The best of Banff, Jasper, Kootenay & Yoho National Parks
Travel Guide to the Canadian Rockies 36 Hours in the Canadian Rockies
Short on time but looking for an adventure not soon to be forgotten. Then head to the Canadian Rockies, where you can soak in hot springs, walk on glaciers and hang off the side of a mountain all in one day. But that’s not all…..The Canadian Rockies are a huge area made up of 4 national parks and 3 provincial parks a boggling amount of things to choose from can make it difficult to pick. Located 8 hours from Vancouver or 90 minutes from Calgary this amazing place can be reached by car, train, plane/shuttle or by tour bus.
Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Visit
1.Glacial Lakes & the disappearing Glaciers
2.Hot Springs – In Banff, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks
3.Skiing/Hiking – Via Ferata or Heli Skiing in the winter
4.Fossils – Burgess Shale
5.Northern Lights – Looking for an excuse to stay up late
Best Lakes to visit: Lake Louise and neighboring Moraine Lake. These lakes can be extremely busy in the summertime so get there early or later in the day. Explore the lake via Canoe or hike some of the many trails. Canoe rentals are available all day but be prepared to wait around 45 minutes in the busy season. Lake Minnewanka: If you are a diver or a history junkie head to this large lake. A damn flooded a town that used to sit alongside Lake Minnewanka in the early 1900's. Now you can scuba dive this old settlement. The water is cold so be prepared to dive in at least a 7mm if not a dry suit. There are also lake cruises here and fishing.
2. Hot Springs in Banff, Kootenay and Jasper Whichever National Park you explore there is a hot spring waiting for you. Banff Hot Springs- Upper Hot Springs- Situated right next to the Sulphur Mountain Gondola is the perfect way to soak up the mineral rich waters of this historic site. Its even open until 11pm. Jasper National Park is home to Miette Hot Springs. Come for the day or just a few hours. A cafe provides nourishment, coffee and teas just don't forget your bathing suit. Kootenay National Park houses Radium Hot Springs, the larger of the three hot springs and slightly cooler than Miette and Banff this is a great place for the family and has a separate non hot pool. You can even leave mom in the Spa while the kids play in the swimming pool. Cave & Basin National Historic Site- This is the original site of the Banff hot springs. Tour the old pool deck and walk the natural pools and marshland where truly hot water spews from the earth. Closed in the 1970's to swimmers, it is now home to an endangered snail.
3. Hiking & Skiing There are dozens of places to hike and ski when visiting the Canadian Rockies. For an easier hike try the Lake Louise Tea house trail and the plain of the six glaciers. The best thing about these hikes is that you can grab a hot cup of tea or coffee at the top and a delicious homemade sandwich or cookie. If you need more adventure book a trip to Mt.Norquay and go on the Via Ferata experience. A mix of hiking, rock climbing and cable walking this experience will give you the best views of Banff from high above the town. Click Here to Book
4. Fossils The Burgess Shale is one of the most fossil rich places in North America. The fossils here show the history of almost every animal species on earth today. Most of the fossils you will see look like giant cockroaches and marine species. The park service offers guided hikes that range from 5 to 13 miles, and it is the only way to get into the fossil area. Make sure you call ahead if you are interested in seeing the fossils as reservations are required.
5. Northern Lights Unless you live in Canada or somewhere north of that, you have probably never seen the Northern Lights. When staying in Banff all you have to do is drive to the north side of the freeway and look towards the sky. The best place to see the lights is by the shores of Lake Minnewanka. You can usually see them between 1 and 3am, after that they are usually burned out.