Today I have a special guest post from fellow Excapers Kittie and Samiha! If you enjoyed my previous post on my Yosemite trip, you’ll love what these two travelers have in store for you on their Rockies experience!
Living in Canada, we’ve all heard about the Rockies, but few of us rarely get the chance to see them in person. Until you’re there, you wouldn’t believe the grandeur of it all. You feel like a tiny speck in the universe against the backdrops of these gorgeous and majestic mountains. We took the ultimate road trip through the towering mountains of British Columbia and Alberta, accumulating in: +2,500 km (+32 hrs) of driving, 8 cup noodles, 1 heli-tour, 0 grizzly bears, 10 lakes and probably over 100 mountains.
Squamish & Whistler
Our first stop was driving up through the popular Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish and Whistler, BC to visit the Sea-to-Sky Gondola and Whistler Village’s PEAK 2 PEAK gondola. It was a test of acrophobia (fear of heights) that day, but the views were definitely worth every bit! The PEAK 2 PEAK literally takes you from one mountain peak to the next – Whistler and Backcomb Mountain – and is the longest unsupported gondola ride in the world! A whole 11 minutes one way. Other than the main attractions, Whistler is quite commercial (if you’ve ever been to Blue Mountain in Ontario, it’s basically a larger version). Could definitely see this place being a very busy ski destination though.
A 9-hour drive later, we were in Jasper, Alberta. Jasper is a small town up in the mountains, but still has a lot going on. It’s not touristic like Whistler and gives you a more small town, homey vibe. We found a great sandwich spot called Patricia Street Deli that makes excellent sandwiches to go. We found it was better to grab our lunches for the day in the morning, because the places we typically went to would be remote and have no restaurants nearby.
Mount Edith Cavell
Mt. Edith Cavell is a popular climb for beginners and intermediates alike because you can start the trail, see the Cavell Glacier within a 20 min steep walk and decide to continue or go back.
Mt. Edith Cavell Trail
Edith Cavell Pond – view point for the Glacier
The trail is absolutely beautiful and because the elevation from where you start is already quite high, it had started lightly snowing while we hiked, which made for an even more magical moment. There was a bit of wildlife along the trail as well: a ground squirrel (who kept following us along the trail) and pair of marmots.
Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake
Maligne Lake is probably the most well-known destination in Jasper given its size and many people take a tour boat out to Spirit Island – about a 1hr boat ride on the lake. On the way we also saw Medicine Lake, which was at the same time beautiful and eerie due to the forest fires that affected the area just this past Summer. You can see in the picture all the trees on the right have been burnt and left quite literally to ashes.
Top: Medicine Lake. Bottom: Maligne Lake
Between Jasper and Banff, there’s about a 2 hour stretch called the Icefields Parkway. This road is the road you take for the ultimate road trip. You almost don’t know where to look because the mountain scenery is just so devastatingly gorgeous.
On the way, we stopped at Athabasca Falls (top left) and Mistaya Canyon (bottom), both requiring a very short walk to see the destination. Both are a must see on the way to Banff or Jasper.