Canadian Rocky Road Trip (In Photos)

The Rocky mountains are beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that even though I hate driving alone, I just kept driving all day. I made it from Banff to Jasper and back – in total about 9.5 hours of driving. And it was totally worth it. Let these pictures tell you why…

 The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is a veritable castle. But nothing manmade can stack up to the natural wonders in this area… here’s a sample of the driving conditions.

I first saw Moraine Lake on a friend’s instagram a year ago, and it’s the whole reason I booked this trip. It lived up to the high expectations.

Being a public holiday weekend, I started driving at 5:30am to beat the traffic. That afforded me a luxury I wasn’t expecting: when I first stood on the infamous rockpile lookout, the sun was still low and the lake was incredibly reflective. As I stood there (woefully underdressed, as usual), the sun rose past the crest of the mountain behind me, casting direct sunlight onto the surface of the lake. Within minutes, I watched the reflections disappear.

Drag the sliders below to compare photos from before and after direct sunlight hit the lake.

 

Remarkable, huh.

I couldn’t get enough of this lake, so I walked the trail to the other end.

But I couldn’t resist climbing that rockpile to have my breath taken away one more time before driving onwards.

The surface was more reflective now, and as the sun had risen further, it had changed the colour of the lake to a rich turquoise.

Sublime.

For some reason, there are more tourists at Lake Louise. It’s lovely, but I’d been spoiled by my visit to untouched Moraine.

As I continued along the highway, I pulled over at rest stops from time to time, and was greeted with sights like this…

Perhaps the most spectacular lake in the area is iridescent Peyto Lake.

I had originally intended to cap off my driving day at Peyto Lake – which would already have been 4 hours return.

But I couldn’t stop driving.

It just kept going.

And going.

When I finally reached Jasper, it was already mid-afternoon. I had intended to go up the Jasper Cable Car, but high winds meant that wasn’t running. So, I just had lunch and then turned around to drive back to Banff.

By the time I got back, I needed to soak in the hot springs.

In hindsight, I’m sort of glad the Jasper Cable Car wasn’t running, because I probably wouldn’t have done the comparable Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain otherwise. And that was simply magnificent.

I’ll never forget my trip to the Canadian Rockies. Even if it would have been better with a car buddy!