Hit the Road – Banff National Park/Lake Louise
We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey. ~ John Hope Franklin
Our summer road trip has finally come to an end. We started from Seattle, drove to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and continued on to Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. It was such a wonderful trip to the outdoors that it will take a few posts to recount all our adventures. We did a brief stop at Yoho National Park en route to Banff visiting Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge. The weather was just perfect throughout our journey. There were a lot of forest fires in the area but luckily the air was still clean and fresh where we headed.
We rented a condo in Canmore, which is about 20 minutes from Banff and about 40 minutes away from Lake Louise area as our base. Canmore is a picturesque little town with lots of mountains and trails. The town center houses a lot of good restaurants and grocery stores which are all within walking distance from where we were staying. We are not big fans of hotels and the two rooms condo provides enough space to move about and definitely a sanctuary to go back to after our long hikes. If you are into biking, the Legacy Trail connects the town of Canmore and Banff and is a well paved biking trail.
Lake Louise was our first stop in Banff National Park. I have no words to explain how beautiful and serene it is especially in the early morning hours. The lake is surrounded by mountains and glaciers on one end and the famous Chateau Lake Louise on the other.
We decided to hike to the less crowded tea house at the Plain of Six Glaciers trail. Round trip from the trail head along the Lake Louise shore to the tea house is 6.8 miles with about 1180 feet elevation gain, which we considered as a moderate hike. The scenery is just stunning as we get closer and closer to Mount Victoria. I think the hike seems easier because of the food reward at the end. The vegetable soup and cakes at the tea house were amazing. This is definitely an unforgettable experience for us.
During the descend we have a peak-a-boo view of the Chateau and Lake Louise far away.
Some tips for your visit:
- If you are visiting during the summer peak season, start your hikes early. Most parking lots in the popular areas are full by 9am. We started our day before 8am and ended early afternoon to avoid crowds.
- Be sure to bring the ten essentials for hiking in the Canadian Rockies, especially bring layers of clothing, the weather can change in an instant in the higher elevation.
- Most of the Canadian Rockies are bear countries. Be prepared and bring at least a bear spray and know how to use it. Don’t hike alone. Visit the Park Canada website for daily updates on bear sightings and know which areas require you to hike in a tight group of at least four people.
- Lastly, have fun and enjoy what nature has to offer.