Check out part I of our Canadian Rockies adventure here.
Just outside of Jasper along the Icefields Parkway we stopped at Athbasca Falls on a rainy morning. Athbasca Falls is about 30 kilometers from Jasper and is a beautiful cascade of heavy flowing falls surrounded by a deep gorge formed by the powerful waters.
We spent a sleepy rainy day in Jasper exploring the little town and doing our best to enjoy a soggy day. I went for a jog around town while Tommy did our laundry in the coffee shop/laundry mat. In the afternoon we went for a beautiful drive to Maligne lake, famous for its teal waters and surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, for us it was pouring rain when we got there and our view was limited. The drive there was very picturesque and the lake was still beautiful. The drive between Jasper and Maligne is less than an hour depending on the traffic on the scenic road with lots of wildlife stops along the way, we saw a little black bear on the other side of the river!
That evening I found a lovely yoga class in Jasper and we stayed two nights at the Wapiti campground right outside of town. Finally getting some warm showers after a chilly rainy day.
We woke the next morning to get our permit from the national park center for Edith Cavell hike. The parking area is undergoing renovation so they are limiting the tourists in the area (during the summer 2017). We had to get in line for the limited number of permits they were issuing for the day. After we got our permit we had a lovely little breakfast and drove up to the Fairmont Jasper hotel to take in the view. From there we headed to Edith Cavell for our hike.
The mountain was named in 1916 for Edith Cavell, an English nurse executed by the Germans during World War I for having helped Allied soldiers escape. A close-up view of the north face of Mount Edith Cavell is visible after a short hike to Cavell Meadows. The short hike also brings you up close to Angel Glacier which spills over a 300 meter cliff. Angel glacier is named such because of resemblance of an angel with out-swept wings. It was much larger when it was named in the 19th-century. It is not expected to maintain its distinctive appearance for much longer, and will eventually disappear (global warming anyone?) We were hoping to hike further to the Meadows and Toquin Valley hike however, a sign indicating the trail was closed due to “an aggressive Grizzly in the area”…ummm yeah that stopped us. The area was very beautiful and certainly worth the few minutes we had to stand in line to get a pass.
After a parking lot picnic we headed to the Valley of the Five Lakes hike right outside of Jasper. A perfect little loop hike that wandered through breathtaking mountain lakes. This was one of my favorite hikes of the whole trip.
We wrapped up the day by relaxing on the small beach at Edith lake right outside of town. I went for a freezing cold swim in the lake and warmed up that evening by the campfire.
We spent our last day in Jasper on an early morning hike around Horseshoe lake outside of town before making our way back down the Icefields Parkway towards Banff. We were worried about finding a campsite the day before Canada day and had a little trouble finding a spot. We ended up at site in Kootenay National Park about halfway between Banff and Lake Louise. After we set up camp we went to Lake Louise. It was so busy at the lake we had to take a shuttle in and leave our car in the park and ride lot.
Lake Louise did not disappoint. It was like a postcard of perfection. We hiked up to the little beehive hike for a viewpoint of the lake and to the Lake Agnes teahouse for biscuits and tea with an outstanding view. The teahouse is at the end of a couple mile hike and can only be accessed from an uphill haul. However, that didn’t stop a large number of visitors making the journey up the mountain for a relaxing cup of tea by the lake.
After our picture perfect hike at Lake Louise we took the shuttle back to our car and it was late enough in the day for us to drive into Lake Morain. Lake Morain is past Lake Louise and has visitors and is uniquely but equally beautiful. The lake can be reached easily from the parking lot and we just spent some time sitting and taking in the beautiful surroundings in the evening.
Canada Day. We spent Canada day (July 1) in Banff enjoying the festivities and excitement for the 150th Canada day celebration. There was a parade through town and live music and tons of people celebrating. We spent the afternoon walking around all the highlights on town and enjoyed a relaxing day in town. (The Fairmont hotel, waterfalls, parks, gardens… lots of beautiful sites all within the little town limits)
Our last day in Banff was spent hiking Sunshine Meadows ski area. We didn’t want to pay the high fee for the gondola ride up so we opted to hike the couple mile road up the ski area and then take the chairlift to the start of a short loop hike from there. A lot of the trails were closed due to snow fields and delicate ecosystems during the melting. However, the hike we went on was well worth our efforts of the long climb along the access road to reach it.
We spent our final day of the trip in Calgary celebrating our ten year anniversary and rounding off a adventurous and beautiful trip to the Canadian Rockies.