At some point, we have all seen the serene pictures of Lake Louise, Lake Moraine and tagged someone on Instagram to say you want to go there next or to just show them how gorgeous it is! I’ve been there too and kept playing the Instagram and Facebook tagging game until it was time to finally go there!
Many of you’ll saw pictures and asked me if the pictures were edited or for real. Yes, they were all real and to be honest none of those pictures actually do justice to how beautiful the place actually is!
The 5 days, on our roadtrip to the Canadian Rockies were nothing less than spectacular! We drove more than 850 miles, which, on a normal day would’ve felt like a lot and tiring. However, the breathtaking views of the uniquely colored lakes, the snow capped mountains, wildlife, pine trees has only left us wanting to explore more!
Best time to go – June to August
Packing tip – Carry a good pair of sneakers, light winter jackets and a swim suit. I know it is paradoxical but well you will need both.
Travel Tip – Buy your park pass online to avoid lines at the entry point.
Route We Followed:
Fly into Calgary, drive up to Banff, drive on the Icefields Parkway to get to Jasper. Fly out of Edmonton.
We stayed a night in Calgary after our flight got in late in the evening and next morning we made our way to Banff. On the way back we drove out of Jasper late afternoon to take the red eye back to New York out of Edmonton.
Here is our long weekend itinerary in the Rockies:
Arrive in Calgary and rent a car. You are about to start a magical trip! Stayed at the Clarion Hotel close to the airport.
We drove to Banff from Calgary and spent the next few days exploring around. Here were some of my favorite things:
- Kayaking in Lake Louise: Don’t miss this for the world! The feeling of being in that turquoise blue lake is everything I have ever wanted! It is offered by the Fairmont Lake Louise for about $125.
- Lake Moraine Lunch: If you can make it to the access road by 7am, great but they may close off the road later in the morning since the parking lot is full. They re-routed us to a public parking lot nearby from where we had to take a bus up to Lake Moraine. It was about $15.
- Tea House Hike: OMG! Literally, the views on this hike were unbelievable. It leads you upto a small wooden tea house in the mountains with views of Lake Louise from up top.
- Tunnel mountain trail in Banff town: Definitely remember to wear your sneakers to this trail and enjoy views of the Fairmont Banff from up there.
- Banff Upper Hot springs: After a long day of hiking around, this is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate your senses in the midst of the Canadian Rockies. It is open till 11pm so you can totally end your day here.
- Drive around Minnewanka lake
- Enjoy the mist from Johnston Canyon Hike waterfalls
Where to Sleep?
In Banff National Park, we stayed at Lake Louise and drove around from there. There are a lot of hotels in the main Banff town but I wanted to be as close to Lake Louise as possible so I could see it first thing in the morning and watch the sun go down! Watch my sunset timelapse on my Instagram !
We split our stay between Deer Lodge and Lake Louise Inn. I personally liked Lake Louise Inn better solely because of how nice their outdoor hot tub was but in terms of the proximity to the Lake Louise itself, Deer Lodge was better. Deer Lodge is a slightly more vintage, chalet style accommodation with great views of the snow capped rockies!
Start you day early since you will spend a lot of time driving to Jasper. Constant stops to click pictures will make the drive seem like nothing. As you drive, the tall Canadian Rockies on the both the sides leave you marveled!
Stops to make on your drive:
- Peyto Lake: It is a short hike to Peyto Lake from the parking but trust me every step of the way is worth it. I have shared some pictures but they don’t even do justice to how pretty it looks.
- Bow Lake and Waterfowl Lake: It is a quick stop on the way. There are so many lakes along the way, but these were my favorites.
- Icefields Glacier Walk: Along the way is the Athabasca Glacier walk where a truck takes you upto the glacier. You will be standing on 200 feet of ice and no jokes, it is very slippery. I was most fascinated with how large the tires of these bus/trucks were.
- Sunwapta Falls/Athabasca Falls: If you’re a fan of walking up to falls, these are the nicest ones.
Where to Sleep?
On reaching Jasper, we checked into the Tonquin Inn hotel, in the main town. This hotel too had a very nice roof deck hot tub which was great after a long day on the road.
After the scenery in Banff and on our way to Jasper, we were ready for more before we got back to the grind in New York.
The town of Jasper has some cutesy little food joints with patios. Enjoy your morning breakfast out on the town.
We found a fairly medium intensity hike – Valley of Five Lakes. Although these lakes were much smaller in size compared to the likes of Lake Louise and Lake Moraine, the colors were just stunning!
Travel Tip: There are boards of bear sightings on this hike so be aware of your surroundings.
It was the last day of the trip and I wanted to visit the last final lake before heading out – Maligne Lake. They say that you must take the cruise either here on in Lake Minnewanka. We ended up doing neither but let me know if you did and how it was!
Travel tip: There is no network what so ever on the way to Lake Maligne so remember to download your offline map.
Well, this was the end of our trip. We drove back to Edmonton to take our flight along with memories to cherish and soaked with images of the scenic lakes.
Thanks for stopping by! xoxo