Our Rocky Mountain High

By on December 1, 2013
rocky mountains

By Victoria Boster –

The glaciers that once covered the Canadian Rockies retreated long ago, leaving behind an unmistakable beauty in the turquoise green lakes, wide sweeping valleys, and scenic canyons and rock formations- all evident in the vast wilderness known today as the Banff National Park.

Located inside this park are the two charming town sites of Banff and Lake Louise. Both villages offer accommodations and dining to meet any travelers budget. Shopping, leisure activities, cultural opportunities, and night life are abundantly available.

THE most famous reason to visit Banff National Park, however, is to experience the richness of the great outdoors- an experience that is unparalleled anywhere else in North America.

Visitors atop any mountain in the Canadian Rockies will be awed by the jagged peaks and the unspoiled wilderness of the Banff National Park. The same sights that greeted explorers, mountain climbers, and adventure seekers over 100 years ago- have remained virtually unchanged today. Visitors from all over the world come to this place of beauty to catch a glimpse of big horn sheep, moose, elk, and mountain goats- all of which roam freely across the mountains, valleys, and right down the highways.

Lured by the rumor that the Canadian Rockies are considered to be some of the most spectacular scenery in North America- my husband and I set out to see for ourselves if this could possibly be true–

There are only a few unique places in this world where the majestic beauty of the scenery sends your visual senses into overload. Banff National Park is one of those places. Jaw dropping- spectacular- you will run out of words to describe the serene mountain setting and surrounding forested valleys. Here you can be utterly alone in the silence of the forest one minute and in the next you can be shopping, dining, or leisurely strolling in one of the quaint little villages.

Nature in this part of the woCanadian Rockiesrld is awesome and beautiful- but deserves our utmost respect. Unpredictable and ever changing weather requires visitors to be prepared for all variances. Know that in advance and pack for your trip accordingly.

We spent a fabulous week visiting in and around the Banff National Park. Based on our own itinerary- here are my suggestions for experiences to enhance your own future visit–

1. A picnic and hike at Elbow Falls is the perfect introduction to the outdoors here in the beautiful Rockies. As you are driving towards Banff, plan to stop by Bragg Creek for some picnic supplies. Continue on to Elbow Falls where you can walk the easy trails that meander along the fast flowing mountain stream. Picnic tables are situated all along the trail and the spectacular falls. This will be your first incredible photo experience with your camera- so be ready.

2. Nestled in the valley between the snow-capped mountains- the town of Banff is only steps from the wilderness. With shopping, dining, and accommodations to meet every budget, this little town has something for everyone. You could easily spend a day here- or perhaps consider making this your base for your National Park experience. Want a budget friendly souvenir to take home? Go to any of the grocery stores and purchase the locally made Saskatoon jam.Banff Springs Hotel

3.The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is often considered to be the Jewel of the Rockies. Be sure to set aside some time to explore this architectural wonder both inside and out. Consider a casual lunch at the Rimrock lounge inside the hotel- the views from your table will be fabulous.

4.Walk or drive just down from the Banff Springs Hotel to the scenic Bow Falls. Leisurely stroll the path beside the stream and the falls. This is a photographic opportunity not to be missed. Like the view of the Banff Springs Hotel in the above photo? You can take this photo from the Bow Falls path.

Fairmont Banff Springs golf course

5. You came to see wildlife- right? DO THIS!! Drive to the Fairmont Banff Springs golf course (located just below the hotel) at dusk. A large herd of elk live in the forest beside the golf course. Park and wait patiently- you will be rewarded when they all gradually saunter out of the woods to graze on the golf course. Have your camera ready!!
6.With hundreds of miles available for hiking and walking in the wilderness- get outside!! There are hiking trails here for all abilities. My favorite easy half day hikes; Silverton Falls, Johnson Canyon (both the Upper and Lower Falls), and Fenland Trail. The photographic opportunities here are unlimited!

7.Lake Louise is the most famous glacial lake in the Canadian Rockies and is located about Silverton Falls in Johnson Canyon 45 minutes from the town of Banff. Drive the scenic Bow Valley parkway between Banff and Lake Louise for some spectacular views. The lake was still partially frozen for our visit- the turquoise waters were just beginning to thaw. Regardless of the season of your visit- you will marvel at the true beauty of this world famous lake.
8.Leisurely stroll the path that encircles one side of Lake Louise (the other side is bordered by the jagged mountain cliffs.) You can walk to the end of the lake or hike further across the glacial terrains to the famous tea houses waiting at the end of the trails. The Lake Agnes trail and the Plain of Six Glaciers trail are both hikes for intermediate ability hikers. Your reward will be the aroma of fresh baked bread and steaming hot tea waiting for you at the end!

Vickie Boster and husband with Lake Louise in background9. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is situated right on the banks of Lake Louise and rewards it’s visitors with the most spectacular views of Mt. Victoria and Victoria glacier. Stroll the grounds and most definitely walk around the inside of this historic hotel. If time allows- enjoy a casual lunch at the Lake View Lounge. The views from this beautiful restaurant are world famous.

10. Ride the Banff gondola to the top of Sulpher Mountain for a panoramic view of Banff and the Bow Valley. On a clear day you can see for over 90 miles! You can climb the boardwalk to Sansom’s Peak for even more incredible views. Want to celebrate being on top of the world? The beautiful Regal View restaurant at the top of the mountain has panoramic vistas that are unbelievable.

Whatever you choose to do- your trip to the Canadian Rockies will provide a lifetime of great memories. To see more of our travel photos and read about our incredible trip to the Rockies please visit my blog at Vicki- 2 BagsFull.com.

With her bags always in a state of readiness, Vicki yearns to travel to places she has never been. She and her husband have traveled around the world; her photo essays beautifully detailing the amazing places that she has visited. When she is not on the go, you can find Vicki at her blog http://www.vicki-2bagsfull.blogspot.com/.

Victoria Boster

About Victoria Boster

With her bags always in a state of readiness, Vicki yearns to travel to places she has never been. She and her husband have traveled around the world; her photo essays beautifully detailing the amazing places that she has visited. When she is not on the go, you can find Vicki at her blog www.Vicki-2BagsFull.blogspot.com.

26 Comments

  1. audrey

    July 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    This article is interesting and well written. Vicki’s descriptions and photographs of these stunning places makes me want to go there right now. Not being able to do much traveling at this time, it is a pleasure to read about the travels of someone who has been there and experienced it all firsthand. Telling us where to go, what type of clothing to take, and what to expect, is a big plus for anyone who is planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies. I look forward to future travel articles.

  2. Mary

    July 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    What a thrill to visit these beautiful places. Bravo Vicki! I feel as though I was really there. Thank you so much for the wonderful trip! Absolutely can’t wait to see what else you have to share!
    M

  3. kerrie

    July 1, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    This is a wonderful article. I especially like all of the helpful tips in a simple numbered format. Vicki you are beautiful. Your face always radiating. Looks like one of the most beautiful places in North America.

  4. Shirley

    July 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Vicki, I enjoyed the article as much as the first time that I read about your trip on your blog.

  5. Shirley Bennett

    July 2, 2011 at 6:27 am

    What a wonderful travel article, and your photos are spectacular!

  6. Pam K

    July 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Vicki
    I loved the article. Your description makes me feel like I’m there with you. Awaiting more trips to enjoy with you.

  7. SuZeQ

    July 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I’m not sure what is more jaw-dropping and beautiful – the scenery or Vicki’s write-up and descriptions. I can taste the freshly baked bread, I can feel the cold water in the streams, I can see the wonderful wildlife and my legs hurt from all the hiking. The photos are so life-like and realistic – makes me feel like I was right there with her. After reading her wonderful write-up, who wouldn’t want to travel here? Where will she take us next?

  8. Cheri Brown

    July 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    If you are planning a trip to anywhere, check out Vicki’s blog to get tips. Vicki and Dan are true travelers and always see the best and most amazing sites. Vicki’s writings, no matter if they are emails, letters, on her blog and now in this magazine, are so descriptive you feel like you have been there and have seen the beautiful sites yourself. I can’t wait to see where they go next. Please, continue to wow us with your stories,

  9. Maya @ Completely Coastal

    July 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Vicki, you make me want to go to the mountains on my next vacation, even though I’m an ocean girl! What an experience!

  10. susan Jenkins

    July 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Vicki! I had no idea how gorgeous this is! Well maybe an idea but you have made it so truely exciting and written about so much beauty I want it to be a place I’m sure to visit! Thank you so much for sharing and congradulations on an excellent article and on this fabulous opportunity to share your experiences!!
    xo Susan

  11. Sandra

    July 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Wonderful article and beautiful photos, Vicki. You make me want to leave tomorrow!

  12. ron & sophie...^5

    July 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Vicki…congratulations..keep up the great travel tips work… looking forward to more. I will still follow your blog because I’m so hooked! Cheers!

  13. Sue

    July 3, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Wonderful article! Very informative and captures the essence of this magnificent place. Our family took this trip many years ago and we all agree that we want to repeat this vacation. It truly is every bit as wonderful as Vicki describes it to be!

  14. Elaine Dale

    July 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Great all round job Vicki! I’m so pleased that you now have an even wider audience for your delightful photos and prose.

  15. Denise B

    July 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Vicki
    Your talents as a writer shine through. Your descriptive words and breath-taking pictures bring the adventure to life, for all of us. I cannot wait to see where the next travel trip will take us. I really appreciate your time and effort and am waiting anxiously for the next big adventure. Great job!!!

  16. Julie Whitmore

    July 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Looks like such and uplifting place, filled with wildlife, clean air, and peace.
    Thanks so much for the amazing photots too.
    Julie

  17. lisa

    July 5, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Vicki,
    Wow, I’m ready to go to Banff! I have always enjoyed reading about your many adventures on your blog & you are a natural for travel journalism. What a fantastic story, your descriptions & suggestions are awesome. I want to ride the gondola & make jam!
    Can’t wait for the next trip.
    Lisa

  18. Erin

    July 5, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Hi Vicki,

    I loved reading about your travel adventure about the beautiful mountains – your photographs and words are awsome and capture the beauty and the essence of one of God’s special creations .

    I am a big fan of your blog ane look forward to reading more about your travels.

    Three cheers for being over 50 and for this really lovely website.
    Blessings,
    Erin

  19. Angie Rueb

    July 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Love your travel article and pictures! Makes me want to go there for sure! I also love your knitting blog…. Keep up the good work! Thanks.

  20. Gabriela

    July 7, 2011 at 1:09 am

    It’s so wonderful to see that you can share the beauty and passion that you have shared with us for so long with so many more people…You are a wonderful example of how life should be lived, to its absolute fullest potential…you are an inspiration ….
    love

    Gabriela

  21. Patricia Eaton

    July 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Well, Vicki, leave it to you and the Gardener to have all these adventures traveling and now you will be writing about them. How appropriate, as we both know you can write and your photography is absolutely gorgeous. Have a great time doing this….I know your readers will love your articles just as those of us who read your blog love your posts! Have fun…..pat

  22. elvira pajarola

    July 12, 2011 at 9:14 am

    CARISSIMA DOLCISSIMA VICKY……..All my greatest biggest heartiest COMPLIMENTS for your wonderful writing- and photo- work……..!!

    I am absolutely enchanted….but I absolutely got another confirmation for your incredible artistic talent…..: You are not only a highly talented Artist……You are also a fascinating writer….a delightful storyteller and a sublime fotographer……!!!!!!!!!!!

    MAGNIFICIENT………..!!!!…………WHAT A JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a fantastic and interesting documentation of your mountain-adventures…….SPLENDID!!!!!!!!

    I can not wait for the CONTINUE:::::::::::::::::::::::::::!!!!!!!!!!!

    A HUG and all my very best wishes ciao ciao elvira

  23. Lili

    July 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Vicki you are such a talented writer and photographer. You make me want to pack my bags (and it’s not that often that I leave my beloved Maine)! You and the Gardener are the perfect couple to bring us such spectacular images and I adore that you have this exciting new venue to share it all with us! xo ~Lili

  24. Laura

    July 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    This sounds like a lifetime opportunity – at least once if that could possibly be enough. From your description I would imagine fortunate travellers who make this an annual destination. I had to smile at your advice to park and wait for the elk to ascend to the gold course. I used to work security on a popular US golf destination and every morning would listen to horror stories of damage done by deer to the well manicured greens.

    I enjoy your writing and look forward to reading more from you soon.

  25. Jessica Brooks

    December 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Great article! The pictures, descriptions and suggestions made me feel as if I were really there. This would be a great place to go this time of the year!

  26. Cathy Smith

    December 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article! The author has a great talent for describing the things she saw or did. I want to be there NOW!

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Our Rocky Mountain High