Explore the beautiful Rockies through the lens of my iPhone 12.
I can’t point you to one single thing that made me fall in love with the Canadian Rockies.
Maybe it’s the incredible turquoise lakes. Or the stunning waterfalls. Or maybe even the magnificent Grizzly bears or some of the best pizzas and burgers we had.
Whatever it is, words or photos don’t do it justice.
To truly experience the Canadian Rockies, you have to go there. But then reality hits and you notice all the hurdles you have to cross to even be there — money, visas, language barriers, unfamiliarity with the land, no cell coverage for most of the trip, etc.
To cross all the hurdles you need motivation. And more importantly, a reason.
Well, I am here to give you that reason.
In this blog post, I will try my best to help you experience the Canadian Rockies through my eyes. After reading, if you feel even a twitch of excitement, I have done my part. And, take that twitch as a sign that you must go visit for yourself.
That said, here comes my 5-Day Canadian Rockies road trip in photos taken through the main and ultra-wide lens of my humble iPhone 12.
We spent most of the trip in the beautiful mountain town of Banff.
Every day started at 6 AM with a quick breakfast and us hopping into our rental car. The day ended at about 10 PM when we returned home.
If I am doing the math right, that’s around 16 hours of being outdoors every day, and yet we couldn’t cover half of what Banff has to offer.
Don’t worry, just because I have only shown you photos of lakes so far, doesn’t mean that’s all Banff has to offer.
You also get some incredible views of some of the highest mountains of the Canadian Rockies. If you are not afraid of heights, you can take a Gondola up to around 7,500 feet above sea level.
Once there, you can soak in some beautiful views while having the best Caramel Macchiato you have had in your life.
We weren’t only mesmerized by the natural beauty of Banff. The bustling downtown and the incredible food were just as impressive.
During the trip, we had our best food in Banff, and some in Canmore (more on that later). From BBQ and pesto pizzas to Elk burgers, the range and quality of food this little mountain town has to offer truly surprised us.
Lake Louise & Lake Moraine
The quintessential turquoise lake photo you must have seen all over your social media must have come from one of these two lakes.
Both the lakes are about a 45-minute drive from Banff. We made the trip in our rental car. But, you can also take the shuttle that runs between Banff and Lake Louise.
From Lake Louise, you can take a 60-minute uphill hike to a cozy little tea house called — Lake Agnes Tea House.
Depending on your cardio fitness, the hike can be difficult. But the views and the home-cooked food are well worth the sweat.
On day 3, we started our 4-hour drive from Banff to Jasper in our rented Toyota Camry.
Without any stops, the drive takes about 3.5 hours.
However, it took us 8 hours. Why? Because we took 15 stops. Not because I was exhausted driving every 20 minutes, but because at every corner there’s another picturesque pullout spot.
This drive is known to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world, and it sure did live up to its lofty expectations.
For most of the drive, cell coverage is nonexistent. Fortunately, we were told about this ahead of time, so we prepared ourselves by downloading offline Google Maps and even bringing a few old-school physical maps, with all the spots marked in blue.
Similar to the phone coverage, food places are also very sparse throughout the drive. We mitigated that by bringing our own snacks. There’s a gas station with a few restaurants halfway through the drive, but that’s pretty much it. After that, Jasper will be your best bet.
Compared to Banff, Jasper is a much quieter and emptier mountain town.
Downtown Jasper has some beautiful mountain backdrops. We found the food here to be mediocre, but the town did have some cute local souvenir shops.
Similar to Banff, we started our Jasper tour with the nearby lakes and then made our way to the longer trips outside Jasper.
We toured the lakes, saw some powerful waterfalls, and took a boat cruise all the way to the famous Spirit Islands.
Jasper was a dreamy experience. The lack of people and the twisty roads made every drive a much more pleasant experience.
Oh also, we got to see tons of wildlife, including black bears and grizzly bears, but more on that in a little bit.
As said before, the food here was mediocre. We had some pizzas and stews, but both were nothing compared to the food we had in Banff.
On the final day, however, we had some hot chocolate and an avocado bowl. Both were excellent.
When coming back from Jasper to Banff, we stopped to see the Athabasca Glaciers.
Somehow, befittingly, it started snowing on our drive to the glaciers. It was apparently summer and yet it was snowing.
That’s one thing I learned about mountain weather — it’s unpredictable. We got sun, rain, and snow on the same day.
There’s a tour company — Columbia Icefield — that takes you to the footsteps of the glacier in an interesting-looking “monster truck”. It was expensive, but the unique experience was well worth it.
At the end of the trip, they took us to the “Skywalk” which is a protruding glass platform with an unobstructed view of the wild terrain 918-foot below you. It’s frightening!
One of the big surprises of the trip was the more unknown town of Canmore. We stayed there the night before our flight back home from Calgary.
Among all the other towns, Canmore was the quietest and naturally had the least number of tourists.
Our hotel had a really nice view of the mountains. We also had some of the best pizzas of the trip in Canmore.
Wildlife in the Rockies
You didn’t think I would finish the blog post without some photos of all the beautiful wildlife we saw, right?
We saw a bunch — elks, deers, mountain goats — but above all, we saw bears! Both Grizzlies and Black Bears! And they were only a few feet away from our car.
Unfortunately, unlike most people who were taking photos of the bears from their cars, we didn’t have some fancy telephoto camera lens with 10x zooms.
We made do with what we had — a humble iPhone 12. I am still happy with some of the shots I took.
I have visited numerous National Parks throughout North America. But I must say, the Canadian Rockies — both Banff and Jasper national parks — were some of the best I have been to.
I hope my amateur photos were able to excite you at least a little bit to start planning your own trip to the Canadian Rockies.
If you have any questions while planning, or if there’s some other way I can help, please comment below.
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