September 2011

Best of Canadian Rockies

We had a trip to Ireland planned at the end of the summer of 2011. But on the weekend we were supposed to fly to Dublin, Hurricane Irene completely shut down the east coast. Of course, we were flying through Newark on our way to Dublin, and our flight was cancelled. The volume of calls to Continental was so high that for three days I couldn't even get through - all I could get was a recorded message that said: "Due to the high volume of calls at this time, we can not take your call". When I finally did get through, the Continental operator said that earliest flight I could get to Dublin would be another 3 days of delay. Who wants to miss a whole week of vacation? Since Continental offered a full refund, we accepted that and will try to get to Ireland next year. Meanwhile, we looked around for a vacation that we could do close to home (Seattle).

First I tried Glacier National Park, but it was impossible to get reservations just before Labor Day weekend. Same thing with Vancouver Island - there was no place to stay. I investigated flights to Alaska, but on such short notice the flights were quite expensive. I looked into the Canadian Rockies, and fortunately I was able to find a few places to stay. We had visited to the Canadian Rockies in 2006, but there is so much to see in those parks that this trip had little overlap with the hikes we did 5 years ago - only Johnston Canyon and Maligne Canyon were hikes we did twice.

The weather was fantastic every day. Sunny and warm but not hot. We heard that the previous week and been much cooler, and indeed, their entire summer had been disappointingly overcast and wet. So we were fortunate to have perfect conditions. It was a great trip!

Monday: August 28

Tuesday: August 29

Wednesday: August 30

Thursday: August 31

Friday: Sept 1

Leave Seattle at 6:30 A.M.

Drive 573 miles to Radium Hot Springs

Stay at Motel Bavaria

Saturday: Sept 2

Drive through Kootenay National Park

Hike to Dog Lake

Paint Pots

Marble Canyon

Hike to Stanley Glacier (11 Km roundtrip)

Stay at High Country Inn in Banff, 88 miles of driving

Sunday: Sept 3

27.9 Km of hiking at Sunshine Meadows and Healy Pass

Stay at High Country Inn 25 miles of driving

Monday: Sept 4

Hike to top of Sulphur Mountain

Johnston Canyon

Canoeing on Lake Louise

Stay at Lake Louise Inn 51 miles of driving

Tuesday: Sept 5

Hike to top of Mount Fairview

Fairview Lookout

Lake Morraine

Stay at Lake Louise Inn 39 miles of driving

Wednesday: Sept 6

Hike to O'Hara Lakes, then around the lakes. Total of 22.7 km

Stay at Lake Louise Inn 18 miles of driving

Thursday: Sept 7

Drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, 157 miles

Crowfoot Glacier & Bow Lake

Peyto Lake

Waterfowl Lakes

Mistaya Canyon

Big Loop View & Panther Falls

Athabasca Glacier & Columbia Icefields

Sunwapta Falls

Athabasca Falls

Stay at Astoria Hotel

Friday: Sept 8

Mount Edith Cavell & Angel Glacier

Rent bicycles and ride around Lac Beauvert, Annette Lake, Edith Lake

Eat dinner on shore of Pyramid Lake

Stay at Astoria Hotel 44 miles of driving

Saturday: Sept 9

Hike the Valley of Five Lakes

Maligne Canyon

Mount Robson Provincial Park

Stay at Super 8 in Valemount after 111 miles

Sunday: Sept 10

Drive 478 miles from Valemount back to Seattle, Washington

Here is a map of the Canadian Rockies National Parks. The combined area of these parks is equal to half the size of Switzerland, so it is a large area of spectacular wilderness.

I kept track of our expenses on this trip. The Canadian dollar is almost equal in dollar value to the American dollar at this time.




Car Rental$255 ccardWe rented a Yaris from Hertz and drove 1592 miles
Gas$34 ccardConoco gas
Gas$13 ccardLast Mile gas (last station in US before Canadian border)
Gas$38 ccardShell in Banff
Gas$41 ccardPetro-Canada in Jasper
Gas$22 cashLast of Canadian Cash used for Gas, Super Save Kamloops
Gas$33 ccardSuper Gas in Bellingham

Transport Total


Motel Bavaria$104 ccardOne night in Radium Hot Springs. No breakfast
High Country Inn$440 ccardTwo nights in Banff. With breakfast
Lake Louise Inn$515 ccardThree nights at Lake Louise. No breakfast
The Astoria Hotel$351 ccardTwo nights at Jasper. No breakfast
Super 8$124 ccardOne nights in Valemount. No breakfast

Lodging Total


Subway$18 cashSubway sandwiches in Radium Hot Springs
Fruit$5 cashBreakfast foods from market in Radium Hot Springs
Dairy Queen$21 cashDinner/dessert in Banff
Pizza$22 cashDinner in Banff
Wraps$19 cashCajun Chicken and Tropical Wraps for dinner at Lake Louise
Wraps$28 cashCajun Chicken Wraps
Wraps$28 ccardLast day of wraps at Trailhead in Lake Louise Village
Donuts$6 cashBreakfast at bakery in Lake Louise Village
Pizza$30 ccardDinner in Jasper restaurant watching Packers vs Saints
Fruit$10 cashLunch supplies in Jasper market
Subway$10 cashWe ate these sandwiches on shore of Pyramid Lake
Coldstone Ice Cream$10 cashA treat in Jasper
A & W Root Beer$11 cashDinner in Valemount

Food Total


One Year Canadian National Parks Pass$137 ccardGood until end of Sept 2012
Sunshine Meadows Shuttle Bus$30 cashCatching shuttle saved us a big hike up to the meadows
Canoe Rental$45 cashOne hour on Lake Louise
OHara Shuttle$20 cashShuttle bus 1 way out from OHara Lakes to parking lot
Geology books$37 ccardBooks about Canadian geology
Mountain bike rental$53 ccardFour hour rental in Jasper
The Whistlers Gondola$63 ccardRide to mountain top

Entertainment Total


Grand Total


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Single click on any thumbnail to open photo in new window. (You don't need to close the previous photo to click a new thumbnail.) Place your cursor over any thumbnail to see the picture title.

Kootenay National Park

Hurricane Irene Chipmunk Map of Kootenay Entrance to Kootenay Radium Hot Springs Kootenay Park Sign Viewpoint in Kootenay Olive Lake Dog Lake trail Bridge over the Kootenay Dog Lake Harkin Viewpoint Vermillion Crossing Vermillion River Paint Pots at Kootenay Paint Pot in Kootenay Yellow Ochre Marble Canyon Kootenay The Marble Canyon Falls in Marble Canyon Trail to Stanley Glacier Stanley Glacier Trail Stanley Glacier Banff National Park Sign Banff Viewpoint

Banff: Sunshine Meadows & Healy Pass

map of Sunshine Meadows Anemone Flowers Rock Isle Lake Rock Isle Viewpoint Mount Assiniboine Hawk Grizzly Lake Larix Lake Simpson Viewpoint Rock Isle Lake from Standish Viewpoint Mountains seen at Standish Viewpoint At Standish Viewpoint Panorama from Standish Viewpoint Panorama from Standish Viewpoint Chair lift at Sunshine Meadows Mount Ball Sign for Healy Pass Healy Pass On top of Healy Pass Top of Healy Pass Egypt Lake

Banff: Sulphur Mountain

Sulphur Mountain Cable Cars Sulphur Mountain Sign Sulphur Mountain Trail Top of Sulphur Mountain Sulphur Mountain Sulphur Mountain Sulphur Mountain Panorama Tunnel Mountain and the town of Banff

Banff: Johnston Canyon

Big Horn Sheep Johnston Canyon Sign Lower Falls in Johnston Canyon Cascade in Johnston Canyon Middle Falls Johnston Canyon Upper Falls

Banff: Lake Louise

Lake Louise Sign Canoeing on Lake Louise Mount Fairview Lake Louise Lodge Sun behind trees Mount Fairview

Banff: Mount Fairview

Lake Louise Mount Fairview Mountain side On top of Mount Fairview On top of Mount Fairview Looking down on Lake Louise Lake Louise Village On top of Mount Fairview Mount Temple Peaks around Mount Fairview Saddleback Pass Hikers on Mount Fairview Fairview Lookout Melanie in the Clover Mount Babel Lake Morraine

Yoho: O'Hara Lakes

trail map of OHara Lakes sign for Lake OHara Lake OHara access road mountain in sunrise light Cathedral Mountain reflection Lake OHara Lake OHara Odaray Mountain Schaffer Ridge behind Lake OHara Trail to Lake Osea trail to Lake Osea Lake OHara Lake Osea Huber Ledge Alpine Route Yukness Ledge Trail Yukness Ledge Trail Hungabee Lake Hungabee Lake Opabin Lake Opabin Lake and Glacier Opabin Prospect Opabin Prospect Opabin Prospect Mount Stephen Lake OHara

Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper

Hector Lake Peyto Peak and Peyto Glacier Peyto Lake Crowfoot Glacier Bow Lake Waterfowl Lakes Mistaya River Mistaya Canyon Mount Sarbach Mount Saskatchewan Mount Andromeda Athabasca Glacier Athabasca Glacier 1992 marker Athabasca Glacier 2000 marker Dome Glacier Sunwapta Falls Athabasca Falls Athabasca Falls and Mount Kerkeslin Athabasca Viewpoint Athabasca River

Jasper: Mount Edith Cavell

Fraser Glacier Mount Edith Cavell Angel Glacier Angel Glacier ice fall Angel Glacier ice fall Ghost Glacier in Jasper Angel Glacier Angel Glacier Marmot Angel Glacier in Jasper Pika Cavell Glacier in Jasper Cavell Glacier ice fall Cavell Pond Jasper Cavell Pond Glaciers at Edith Cavell

Jasper: Mountain Biking

Lake Beauvert Lake Beauvert Bull Elk Lake Annette Jasper Jasper mountain bike Bike riding in Jasper Pyramid Lake Pyramid Peak

Jasper: Five Lakes

Five Lakes in Jasper Valley of Five Lakes Jasper Five Lakes Jasper Five Lakes Jasper

Jasper: The Whistler's

Whistlers gondola Whistlers panorama Whistlers top Whistlers summit Whistlers top

Jasper: Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon Maligne Canyon Maligne Canyon Bridge 4 in Maligne Canyon Maligne Canyon

Mount Robson

Mount Robson Park Sign Mount Robson Mount Robson Summit