Aaaawwwww, those lakes, mountains, glaciers, bears… it’s getting very “kitsch” now!! But first things first. Exploring the Canadian Rockies wasn’t as straight forward as we had hoped. We were far too late with booking accommodations in Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Park. As a result, we couldn’t find affordable lodging in the parks and had to drive in and out of them from different directions. So that’s how our itinerary looked like:
- Day 1: Golden – Emerald Lake – Takakkaw Falls – Lake Louise – Moraine Lake – Radium Hot Springs
- Day 2: Radium Hot Springs – Vermilion Lakes – Banff – Lake Minnewanka – Calgary
- Four Days in the Calgary area > more about that later…
- Day 3: Calgary – Banff – The Icefields Parkway (with stops at Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Columbia Icefield) – Jasper – Mt Robson Visitor Centre – Mc Bride
But hey, what looks a bit awkward and strenuous on paper, wasn’t painful at all. Yes, we had to drive long(er) distances. And unfortunately had to rush it all a little. But if you get the chance to travel through this neck of the woods, you won’t complain about circumstances like that. You just try to take it all in. The majestic mountains, the hundreds of glaciers (unfortunately disappearing slowly, but steadily), the powerful waterfalls, the crystal clear lakes… and the cuddly-looking bears, of course. We had a fabulous time in the parks.
Let’s just have the pictures do the talking.
Some of our highlights:
- The casual hike around Emerald Lake. Walking without interruptions, it would take you maybe an hour. With all the photo stops along the way, it took us more like two.
- Taking in the view at Moraine Lake. A little persistence and perseverance was needed to get to the lake at all, but it was well worth it. There are only three letters needed to describe the scenery up there: WOW!
- Our first meeting with a black bear on the road. We know, you shouldn’t stop and stare. But how could we not.
- The Icefields Parkway was a highlight with many more sub-highlights. We especially loved “husky-look alike” Peyto Lake and the bears. We even spotted a grizzly mummy with two cubs. Fortunately from afar.
The Learning Curve:
- Forget about booking affordable accommodation for July in Banff and Jasper National Park one month in advance. It’s not gonna happen.
- Expect troops of tourists in the photography hot spots. The shore of Lake Louise around the Fairmont hotel, for instance, resembled an anthill. But don’t worry. You don’t have to walk far to find some peace – and usually a similarly stunning view. If not more stunning.
- You need a day use reservation for visiting Lake O’Hara. We had no idea. Needless to say that we missed out on that gem.
- For visiting Moraine Lake – you have to get up early, wait till after 8 pm or trust your luck. From 8 in the morning till 8 at night the road is closed off and they only let cars up the valley if there is an available space on the parking lot. We chanced our luck. And were rewarded.
- Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls McBride style: Cook a massive amount of chicken balls, leave out the sour and add a jar of jam (or that’s at least what it tasted like).
We explored the Canadian Rockies on the 4th, 5th and 9th of July 2018.