A week ago, I was blessed to finally do something I’ve been planning for over a decade and that was to see the Canadian Rockies. And if you read up on any of my road trips, you’ll know I look for only the best spots, the types of places that will truly make you stop and pause because their beauty will overtake you.
And I certainly found tons of them in the Canadian Rockies, 10 in fact that are sure to drop jaws and make you pause. And I will be sharing them with you today!
That place (Lake Louise) may be one of the most iconic locations in all of the Canadian Rockies and I’ll detail that place, as well as 9 others that arguably just as if not more beautiful (you tell me after reading the list).
While my whole trip involved seeing more than “just” the Canadian Rockies, and it started in Vancouver Island technically, which I will document in a future post.
Here is a preview of the 10 places to see in the Canadian Rockies:
- Sunwapta Falls.
- Athabasca Falls.
- Emerald Lake.
- Peyto Lake.
- Maligne Canyon.
- The town of Jasper.
- Mount Edith Cavell.
- Takakkaw Falls.
- Moraine Lake.
- Lake Louise.
I’ve chosen these 10 places in the Canadian Rockies for these 3 reasons:
1) They are easy to get to and see.
Most of the locations I will be documenting have parking very close to the locations and/or amenities to easily allow you to see them, so if you’re tight on time, can’t really take long hikes and want to see the sights the Canadian Rockies have to offer (And believe me, this place does), this is easily accessible with at most a very short, yet easy hike.
2) They are easy to find.
No need to figure out complex directions, they are basically off the main road called the Icefields Parkway.
3) They are truly gorgeous and unforgettable.
And while I didn’t get a chance to explore everything this whole area has to offer, let me tell you, these 10 things are forever in my memory and they are truly surreal. You will feel that once you check them out too, trust me.
While I did my best to provide the best photographs of these locations, the truth is, no matter how good or bad photographer, photo or camera is, there is no amount of quality that can capture how beautiful this place is. You HAVE to go and see it to understand what I mean.
Let these 10 locations and the photos of the Canadian Rockies:
Be the bait that gets you there (thank me later!).
I will be listing the locations for each spot (as I usually do) and if you have questions on them or other spots nearby, do let me know. I’ll also be documenting this road trip I did in another blog post fully, because it wasn’t just the Canadian Rockies I visited, and the other spots I saw, also had their incredible beauties to see!
1) Sunwapta Falls.
This waterfall and overall spot is very easy to access of the main road 93, which is the Icefields Parkway, another MUST do road trip I will document in the future.
But in any case, this waterfall has a large parking lot near it and the waterfall location is literally less than 100 feet away from it.
Now this area is gated off and while some people did hop the railings to take better photos or get closer to the location, it is dangerous and I will say that it’s not just the waterfall area you can check out in this location.
There are trails which take you through the canyon that follows the falls and it’s pretty easy to hike through.
Sunwapta Falls is one of the most popular photos I see on Instagram when it comes to the Canadian Rockies and after seeing this location, I understand why. You will too.
Here is where you’ll find Sunwapta Falls in the Canadian Rockies:
2) Athabasca Falls
Insanely beautiful waterfalls are ALL over the Canadian Rockies and this, like Sunwapta is also highly recommended to see. This waterfall is also located very close to the parking area and there is a built walkway and bridge you can take to see this falls
The waterfall is actually behind me in this photo and this spot where I took the picture is on the bridge that allows you to get this amazing shot.
Just like the other falls, this one is also easily accessible and there’s also a canyon in this region you can check out which has overlooks, where on one side of it, there’s railings to protect people and get a great view of the canyon.
Here’s where you’ll find Athabasca Falls in the Canadian Rockies:
3) Emerald Lake
A lot of the highly recommended spots on this list are lakes, and many of those lakes have an amazing light blue color to them which you won’t believe, even while you’re there. But Emerald Lake however, like it’s name is green, an so clear that it seems like an Emerald, so seeing this diverse kind of lake in the Canadian Rockies was really a treat for us:
This photo doesn’t really show the TRUE green, emerald like color this lake has, but you will see it clearly when you visit. If you look to the right of this photo, you will notice a house. I highly recommend you check it out. It is a small restaurant with a beautiful chimney and “old” look and feel to it, that we felt very relaxed when we entered.
If you’re wondering, boats and kayaks are available in this location to explore and hiking trails also exist which will take you around the lake and through peaks that engulf this lake. Additionally, lodging is also available there but based on how popular this place was when I visited it, which was actually off season, I would recommend you reserve months ahead if you wish to stay in this area.
Here is where you’ll find Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies:
4) Peyto Lake
Out of all the lakes I visited in the Canadian Rockies, this was the one I could not get too close to, as the parking area, and overlook which showed me this beautiful spot was very far from the actual lake. But I would say out of all the lakes I saw in the Canadian Rockies, this was the bluest of them all:
Now I assure you, this is the ACTUAL color of the water and if you’re wondering how that’s possible, we were told it’s because the glaciers that are in this region rub against the mountains and cause powder to form from the rocks breaking. This “powder” falls into the water and creates this “effect” you see and it is stunning.
Now even though a parking lot is available close to this lake, it was under construction when we visited and we had to park, along with all the other cars, off the road, and walk to this lake which took about 20-30 minutes.
Here is where you’ll find Peyto Lake in the Canadian Rockies:
5) Maligne Canyon.
This was the first official spot my friend and I stopped at when we entered the Canadian Rockies through the north western end (near Jasper). This location is basically a beautiful canyon with a trail that leads through the entire thing that you can walk and this spot gave us our first taste of the beauty the Canadian Rockies had:
Now the trail down this canyon is pretty short (about 1-2 kilometers) but it is steep at times, so if you have knee problems or can’t really hike up or down, I would not recommend this canyon to be on your list (even though it’s gorgeous).
The water in this area looks a bit greenish, but you will find that same light blue color along the river as you hike down the trail.
Here’s the location for Maligne Canyon in the Canadian Rockies:
6) The town of Jasper itself.
Jasper has long been on my list of places to visit (including Banff) and we had a chance to stay one night there on our road trip through western Canada.
Many of the spots I am showing on this list are located close to this town, so it’s really a great place to stay at and know that it won’t take long to reach many of the destinations I am showing you:
This photo was taken the second morning we were in this town, right after we finished breakfast there and continued south to Banff. This town is very beautiful and lively during on seasons.
One thing I will warn you about is that this whole region is filled with tons of elk and other wildlife, which literally can be seen on the streets. While we did see a bunch of elk on our trip and in the town, be careful not to approach them.
Here’s where you’ll find Jasper in the Canadian Rockies:
7) Mount Edith Cavell.
Located about 30 minutes south of Jasper, I am very happy to be including this amazing location on the list people. This spot was pretty easy to access and hike to after we parked. There are 2 trails (a short and long one) which allow you to see this spot from a great point of view.
The short hike takes you to an overlook of the mountains, glacier and lake that formed from the glacier and that’s the one we took with my buddy. It was a short hike, but it was a jaw dropping place to be:
Getting close to that water was not allowed, and one of the reasons why is because the glacier which is to the right of this photo (you can’t see it), has risks of having chunks of it fall off. Edith Cavell is spectacular a must visit spot!
Here is where you’ll find Mount Edith Cavell in the Canadian Rockies:
8) Takakkaw Falls.
This is thus far the highest waterfall I have seen in my life at over 1,200 feet high and you can find this amazing waterfall at Yoho National Park, which is of course in the Canadian Rockies.
Like most of the spots on this list, this falls is located very close to the parking lot and you can even see it from the moment you park, as well as when you make your way to the entrance.
Now do note that while this waterfall is the main thing to see in this location, that there is another about 5 miles on the left side of it that you need to hike to and there many hiking trails and camping spots in this region that I saw (as well as wild animals). Here is a picture of this wonderful waterfall:
And here is where you’ll be able to find Takakkaw Falls in the Canadian Rockies:
9) Moraine Lake
Other than the last spot on this list, it is arguable that Moraine Lake is one of the most popular spots to visit in ALL of the Canadian Rockies and once you’re there, you will see why.
The beautiful thing, other than the lake, and it’s convenient location is that it’s literally “next door” to the last location on this list (Lake Louise), so you can see both these spots next to each other if you visit.
Anyway, Moraine Lake, very similarly to Emerald Lake, which I mentioned above feels very similar in that there is also a “cottage” and “restaurant and lodging right next to it that you can stay at (if you can find a spot). But the lake itself is not green, but light blue like many others I saw in the Canadian Rockies:
I have to say that if it weren’t for bad weather (snow and wind) bombarding us in this location, we would have stayed longer, because as you can probably see, it’s WORTH it.
There is also a hiking location to the left of this picture you can check out, as well as areas around the lake you can walk and boat on.
Here is where you’ll find Moraine Lake in the Canadian Rockies:
10) Lake Louise
Located about 5 minutes from Moraine Lake, this is quite possible the most popular and recognized spot in the Canadian Rockies. I first saw this lake when I was 15 years old looking at nature pictures in my Brooklyn home when I was living with my grandparents.
I loved the picture of this place so much that I set it as my screensaver and 17 years later, I finally saw it in person and let me tell you, it is BEAUTIFUL. Here’s why:
Now this spot is VERY popular, let me warn you and despite me being the only person in the above picture, this place was VERY busy.
Here is where you’ll find Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies:
It is also very close to a VERY large parking lot, and hotel that you can stay at, and there is a very beautiful hiking trail around the lake to the right of me in that picture, which my friend and I took a day later and as luck would have it, snow set in and in literally a few hours, the entire environment of this landscape changed, to this:
Lake Louise in the winter:
And it was pretty shocking how a few hours can change the look of this place, but we witnessed it and took a hike around the lake where you’ll find many more trails and places to see.
Lake Louise is truly a place I cannot wait to go back to.
Other places to see near the Canadian Rockies:
- There’s the Canadian version of Glacier Park.
- Further south of that is the Glacier National Park of the United States.
- If you go further west, into British Columbia, there is Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Other road trip ideas:
If you do a road trip through the Canadian Rockies, I do recommend going back and seeing more spots (there’s countless ones). But if you’re looking for other ideas, I’ll share some of my recent road trips that do compete with the beauty of the Canadian Rockies:
If you’re looking for desert scenery, then what I can tell you is that checking out Utah, specifically the Mighty 5 National Parks will make you think you’re in the desert version of the Canadian Rockies. In fact, there’s areas there that are close to that mountain region.