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Travel Guide: What to Do & See in Canadian Rockies

Let's travel to: Canadian Rockies (Yoho National Park, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper)

Expansive mountains, epic glaciers, brilliant turquoise lakes, thundering waterfalls, luscious forest and wildlife playing hide and seek.

What to Do/See:

My post will focus exclusively on a list of favourite destinations and recommended activities, catered to the outdoor enthusiast during the summer/autumn months.

  • Yoho National Park (0.5 to 2 Days): Situated in British Columbia, Yoho National Park boasts numerous gems that you can enjoy without hiking, including the historic Spiral Tunnel viewing point, the serene Takakkaw Falls, the unique Natural Bridge and the enchanted Emerald Lake. If you are able to secure advance reservations, spend a day or two at the immaculate Lake O’Hara for alpine scenery and an unparalleled hiking experience.
  • Lake Louise (0.5 to 1.5 days): The iconic turquoise Louise Lake is surrounded by enormous jagged peaks. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle through the sparkling waters. Take the 7 KM (return) hike up to the charming Lake Agnes Teahouse for loose-leaf tea and delicious treats. If you have a second day, hike the 11 KM (return) trail to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. You’ll be rewarded with expansive views of Mount Lefroy, Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier and you may even hear roaring avalanches! Don’t forget to indulge in a delicious (albeit overpriced) drink at the historic Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise afterwards.
  • Moraine Lake (0.5 to 1 day): A short drive from Louise Lake is the crown blue-jewel of the Canadian Rockies – the glistening Moraine Lake is tucked in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Rent a canoe or kayak and immerse yourself in the crystal clear waters reflecting the Ten Peaks. Time permitting, hike into Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass (12 KM return) for the lush green forests, endless meadows and immense mountain ridges. Although I did this hike in freezing rain, the paradise-like views made it worthwhile.
  • Jasper (2 to 3 days): Cruise along the scenic Columbia Icefield Parkway connecting Lake Louise and Jasper for arguably the most beautiful drive in North America. Once in Jasper, walk on the largest ice field of the Canadian Rockies, the Athabasca Glacier (don’t forget to bring an empty water bottle for a fresh glacier water souvenir straight from the running streams). For hiking enthusiasts with proper footwear, trek the 9.5 KM (return) trail on Mount Edith Cavell for spectacular glacier-topped mountain views. Other must-see’s include the vibrant turquoise coloured Peyto Lake, picturesque Maligne Canyon, powerful Athabasca Falls and magical Medicine Lake.
  • Banff Town Site (1.5 to 2 days): The iconic town is known for both its wildlife and nightlife – the perfect combination for the young adventure seeker. Hike up Sulphur Mountain (10 KM return) for the best views of the town and cascading mountain summit ridges, and then relax in the nearby Sulphur Hot Springs. Experience a tranquil kayaking trip along the Bow River, or if you prefer, a thrilling whitewater rafting trip on the Kicking Horse River. Rent a bicycle and meander through the Hoodoo Trails and Vermillion Lakes, where you can enjoy a quaint lunch with the panoramic backdrop of Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay, and Cascade Mountain.
  • In and Around Banff (1 to 2 days):  Take a day trip to Mount Norquay Lodge and hike the 7 KM trail to the Cascade Amphitheatre. The strenuous hike will reward you with towering limestone cliffs and endless wildflower meadows. Other must-see’s include the magnificent, glacier-fed Lake Minnewanka, crystal clear two-jake lake, rushing Johnston Canyon and colourful Sunshine Meadows.

List by: Christina Hu

The career in consulting fills the pockets, and mountains fill the soul. My life’s a balance between climbing the corporate ladder, and climbing mountains. Explore with me: @ceewho.

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