The Rockies! 🏔️
Marcela Corbala
BC & AB favourites
7 Places • ago
Free

BC & AB musts

Elfin Lakes.

1h45 min from Vancouver. Elfin Lakes are two small lakes in Garibaldi Park. A ~11km hike up to the lakes, beautiful scenery through the most part. The walk itself is worth it, it starts inside the forest, and then it opens up to amazing meadows. The hike itself is more enjoyable scenery—wise (in my opinion) than the hike up to Garibaldi Lake, since that one is all inside the forest.

If you go during the summer, it is very probable you’ll spot a bear. We spotted one on the way, far enough to admire, and it was already September 🤩

Once at the top we stayed at the shelter (3rd pic), which was great, definitely recommend if you’re not into bringing your tent, but if you are able to bring one, I would choose camping ⛺️, the views are breathtaking. At the top one of two lakes is dedicated for drinking water, so you can just bring your tablets & filter and you’ll be okay. The other lake is for swimming, we did take a swim and it was great, not too cold!

You will enjoy your dinner with an amazing sunset & also have breakfast with an incredible sunrise. There are picnic tables were you an enjoy your food in company.

I visited Sept, 2023.

Elfin Lakes Shelter
@marcelacorbala
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Emerald Lake

Located in Yoho National Park, Emerald lake is a real gem, & my favourite. The lake is stunning & - ofc.- emerald 🤩 it is a very easy but worth hike around the lake, you can also take a dip, I would recommend if it is a sunny day. Leave couple of hours to enjoy the hike or maybe Canoe - there is also an alternative hike to “Emerald Basin”, honestly, I would save the energy for something more exciting, but still a nice hike if you want level up your hike - the small hike around the lake is more than enough (and takes around 2hrs if you are stopping and relaxing).

I recommend to take a look at the gift shop, they usually have nicer stuff than what you find at the regular souvenir shops.

I visited Aug,2022 & Sept,2023 - both great times to visit.

Emerald Lake
@marcelacorbala
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Lake Louise

One of the most (If not THE) emblematic lakes in Banff National Park, both in winter & summer. Lake Louise is a turquoise water, glacier-fed lake that will take your breath away in any season, but we still prefer summer & fall when it comes to actually enjoying the lake view.

You might think it is just very touristic and not worth it, but there is a reason why it is so popular, and it is because it is simply stunning. You can go later during the day if you want to avoid the crowds, just take into consideration that you need some sun in order to see the lake at it’s best.

There is a luxurious Fairmont hotel at the shore of the lake, and they keep a skating rink during the winter, which can make your visit more fun if you decide to come during the winter, but there is of course also the ski resort that is one of the largest ones in North America.

There is a hike to Lake Agnes tea house, I would only go for it if you have the time & energy to kill, it is a cute little house originally built in 1905 by CPR as a refuge for hikers, everything they serve is homemade. But… be prepared to find a lot of horse poop on the way, and there are basically no views of the lake, it is just uphill and surrounded by trees.

Order in pictures:

September, 2023.

August,2022.

March,2021.

(only view of the lake from the trail to the Tea House)

Tea House

Lake Moraine

Situated at the Valley of Ten Peaks, this glacially fed lake reflects an incredible shade of azure blue that you can go and admire during the months of June to September. There is a short hike along the shore, which will take you around 1h to complete (3.9 Km), you can get great views and different perspectives of the lake with this hike, else you can also rent a canoe to spend some time in the lake.

The one hike you can not miss is the Rockpile, which is very easy and less than 1 Km, this is the short hike you take from the parking lot to get a view of the lake from the top, this is where most famous pictures of the lake are taken from so expect lots of people!

Feel free to grab a coffee or tea at their coffee shop and wander around the gift shop, they also carry some cool things.

This year (2023) Parks Canada decided to close the access to the lake to all non-public vehicle, so you will have to take a shuttle or public transportation to arrive there, there is always the option to bike or hike for the braves! It is not expensive to get a private shuttle (not even the staff who work at the top can bring their own vehicles).

If you are into getting a private ride, I would recommend Morraine Lake Bus Company, which picks up either at the Lake Louise Sky Resort Park Lot or within the Lake Louise Area - we paid $43 CAD per person for the round trip (tax inclusive). I’ve also used the Hop-On-Hop-Off that includes Moraine-Lake Louise-Johnston Canyon, If you want to avoid parking waiting times & driving, this is a great option since it picks up at Banff train station (around $85 CAD pp plus tax). Links to both are below.

Moraine Lake
@marcelacorbala
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Grassi Lakes

If you are staying in Canmore and looking for a easy hike, whether if it’s winter or summer, this is a great one! It is a moderate hike (because of the steapness) that will take around 1h15 to finish (3.4 Km total) - be aware that your Parks Canada permit is not enough for this one, since you need to get the Kananaskis Pass ($15 CAD/car/day). There are two different paths you can take (both same length), I would recommend taking the Interpretative one up (bear in mind there are stairs) since it has a great view of the Bow River & Canmore, and a waterfall, and you can then take the other trail to hike down since it is less effort.

At the top you will find two small, emerald-lakes that receive their water from the Spray Lakes Reservoir. This not only a popular spot for hikers, but also for climbers, since the lakes lie at the bottom of grey cliffs that are great for rock climbing, so don’t miss them once you’re at the top. A lot of people bring some food and picnic around the lakes, great view!

Grassi Lakes
@marcelacorbala
Easy quick hike (1 h15, 3.4Km round) Canmore
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Chester Lake

Great day hike during the winter!

I’m sure it must be as enjoyable during summer months too but I wouldn’t be able to tell. It is in the Kananaskis Country area, this is a hike that I really enjoyed during winter, I visited at the end of March so snowshoes were not necessary, but spikes were pretty useful.

It is a moderate & very fun hike up. Once past the dense forest, you get to a beautiful lake (that you can’t see in the winter, since it’s frozen and covered in snow) but that feels like a valley surrounded by peaks. To follow the hike I did, go to the “Chester Lake Snowshoe” in AllTrails, it is a total of 7.4Km with an elevation grub of 414 m.

I visited in March, 2021.

Chester Lake
@marcelacorbala
Hike
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Bow Glacier Falls (Bow Lake trail)

This is a moderate trail you can do at Bow Lake, bow lake is a popular stop when you’re driving up or down the Icefields Parkway, if you are looking for a moderate hike along the highway, this can be a great one.

It is 9 Km round hike with 282 m of elevation gain, in reality, the first (& last on your way back) 2.5 km or so are basically flat, it is just a walk around the lake shore, it is afterwards as you head to the falls that the hike becomes more challenging, and it is only at one spot that is made up of very slippery and inclined stairs (i did see more than one person falling, though nothing serious happened), but it is worth the while once you get to the waterfall, I highly recommend you get as close as possible to enjoy the sound and breeze. If it is a sunny day, I definitely recommend swimming in the lake! 💦

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Parker Ridge Trail

This is an incredible hike you cannot miss when you’re going through Icefields Parkway - it is about 1H30 min from Jasper - and it is right after the the Athabasca Glacier (If you’re coming from Jasper to Banff). This is a moderate hike (338 elevation gain, 6.4km), that will reward you with incredible views at the top. It can feel tedious in the beginning, but believe me, you wont regret it. 🏆 You can reserve a couple of hours to this hike and have a snack at the top!

It is a very accessible hike since it is not deep into the forest, you can see the parking lot the whole time, but it is still pretty steep so it can be demanding. Also, consider that at the top it is super windy and cold because of the currents that originate from the glacier, so bring wind proof layers! 💨

Parker Ridge Trail
@marcelacorbala
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Marcela Corbala
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The Rockies! 🏔️
Marcela Corbala
BC & AB favourites
7 Places • ago
Free

BC & AB musts

Elfin Lakes.

1h45 min from Vancouver. Elfin Lakes are two small lakes in Garibaldi Park. A ~11km hike up to the lakes, beautiful scenery through the most part. The walk itself is worth it, it starts inside the forest, and then it opens up to amazing meadows. The hike itself is more enjoyable scenery—wise (in my opinion) than the hike up to Garibaldi Lake, since that one is all inside the forest.

If you go during the summer, it is very probable you’ll spot a bear. We spotted one on the way, far enough to admire, and it was already September 🤩

Once at the top we stayed at the shelter (3rd pic), which was great, definitely recommend if you’re not into bringing your tent, but if you are able to bring one, I would choose camping ⛺️, the views are breathtaking. At the top one of two lakes is dedicated for drinking water, so you can just bring your tablets & filter and you’ll be okay. The other lake is for swimming, we did take a swim and it was great, not too cold!

You will enjoy your dinner with an amazing sunset & also have breakfast with an incredible sunrise. There are picnic tables were you an enjoy your food in company.

I visited Sept, 2023.

Elfin Lakes Shelter
@marcelacorbala
Add to
Details

Emerald Lake

Located in Yoho National Park, Emerald lake is a real gem, & my favourite. The lake is stunning & - ofc.- emerald 🤩 it is a very easy but worth hike around the lake, you can also take a dip, I would recommend if it is a sunny day. Leave couple of hours to enjoy the hike or maybe Canoe - there is also an alternative hike to “Emerald Basin”, honestly, I would save the energy for something more exciting, but still a nice hike if you want level up your hike - the small hike around the lake is more than enough (and takes around 2hrs if you are stopping and relaxing).

I recommend to take a look at the gift shop, they usually have nicer stuff than what you find at the regular souvenir shops.

I visited Aug,2022 & Sept,2023 - both great times to visit.

Emerald Lake
@marcelacorbala
Add to
Details

Lake Louise

One of the most (If not THE) emblematic lakes in Banff National Park, both in winter & summer. Lake Louise is a turquoise water, glacier-fed lake that will take your breath away in any season, but we still prefer summer & fall when it comes to actually enjoying the lake view.

You might think it is just very touristic and not worth it, but there is a reason why it is so popular, and it is because it is simply stunning. You can go later during the day if you want to avoid the crowds, just take into consideration that you need some sun in order to see the lake at it’s best.

There is a luxurious Fairmont hotel at the shore of the lake, and they keep a skating rink during the winter, which can make your visit more fun if you decide to come during the winter, but there is of course also the ski resort that is one of the largest ones in North America.

There is a hike to Lake Agnes tea house, I would only go for it if you have the time & energy to kill, it is a cute little house originally built in 1905 by CPR as a refuge for hikers, everything they serve is homemade. But… be prepared to find a lot of horse poop on the way, and there are basically no views of the lake, it is just uphill and surrounded by trees.

Order in pictures:

September, 2023.

August,2022.

March,2021.

(only view of the lake from the trail to the Tea House)

Tea House

Lake Moraine

Situated at the Valley of Ten Peaks, this glacially fed lake reflects an incredible shade of azure blue that you can go and admire during the months of June to September. There is a short hike along the shore, which will take you around 1h to complete (3.9 Km), you can get great views and different perspectives of the lake with this hike, else you can also rent a canoe to spend some time in the lake.

The one hike you can not miss is the Rockpile, which is very easy and less than 1 Km, this is the short hike you take from the parking lot to get a view of the lake from the top, this is where most famous pictures of the lake are taken from so expect lots of people!

Feel free to grab a coffee or tea at their coffee shop and wander around the gift shop, they also carry some cool things.

This year (2023) Parks Canada decided to close the access to the lake to all non-public vehicle, so you will have to take a shuttle or public transportation to arrive there, there is always the option to bike or hike for the braves! It is not expensive to get a private shuttle (not even the staff who work at the top can bring their own vehicles).

If you are into getting a private ride, I would recommend Morraine Lake Bus Company, which picks up either at the Lake Louise Sky Resort Park Lot or within the Lake Louise Area - we paid $43 CAD per person for the round trip (tax inclusive). I’ve also used the Hop-On-Hop-Off that includes Moraine-Lake Louise-Johnston Canyon, If you want to avoid parking waiting times & driving, this is a great option since it picks up at Banff train station (around $85 CAD pp plus tax). Links to both are below.

Moraine Lake
@marcelacorbala
Add to
Details

Grassi Lakes

If you are staying in Canmore and looking for a easy hike, whether if it’s winter or summer, this is a great one! It is a moderate hike (because of the steapness) that will take around 1h15 to finish (3.4 Km total) - be aware that your Parks Canada permit is not enough for this one, since you need to get the Kananaskis Pass ($15 CAD/car/day). There are two different paths you can take (both same length), I would recommend taking the Interpretative one up (bear in mind there are stairs) since it has a great view of the Bow River & Canmore, and a waterfall, and you can then take the other trail to hike down since it is less effort.

At the top you will find two small, emerald-lakes that receive their water from the Spray Lakes Reservoir. This not only a popular spot for hikers, but also for climbers, since the lakes lie at the bottom of grey cliffs that are great for rock climbing, so don’t miss them once you’re at the top. A lot of people bring some food and picnic around the lakes, great view!

Grassi Lakes
@marcelacorbala
Easy quick hike (1 h15, 3.4Km round) Canmore
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Chester Lake

Great day hike during the winter!

I’m sure it must be as enjoyable during summer months too but I wouldn’t be able to tell. It is in the Kananaskis Country area, this is a hike that I really enjoyed during winter, I visited at the end of March so snowshoes were not necessary, but spikes were pretty useful.

It is a moderate & very fun hike up. Once past the dense forest, you get to a beautiful lake (that you can’t see in the winter, since it’s frozen and covered in snow) but that feels like a valley surrounded by peaks. To follow the hike I did, go to the “Chester Lake Snowshoe” in AllTrails, it is a total of 7.4Km with an elevation grub of 414 m.

I visited in March, 2021.

Chester Lake
@marcelacorbala
Hike
Add to
Details

Bow Glacier Falls (Bow Lake trail)

This is a moderate trail you can do at Bow Lake, bow lake is a popular stop when you’re driving up or down the Icefields Parkway, if you are looking for a moderate hike along the highway, this can be a great one.

It is 9 Km round hike with 282 m of elevation gain, in reality, the first (& last on your way back) 2.5 km or so are basically flat, it is just a walk around the lake shore, it is afterwards as you head to the falls that the hike becomes more challenging, and it is only at one spot that is made up of very slippery and inclined stairs (i did see more than one person falling, though nothing serious happened), but it is worth the while once you get to the waterfall, I highly recommend you get as close as possible to enjoy the sound and breeze. If it is a sunny day, I definitely recommend swimming in the lake! 💦

Add to
Details

Parker Ridge Trail

This is an incredible hike you cannot miss when you’re going through Icefields Parkway - it is about 1H30 min from Jasper - and it is right after the the Athabasca Glacier (If you’re coming from Jasper to Banff). This is a moderate hike (338 elevation gain, 6.4km), that will reward you with incredible views at the top. It can feel tedious in the beginning, but believe me, you wont regret it. 🏆 You can reserve a couple of hours to this hike and have a snack at the top!

It is a very accessible hike since it is not deep into the forest, you can see the parking lot the whole time, but it is still pretty steep so it can be demanding. Also, consider that at the top it is super windy and cold because of the currents that originate from the glacier, so bring wind proof layers! 💨

Parker Ridge Trail
@marcelacorbala
Add to
Details

* * *
CURATED BY
Marcela Corbala
Feeling overwhelmed?
Thatch can help.
Send a request and we'll handpick a list of Thatch-verified travel creators who would love to help with your trip.
No request is too big or small...
"Research places for beach trips this winter."
"Help me plan a romantic getaway to Milan."
"Find and book kid-friendly activities in Paris."
"Curate a walking tour of historic Berlin."
"Suggest wineries worth visiting in Napa."
You can relax now :)
Person laying on a bed relaxing
Powered by Thatch
The home for unique & authentic travel
Powered by Thatch: Where great trips are made.
© Marcela Corbala Privacy Terms