Looking for an exciting local vacation during the spring or summer? The Canadian Rockies are an excellent option! My family did the trip last summer (2020) just when the BC health authorities eased domestic travel regulations. It was beautiful! I am sharing with you all my trip tips in this last blog post.
If you are looking for something fun and close to home during summer The Canadian Rockies are an excellent option. We planned a 7-day trip to Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise last summer and we had a great time!
The Rockies are relatively close to Vancouver; you can drive 12 hours straight and be in Jasper National Park or chose the close route and drive 8 hours to start from Banff. There are many beautiful stops along the way to stretch your legs, hike and admire the breathtaking scenery that BC offers.
I recommend starting your trip going to the furthest point, Jasper, and spend a night at Sun Peaks Resorts. During summer it’s a great time to bike and hike. There are 18 designated hiking trails in Sun Peaks, BC. Choose from low-grade, sightseeing strolls to a breathtaking summit and a stop at Tod Lake. You can start your adventure right from the village or better yet, take a ride up the Sunburst chairlift and start at mid-mountain, at 6,000 feet above sea level. You can also golf during summer days; with greens located at 1,200 metres above sea level it's British Columbia's highest elevation course, surrounded by natural foliage and panoramic mountain views.
The next day, wake up early and hit the road. One stop you cannot miss is Mount Robson Provincial Park, the second oldest park in British Columbia’s Park system. The mountain for which the park is named guards the park’s western entrance and stands at 3954 m above sea level. From here you can have one of the most beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains.
Continue driving west for about one and a half hours until you arrive to the Fairmont Jasper Lodge. Be aware that when you cross the Alberta border the time zone changes and you will be one hour forward.
The Fairmont Jasper Lodge is the place to stay while in Jasper. It is a 700-acre resort located at the shores of the pristine lake Lac Beauvert and Canada’s #1 Golf Resort Course. The resort’s charming village of cedar chalets and Luxury Signature Cabins, all connected by picturesque paths, allow guests to explore the natural environment of the hotel within the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. Plan to stay at least 3 nights to have time to explore the area and enjoy the hotel facilities like canoeing, drink a cocktail at the bar, have a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant, or have a picnic admiring the beautiful Lac Beauvert. Want to get the best room possible? Be sure to enlist the help of a travel agent.
While in Jasper National Park, Maligne Canyon is a great stop for a hike. You will find a self-guided interpretative trail along the canyon with signs describing the geological history of the area. There are four bridges across the gorge, each with its own special view. A short hiking loop tours the upper reaches of the canyon, while a longer trail follows the gorge and exits at a fifth and sixth bridge lower down. You will find waterfalls, fossils, underground stream outlets and the nests of ravens.
Head northwest toward Maligne Lake Road, and while you’re at it, consider stopping and admiring Medicine Lake for stunning views! This road is full of wildlife have your eyes wide open to find bears, deer, or moose.
After a 20 minute drive you will arrive at Lake Maligne, the second-largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies. The lake is known for the colour of its azure water, the surrounding peaks, the three glaciers visible from the lake, and Spirit Island. You can also hike Bald and Opal Hills, bike, fish, canoe, kayak and take boat tours to Spirit Island.
The next day we planned to hike the Valley of the five lakes located along the Icefields Parkway, around 9km south of the traffic lights at Jasper. Is an easy 4.7-kilometer hike and the trail is very well marked. The third and fourth lakes are considered the highlights. You will be able to admire the beautiful shades of green and blue that naturally appear this way because of the glacial rock dust. The water is so clear you can see the bottom of the lakes and in the background the tall, beautiful pines.
Finally, we walked the town to get a sense of the local area. There are a lot of souvenir stores, restaurants, and the train station where the Rocky Mountaineer makes a stop; if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to check out this iconic train.
The scenery along the Jasper to Banff drive turns from stunning to out-of-this-world. Tangle Creek Falls is a breathtaking stop right off the highway a few kilometres after Glacier Columbia icefields towards Banff. You can climb up the levels and each level give you a different prospective of the falls. We felt so glad we were able to stop and explore.
Another great stop on the way was Athabasca Glacier. is one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world. Here, you can walk from the parking lot to base of the glacier or travel on a massive Ice Explorer to a place where, feel and drink from the Athabasca Glacier. Do not miss to walk along the glass-floored Skywalk at the cliff’s edge. Finally explore the Glacier Discovery Centre.
During these first 4 days of the trip we were able to explore Sun Peaks, Robson National Park, enjoy The Fairmont Jasper Lodge resort and spa facilities, hike Maligne Canyon, took a boat ride on Maligne Lake, stop and admire Medicine Lake, hike the Valley of the five lakes, walk Jasper town and eat local, hike Tangle Creek Falls and walk and admire the Athabasca Glacier. It was a wonderful experience!!!
This is just the first part of the trip, wait for the second part; Banff National Park and Lake Louise for a total of 7 days of wonderful exploring around the Rockies! Where is your next dream vacation spot? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below and reach out if you’d like to learn more about working with a travel advisor to plan your next vacation.