7 Top Things To Do in the Canadian Rockies
Want to get the most from a visit to Canada and the Canadian Rockies? There are so many things to do and experience in the Rockies and Jasper and Banff national parks, so here are our 7 must-do wonders of the Canadian Rockies – with our hints and tips to see them all.
Experience the lakes
Perhaps the most iconic images of the Canadian Rockies are the glacier fed turquoise blue lakes. Produced by what is known as ‘rock flour’, the super fine sediment from the friction of rocks under the glacier is washed into the rivers and lakes as the glacier melts, providing the iridescent milky blue and emerald colours.
The best lakes to see this phenomenon are Emerald Lake, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, Maligne Lake and Lake Louise, but a personal favourite is Moraine Lake – we recommend spending 2 nights at the Moraine Lake Lodge where you can experience stunning views, kayaks and go for a leisurely paddle.
The Canadian Rockies are a great place to spot both Black and Grizzly Bears, a truly awe-inspiring sight! However, please stay in your vehicle if you do spot one… we’ve seen some really crazy behaviour from fellow tourists in the past.
Perhaps the first sign of a bear in the area are the ‘Bear Jams’ as cars pull over at the side of the road. Bears are just one species from a truly magical array of creatures you might get to see in the Canadian Rockies which includes, Elk, Deer, Moose, Coyote, Wolves, Bighorn Sheep, Osprey and Bald Eagles.
Stargazing in Jasper
Jasper National Park is the second largest and most accessible designated dark sky preserve in the world. There is little light pollution to impede the glittering night skies where you can enjoy views of the milky way, shooting stars and major planets year-round.
Tip: For a chance to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) visit from September to mid-May but do keep in mind Canadian Rockies winters can be severe.
Located on the Icefield Parkway is the largest body of ice in the Canadian Rockies, the ancient Athabasca Glacier. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must visit and so is the trip aboard the Ice Explorer, an all-terrain vehicle that will take you onto the 10,000-year-old glacier where you can get out and walk.
On your visit you may be given a cup where you can drink straight from the streams of pure water. A recent addition at the site is the Glacier Skywalk where a half mile long glass floored walkway will take you out over the Sunwapta Valley affording a bird’s eye view from 918 feet above.
Located just outside of the town the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain offers majestic views across no less than six mountain ranges and the Bow Valley. The self-guided interpretive walk along the boardwalk from the summit complex to Samson’s Peak is a must do once you complete the 698m, 8-minute journey to the summit in your gondola. This is a view of the Canadian Rockies you cannot experience anywhere else and offers a must see perspective of these vast and beautiful mountains.
Buy the GyPSy Guide App
Many moons ago you had to rent a Sat Nav system on arrival with the app pre-loaded. Times have changed and now you can buy this through the app store.
It really is very cool for self-drive holidays of the region as it uses your GPS location (no data required) to provide live commentary during your drive. It really is like having your own private tour guide!
Walk to Lake Agnes Tea House
Possibly one of the most remote and beautiful tea houses you will ever visit, but well worth the effort!
The walk begins from Lake Louise and is of no more than moderate difficulty, is very safe and takes about 3-3.30 hours for a 4.5 mile round trip walk. There are no roads to the tea house, the lake it sits on is serene and the views are just awesome – do it you will remember it for the rest of your life!