Evergreen Lake Emerald, Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway

Road trip through the Canadian Rockies


Do you know that: you wake up in the morning, it's cold as a pig and you're still lying under your cozy, warm blanket. Of course you don't feel like getting up, but you still get yourself out of bed and make yourself a coffee. You are full of zest for action and are looking forward to the new day. You don't have to go to work today, you know that and look forward to new adventures!

Do you know that: you wake up in the morning, it's cold as a pig and you're still lying under your cozy, warm blanket. Of course you don't feel like getting up, but you still get yourself out of bed and make yourself a coffee. You are full of zest for action and are looking forward to the new day. You don't have to go to work today, you know that and look forward to new adventures!

So you enjoy your coffee, pack your things and off you go. You open the door and you see - nothing! A gray and white veil covers the world. It drizzles, is far colder than you imagined and the sun also makes you free for the day.

Well, I was roughly in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. And that for seven days in a row.

It is probably an irony of fate that you drive into the Rockies and then rarely see mountains. Well, admittedly - the whining is at a high level, as there were a few bright spots in between. The sun sometimes looked through the clouds, but then said goodbye as soon as possible. You cannot imagine how happy I was about these few hours of sunshine. Because the Canadian Rocky Mountains are a dream landscape of turquoise and emerald green lakes in the middle of gigantic mountains surrounded by thick deciduous forests. The four of us plunged into the wilderness adventure in September with our RV.

Evergreen Lake Emerald

We started our Rocky Mountains Tour in British Columbia, more precisely at Lake Emerald in Yoho National Park. At the same time it was the starting signal for our little travel-weather disaster.

In sunshine we reached the emerald green lake in the middle of a wonderful mountain panorama. Lake Emerald has not got its name for nothing: The water has a milky turquoise shimmering color. Melted glacier water flushes stone powder from the mountains into the lake and colors the water so extraordinarily. The play of colors looks so surreal, so artificial in the middle of the mountain panorama. If the temperatures had been a bit more pleasant, I would have jumped straight in, the lake fascinated me.

However, the only thing left was to marvel at the colors. Only shortly after my arrival at Lake Emerald, clouds began to appear and it didn't take long for the sun to say goodbye entirely behind a white curtain. So we let the circular trail around the lake whiz, hopped in our RV, left British Columbia behind us and headed for the famous Lake Louise in Alberta.

Tourist stronghold Lake Louise

Just like Lake Emerald, Lake Louise shimmers in a milky turquoise. The colors are even more intense there than on the emerald green lake.

For a reason unknown to me, Lake Louise seems to attract far more tourists than its neighboring lake in British Columbia. An overcrowded parking lot is obviously not uncommon. Perhaps it is due to one of the most photographed hotels in the world, the Chateau Lake Louise, which is located directly on the lake. A pretty impressive and superfluous building in this place, I think. Maybe it is just because Lake Louise is on the route between Banff and Jasper.

My mood was somewhat clouded by the crowds, but it seemed as if Peter was better off here. So we went on a hike along the lake. Unfortunately there is no circular route around Lake Louise but only a riverside path that leads from the hotel to the other end of the lake and which you have to walk back on your own route. As soon as we reached the end of the lake, Peter's blessing left us. Clouds thickened and drizzle dripped down on us. It was time to go back.

The next day should take us more north of the Rockies - away from the clouds. Along the grandiose Icefields Parkway. The forecasts for the southern part of the Rockies were extremely mixed at the time - quite the opposite of the north around Jasper. For the northern location, the meteorologists were far more confident about the sunshine.

Along the Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway connects Lake Louise in the south with Jasper in the north and is considered the highlight of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It leads through the elongated valley and on both sides the gigantic ridges of the Rockies run along. "The parkway is considered one of the most beautiful highways in the world ..." to quote Wikipedia. So fantastic prospects! Or maybe not quite ...

Before we leave Lake Louise, I read my guide again: “We recommend driving the Icefields Parkway in clear sunshine. That way you get a wonderful view of the fantastic panorama. ”I look out of the window of our RV. The rain has stopped, but the clouds have still not cleared. Bad luck. Again.

We set out anyway, because the weather forecasts, to which I actually never give anything, promise sunny weather in Jasper. As is well known, hope dies last.

The ride on the 230km long parkway dragged on for us. Unfortunately, hardly anything looks spectacular on our trip, because the clouds seem to be constantly following us. No, actually we are driving us more and more into the damp haze. With each additional kilometer we reach more altitude and at some point the mountains disappear completely in a white-gray soup.

Our stops are no longer based on the highlights of the Icefield Parkway, but only on the weather, which is more moody, like a world-famous diva. We drive past glaciers, which we can only guess thanks to our map. Even the new Glacier Skywalk can no longer live up to its name. Cloudwalk would be a more appropriate name these days, I think. The weather in the Rockies is playing a nasty game with us. If the sun suddenly appears between the clouds, we stop as soon as possible at the next parking bay to catch a brief view of the mountains. As soon as you get out, it disappears a few moments later. So I'm glad when this tragedy in Jasper finally comes to an end.

Jasper and the wild

Jasper is a very tourist place. A place for skiers in winter and mountain bikers in summer. Jasper has a little bit of the Austrian Ischgl - only in the North American style.

Jasper's surroundings are no longer completely untouched, but in a way they still seem wild and exude a certain charm. Despite its tourist crowds, it is not uncommon to get a surprising visit to the camp site by caribou, a type of reindeer. I can tell you that can be pretty impressive considering that the animals are not exactly small. But they are peaceful animals. Quite different from Master Petz. It has been said that hungry black bears pay a visit to Jasper City to look for something edible. A pretty uncomfortable thought.

Apparently we left the clouds behind us and so we head for the Five Lakes Tail. The route is a pleasant half-day hike. As the name suggests, it leads along five crystal-clear mountain lakes. One more beautiful and greener than the other. Very impressive, especially when the sun is shining!

At some point it was time for this hike - my beloved drizzle caught up with us here too. The clouds seemed to be chasing us, driving us and chasing us through the Rockies. We surrendered to our fate and so we moved on after almost a week. Out of the Rockies and Alberta, back to British Columbia, towards Vancouver Island.

  1. Oh Canada, incredibly beautiful! Great pictures, nice report! And I'm a little bit glad that you don't have moose pictures either. Because I couldn't shoot them on my Canada road trip ( http://cicoberlin.com/2016/01/05/banff-nationalpark-canmore-kanada-reisebericht/ ). For that I met some bears. Perhaps you will also come across a grizzly on the way to Vancouver - I'm excited and stay tuned. Greetings from Nicole from CicoBerlin

    • Ah, a fellow sufferer;)
      The moose seem to be moving north, somehow, a ranger said.
      We also saw some bears. But not in the Rockies. And oh yes - the grizzlys ...

  2. The colors are amazing (despite the weather - or exactly because of that?)!

  3. Canada! I get wanderlust from the pictures and would love to drive off. Next month it's off to the Ratschings Jaufen ski area, but maybe I can persuade my better half to tackle Canada. She is always afraid that it is too lonely and barren; but with these pictures I can at least convince them that the landscape is beautiful. : P

  4. Hi Patrick,

    Oh .. you were really unlucky with the weather. Sometimes the clouds just chase you and you can hardly shake them off. Had to smile while reading, we felt the same way on the South Island in New Zealand years ago. Clouds, rain and wind have followed us at every turn. The good thing is that the sun always comes back at some point.

    Wish you a lot of luck with the weather

    Greetings good trip,

    PS: Great pictures despite drizzle clouds

    • Every now and then Peter has a bad day or week;)
      Well, at least the Canadians were happy about the weather. They had an eternal heat wave and no dripping rain for months. Not as bad in the rainforest as you can imagine.

      Thanks the reni :)

  5. We recently traveled 3 weeks from Calgary to Vancouver. Simply fantastic highly recommended.

    Greetings from Bremen
    Christian Caterina

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