Canadian Rockies – Canada (Calgary to Banff National Park to Jasper National Park)
Date of Travel
14th – 20th September 2017
Stoneridge Mountain Resort – Canmore
Overlander Mountain Lodge – Jasper
Truffle Pigs Bistro & Lodge – Field
Bear Hill Lodge – Jasper
Calgary Airport Marriott – Calgary
Trip Highlights & Tips
- Driving between Banff & Jasper National Parks – This was the main purpose of our trip to drive between Banff National Park to Jasper National Park via Highway 93 – often described as the most scenic drive in the world.
We used the less touristy Canmore as a base (about 1.5-hour drive from Calgary Intl. Airport) and used our hire car to drive 300km or so between Canmore and Jasper.
On the trip north, we stopped at a few different places for the night and numerous lake and hike spots. All of which can be found on the Google map below.
There are so many beautiful spots to stop off, stretch your legs, hike or just get out a take a picture and whilst most are centred around some sort of Lake, each area is different from the last.
On the reverse journey back to Calgary, we stopped only to get some fresh air so tackled most of the 6-7 hours or so in one hit.
Distance wise it’s not actually that far between the two Parks, but whilst the roads are very well maintained, its only a single track road with a ~50mph speed limit which slows the drive (plus the numerous RV’s making the same trip!).
There are also numerous toilets en route too so you need not worry on that front – although they are the usual ‘hole in the ground’ so not the most pleasant but better than nothing! There are also ‘Bear Bins’ at these stops. Remember – ‘a fed Bear is a dead Bear’!
- Wildlife – One thing that I thought was great in Canada was the appreciation and care for all Wildlife. There is a natural abundance of wildlife in the Rockies, and whilst, disappointingly we didn’t see any Bears, unfortunately (apart from those at Calgary Zoo!), but we did see Elk, Caribou, and Coyotes and one morning on a drive also came across two Wolves crossing the highway!
My Favourite Lakes
All of the Lakes in the Rockies are amazing – but here are my top few that we visited.
Located off of Highway 93 in Yoho National Park but definitely worth a visit. Popular with tourists, but the Lake is expansive enough to not feel overwhelmingly busy. Visited on a sunny day and can see why its called Emerald Lake.
Located in Jasper National Park, you drive past Horseshoe on the way to/from Jasper. You park right off of Highway 93 and hike for about 10/15 mins down to the Lake itself which is hidden away. When I visited about 10am, there was not a single person around which may have been the reason I liked it so much. Incredibly peaceful and calm.
Also located in Jasper National Park, and about 30 minutes drive from Jasper itself, Medicine Lake is an incredibly serene place. The lake itself is quite shallow, and the surrounding vegetation is still in re-growth mode following on from a severe forest fire in 2015 but its still a beautiful place to visit. Its also on the way to the more popular Maligne Lake but for me, Medicine Lake was the nicer place of the two.
Probably the most famous and most photographed Lakes in Canada. Lake Louise offers amazing postcard-like views but it was easily the busiest of all the places I visited in Canada for that reason which drops it down the list of my top places. Definitely worth a visit, but visiting at a peak time during the time and on a good weather day would bring an unwelcome swarm of crowds.