Banff National Park: Lakes and Mountains Abound

banff

The Canadian Rockies.  It has been on our “must go” list since forever and we were finally on our way.  The road trip to Banff was an easy 1.5 hours through scenic views varying from the flatness of the prairies and pasturelands to the towering mountains.  Just 5 minutes away from the east gate of Banff National Park, we made a quick pit stop in Canmore.

canmore

This town, small as it may appear has breathtaking sceneries and an air of wilderness in it.  It would have been nice to spend a couple of hours just driving around but we decided to stick to our plans.

Canmore-mountain

Our friend and the designated driver was going back to Calgary the same day and if we want to see as much of Banff, we need to manage our time well.

The plan was for him to come back for us (and this time with his family in tow) and spend the weekend with us in Jasper.  A sweet plan, don’t you think?  They get to work and we get to explore downtown Banff by foot and by bus.

wildlifeWildlife (deer) along the way.

Check in times are often in the late afternoon, giving us enough time to wander around the park without worrying about losing our reservations.  The best thing about driving to Banff is that we get to hop in and out as we please.  With the multitude of lakes around the park, one will never have enough hours in the day to see them all.  Here is what’s on our list that really impressed.

Lake Minnewanke

Lake-Minnewanke

As we entered the Park, we decided to take the Minnewanke Loop, which (obviously) lead us to Lake Minnewanke, the largest lake in the park and is popular for boating, fishing and sailing.

Lake-Minnewanke-ducks

Most tour companies offer tours around the Lake or one can rent a boat along the shore to go fishing.  Not the prettiest lake but striking nonetheless.

Lake-Minnewanke-2

Two Jack Lake

Two-Jack-3

The loop continues on to Two Jack Lake, which we almost missed because from the road, the partly hidden lake looked ordinary.

Two-Jack-2

All we saw was a picnic ground with breathtaking pine trees as its backdrop.  As we approached the grounds, the aquamarine lake with a cute little island in the middle and a railroad track that meanders along the lakeshore just blew me away.

Two-Jack-Lake

The protected waters blended perfectly with the backdrop of pine forest and snow capped mountains.  A WOW moment indeed.

Johnson Lake

Johnson-Lake-4

If you go on further, a road branching out of the loop will lead you to Johnson Lake.  With a nice picnic ground, it is obviously a popular spot for picnicking, fishing or swimming.

Johnson-Lake-2

Ringed with trails, a few hours stroll will take you through natural vistas and a high chance to spot a variety of birds or some small wildlife.

Johnson-Lake-trail

Hike we did not because we (that’s right!) wanted to see more lakes.

Lake Louise

Lake-Louise-2

After a quick bite in town, we headed off to one of the Rockies’ perhaps most photographed scene.

IMG_2524

The almost emerald green lake against the stark backdrop of the towering Victoria glacier is a sight to behold and no wonder a favorite of almost all who visit.

Lake-Louise

Relaxing on a bench admiring the beauty of the lake are simple pleasures I pine for.

IMG_2528Seeing the little things.

Moraine Lake

Moraine-Lake-

I always save the best for last.  Just 10 minutes away from Lake Louise, this lake has become my favorite.  If the aquamarine waters of Two Jack blew me away… this left me speechless and breathless.  We walked up the rock pile and once on top, this crystal clear cyan blue lake is simply awe-inspiring.

Moraine-Lake-steps

Climbing up the Rock pile.

Moraine-Lake-rocks

The other side of the lake.

Often nicknamed “Valley of the Ten Peaks”; ten lofty mountain peaks border this crystal clear turquoise blue lake.  Being glacially fed, the lake has not reached its peak yet, in fact smattering of ice were still floating on the lake at the time of our visit.  When it is full, it is said to reflect a distinct milky blue-green shade due to the light filtering effect of the rock flour deposited in the lake from the glacial meltdown.  The rock flour filters out much of the light spectrum except for blues and greens hence the color. Unimaginable.

Moraine-Lake-smallnessSmall against the grandness.

The Canadian Rockies. A real feast on sight and smell, the beautiful sceneries coupled with the fresh scent of pine is a definite treat to my well-being!

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