Rocky Mountain High! 20 stunning photos of Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise

In ADVENTURE, CANADA & US by Janice and George16 Comments

Visit Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper – and you’ll be smitten with Rocky Mountain fever.

It’s the ache you feel upon beholding glaciers that cling like angel’s wings to mountains so lofty, they disappear into the clouds. It’s the longing that overtakes you after seeing untamed evergreen forests, waterfalls that cascade down vertical cliffs and lakes that glitter an astonishing aquamarine.

The only cure is to return, and visit once again this world-renowned region in Canada’s Rocky Mountains.

Bonus: Visit for free!

Yes, you can visit Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper for free in 2017. To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, Parks Canada is offering free admission to all national parks. Canada rocks, right?

Cool factoid: So many people are interested that demand for the free passes crashed the Parks Canada website when the offer was first announced in December, 2016.


photos of banff and lake louise

Rock flour from melting glaciers gives Lake Louise its emerald color – photo Brigitte Werner

Pin the above photo to Pinterest!

(By the way, the 20 photos you see here aren’t ours. These are much more stunning.)

Photos of Banff and Lake Louise

Banff and Lake Louise are found in Banff National Park. Spanning 2,564 square miles of wilderness, the park boasts 1,000 miles of hiking trails – more than any other mountain park in the world.

We like hiking along the steel catwalks up Johnston Canyon – it’s exhilarating to feel the spray above the thundering waterfalls! Soaking in natural hot springs and golfing are also popular. And the wildlife? We’ve seen black bears, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, brilliant blue jays and cheeky chipmunks that grab bits of your sandwich and run.

In winter, you can shuss down world-class slopes at Lake Louise Ski Resort, Mt. Norquay and Sunshine Village.

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Ice skating across Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park? Magical… photo Paul Zizka, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

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Known for their curved horns, bighorn sheep are regularly spotted in Banff – photo Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

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You’ll find three of the world’s top ski resorts: Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay – photo Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

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One of Canada’s grand railway hotels, the iconic Banff Springs Hotel was built in the 19th century – photo Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

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How about a winter sleigh ride in Banff? photo Paul Zizka, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

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Established in 1885, Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park and the world’s third – photo Parks Canada

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In September, the larch trees in Larch Valley, near Banff, turn a dazzling yellow color – photo Paul Zizka, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

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In winter, you might see the Northern Lights at Vermilion Lakes, just outside Banff town – photo Paul Zizka, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

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Get ready to be wowed! Many of the snow-capped mountains in the Canadian Rockies soar higher than 12,000 feet – photo Gero Birkenmaier

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Itching to go for a paddle on Lake Louise in one of these red canoes?

Photos of Jasper

Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is twice as big as Banff. But its postage-stamp size town, Jasper, is quainter and you’ll bump into fewer visitors here.

Perhaps splurge on the Jasper Park Lodge. Along with the Chateau Lake Louise and Banff Springs Hotel, it’s one of the “wow” places to stay. Or you can rent a rustic cabin like we did once for a summer family holiday in Jasper.

Connecting the two parks is the 144-mile Icefields Parkway, which stretches between Lake Louise and Jasper. Watch out for the elk! Be sure to stop at the Columbia Icefield, North America’s largest sub-polar body of ice feeding eight major glaciers. You can ride in a big red “ice explorer” on Athabasca Glacier, then walk along the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk suspended a jaw-dropping 918 feet above glacier-formed valleys.

Talk about a Rocky Mountain high!

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Take the 7-minute Jasper Sky Tram for a whole new perspective at 7,500 feet above sea level – photo Jasper Travel

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You’ll see elk for sure in Jasper! About 1,300 elk live in Jasper National Park – photo Kathmandu, Jasper Travel

Canoeing in Jasper National Park is popular in summer – photo Olivia Robinson, Parks Canada

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Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking through an ice canyon? This is Jasper in winter – photo Redd Angelo

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Huh! Canada doesn’t yet have an “official” national bird, but many people think it’s the Canada Goose – photo Jasper Park Lodge

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Have a seat! The view is more than fine… photo Jasper Park Lodge

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Wild elk cross the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park – photo Mark Bradley, Parks Canada

photos of Banff and Jasper

Not afraid of heights? Step out on the glass-floored Athabasca Glacier Skywalk! photo Brewester Travel Canada

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Jasper Park Lodge sits serenely on the shores of Lac Beauvert – photo Jasper Park Lodge

See our magazine story on visiting Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise

In honor of Canada’s 150th birthday this year, we were asked by Cruise & Travel Lifestyles magazine to write about an iconic Canadian destination that’s so beautiful it gives goosebumps. We used to live in Calgary, just over an hour’s drive from Banff, and we’ve hiked, explored and reveled in the magnificence of Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise many times – so the Canadian Rockies immediately sprung to mind! Click on the image below to see our magazine story.

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Would you like to visit Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise this year during Canada’s 150th birthday?

Janice and George Signature


    1. Author

      Yes, we Canadians are hardy people :-). But it’s not so cold in the summer. August, in particular, is a great time to visit weather-wise :-).

  1. We went to Banff and Jasper last summer thinking “We’ll go there just once and I would be happy”. We loved it so much that we are planning to return and spend more time. I fell in love with those Canadian Rockies and beautiful lakes. We will be there soon!

  2. I’ve been to Banff twice and Jasper once! They are both so beautiful, but I found Jasper more to my liking!

  3. Oh wow, some incredible photos. But the one with the guy skating across the lake is spectacular, WOW!
    We always say that one day we’ll come back to Western Canada, so much we haven’t seen. Most beautiful part of this great country!

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Author

      Rock flour was new to us too, not to worry! But that color is pretty gorgeous. Some other mountain lakes in the Rockies – like Moraine Lake – also boast gorgeous shades of aqua.

  4. Your gorgeous pictures reminded me of our trip to Banff a few years ago. I will never forget the lake views from my window at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. We visited the park in May and did a lot of hikes around, but I’d love to go back to see it in winter. Such a fantastic place!

    1. Author

      You stayed at one of the best places! It’s so much fun to relive history at at one of those grand old castle-like CP hotels (now Fairmont resorts). Most visitors thinking of a trip to Canada put Banff and the mountains tops on their list…

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