On route to the world famous Calgary Stampede was a great excuse to venture through the Great Canadian Rockies. We took the most pictouious drive you could possibly ever go on. Jasper to Banff.
We drove through and past some of the most grandest (is that even a word??) mountains you could ever dream of. They made cars look like tiny dots.
First Stop: Mount Robson
Roughly a 3 hour drive from Prince George travelling along the yellow head highway you cant miss this massive mountain. If the numerous road side signs don't give it away, it is the massive mountain staring you straight in the face as you drive by. One of the highest peaks of the rockies Mount Robson has its own national park - Mount Robson National Park.
Second Stop: Jasper
Just one hour down the road is Japser Im sure you've heard of it?! This was our lunch stop. The town of Jasper is picturesque and busy. Everything you would imagine of a tourist town nestled in one of the most visited mountain ranges in the world. With not much time to explore the town, we were back on the road again quickly.
Third Stop: Road side pull out
I pity the driver of the car when taking road trips like this. My driving skills are horrible, so thankfully I always get the passenger seat. While we did have a destination to get to, we left early enough in the day to make plenty of stops and I'm sure by the picture below you are starting to understand why ...
Fourth Stop: Another road side pull out
Thankfully there are an abundance of places to stop along the way. The drive from Jasper to Banff and vice versa is better done by just completing it as one leg, staying the night and heading back. There is so much to see, do and explore that you will want as much time as possible.
The second road side stop we thought it was time to crack out the Cherry Ripes that Bens Aunt bought over with her.
Cherry Ripe in the Rockies?? - I think Yes!
Did you know that the Cherry Ripe is Australias oldest chocolate bar, its also
unfortunately not available for purchase in Canada
Fifth Stop: You guessed it! - Road side pull out
See the snow at the top of these Mountain Ranges? Not only are we now right into the heart of summer and there is STILL a meter of snow at the top, but this was signalling that we were getting close to Athabasca Glacier. We are now officially on the Icefields Parkway.
Sixth Stop: Athabasca Glacier
If you ever get a chance visit Athabasca Glacier - Do it. I know from the photos below it looks like a chunk of ice on the middle of the desert (thats my impression anyway) but it really is an extraordinary place to visit. It is one of the most visited Glaciers in North America and Im guessing the reason being is it is actually quite accessible from the road side. Only about a 5-10 minute walk from the car park (up hill).
The glacier is currently around 6km long, but sadly it is disappearing. Receding at a rate of 5 meters per year, they estimate that it could be gone before the next generation comes along.
Going on the glacier can be quite dangerous. It is fenced off to prevent humans from free walking on it. If you would like to get up close you can actually book a tour with a certified company and they will take you on a guided walk of the glacier. There are crevasse all over the mountain which can be very dangerous if you were to fall down one. There are posts up to warn you of the danger and sadly previous stories of fatalities that have occurred.
Seventh Stop: Peyto Lake
This is by far one of my favourite places in Canada. We have been a few times now and it is a must stop on this journey. Only an hour from Banff it was our last stop.
This lake is glacier feed which helps makes the rich, vibrant blue colour and it is in the shape of a dogs head. - Whats not to love! No where near as famous as Lake Louise so the crowds are smaller AND the views better. It is a win win.
One last stop in Banff for dinner before completing our journey in Calgary. What a day!
This trip is a ultimate bucket list item. It is enjoyed by literally every member of the family. A trip to Canada is just not complete without seeing the spectacular Rockies!
And lastly I just want to leave you with some safety advice.
This is a very busy little route, please if you are a driver, keep your eyes on the road, there are 100's of other people travelling and car crashes are common. Watch where you are going and keep alert.
The chances of seeing wildlife are huge! Please remember that both Moose and Bears are wild animals and are very dangerous (especially if they have their young) stay inside your car and watch from a distance. Just because everyone else is outside, doesn't mean you have to join them. Canada has to deal with putting down wildlife every year because tourists make silly decisions and get attacked.