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Canadian Rockies in 5 Days

Guest post by karenj

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1: Calgary and Lake Louise

  • Calgary Stampede
  • Calgary Tower
  • Canada Olympic Park
  • Lake Louise Gondola
  • Château Lake Louise

Calgary is a good starting point for a trip to the national parks but doesn’t warrant more than an hour or two. Seeing the bobsled memorabilia at the Olympic Park was the highlight.

Olympic Park

We took gondola up by Lake Louise but couldn’t see anything, unfortunately. We didn’t go inside the chateau, but it was nice from the outside.

Day 2: Icefields Parkway to Jasper

  • Moraine Lake
  • Peyto Lake
  • Athabasca Falls

Moraine Lake was the highlight of the trip. Had good weather and the scenery was our favorite of anywhere we went. Peyto is a quick stop, definitely worth it. Athabasca Falls is too crowded and could really be skipped.

Day 3: Jasper National Park

  • Maligne Lake
  • Spirit Island
  • The Jasper Planetarium
  • Jasper Museum

We took the boat trip out to Spirit Island. I’m sure it’s lovely in clear weather, but we had clouds and fog again, unfortunately.

Spirit Island

The Jasper Museum was a good way to kill an hour while the weather wasn’t great. The Planetarium was a neat experience at our hotel so it was convenient. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, seeing the stars through the giant lens.

Day 4: Athabasca Glacier Tour and back to Banff

Highly recommend taking the tour to go out on the glacier. Downtown Banff has some good spots for pictures but don’t need much time there. It’s a good base for exploring.

Athabasca Glacier

Day 5: Johnston Canyon and Banff

  • Bow Falls
  • Surprise Corner Viewpoint
  • Johnston Canyon
  • Whyte Museum
  • Banff Springs Hotel

Surprise Corner is worth it, really neat view of the hotel. Johnston Canyon is a very enjoyable, easy walk along the river with plenty of waterfalls along the way.

The Banff Springs Hotel was a nice place to have a drink.

I know the scenery in the Canadian Rockies is stunning, but we didn’t have great weather, unfortunately. I wish we would have gone during the summer when there’s a higher likelihood of good weather, instead of late September.

Traveled in September 2016

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