It’s not just about the absolutely fresh air, soaring mountains, the remarkable wildlife, the turquoise lakes or hikes which pave the way to a secret paradise called Canadian Rockies. It’s also about the people waiting to greet you with a smile at every turn, the locally crafted lagers, Canadian cuisine, the art and the music scene. Although it’s a constant and close battle between the calm and collected culture of the nation and the phenomenal creations of Mother Nature, there is no saying which will outshine the other – they are two peas in a pod. These peas come together and form the ‘The Great White North’. Canada spreads across 6 time zones and is the second largest country in the world that stretches from the Pacific in the west to the Atlantic in the east.
Once you look at the photos, you will not be blamed for getting tempted. In no time will you be planning a summer road trip to the Canadian Rockies. It’s time to take you on a virtual tour through the Canadian Rockies.
Before, a quick look at this Canada tourist places route:
- Arrive in Calgary
- Calgary to Banff
- Banff to Lake Louise (Icefields Parkway)
- Lake Louise to Jasper
- Jasper to Airport
Begin your Canadian Rockies quest from Calgary
The apt place to begin your adventure is Calgary. It is both domestically and internationally well-connected and a short drive will get you to the magical fairy-tale town of Banff. Spend a couple of hours exploring Calgary before beginning your Canadian Rockies expedition. Some Canada tourist attractions here include:
- Canada Olympic Park
- Fort Calgary
- Heritage Park
- Stampede Park
Banff - Explore Banff National Park
An early morning start should get you from Calgary to Banff National Park in less than 1.5 hours.
Banff National Park not only is the first established but also one of the most visited of Canada tourist spots. A manifold of emerald-green trees are speckled all over mountains that soar skyward to form a peak, clandestinely hiding what lies beneath – cozy campsites, beautiful lakes and a variety of greenery – there’s something for everyone!
Here are a few things to do in Banff National Park:
- Lake Minnewaka boat cruise – One of the largest lakes in Banff is Minnewaka which has breathtaking mountain scenery, emerald green waters and rocky cliffs. There are plenty of cruises options here, some which last an hour and some longer.
- Bow Falls – An absolutely picturesque short drive, a little further, and along the parkway you will find great views of the Bow River which parades through the valley along the route. Further down from the river you will find Bow Falls. The falls are short and wide. There are many gorgeous hiking trails and other activities around Canadian Rockies.
- Two Jack loop and viewpoint – A beautiful drive which begins close to Banff town and loops through Minnewanka Lake, Jackson Lake and Two Jack Lake. It’s also supposed to be a drive where you can spot plenty of wildlife and you can also picnic by the Two Jack Lake or hike up to the viewpoint.
- Sulphur Mountains – There are two sulphur hot springs which are located on the lower slopes of the mountain and hence, the name. The 360-degree panoramic views of the Banff town, the Bow Valley and six mountain ranges will leave you spellbound. You can either ride the scenic gondola to the peak else the more spirited souls can hike their way to the summit.
- Surprise Corner – A name apparently given by locals, the surprise here is the unexpected incredible sight of the Banff Springs Hotel. Also known as the “Castle Of The Rockies”, the background for this sight is the Sulphur Mountain and the Bow River cascading down to Bow Falls is the foreground. This Canadian Rockies view is iconic and legendary and is promoted throughout the world.
The road stretching from Jasper to Lake Louise is known as the Icefields Parkway. It is unlike any other parkway and is lined with cascading waterfalls, emerald lakes, glaciers (winter), variety of wildlife and sweeping valleys of larch forests and think pine. The 230km route is sensationally scenic and is one of the most scenic roads in the world.
Here are few pit stops to make along the way:
- Lake Louise – Lake Louise in Canadian Rockies is stunning - it’s almost like stepping into a postcard. Famous for the turquoise waters which are encircled by towering peaks, hiking trails that pave way to Lake Agnes Tea House where you can sip the most scenic cup of tea with a bird's-eye view of the blue cocktail waters and canoeing in summer, there’s plenty to do here. The gondola ride is a way to relax and savor the beauty that surrounds you, although it is a little expensive, it’s worth every penny on your Canada vacations.
- Bow Lake – There are more than a dozen lakes you will encounter as soon as you begin your drive for Ice Fields Parkway. Yet, Bow Lake is as gorgeous as they come and hence, resist the temptation to visit other lakes and save time for Bow. Gaze at the glistening water on a sunny day while picnicking on the benches is the best way to spend an afternoon.
- Peyto Lake – The panorama of Peyto Lake will blow you away! To get to a vantage point, take a short 10-minute hike, but don’t stop there. If you go on for another 10 minutes on the main trail and 5 minutes on the small alpine trail, it takes you to another spot where the view on the lake is simply mesmerizing.
Other activities which you can do are:
- Crowfoot Glacier
- The Glacier Sky Walk
- Columbia Icefield Discovery centre
- Lake Agnes
Jasper - Explore Jasper National Park
One of the largest parks in the Canadian Rockies Mountain is the Jasper National Park. Banff is much prettier whereas Jasper is more handsome and rugged.
Things to do in Jasper National Park:
- Maligne Lake – Gather your spirits and take a drive to Maligne Lake. This iridescent lake is home to Spirit Island, a tiny island (in theory a peninsula but when the lakes water level rises, it turns into an island). Spend a few hours here getting lost in the vistas. Taking a cruise is good way to explore all the corners of the lake and acquaint oneself to the surrounding spellbinding scenery.
- Athabasca Falls and viewpoint - You can take a drive to Athabasca Falls where watching the sunset over the cascading gushing falls is mesmeric. Also, you can hike up to the viewpoint for some amazing views.
- Miette Hot Springs – Soak in one of the hottest natural mineral hot springs while taking in stunning views of the Fiddle River Valley, Canadian Rockies.
Additional activities and tours – If you get a chance, then you can opt for Canadian Rockies activities which interest you – hiking tours, canoeing, horse riding, visit the hot springs, sky gazing, visit museums, white-water rafting and float trips, etc.
Spin a saga or few…The towns, forests and the peaks of the Canadian Rockies have quite a few stories to reveal and after the completion of your trip; it’s no doubt that you will have stories of your own to express.
Choose your style of exploration: Rail, Coach or Self-Drive with our holiday packages: