Hello everyone, I hope you have been enjoying your summer, wherever you may be! As some of you may know, I recently went on a road trip throughout parts of BC and into Alberta. I explored the Kootenays and jetted into Alberta for a bit to check out Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise, all located along the Rockies. Today, I am excited to dive in and talk more about my time exploring in Alberta! I had never been to the Rockies on the Alberta side before, and it was an absolutely incredible experience that I would recommend to everyone – just ensure you are traveling safely 🙂
After exploring some of the Kootenays in BC, we drove into Alberta and through Jasper National Park to reach our destination of Jasper. The drive through the Park was amazing, and it was so crazy to feel so close to all of the mountains! Everywhere you looked, there they were! Jasper was a very cute town that is also surrounded by the mountains on all sides. It is so incredible to have that view constantly and all of that incredible nature right in your backyard. We explored a bit of the town of Jasper before getting some shut eye.
The next day, we hiked Maligne Canyon, a very popular hiking trail near Jasper. We started from the sixth bridge, which definitely made the hike a bit longer, but it was really incredible to see the canyon and all of the different bridges as you wind your way up. The waterfalls and canyon get more impressive as you work up to the top. We had lunch at the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen, located at the very top of the canyon, and it was so delicious. I would highly recommend checking them out if you visit Maligne Canyon. Afterwards, we hiked back down and finished at sixth bridge. You can start the hike at multiple different spots along the way, and can also start at the top if you would like, but I enjoyed the way we chose to hike it as we got a bit of a break hiking down on the way back in the hot sun. It took us about 3 hours in total and was definitely worth it for the views!
Later that day, we visited Lac Beauvert in Jasper National Park and went caneoing on the lake. You can rent canoes from the boathouse at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. It was incredible and the water was so clear, you could see all the way to the bottom in many parts of the lake. It was very hot out, so we even took a dip in the water afterwards, which was a bit chilly but definitely refreshing! After a long day, we set up camp at Wapiti Campground in Jasper National Park. It was a decent campsite and nice to soak up some time in nature.
The next day, we headed up to the Jasper Skytram, but unfortunately tickets were sold out so we were not able to take the Skytram. However, we were still able to see the view of the town of Jasper below, which was pretty great. Afterwards, we continued our journey to head towards Banff, driving through Jasper National Park and Banff National Park to get there. This drive is absolutely incredible and as I mentioned, there are mountains surrounding you on all sides. The views are simply stunning. We even saw a bear crossing the road at one point! There are a lot of great things to do along the way as well. We stopped to explore Athabasca Falls, which were really neat.
The highlight would definitely be hiking up to the Athabasca Glacier along the Columbia Icefields Parkway. It was insane to be able to get so close to a glacier and see the very real impacts climate change has had in the receding of the glacier over the years. It was so windy at the top! Truly an inspiring experience that I will never forget. You should definitely add this to the bucket list if you are exploring the Alberta Rockies.
After that jaw-dropping experience, we stopped at Bow Lake as well in Banff National Park, which has very clear water and is truly one of the prettiest lakes I’ve ever seen. It was very hot when we visited, so we kept going in the water whenever we could to cool down, and this wasn’t an exception – though the water was a bit chilly 😉 finally, we made it to Banff and finished off the day with an amazing dinner at Park Distillery + Restaurant + Bar – highly recommend. Their food was spectacular and the spritz drinks were to die for.
We spent the night at Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff, which is a very nice campground that is quite close to town. The next morning, we grabbed some breakfast in downtown Banff and were off exploring again, ready to see Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. It was super hectic to get to both of these lakes, but well worth it. Lake Louise had a long line up to get parking, and we managed to find parking in one of the lower lots before it filled up. We hiked up to Lake Louise to check it out. It is extremely touristy and was packed with people, even in the midst of a pandemic when their tourism is at less than 50% of what it usually is – I cannot imagine what it would be like at regular capacity! So be warned. 😀 It was definitely an incredible place to see though, and the water is a unique green colour. We walked around the lake a bit and decided to have lunch at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and the restaurant has a view looking on to the lake, which was spectacular. A glass of prosecco to accompany the view didn’t hurt either 😉
After lunch, we wanted to visit Moraine Lake to go canoeing. Unfortunately, the parking at Moraine Lake was full, so they shut the road down and we were not able to get there at the time. We decided to come back to Lake Louise (and somehow lucked out with parking again) and go canoeing there. It was quite pricey, and was a long wait to go canoeing as it was a very hot and busy day, but it was still worth it to canoe on the gorgeous green waters. We also took a dip in the lake afterwards, definitely a refreshing dip!
After our Lake Louise adventure, we decided to give Moraine Lake another try, and lucked out as they had just opened up the road for parking. We managed to secure a spot and see Moraine Lake to catch the last glimpses of sun reflecting off the stunning water before the sun went down. The trail around the lake was really nice and it was great to see the lake from multiple view points. The water was extremely cold, and there was actually a sign posted near the canoe rentals that stated you could get hypothermia within minutes, so please be careful if you do visit this lake! I wish we could have had more time to explore Moraine Lake, but I am still glad we got the chance to see it.
For both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, it may be worth it to look into the cost of staying on site if you are planning to visit (at the Fairmont or close by in Lake Louise and at the Moraine Lake Lodge), as parking is tremendously difficult at both of these sites and it would make the trip much easier if you were right beside the action. On the whole, it was a pretty spectacular day. We headed back to Banff for dinner and got to explore more of downtown before calling it a night and enjoying a campfire at our campsite.
The next day we explored Vermilion Lakes and downtown Banff for a little bit before heading back to BC to continue exploring the Kootenays. It was so stunning and incredible to have the chance to explore the Alberta Rockies in Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise. I would highly recommend this trip if you have not already been!! Here are a few of my personal must-do’s for this trip:
-Hike in Jasper National Park (such as Maligne Canyon)
-Canoe Lac Beauvert in Jasper National Park
-Hike to the Athabasca Glacier, located on the Columbia Icefields Parkway
-Drive from Jasper to Banff
-Visit Lake Louise and enjoy the view from the Fairmont Chateau
-Visit Moraine Lake and canoe if possible
-Explore downtown Banff
It was truly a remarkable experience and I hope to be back again someday. Have you visited the Alberta Rockies before? What were your experiences and would you go back again? Did I miss anything exceptional to do in the area? Let me know in the comments below!! As always, don’t forget to check my Instagram for more 🙂