A couple of weeks ago I had an amazing experience traveling through Alberta, Canada. I frequented locations such as Banff (including Banff National Park), Jasper, and Lake Louise. I was also lucky enough to be able to drive down to The Lussier Hot Springs in British Columbia, Canada.
Every drive through Alberta and to British Columbia was breathtaking with views of mountains all around. The quote “it’s not about the destination, but the journey” could not be more applicable when driving in Alberta.
Four days and almost 1000 pictures later, there were a lot of photos to go through. Unfortunately, I failed to note the majority of the locations as well and so unless it was geotagged or obvious to look at and know, I was unable to organize the photos as much as I would’ve liked to. Also, it’s my first time with what I consider a “fancy” camera and it took some getting used to. Photography is definitely not my forte, but hopefully it improves over time and practice.
Driving all along the TransCanada Highway through Alberta and into British Columbia you’re almost always surrounded by mountains and it’s absolutely breath taking. ETA’s were doubled due to the numerous places to pull over, stop, and admire in awe.
My first night was at the The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where I prodominatly stayed during my trip to Alberta.
Although the first day was incredibly cold and cloudy, after the first day the weather warmed up- the skies were clear, and the lake began to melt. In fact, we were extremely blessed with unseasonably warm weather (roughly 20 degrees celsius).
Our first day we visited Banff, a small tourist town within the Banff National Park.
I fell absolutely, madly, in love with Banff. I was so fortunate enough to have stayed overnight at The Fairmont Banff Springs, and it was without a doubt, the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Built in the 19th century and first opened to the public in 1888, the hotel boasts many historic events and stories, apparently some haunted ones as well. I wish I had gotten to stay another night or two, just to explore it more.
..And can you believe all I got on my camera was this picture from inside my hotel room? We arrived fairly late, went out for the night, and then left before the 11 AM checkout time, so we unfortunately didn’t spend much time in the hotel as I would’ve liked.
You know a hotel is beautiful when you regret leaving it!
Banff Fairmont Springs Hotel
It was an absolutely gorgeous view (minus the scaffolds) but it’s such a shame I didn’t take a photo outside of the hotel besides the one above, taken from my iPhone which shows about 1/8th of the actual hotel.
Grassi Lakes Trail
The first hike we went on was Grassi Lakes Trail overlooking Canmore, Alberta (approximately half an hour drive from Banff). The hike itself was about an hour and a half to two hours and relatively easy considering we chose the “hard” path. The end became pretty tiring as it was fairly steep (I’m also not in the greatest shape..) but the entire hike is worth it, with beautiful views from top to bottom.
On our drive back home we decided to take a quick detour and stop at Vermilion Lakes.
We took Bow Valley Parkway home instead of the TransCanada Highway which was a little bit longer but definitely more scenic, along the way we saw a forest that had, in certain sections only, been completely burned down. These areas had what’s called a prescribed fire – a controlled fire in a specific area or piece of land which is designated to assist with the ecosystem. This particular one was called Sawback Prescribed Burn.
Sawback Prescribed Burn, 1993
On our third night we stayed in Jasper, and the drive there was also filled with beautiful mountains and rivers.
Depending on where you are, the weather can quickly change. We would go from freezing cold areas to warm places that were around 20 C and up.
I absolutely love being in the midst of nature surrounded by so many mountains and trees, your drives are never boring. You’re also without phone reception, which can be refreshing.. and sometimes annoying.
Jasper was about a three hour drive from Lake Louise, but quickly became a lot longer due to all the stops we made. However there were so many beautiful locations en route to Jasper, we didn’t even hit them all.
We also got to see the North Saskatchewan River, which is quite dried up clearly; but nonetheless it is/was a large river flowing through Canada.
North Saskatchewan River
More random stops at random locations with beautiful mountains.
Still en route to Jasper is a trail named Athabasca Falls, a fairly easy but extremely beautiful hike. They caution that every couple of years someone dies from climbing over the railings, utimately slipping and falling to their deaths. That was enough to keep me on the safe side.
We finally arrived at Jasper and stayed overnight at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Another absolutely stunning resort, where you stay in cute cabins located right on a lake. The area also boasts many deer, and is more common to see one during your stay than to not. Our morning leaving we were greeted by a deer eating right in front of our cabin.
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Can you believe people will ice hike the hill above? Terrifying.
On our drive to British Columbia, where you’re met with even more mountain views.
Driving to Lussier Hot Spings you’re required to drive up a sketchy one way road on a mountain that isn’t exactly the safest with very little to no barriers. Luckily we made it safe and sound, but I really don’t know if I could put myself through that drive again knowing how scary it is.
I didn’t bring my actual camera down to the springs, however I did get a photo on my iPhone. The springs had 3 separate pools and the one we were in was the hottest by far.
On our drive home to Lake Louise, we noticed “The Home of 1000 Faces“. It’s an intriguing house and the signs shown outside are subject to change – you can read more about this interesting location here.
The Home of 1000 Faces
Not only were the views insanely beautiful as demonstrated as above, but I had an amazing time with my girlfriends. With only 5 days there, and one wasted due to flying and that sorts, we really packed in a lot – yet there’s also so much I know I didn’t get to see! I always knew Canada had beautiful mountains and scenery, but it takes your breath away to see it first hand in person. For me, nothing beats being out in fresh air by fresh lakes surrounded by mountains. It’s refreshing, soothing, and humbling. It reminds you life isn’t all about the hustle and bustle, the fast paced flashly lifestyle many of us are used to. The best things in life are free, right? This trip definitely reminded me of that.
Forever thankful I got to fly out, stay where I did, and see all the beautiful locations and animals that I did. I can’t wait to go back out west again, and I hope next time it’s to stay.