Doing the second two lakes would add about another hour to your trip.
The scenery is spectacular, although the lakes are shallow. The furtherest lake has a natural hot spring. We saw an Osprey catch a fish and paddled past a family of nearly mature Canada Geese feeding on the weeds.
You can see the dock you can launch directly into the lake from in the picture below. The cut in the bank above is the TransCanada Highway.
The return down Forty-Mile creek is a bit more fun as you have the help of the current. Some of the turns are tight (as evidenced by the many bow prints on the muddy banks!).
The creek was fairly busy the day were were there and lovely photos abound.
Overall, a nice paddle suitable for first timers with limited endurance and skill.