2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies: Icefields Parkway & Jasper

Two weeks in the Canadian Rockies has been split into a number of posts as there is just so much to say. However there is also a post of 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies in a Nutshell if you want to read the summary.

Tips:

– We suggest that where you can reserve campsites online on https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/ParksCanada for what you can. Don’t worry if cannot book everywhere as there are walk in campsites available too as detailed in the post below.

– How the walk up campsites work is you turn up and find an empty plot. Plots are reserved with a slip of paper which you pick up from the hut at the entrance, which states your arrival date and how many nights you will be staying. Picky your plot and then put your money in an envelope, which is also provided at the camp entrance and you post into a letter box. We suggest you arrive at about 11 as people have to vacate at 11.

– You will need to buy a parks pass to visit the rockies. You can buy this pass on entrance Banff national park, if coming from Calgary then he place to buy is a couple of km after Canmore. Don’t worry you won’t miss it and will more than likely queue with everyone else! If you are staying more than 6 Days it is cheaper to buy a year long pass.

– Pick up maps from the tourist information, these are so so helpful and you will take it on all your hikes/use them to plan your hikes. The great thing about this trip is that all the walk are signposted and will also tell you how many kms so you will NEVER get lost!

– We flew into Calgary, hired a camper and headed from Calgary to Jasper and back and it took 2 weeks. We hired our Camper through Wicked Campers and couldn’t recommend them enough. They are cheap, cheerful and suited us perfectly for what we want.

Icefields Parkway

We spent 2 nights on the Icefields Parkway, but to be honest you only really need one night. We had a fantastic time none the less, but if we were to do the trip again wouldn’t allocate 2 night stays.

There are lots of walking places and if you are a serious hiker then some epic hikes for you to to do too.

Day 1 on the Icefields:

We camped the first night at Mosquito Creek. We left Lake Louise and headed to the campsite to get a spot as its first come first serve. We loved this campsite, it was right by this cute stream and was very picturesque.

We the headed to Peyto Lake for the rest of the morning. The hike up to the view point isn’t very difficult and you get amazing views of the fox shaped blue lake. As we like walking we hiked up to the top of this other viewpoint, we just followed signs and got a view from higher up.

We then headed to Bow Lake. We had lunch by the lake and then took a paddle in the water – it was freezing! Whilst we were eating lunch lots of people walked past us either heading out on a walk or coming back. We decided to follow and basically randomly ended up at the most spectacular water fall, called Bow Falls (surprisingly!). The walk was interesting as there was lots of water and sometimes the path didn’t exist. We ended up hanging off branches for parts of the walk, but this made it more fun. Because the walk wasn’t planned and the waterfalls at the end were so amazing this ended up being one of my favourite walks. The great thing about this was that the walk was so varied, from forest, to water to walking through very open land (in the winter it was probably covered in water), then climbing up rocks to get as close to the waterfall as possible.

Day 2 on the Icefields:

We left mosquito creek and headed to the Columbia Icefields which was halfway between where we wanted to camp the second night.
The Columbia Icefields has a modern tourist centre, which of course means this place is crowded with toursits. There are many excusursions you can do from here, but no surprises are super expensive. We opted to have a coffee at the tourist centre and then did a mini walk to see the glacier. You can if you want go on a glacier tour but we didn’t bother.

We then headed to our next campsite which was called Honeymoon Lake. This campsite was gorgeous, right by a lake and we actually spent the whole afternoon by the lake enjoying the sunshine. The lake was freezing, but once you were in it was okay.

Whilst we were here we also visited the Sunwapta Falls which were cool. However to be honest we could’ve done all of this in one day rather than 2!

Jasper

We were meant to spend 3 nights in Jasper, but we didn’t love Jasper, and the weather wasn’t the best. We left Jasper early and are glad we did. We didn’t feel like we missed out on anything.

Whilst in Jasper we hired bikes and cycled from the town centre to Patricia and Pyramid Lake which was fun. We hired a kayak on Pyramid Lake which was great. It was the cheapest kayak/canoe rental in the whole of The Rockies at $40 for an hour. It was fun kayaking around the little island and the surrounding mountains are spectacular.

We also went to Maligne Lake, which is such a long drive away but worth it. We were so surprised how far away this lake actually is!
There are lots of walks to do here for a variety of difficulties, so make sure you pick up a map from the tourist information point in the centre of Jasper. On the same road to Malinge is Medicine Lake so stop off here for photos either on your way to or back from Malinge. When we stopped we saw a baby eagle which was cool.

Whilst in Jasper make sure you visit Bear Paw’s Bakery. This is very popular and famous for their sticky cinnamon buns. They have 2 in Jasper and we visited both of them!

Read more about visiting the Canadian Rockies: Banff & Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise & Moraine Lake

2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies: Lake Louise & Moraine Lake

Two weeks in the Canadian Rockies has been split into a number of posts as there is just so much to say. However there is also a post of 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies in a Nutshell if you want to read the summary.

Tips:

– We suggest that where you can reserve campsites online on https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/ParksCanada for what you can. Don’t worry if cannot book everywhere as there are walk in campsites available too as detailed in the post below.

– How the walk up campsites work is you turn up and find an empty plot. Plots are reserved with a slip of paper which you pick up from the hut at the entrance, which states your arrival date and how many nights you will be staying. Picky your plot and then put your money in an envelope, which is also provided at the camp entrance and you post into a letter box. We suggest you arrive at about 11 as people have to vacate at 11.

– You will need to buy a parks pass to visit the rockies. You can buy this pass on entrance Banff national park, if coming from Calgary then he place to buy is a couple of km after Canmore. Don’t worry you won’t miss it and will more than likely queue with everyone else! If you are staying more than 6 Days it is cheaper to buy a year long pass.

– Pick up maps from the tourist information, these are so so helpful and you will take it on all your hikes/use them to plan your hikes. The great thing about this trip is that all the walk are signposted and will also tell you how many kms so you will NEVER get lost!

– We flew into Calgary, hired a camper and headed from Calgary to Jasper and back and it took 2 weeks. We hired our Camper through Wicked Campers and couldn’t recommend them enough. They are cheap, cheerful and suited us perfectly for what we want.

Lake Louise:

We suggest staying 2 nights here to make the most of it, which gives you 2 full days if coming straight from Johnston Canyon which is 30 minutes away (leave early!), both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are close to each other so stay in the same campsite.
The couple of campsites to stay in are: Lake Louise Tent Campground or Lake Louise Hardsided

We did the most epic walk here and would suggest doing the same. Again you need to get here early to get a car parking space as it gets full very very quick. We got up at 5am! If you miss the car park then don’t worry there is an overflow with a shuttle bus.

If you get to the lake early you will be able to take a picture without it being surrounded by tourists which is favourable.

The walk we suggest, first head to the Little Beehive. On route stop off at Mirror Lake. This will take about 1 hour to get to Little Beehive and of course is uphill. Here you get amazing views of the lake and can take some pretty stunning pictures.

From Little Beehive head to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, as the name suggests this is a cute little teahouse. To our disappointment they didn’t serve coffee as we were relying on this for a morning coffee!

Next head up to Big Beehive, just follow the signs.This is a steep climb and will take you about 30-45 minutes and is constantly up hill, zigzagging up and up. The views are beautiful and you can see both Lake Louise and Mirror Lake.

After spending hours here admiring the view head back down the other side of the mountain.

Once you get to the bottom follow signs for Lake Louise Trail so you can walk back along the beautiful lakeshore trail. Once you get to another sign you have the choice to head to the lakeshore trail or do the next walk which is the Plain of the Six Glaciers. So to be honest we were not amazed by this. You do walk to another cute tearoom (honestly as if the workers have to walk to this tearoom to do their shift, it was at least 1.5hours to get there!!), and we did see a cool ice cave but didn’t think the whole walk was worth it!

Moraine Lake:

Oh my gosh where do we start with this place, hands down our favourite place on our whole trip. We loved it so much that we visited twice, on the way to Jasper and then again on our way back.
Just a tip you need to get here VERY early, especially in the summer. The Rangers start work at 6am and as soon as they start they shut the road down to the lake and its pretty hard to get down, some cars just keep driving past until the ranger lets them in when a car leaves. Basically you need to be on the road before 6am to get in, we left the campsite at 5am. The road down takes 15 minutes and the car park is pretty small. However there is also a shuttle bus.

There are some walks at Moraine however we decided not to do a long walk, just the lakeshore one and basically just spent our time looking in awe at the lake. Honestly the bluest lake I have ever seen, it was so magical and I wish I could go back right now!

Lake Louise Village:

The town that is close to both the above places is called Lake Louise and its so cute. There isn’t really much here but we had a great time. We visited the Outpost Pub which is part of the hotel for drinks in the evening. It was expensive but the wifi was good!

There was also a bakery which we loved, we bought rolls for our lunches here and also the coffee and pastries were good. You must buy the maple donut as it was dreamy.

The grocery store is kinda expensive has the essentials.

Before leaving to go to the Icefields you must fill up with petrol as there is no petrol between Lake Louise and Jasper, so give yourself a full tank!

Read more about the Canadian Rockies: Icefields Parkway & Jasper and Banff & Johnston Canyon