The Ultimate Travel Guide To The Canadian Rockies

Summer In the Canadian Rockies | Travel and Food Guide
Summer In the Canadian Rockies | Travel and Food Guide

The expansive Canadian Rocky Mountains boast breathtaking peaks and picturesque valleys. Designated as a UNESCO heritage site, the five national parks within this mountain range also serve as an exceptional travel destination. Embark on our tour and experience the splendor of the Canadian Rockies firsthand.

Rising along the border between Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies (part of the southeastern part of the North American Cordillera) are a wonderland of twisting peaks, jewel-colored alpine lakes, and glaciers that pour down from towering heights. It has several peaks and ranges to explore which collectively comprise a World Heritage Site, and a magnificent destination to explore and behold.

Breathtaking landscapes, endless opportunities for hiking and skiing, exquisite national parks, lakes, and glaciers, make the Canadian Rockies the ultimate destination for people who love the outdoors and thrilling adventures.

Mount Robson is the highest peak of the rugged Canadian Rockies which also acts as a source for a large number of river systems. They offer unforgettable sceneries due to which this place attracts a large number of travelers from around the world.

How to reach the Canadian Rockies: The Canadian Rockies are easily accessible from Calgary or Edmonton in Canada. If you are based in India, you can fly to Vancouver in Canada. There are several flights that ply from New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad to Canada on a regular basis. From Vancouver, you can self-drive to the mountains where you’ll wind along with mountain passes, or drive on the legendary Icefield Parkway in the Canadian Rockies, stopping to take photos of towering peaks and stunning waterfalls. However, if you want to avoid the responsibility of driving and wish to have a more relaxed holiday, then from Vancouver, you can book a bus tour or board the iconic train – Rocky Mountaineer to take in the exhilarating scenery of the Canadian Rockies.

Banff National Park in Alberta Canada
Photo Credit: Buddhadev Basu and Chaiti Basu

Vancouver to Jasper:

Depart from Vancouver and drive through the farming communities of the Fraser Valley. Ascend into the Coastal Mountains and follow the Coquihalla Highway to Kamloops, in the arid interior of British Columbia. The next day retraces the route of the famous Overlanders along the North Thompson River to reach Jasper. Overnight in Jasper. In Jasper, you will travel through the park to Maligne Lake. Watch out for moose, elk, and caribou along the way. On a scenic boat cruise, skim across the lake’s turquoise water, taking in a backdrop of staggering peaks. interior of British Columbia.

Jasper National Park

Spirit Island in Maligne Lake at sunset, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Spirit Island in Maligne Lake at sunset, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Buddhadev Basu and Chaiti Basu

  • Jasper is located between the Yellowhead Highway and the Icefields Parkway, around 413 km away from Calgary, and 233 km away from Lake Louise. It is a small town that you can easily explore via walking or cycling.
  • Jasper National Park is the largest National Park of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. This park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the origin point of several river systems including the Athabasca and Smoky rivers. To enter the national park, you would require passes. It is the home of the Pyramid Lake along with the Pyramid Mountain, Mount Edith Cavell, Medicine Lake, Maligne Lake, Tonquin Valley, and several species of fauna such as bears, wolves, elk, and beavers. Here you can indulge in hiking, biking, and various other adrenaline rush-inducing activities.
Grizzly Bear in Jasper National Park, Canada
Grizzly Bear in Jasper National Park, Canada. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jasper to Banff

Travel along the scenic Icefields Parkway toward Banff National Park, stopping en route at the Athabasca Glacier – an ice mass that is part of the Columbia Icefield and is the largest in a chain of glaciers along Canada’s Great Divide Trail.

  • The Athabasca Glacier located in the Canadian Rockies is one of the most visited glaciers in North America. The glacier is easily explorable through a short hike or can even be explored on a vehicle. You can avail of tour services or packages to guide you safely through the journey with proper equipment to ensure your safety.
Columbia Icefield, Ice Explorer
Snowcoach parked in front of the Athabasca Glacier. The Snowcoach (which is worth $1.3 million – and each of its six tires costs $5000/each) takes groups of tourists up rugged terrain to the glacier, where you can spend time exploring the glacier and sampling its freshwater. Photo Credit: Buddhadev Basu and Chaiti Basu

Where to Eat in Jasper

  • Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen

    Address: Maligne Lake Rd, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
    Phone: +1 780-852-0683

    The Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen located in Jasper serves delicious barbequed dishes. While you are here, do indulge in the Maligne Canyon Platter which consists of smoked chicken, grilled sausages, pork ribs and slow-cooked beef. You can also indulge in the lip-smacking mac and cheese and meat sandwiches.
  • Tekarra Restaurant

    Address: Highway 93A South, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
    Phone: +1 780-852-4624

    If you want to have a fine dining experience in Jasper, the Tekarra Restaurant is the place for you! This place has been offering fine dining services since 1952. Their menu is inspired by regional products and is a place definitely worth visiting.
  • Jasper Pizza Place

    Address: 402 Connaught Dr, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
    Phone: +1 780-852-3225

    If you are in the mood for freshly cooked traditional oven-made pizzas, you would love to pay a visit to this place. They also offer a variety of other items such as pasta, burgers, steaks, salads, and salsa.
  • Coco’s Café

    Address: 608-B Patricia St, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
    Phone: +1 780-852-4550

    You can visit Coco’s Café in Jasper to indulge in some freshly brewed high-quality coffee. While you are here, you can also grab breakfast or a brunch.
  • Jasper Brewing Company

    Address: 624 Connaught Dr, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0
    Phone: +1 780-852-4111

    If you are looking for some well-crafted beer and premier malts made with the finest ingredients, you must definitely visit the Jasper Brewing Company. They use the natural mountain water of the Canadian Rockies which makes their beer the finest drink that you would indulge in.
  • Altitude Restaurant

    Address: Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre, Icefields Pkwy, AB T1L 1J3, Canada
    Phone: +1 877-423-7433

    Closed for the winter. They look forward to welcoming you back in May 2022! At Altitude you get spectacular glacier views that wrap the restaurant and provide the perfect backdrop to the Canadian-inspired and locally sourced menu, offering incredible a la carte options for breakfast and dinner. Indulge in a delicious meal and sip cocktails overlooking the famous Athabasca Glacier for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Photo Credit: Altitude Restaurant

Banff National Park

  • The town of Banff is accessible through the Trans Canadian Highway and is located around 120 km away from Calgary Airport and around 57 km away from Lake Louise. As you continue your journey through Banff, discover Moraine Lake whose surface mirrors a skyscraping set of ice-clad summits, and Emerald Lake, fringed by fragrant pine forests.
  • Moraine Lake is one of the most important sites in Banff that is worth exploring. The lake is glacially fed and has a beautiful shade of teal-azure blue that you can capture for a postcard. You can also witness the sunrise from the Rockpile which is located on the northern shore of Moraine Lake. There are also various hiking trails that you will find on the lake along with an opportunity for canoeing.
  • The Banff National Park is one of the oldest national parks located in the Canadian Rockies. It has a rugged mountainous terrain with several glaciers, lakes, mountains, and coniferous forests. The Icefield Parkway which is a road traversing through the Canadian Rockies travels through the Banff and Jasper National Park connecting Lake Louise with Jasper.
  • Visit the world-famous Banff Springs Hotel and Bow Falls. You may also choose from activities such as soaking in the natural spa at the Upper Hot Springs or taking a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
Moraine Lake during summer in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Moraine Lake during summer in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Buddhadev Basu and Chaiti Basu

Banff to Lake Louis

After exploring Banff and Yoho National Parks, head to Lake Louis. This 50 km scenic route runs parallel to the Trans-Canada highway, offering a great alternative drive to connect Banff and Lake Louise.

Lake Louise

  • Around 2 hours away from Calgary, lies Lake Louise. Named after Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Lake Louise is famous for the incredible sites that it provides which are a treat to the eyes. It has beautiful turquoise lakes, majestic mountains, the Victoria glacier, and numerous opportunities for hiking and skiing. Lake Louise is one of the most picturesque and postcard-worthy locations with the blue skies, blue lakes, and the shimmering glaciers located at a distance.
  • The Lake Louise ski resort is one of the largest ski resorts within the Banff National Park. The ski resort is located on the southern slopes of the Slate Range, just a few minutes away from Lake Louise village. The terrain of Lake Louise offers skiing opportunities for all levels of skiing, be it for beginners or experts. It is also a wonderful spot to indulge in photography and capture memories against the mesmerizing backdrop of the majestic Canadian mountains.
  • While you are here, you can also indulge in canoeing or paddling through the lake for a short relaxing trip amidst this pristine beauty of a lake.
  • The Victoria Glacier is the backdrop to Lake Louise which offers a spectacular view to the visitors. You can also indulge in a short hike to witness the glacier from close proximity. The hike is worthwhile as it gives you a close-up and a surreal view of the Victoria Glacier, the melting snow which feeds Lake Louise.
Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo Credit: Buddhadev Basu and Chaiti Basu

Where To Eat Near Banff National Park and Lake Louis:

  • Eddie Burger Bar

    Address: 137 Banff Ave #6, Banff, AB T1L 1B7
    Phone: +1 403-762-2230

    You must visit the Eddie Burger Bar if you are craving some juicy burgers in Banff. They offer customized burgers served with blueberry chutneys and shakes that are to die for.
  • Nourish Bistro

    Address: 211 Bear St #110, Banff, AB T1L 1A8
    Phone: +1 403-760-3933

    For vegetarian food, you must visit the Nourish Bistro in Banff which serves a wide range of vegan food items cooked with local ingredients. This place has a wonderful ambiance and amazing food that would leave you craving for more.
  • Whitehorn Bistro

    Address: 1 Whitehorn Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0
    Phone: +1 403-522-1310

    Located at Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, Whitehorn Bistro is open from spring to fall, and again when the ski season starts in November at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Enjoy elevated views of Victoria Glacier, Lake Louise, and the valley bottom below across into British Columbia. Whitehorn Bistro also features local beers and a menu to suit any adventurer.
  • Sky Bistro

    Address: Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J3
    Phone: +1 403-762-7475

    Sky Bistro is a unique dining experience in Banff National Park that incorporates an adventure at the Banff Gondola. Starting at the base of Sulphur Mountain, you ride the gondola up to the peak, where you are greeted with a multi-level interpretive experience that features a theatre, Parks Canada ecology exhibit, gift shops, and a rooftop viewing platform, and the boardwalk experience to Sanson Peak.
Food & Drink Banff Gondola Sky Bistro Couple
Photo Credit: Sky Bistro

Banff to Vancouver

Enjoy a drive through Rogers Pass, the highest part of the route to the Rockies. On your scenic return journey through Yoho National Park, catch a glimpse of an engineering marvel: the Spiral Tunnels before arriving in downtown Vancouver.

Souvenirs to bring from the Canadian Rockies: There are several gift shops across Banff and Jasper from where you can collect souvenirs for your loved ones. You can visit the Banff Indian Trading Post located in the Banff National Park which has a wide collection of jewelry, pottery, hats, and t-shirts. You can also visit the Farmer’s Market to pick locally crafted items.

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