Canada: Banff and Jasper National Park

Bart Lapers at Moraine Lake Banff National Park Canada
Pic: Bart at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Canada
After my First Class flights to Los Angeles the journey continued to Calgary, Canada. I had booked Hertz’ cheapest rate but was lucky enough to receive a brand new car for my 3-day roadtrip (map) in the Canadian Rockies. When I arrived at Radisson Calgary airport on tuesday night, the weather was gloomy and the forecast wasn’t really encouraging. Fortunately, this turned out to be an advantage when the weather cleared up on Thursday. It was exceptionally quiet in the parks which offered me the opportunity to enjoy the sights without the summer crowds!
Lake Louise Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Pic: Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada
A short stop to buy a rain jacket at the town of Banff and off I went to beautiful Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in Banff National Park. I stayed at Paradise Lodge & Bungalows, a 5 minute drive from Lake Louise. Not the cheapest place to stay, I paid $228 Canadian dollars (~€165) for my last-minute booking of a Preferred Fairview Suite, but what a relaxing experience! Nothing feels better than a hot shower after hiking all day in the rainy woods!
Icefields Parkway Canadian Rockies Bart Lapers
Pic: Bart at Icefields Parkway, Canadian Rockies
On Wednesday, the weather cleared up right in time for The World’s Most Spectacular Journey: Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper. What a FANTASTIC route! Probably the nicest I’ve done in my entire life.
Icefields Parkway Canadian Rockies
Pic: Lake along Icefields Parkway (click for larger version)
Boat to Spirit Island on Maligne Lake Jasper National Park Canada
Pic: Boat to Spirit Island on Maligne Lake
Once in Jasper National Park, I headed to Maligne Lake to visit the world famous Spirit Island. Peter Gales’ image of Spirit Island hung in Kodak’s Colorama showcase in NYC’s Grand Central Station for many years which made the island a popular vacation hunt for commuters.
Maligne Lake Jasper National Park Canada
Pic: Spirit Island, Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park
Black Bear near Maligne Lake Jasper National Park Canada
Pic: Black Bear near Maligne Lake Jasper, National Park Canada
On my way to Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, I was fortunate enough to spot several black bears along the road, even a mother bear with cubs! Amazing how easy it was to encounter wildlife in the park!
Pool at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Pic: Dramatic mountain backdrop at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
HotelTonight had the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge available, a property with rather dated lodges, but spectacular settings. For breakfast, I drove to Jasper town where Bear’s Paw Bakery served delicious danish.
Glacier Skywalk Jasper National Park
Pic: Glacier Skywalk Jasper National Park
On the way back to Calgary, I made a stop at Glacier Skywalk, Columbia Icefield. Tip: visit the Skywalk before 11am to avoid the crowds.
Bart Lapers at Glacier Skywalk Jasper National Park Cananda
Pic: Bart at Glacier Skywalk, Jasper National Park
It was only a brief 3-day visit to the Canadian Rockies, but the memories will last a lifetime…highly recommended! Have you been in Canada before? Any tips to share? Are you aware of road trips which are as beautiful as Icefields Parkway? Please do share your experiences in the comments of this post. Thanks!

10 Comments on “Canada: Banff and Jasper National Park

  1. Mount Robson and Kinney Lake are beautful near Jasper.
    Near Lake Louise you have the beautiful but restricted access area of Lake O’Hara. I can highly recommend both. In Whistler you can use the famous Peak2Peak gondola and do some nice walkingtrails. And Vancouver is a very lovely city to visit, rated as one the best quality of living cities in the world.
    my pics can be seen at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gobien/sets/72157650084762170

  2. Prachtige foto’s, zoals gewoonlijk, Bart! Ik ben zelf een grote fan van de Rockies.

    Some tips for in the Rockies:
    – There’s a beautiful, upscale lodge on the shores of Lake Moraine. While you have to share the terrain with hundreds of other tourists during the day, you will have the incredibly scenic lake all to your self during the morning and evening. This is also prime grizzly habitat (I’ve seen grizzlies in that area on 3 seperate occasions).
    – the most scenic and pristine area in the Rockies is Lake O’Hara (near Lake Louise), but it’s also very hard to get there: you have to prebook a National Park bus from the main road to the lake and the number of available seats per day is very limited (advanced reservation required!).

    Some suggestions for other road trips:
    I published a top 10 list of the most scenic drives in the world on my travel blog: http://wp.me/p4d1XU-14v (the list is based on my preference of course). The Icefields Highway is one of them. The ones that you should also put on your bucket list is the drive around the Cape Peninsula in South Africa, Ruta 40 in Argentina (especially around El Chalten), the Seward Highway in Alaska, and the Milfoard Road in New Zealand.

  3. The drive from Reine, Norway to Tromsø, Norway (8 hr) or (if you want something shorter) from Narvik to Tromsø (3.5 hr) is spectacular. I would say nicer than the pics here, though the pics here are very nice.

    I’ve posted a few of the Hurtigruten coastal ferry ride from Tromsø to Svolvær (near Reine) to my Instagram @hansmast and I’ll be posting more soon of the drive back up to Tromsø.

  4. Pingback: Lufthansa First Class A330-300: Vancouver to Munich | bart.la

  5. Super foto’s Bart !
    Doet me heimwee krijgen aan onze reis nr Canada in 2011.
    Vele zelfde plaatsen bezocht;
    Mooi !
    Jan

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