OMG!! Talk about Eye Candy. This place is just gorgeous!
We had great weather for our drive down the Icefields Parkway, from Jasper to Lake Louise. On the way we had to stop for some female big horn sheep. It looks like they were trying to hitch hike a ride with the RV in front of us.
We also spotted some mountain goat. I was surprised at how close to the road these guys were. They are usually high up on the mountain side.
We stopped near the Parker Ridge area and took a hike along the river. I was thrilled to find this beautiful gorge. The water color of many rivers and lakes along the parkway is amazing, and the water is so clear.
We arrived at the Lake Louise campground just before some rain moved in. We set up the RV and headed to the visitor center. Lake Louise is a small village. There is not much in the way of restaurants or grocery stores. You have to drive 45 minutes to Banff if your heart is set on shopping and being with the crowds. That, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that Lake Louise is quiet and peaceful. On the contrary. We were woken up countless times in the middle of the night to train horns! What is it with campgrounds almost always being next to train tracks? At least that is what it seems like.
On a couple of occasions we made the trek to Banff, but we took the scenic route, along Bow Valley Parkway. Highlights of the parkway include Morant’s Curve, which would have been really nice if there was an old fashioned passenger train in the picture.
And Johnston Canyon. I did not care much for Johnston Canyon, after having been to Maligne Canyon up by Jasper. I found Johnston Canyon to be overcrowded, with very narrow walkways. It is nice, but not nearly as scenic as Maligne. We did enjoy getting out and hiking though. After our hike we stopped by the bistro at the canyon and enjoyed a nice lunch sitting on the patio. Here are a few pictures from Johnston Canyon.
While in Banff we enjoyed walking around the town. There are a ton of great shops and restaurants to explore. We were happy to have stumbled upon the restaurant Saltlik, as their calamari and salmon were excellent.
We explored Yoho National Park, which is just 30 minutes west of Lake Louise. We took a walk around Emerald Lake, just in awe of its beauty.
We also enjoyed Takakkaw Falls, the 2nd tallest waterfall in Canada at 1,250 ft.
We spent a bit of time at Lake Louise; the lake, not the village :-). We took a hike up the Fairmont Overlook Trail and was rewarded with this view:
At the Fairmont we found the best bartender we have ever come across. Nils is very detail oriented and his drinks are exceptional. The Fairview bar has a Brown Butter Old Fashioned on their menu so we decided to try it. We absolutely LOVED it, so much so that I told Nils I was going to make it at home. He was kind enough to give me the recipe. I can’t wait to get home and make it!
Early one morning we did the Agnes Tea House and Little Beehive Hikes at Lake Louise. It was a 1,600 elevation gain and 6 mile trek roundtrip. It was fabulous! Highly recommend it. The day we went to the tea house was apparently delivery day. A helicopter flew over numerous times, dropping off propane tanks and other supplies. It was neat to see.
It is such a joy to reach the tea house, after the long hike up the mountain. We got there early so we didn’t have to wait for a table, unlike these folks who arrived a bit later.
After enjoying some great tea and scones we hiked further up the mountain, along the Little Beehive Trail. The views are amazing.
(Click on the first photo to enlarge and start a slideshow)
The tea house sits on the tiny, but beautiful, Agnes Lake.
Here’s Charlie taking in the scenery along the hike.
Mirror Lake, along the hike:
Then of course there is the beautiful Lake Louise.
I loved this statue, along the grounds of the Fairmont.
Sunrise on Lake Louise:
While I found Lake Louise beautiful, it was Moraine Lake that I could not get enough of. I’ve never seen anything like it. The view is so beautiful that it was on Canada’s twenty dollar bill at one time. The water color, the mountains, the reflections, oh my!!!
Another angle, shortly after sunrise the next day.
We returned, with our winter gear on, at night to capture the Milky Way over the mountains.
Moraine Lake is beautiful day and night!
We also visited Peyto Lake for a sunrise shot. Turns out, you don’t need to get there until a couple of hours after sunrise. However, I enjoyed watching the shadows fade as the sun worked its way out from behind the eastern mountain range. Charlie is such a good sport, and very patient, with my passion for photography.
On our way to Peyto Lake we stopped by Herbert Lake and caught this shot.
I’ll wrap up this post with a few more pictures taken along the southern end of the Icefields Parkway. This is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. I guess that is because I just LOVE mountains and lakes.
Well, that wraps up our week long stay in Lake Louise. If I ever return I might just set up a chair at Moraine Lake and camp there. Seriously, it is BEAUTIFUL! If you make it up that way note that in order to get sunrise pictures at Moraine Lake you MUST be there 1 to 1.5 hours before sunrise. We got there at 6am for a 7am sunrise and almost didn’t get a parking spot. Lake Louise is a little better, as their parking lot is bigger. They also fill up though, but not nearly as fast.
The Lake Louise campground was very nice. It sits along the river and is within walking distance to the village. There is no water service at the sites though so we had to dry camp. Surprisingly, we made it through the week without having to drive over to the dump. Fortunately, we did have 30amp power. The trains were unbearable though. If you ever stay here you might want to consider ear plugs.
Our next destination is Glacier National Park. We will be thrilled to be back in the lower 48 of the US. We left it 72 days ago. Wow!