Banff and Jasper National Parks mountains rise above the tree line and are grey in the summer and white in the winter. The wild pine trees grow on their steep slopes. Fast-flowing rivers go through the hills. Huge glaciers flow down the peaks and almost touch the road. The lakes turquoise in colour, which contributes to making this one of the most inspiring and scenic places on earth. People come here to ski, climb, hike, raft, kayak and explore this amazing place on their mountain bikes.
You need to drive down Hwy 40 to get here. At an impressive 4000 sq km, it is a very large landscape to try to fully take in. There are a number of hiking trails to get you into the backcountry. Hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers and climbers all flock to these hills. The Icefields Parkway and Jasper has towering peaks, unspoiled rivers, and glacial ice sheets flowing down to meet the road. The winding roads are fun to drive as, with waterfalls and perfectly blue lakes along the way.
The Jewel of the Rockies
Lake Louise is about 60km northwest of Banff Town. This tourist hotspot is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Rockies’. The lake itself is as blue as the sky and is surrounded by mountains. The Victoria Glacier hangs at the far end. Mount Temple and the other mountains paint a natural picture that amazes people on a daily basis. The lake is the place where you will find the Chateau Lake Louise. Nothing is perfect in this world, but the perfect time to see the lake without all the tourists is after dark or during a snowstorm.
The town in the wild
Jasper town is situated in the centre of the national park, where the icy glaciers tumble down towering peaks and melt to form white water rivers that slice through the pine-filled valleys. These massive U-shaped valleys create a home for many different species of fauna and flora, including animals such as the mountain sheep and the grizzly bear. Meadows are filled with wildflowers in the forest, which is where you can capture some great shots of the local animals.
The perfect way to take in all the beauty is on the Jasper tramway. The view of the Columbia Icefield 75km to the south is spectacular on a clear day. From the top of the tram you take a forty-five minute hike to the top, where the view is even better.
Be sure to visit the remote Miette Hot Springs, where you can relax after a day in the mountains. The warm water is even more enjoyable when there is snow falling on your head. There are a few of hot pools and one cold one. Be very careful of the cold pool, as it is extremely cold and you might give yourself an unwanted shock if you jump in.