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!
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!
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.
Pic: Lake along Icefields Parkway (click for larger version)
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.
Pic: Spirit Island, Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park
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!
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.
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.
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!