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An Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Canadian Rockies

Learn all about the Canadian Rockies

|August 27, 2021
Sean Carr is a blogger in Toronto. He graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing. Sean Carr is a community manager for small businesses across Canada. He loves to research on various topics including travel, adventure and business solutions.

The Canadian Rockies are recognized internationally for a very good reason. They are a popular winter and summer destination for travelers from around the world and from all walks of life.

However, some people may miss out by not visiting the Canadian Rockies during the fall. Crowds tend to be smaller during the fall, and the Canadian Rockies are truly breathtaking during this season. Temperatures also tend to be near-perfect during autumn.

Canadian Rockies by Drone (4K) | DJI Mavic Pro

There is never a bad time to visit the Canadian Rockies. Exploring the Canadian Rockies can be done 365 days a year. They are very easy to explore regardless of where you currently live. There are also dozens of different fun and exciting activities and adventures that you and your loved ones can enjoy for decades to come.

Here, we will provide you with the ultimate guide for exploring the majestic and beautiful Canadian Rockies in a safe and fun manner.

Best Time to Visit the Canadian Rockies

rainbow over canadian rockies in banff national park in canada

July and August are the best months to explore the Rockies due to the calm weather. Albeit, it may snow or rain at a moment’s notice. The months of September and October have also risen in popularity in recent years.  

The autumn-like scenery should be experienced at least once in your lifetime. Shimmering vistas and picturesque trees and foliage that are vibrantly colored create stunning views that need to be seen to be believed.  

If peace and quiet are what you are after, then visiting the Canadian Rockies during the winter months is strongly recommended. Many travelers describe the Rockies during the winter as a tranquil paradise. However, everything is not hot cocoa and snow cones.  

You need to be careful and take a few necessary precautions before you explore everything that there is to explore in the great Canadian Rockies.

How to Travel Around the Rockies

campervan driving on the road in the canadian rockies

Most people prefer to purchase a car or rent one in order to navigate the Canadian Rockies. If you are a slow traveler, then another option is to take a bus and enjoy everything that the Canadian Rockies have to offer. You may even be provided with a guide if you would like to be a part of a traveling bus tour. However, you may be charged extra for this service.  

If you do not drive or do not enjoy driving, then you can book a customized trip. We would suggest that you book online in order to make your Canadian Rockies adventure tour as easy and seamless as possible.

Best Places in the Canadian Rockies

The town of Banff can be found in the center of Banff National Park in Alberta. It serves as a base for trips and is ideal for those who wish to have fun during day trips. Banff is also surrounded by monolithic mountain peaks that are truly a sight to behold.    

From Sulphur Mountain and the Bow River to the Upper Hot Springs and the Vermillion Lakes, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Banff. 

Lake Minnewanka is only a 20-minute drive from Banff. It serves as a great day trip destination due to its close proximity to Banff. It is a very popular spot for people who enjoy nature. You can take a shuttle bus from Banff during the hot summer months if you wish.

lake minnewanka in banff national park in canada

Lake Minnewanka is the second-longest lake in the Canadian Rockies. We would recommend a boat cruise if you enjoy traversing the seas. You can also opt to bike along the shore or you can go canoeing instead. If you want a bird’s-eye view of the lake, then why not hike to the Alymer lookout instead?  

Moraine Lake is known for being the most picturesque of all of the lakes in the great and majestic Rockies. The bright and vivid turquoise color of the lake is so stunning that it almost seems like an illusion.

small squirrel eating at moraine lake in canada

If you want to see the lake from different vantage points, then you may want to take one of the many hiking trails or rent a canoe instead. It should also be noted that it passes an avalanche zone, which is why it is not considered safe to explore during the winter. 

Lake Louise has been highlighted in many postcards since it was first discovered. The decadent and elegant Fairmont Chateau can be enjoyed on the shore, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. 

woman sitting resting near lake louise in canada

The lake is used as a massive skating rink during the winter once it has completely frozen over. During the summer, however, you can float around the lake by renting a canoe. You can also enjoy the Ice Magic Festival, which is held every year during the winter. There, you can marvel at some of the most beautiful ice castles and sculptures ever built for a truly Canadian experience.   

Icefields Parkway is a scenic road that is truly spectacular. It is full of stunning glacier views and is considered one of the most scenic drives in the entire world, according to the National Geographic Society.

banff park trees in the car mirror in canada

There are several hiking trails that you can enjoy while exploring the Icefields Parkway. Also, please note that there are no Wi-Fi or cell signals along the parkway. There is a visitor’s center in Lake Louise that you should visit before you explore the Icefields Parkway.   

Pick up a map of all of the hotspots before you begin your adventure in order to enjoy everything that Icefields Parkway has to offer. 

The Valley of the Five Lakes has a hiking trail that visits all five lakes in the region, making it very unique. If you are looking for a hike that is family-friendly and easy, then look no further than the Valley of the Five Lakes.

valley of the five clear blue lakes in summertime

It is also located in Jasper National Park and is just 10 kilometers away from Jasper. You can actually take a bicycle and use the biking trail that starts from Old Fort Point to reach the Valley of the Five Lakes. 

Another option is to use a handy pair of snowshoes to visit the lakes during the winter. Moose also enjoy visiting the lakes, and every lake has a different shade of green that has an emerald gleam. 

Takakkaw Falls currently serves as the second-tallest waterfall in the entire country. It is situated in Yoho National Park and boasts a height of over 373 meters. Bold and beautiful, you can cool down during the summer by visiting Takakkaw Falls.

takakkaw waterfall in yoho national park

You can also go camping, as there is a campground located near the waterfall. There are many picnic tables that you can take advantage of if you want to have a snack while enjoying the majestic beauty of Takakkaw Falls.  

Fernie serves as a quaint little adventure town that is nestled deep within British Columbia. Many people will simply miss Fernie unless they explore the area a little deeper. There are many caves, waterfalls, esoteric forest trails, and mountain top hikes to keep you busy and entertained for hours on end.

woman snowshoeing at fernie town ski resort  in canada

 You can also enjoy a network of mountain biking trails that is quite extensive if you enjoy cycling. Fernie also boasts one of the very best ski resorts in the country if you wish to visit during the winter.

Adventures to Enjoy in the Canadian Rockies

There are literally thousands of miles of hiking trails that have been well maintained over the years. There are trails for experienced hikers as well as for newcomers to enjoy. 

Most of the alpine trails of the Rockies are made specifically for mountain biking and cycling. Skiing and snowboarding are also activities that you can enjoy during the winter, and whitewater rafting can be enjoyed for those who are looking for a daring adventure.   

You can go ice climbing and/or on ice walks as well. You can also enjoy ice palaces that are truly ethereal. However, we would suggest that you hire a travel guide if it is your first time going ice climbing. Also, please remember to wear ice cleats, as they will help you stay grounded.

person sitting on a bench near a lake in the canadian rockies

Those who prefer a more sedentary adventure can opt for a train adventure instead. All aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, as the stylish train will allow you to see the mountains from the comfort of a train car.  

You can also stay in one of the many iconic hotels or mountain lodges in the area. Marvel at stunning sky-blue lakes, and glimpse a bear or two frolicking in the woods. There are hundreds of activities, hotspots, and adventures to be had in the Rocky Mountains.  

It may take you several years to see everything that the Rocky Mountains have to offer, so strap in for the adventure of a lifetime! 

Taking the First Step

Exploring all that the Rocky Mountains have to offer may be one of the best decisions that you ever make. Create memories that will last forever and enjoy hiking, skiing, biking, camping, and more in order to keep busy and fit.

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