The Canadian Rockies did not disappoint when our photography travel club went there in July of 2011. We take our members all over the world in search of culture, adventure, and great photography.
The Canadian Rockies is known as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Club organizer Steve Juba concurs. “As we explored the Rockies of Banff and Jasper it was amazing to see the vast arrays of mountain ranges and mind boggling blue & turquoise colored lakes. You see pictures of these lakes online and in magazines but they always look so fake and photoshopped—they aren’t! They really look like something out of a Disney movie in real life!”
The area between Banff and Jasper is well known for its impressive and intimidating mountains, glaciers, lakes, and avalanches. They are all captivating in their own ways. The club started off in Banff. Bow Falls is a large waterfall (think Niagara Falls baby cousin) found over the bridge at the end of town. But not to be missed is the Gondola ride (or hike) to the top of Sulfur Mountain. The views are vast and gorgeous from this mountain at 7,500 feet.
The renowned drive from Banff to Jasper is a must. Along the way is a fantastic stop at Lake Louise. We spent a day here. There are some fantastic hikes around this gorgeous lake but the best one is called the Plain of 6 Glaciers. Starting at that base of the lake by the beautiful Fairmont Hotel the club makes its way around the deep glacier blue water and up into the mountain valley of Lake Louise. This is a 6 mile moderate hike and is well worth it. The top culminates at the end of a monstrous glacier looking down through the valley and into the lake.
From Lake Louise we got back on the Bow Valley Parkway to continue the gorgeous drive to Jasper. Along the way are breathtaking views and many short stops for photo ops of the Rockies and lakes. These lakes don’t get old either; each one is unique and beautiful with a different shade of astonishing blue. About 1 hour before reaching Jasper is the famous Columbia Ice fields. This area is home to the Athabasca Glacier and if there is time be sure to take the glacier trek. An ice cat will bring backpackers and tourists onto the ice fields for an unforgettable experience. The light and beautiful blues of the glacier ice make for some really cool pictures.
Jasper is a quaint and beautiful town among the snow peaked mountains. The famous railroad passes along the main street dotted with great restaurants and a variety of hotels. The Astoria Hotel at the end of the main road is inexpensive and great for the value. If 4-5 star accommodations are what you’re looking for this would not be the hotel of choice but there are a few to choose from. For backpackers there are plenty of scenic camp sites all over the surrounding area.
Three things cannot be missed while in the Jasper area. First is the Maligne Canyon Hike. This is a super easy hike along well carved flat terrain. The hike took us through a vast canyon system with rushing water throughout. After this warm up excursion drive on to Maligne Lake; another beautiful body of water with a unique greenish tint. There is an island cruise and a nice restaurant to have lunch as well. Last but not least, really not least, is the Cavelle Meadows hike. This 5-6 mile moderate to difficult hike is simply unbelievable. We were all floored and the votes were in: best hike of the trip! At the start of the jaunt is a breathtaking glacier melt with icebergs floating in a small glacier pond. Along the entire hike is a vast mountain with avalanches that pop off every few minutes. It is like watching large waterfalls of snow poor off 7,000 foot drops. They make large booms when the pressure is released that sound like thunder. At the top is a vast view of the surrounding area above the tree line. This is a truly unbelievable hike and overall experience.
The Canadian Rockies might have been the most beautiful place our travel club has been to date. They will certainly be making a trip back soon. The free membership club does trips every month to exotic locations all over the world. Club Organizer, Steve Juba, says, “all trips are a blast because we keep the groups small and the tours private. It’s the best way for solo travelers to meet great people and explore the world without having to go on your own”
Join our photography travel club and come with us next time we go to the Canadian Rockies!