Still water reflections in Bow Lake, Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain_mallory_can1401201 bow_lake

Roadtripping in the Canadian Rockies; The Icefields Parkway

There are many ways to enjoy the Canadian Rockies, perfect for outdoor adventure activities including, climbing, trekking, biking, or rafting. Patient, and fortunate visitors may see some of the incredible wildlife. However, when the weather is right, the mountains are simply breath-taking, and just standing back to admire them is enough.

Still water reflections in Bow Lake, Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel iain_mallory_can1401201 bow_lake

Reflections in Bow Lake

Spray Lakes on the road from Kananaskis to Canmore in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-83 spray_lakes

Reflections in Spray Lakes

The rugged peaks are easily accessible, often from the roads which bisect them, which makes them ideal for taking a roadtrip. I was recently fortunate enough to return, following the Kananaskis Trail, through Canmore, Banff, and along the Icefields Parkway to Jasper.

Spray Lakes on the road from Kananaskis to Canmore in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-91 spray_lakes

Mirror like morning

Stopping regularly to appreciate the scenery, taking dozens of photographs it dawned on me just how much the Rockies appeal to me; they are my favourite mountain range. They may not be as high as the mountainous spines on other continents, but they make up for this in rugged beauty, iconic wildlife, and accessibility.

The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper, lined with the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-21 icefields_parkway

Roadside Rockies

The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper, lined with the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-16 icefields_parkway

The open road

Leaving Kananaskis early in the morning, and driving along the back road to Canmore, didn’t provide the hoped for wildlife. The clear skies, an absence of any wind provided mill-pond calm lakes, and wonderful reflections, I felt more than compensated.

Moraine Lake in the Canadian Rockies of the Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-233 moraine_lake

Moraine Lake after the storm

Later, after a day exploring Banff I pulled into Moraine Lake, just in time for a heavy downpour. The rain was bouncing off the tarmac, and pounding the roof of the car, as dark, foreboding clouds rolled overhead. Even now the surrounding peaks appeared powerful, spectacular, and compelling.

It seemed sensible to sit it out, enjoy the moment, and see if the storm would pass. Thirty minutes later this patience was rewarded, as the clouds parted, and the early evening sun began to shine.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-286 lake_louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Moraine Lake in the Canadian Rockies of the Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-249 moraine_lake

Away from the crowds

I wasn’t the only one that had decide to wait however, and crowds of visitors piled out of cars of all shapes, and sizes. Pausing long enough to pose for photographs along the shore, and enjoy the spectacular beauty of this popular lake.

A quick drive took me to Lake Louise, a favourite place, in a favourite place, especially when skiing. It was as popular here as Moraine Lake. Tourists from almost every continent strolled through the grounds of the impressive Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel, walked dogs along the shoreline, and a few hired rowing boats.

View from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-262 lake_louise

Looking out on Lake Louise

At both lakes the striking green water, rugged hills, and marbled blue sky were particularly photogenic, and it was with some difficulty I tore myself away. It seemed a shame to leave, as the sun was cloaking the landscape in its golden glow as it dropped from the sky, missing a good photo opportunity seemed likely.

Looking out over Lake Louise in the Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies, Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-280 lake_louise

Marble sky over Lake Louise

There wasn’t much reason to worry however, as arriving at Bow Lake just forty minutes away on the Icefield Parkway, had me grabbing the camera, and tripod before even checking in at the Num Ti Jah Lodge. It was just as appealing the following morning, the sun slowly creeping into the sky, bringing soft light to all but the deepest shadows. Despite finding sanctuary under a fluffy duvet, in a big, comfortable bed, and a warm lodge even I was up before sunrise.

The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper, lined with the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-315 icefields_parkway

Icefields Parkway Kodak moment

The Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper, lined with the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-310 icefields_parkway

Quiet roads, and rugged peaks

Continuing along the final stretch of the Icefields Parkway, there was still plenty to enjoy, including the impressive Columbia Icefield. The scenery is changeable, with steep peaks standing like sentinels along the road, or dry stream beds meandering through vast, open wildernesses of rubble. Rock graveyards, ground down by glaciers, and icefields over countless millennia.

Sunset on Bow Lake near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory-338 bow_lake

The sun sets over a lovely Bow Lake

The driving is a pleasure, the roads are straight, and rarely busy, particularly off the main arteries which feed this part of Alberta. There isn’t any need to rush, just take it easy, put on a thumping soundtrack, and enjoy the ride.

Moonlit summit over Bow Lake near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory-343 bow_lake

Nightfall over Bow Lake

It was with some regret that I eventually pulled into the car park in Jasper, aware that this part of the adventure was coming to an end, and the mountains would soon be behind me.

Any opportunity to return to the Canadian Rockies is welcome, whether watching wildlife, exploring on foot or mountain bike. However, anybody considering visiting should add roadtripping to that list now.

Columbia Icefield on the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper, lined with the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain Mallory-3-2 columbia_icefield

The mighty Columbia Icefield

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Comments 8

  1. Karenkuzsel

    Nicely done. I also just blogged about recent Canadian Rockies’ adventures and
    Visited many if the same sights, as well as Peyto. If you’re interested, check out my posts for a bit of a different spin.

  2. Sand In My Suitcase

    Jasper is amazing, as is the Icefields Parkway drive to get there. The past two summers, we’ve made a point of visiting Jasper. The elk, the glacier hikes, the lakes – all fabulous photo opps :-). Your photos do justice to the place…

  3. Erika

    Stunning photos of one of the world’s most beautiful drives! You capture the grandeur and colors of the park better than I could ever hope to.

    1. Iain Mallory

      Thank you Erika I’m very pleased you enjoyed reading the post and the photographs. I’m sure you’re perfectly capable of capturing the stunning beauty of the Rockies too.

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