Fantastic scenic landscapes of the Rocky Mountains await you on this journey: impregnable masses of proud, undefeated man giants with dazzling white caps of glaciers, impenetrable forests and surreal turquoise mountain lakes.
The route also involves acquaintance with the main cities of Alberta: Calgary and Edmonton.
The duration of the trip along this route can vary according to your desire, but the minimum route takes 9-10 days. The best time for summer travel is July and August, but fairly pleasant weather can meet you in June and September.
During the winter months, traveling on a shorter route includes holidays at the ski resorts in Banff or Lake Louise.
From Lake Louise to the village of Jasper (Jasper, 4,500 thousand) — 232 km. Jasper got his name from the clerk of the North-West Mechotorgovoy Company, known in these parts as Jasper House. Her small office opened here in 1813. In 1884, due to the decline in trade, Jasper House was closed, and the name Jasper remained.
During your stay in Jasper, you must definitely take the funicular to the top of the Whistlers Mountain, where from a height of 2227 m you can admire the panorama of the Rocky Mountains .
And you should definitely drive along Maligne Lake Road, one of the most beautiful roads in the Rocky Mountains (50 km). At the very beginning, it leads to the Canyon Malain — a cleft of a width of not more than 5 m, which can be explored on foot, and at the end — to the glacial lake Malin. You can take a boat ride on the lake and take a photo, landing on the tiny island of Spirit Island .
On the way to Edmonton, especially in the rain, it makes sense to make a small detour to the hot springs and the pool (Miette Hot Springs) on the eastern edge of Jasper Park.
Jasper Tourism Information Center, opposite the station , tel . 780 / 852-6176 and 852-3858, www.jaspercanadianrockies.com .
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, 780 / 852-3301, www.fairmont.com . Large resort hotel at the edge of town, private golf course.
Coast Pyramid Lake Resort , Pyramid Lake Road , tel. 780/8524900, www . coasthotels . com . Tourist Lodge Hotel, 5 km from Jasper.
Marmot Lodge, 86 Connaught Drive, Jasper, tel . 780 / 852-4471. Modest hotel located near the hot springs (Miette Hot Springs).
Yellowhead Hwy. 16 leads from Jasper eastward — on the prairie and to Edmonton (1400 km).
Jasper National Park
At the pass, a special shield points to the entrance to the Jasper National Paffe National Park, created in 1907. The mountainous p’izage here make an even greater impression than in Banff Park.
The valleys occupy hardly a tenth of the vast territory of the park 10 878 km2. In the coniferous forests live grizzlies, wapiti, mountain goats and sheep. In search of food, they often go on roads leading through the park.
A unique sight awaits visitors in the southern part of the park: the sparkling Athabasca glacier. In a special center (Columbia Icefield) on the opposite side of the mountain, having studied the relief map, you can clearly imagine the location of this glacier, which is part of the Colombian firn plateau (466 km2).
The thickness of the ice cap reaches 900 m, meltwater rushes into three oceans: with the Atabaska river — towards Sever- Str. Arctic, with Colombia — in the 55th Pacific Ocean, from North Saskatchewan — to the Hudson’s Bay and the Atlantic. A short branch of the road leads to the ever-wet foot of the glacier. Year plaques show how fast the ice has lately been retreating.
From the Sunwapt Pass, the northbound highway goes down along the Sunwapt River to its confluence with Athabasca. An inflatable boat tour can be booked on site (in Jasper Park, tel. 780 / 852-2665).
Athabasca Falls falls into the gorge from a height of 30 m. A few kilometers from there, a branch of the road (9 km) goes to the foot of the steep Edith Cavel Mountain (3363 m), from where you can go along the beautiful trail to the Alpine meadows (Cavell Meadows, about 2 hours) )
The Rockies are the most significant mountain range in the Cordillera system of North America, forming a watershed between the basins of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The Canadian part of the Rocky Mountains stretches 1200 km northward from the US border.
In the relief of the mountains, short and high (up to 4000 m or more) ridges and spacious plateaus alternate. The ridges are composed mainly of shales, sandstones, and limestones. The vegetation cover is represented by several high-altitude belts. The border of the forest is at an altitude of about 1,500 m in the north and 3,600 in the south.
The rocky mountains have formed over the past 60 million years. Mountain-building processes continue to this day (earthquakes, geysers). In the mountains there are deposits of gold, silver, copper, coal and oil. In the Rocky Mountains, large rivers take their source: Fraser, Colombia, Athabasca, Saskatchewan. The Rocky Mountains has five national parks and many nature reserves.
The climate here is mostly continental; on the peaks and western slopes of the precipitation is up to 1000 mm per year. Mountain peaks covered with snow and ice, quiet lakes and deep gorges, the wealth of flora and fauna — these places are ideal for relaxation and are very popular among tourists.
In the Kutenai River Valley
Highway 93/95 leads north along the wide Kutenai Valley. In provincial parks, which are still not developed by tourists, local farmers have a rest — for example, they fish in the mountain lake of the Whitestvan Lake Provincial Park. Not far from Canals Flats (653 km) lies Lake Columbia, from where the river of the same name (2,000 km) originates — one of the largest in the north-west of the country.
Idyllically located villages along the way — such as Fairmont Hot Springs, Invermere and Radium Hot Springs (711 km) — have become popular tourist destinations in recent years. Golf lovers come here especially often when they relax at the Radium Resort with its two 18-hole courses and its own golf school.
Kootenay National Park, founded in 1919 in the western spurs of the Rocky Mountains, covers an area of 1406 km2. Having entered the reserve from the south, you find yourself between the two steep walls of Sinclair Canyon (Tourist Information Center).
Once upon a time, the Indians were able to appreciate the hot springs at the eastern end of a narrow gorge, the water of which now flows into two large reservoirs (Aquacourt).
In the northern part of the park, trails to the lakes Phloe and Kaufman are laid; the walk is designed for 1 day. You can take a shorter walk — for example, to Marble Canyon or to Paint Potts, where Indians from soft-rock stones used to get ocher for their war paint (1 h).
At an altitude of 1640 m, there is the Vermilion Pass (806 km), where dry trees seem strange and ghostly against the sky.
Highway 93 follows the Bow River (upstream) and then turns into one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in Canada — Icefields Parkway (Icefields Parkway, www.icefieldsparkway.ca ). Emerald green lakes, foaming waterfalls, hanging glaciers and characteristic mountain silhouettes seem to compete in beauty.
Behind every turn, behind any pass, new and new grandiose mountain landscapes open. It makes sense to leave early, because the most beautiful views are on the western side, where the slopes of the mountains and ice in the morning sun are painted pink.
At an altitude of 2068 m, the road leads to the Bow Pass, and behind it you can see the view as in the picture: the greenish lake Peyto is 300 m lower and the Mistaya river valley. A little further you can stop and go to the shore of Lake Watsrfol (936 km) to admire the majestic Mount Pyramid Chefren (3266 m).
A few more kilometers of the way, and the Rocky Mountains, going to the northwestern direction, again amaze with a magnificent view: the wide valley of the North Saskatchewan River opens to the east, and on its sides, like the defensive towers, are the sandstone mountains Wilson (3240 m) and Marchison (3260 m). With wide loops, the road goes up to the Sunwapt Pass at an altitude of 2035 m (973 km).
Across Crowsnest Pass
About 30 km from the border with the province of British Columbia, the road crosses a grandiose field of stones. In the spring of 1903, a powerful stone avalanche (90 million tons) buried under the town of Frank (Frank, Tourism Center, Museum).
From the Krousnest pass at an altitude of 1396 m, the road through the western spurs descends to the Kutenai region, rich in ore deposits. In the upper reaches of the Kutenai River is Fort Steele (542 km), an open-air museum founded in 1864.
After 100 lay down, in the 1960s, about 60 buildings were restored, including the police department, Victorian houses, shops, a dental office and the old Wasa Hotel, which houses a small museum. In the summer, on weekends, events are often held on historical topics.
Going on a long trip through Western Canada, it makes sense in the first national park to purchase the Great Western Pass — a car pass and a family (up to 7 people) to all national parks on the way.
From Cranbrouk, the most important city in southeast British Columbia, Hwy. 95A leads to the Parsell Mountain Range. At an altitude of almost 1100 m, there is the village of Kimberley (Kimberley, 6500 inhabitants, 581 km), which is called the «Bavarian village».
Indeed, there are half-timbered houses, and a characteristic square in the center of the village, and schnitzels in restaurants, and leather pants, and souvenir shops, and besides — ski slopes.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Highway 5 leads into the southernmost of the Canadian Rockies’ national parks — Waterton Lakes (209 km). The territory of this park, located directly on the border with the United States, is relatively small — 528 km2. The center of the Canadian part of the park is Upper Watsrton Lake (10 km long), at the northern end of which is the beautiful small village of Waterton Park (Waterton Park). 3
A stunning view of the lake opens from the north shore from the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, which stands on a moraine hill. Two roads lead from here into the park to the picturesque Lake Kamsron (canoe rental) and the Red Mountains Canyon, punched in the rocks by the Blackiston River. At the northern exit of the park (Hwy. 15), a whole herd of bison lives in the pen.
Banff National Park
The central ridge of the Rockies is the border of Alberta and Banff National Park, the oldest and most famous in Canada. The grandiose park with an area of 0641 km2 has preserved its pristine nature in the heart of the Rocky Mountains: these are three-thousand-meter-high ice-covered valleys, sparkling mountain lakes and fast streams. Already a few hundred meters from the road leading to Banff, you can again enjoy the heavenly landscape of the mountains.
In addition to walking along the paths of the virgin forest, in the summer in Banff Park you can find something for every taste, budget and level of physical fitness: from a boat cruise on the mountain lake Minievanka to hiking (the simplest type of mountain climbing).
You are also waiting for tours by helicopter, kayak and canoe, cross-country vehicles and horses, golf courses and, of course, relaxation in hot springs.
In winter, lovers of skiing and snowboarding flock to Banff. Norkwan and Sunshine Village ski areas are located in the park and in the immediate vicinity of Banff.
Continuing north through the Bow Valley, you can choose the excellent Hwy Highway. 1 or parallel highway 1A, from which hiking trails begin in the Johnson Canyon.
Information Center , 224 Banf t Ave./Wolf St, f 403 / 762-1550, 762-8421, www.banfflakelouise.com .
Minnewanka Loop , cruises on Lake Minnevanka, tel. 403 / 762-3473, www. explorerockies.com/minnewanka/.
Awesome all seasons adventures , all-terrain vehicles and snowmobile tours, tel. 403 / 760-3394, www.banffatv-tours.com.
Icefield Helicopter Tours , helicopter tours, tel. 403 / 721-2100, www.icefieldheli.com.
Blue canoe rentals , canoe rentals and tours, 403 / 760-5007, www.banfftours.com/.
Post Hotel, Lake Louise Village , 403 / 522-3989, www. posthotel.com. Elegant restaurant in the Austrian style, recognized as the best in these places.
Laggan’s Mountain Bakery, Lake Louise Village, Samson Mall . Noisy coffee shop, where it is especially nice to have breakfast. Nearby is an excellent — Northern Art Impression Gallery, where items of Inuit and Indians are exhibited.