Welcome To Our Trip!
Hi. Now this is a story all about how our trip was super awesome and we turned Banff upside down. Fresh Prince Style. Our adventure began exactly as you’d expect: with us spending weeks buying awesome hiking accessories from Moosejaw.
As you do.
Our 3 hour, 39 minute flight started in Detroit with, frankly, way too much candy and even more coffee. We arrived in Calgary in the morning and started our two hour drive to the aptly named town of Banff, Alberta.
We spent 9 days in the park, hiking, climbing, scrambling, eating and being totally quiet and completely still. It was magical and always will be.
The Drive To Banff
The Town of Banff
Banff Canoe Club
The Banff Canoe Docks are located on the banks of the beautiful Bow River. From the docks, we paddled up a gentle section of the river and enjoyed a peaceful time exploring.
The Bow Valley Parkway
The Bow Valley Parkway is a 48-kilometre, scenic, secondary highway paralleling the Trans-Canada Highway between the town of Banff and the village of Lake Louise. It is a naturally and historically rich area of Banff National Park, and a year-round scenic heritage experience. The eastern portion travels through a small but vital part of the park, called the montane.
Wowza. Look. At. This. Cabin.
Storm Mountain Lodge was constructed in 1922 as one of eight Bungalow Camps built by Canadian Pacific Railway to promote tourism in the Rocky Mountains. Today, these cabins are much the same as they were back then, including the views of Storm Mountain. We stayed at a small cabin and ate every Canadian meal they would serve us.
Lake Louise, by Isaiah Zerbst
Majestic mountains rise like mounted men,
Their faces chiseled from the rugged stone.
The evergreens enveiling all the glen
Ascend in gowns of green, but leave a crown
Of jagged peaks, where shimmering glaciers groan,
And tears they shed glide gently ever down.
Above the jade-like waves of Lake Louise
The sunbeams stream through lightest sapphire skies,
Till sunset bursts in blooms of deep cerise.
When lying still she mirrors the mountain’s face,
Or wavelets shine like diamonds in her eyes;
What trickled once as tears is joyous grace.
Majestic mountains rise like mounted men
Above the jade-like waves of Lake Louise.
We climbed that. It’s Called Big Beehive.
The Tea House At Lake Agnes
The Icefields Parkway
Linking Lake Louise with Jasper, Alberta the 232 km Icefields Parkway winds along the Continental Divide. It is considered one of the most beautiful roadways on the planet according to Condé Nast Traveller. Colloquially, but not quite as awesomely, the Parkway is also known as Highway 93 North. We saw glaciers, waterfalls, turquoise lakes and animals. Unfortunately we didn’t see any bears, coyotes, mountain goats or wolves, no matter how many woofs and howls Kelly attempted in order to woo them.
Bow Glacier Falls
The trailhead begins begins behind the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge and leads to some gorgeous falls beneath Mount Jimmy Simpson. One of the coolest experiences I (Trevor) had was seeing the Bow Glacier (which feeds the waterfall) from the top of Cirque Peak. The Lodge is located between Lake Louise and Jasper. This scenic trail was a great way to break up that part of the drive, while exploring a little off the beaten path!
Mistaya Canyon is well signed, but still a little easy to miss along the Icefields Parkway. It sits around 74.2 KM (46 miles) north of Lake Louise or 55 KM (34 miles) south of the Columbia Icefield. As interesting as the directions are, the views to the mountains upstream are breathtaking. If you can arrive around sunset, the lighting in the mist will blow you away. By the way, ‘Mistaya’ means ‘Grizzly Bear’ in the language of the Cree Indians. So that’s cool.
Jasper Town, Alberta
Jasper really is our kinda place. It’s a mountain town that was just waiting for us to visit, and everything about Jasper is our speed, from the Korean restaurant that blew off our socks to the Caribou that wandered into the town square during our walk home our first night. The actual town of Jasper was founded in 1911 and was originally named Fitzhugh, which is significantly harder to pronounce and doesn’t look nearly as cool on a sticker.
Parker Ridge Trail
Pretty words. Pretty words. (Well it’s all below anyway…)
Beauty Creek & Stanley Falls
The Beauty Creek and Stanley Falls trail has a narrow canyon that contains eight waterfalls within about an hour hike each way. The hike is not hard to find. It’s located around 86km and just about 2km south of the Beauty Creek Hostel. What makes Beauty Creek and Stanley Falls so dramatic is how close you can get to them. Basically you can get under or over every waterfall. Boo ya!
Cirque Peak & Helen Lake
The hike and scramble to the summit of Cirque Peak is one the least technical high elevation peaks that you can summit in Banff National Park. Which is why we chose it. It’s also why its pretty embarrassing that we were so tired after it we thought our legs might fall off. The hike up to Helen Lake was only 6km and provided us a nice spot to have lunch. The extra hike to summit the peak was totally worth the extra miles and scramble to see the spectacular views of Bow Lake Glacier that we hiked to earlier in the week. All in all our roundtrip for this day hike was 14.5km, or just under 21 miles.
This is Dolomite Peak And It’s Beautiful
Helen Lake & Lunch
The View From the Summit
What makes the mountains great? Why do we love them when all they do is make us feel smaller?
By Li Bai
You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.