The Best of the Canadian Rockies

After spending a week in the Canadian Rockies with our son, Erik, we have compiled our list of Bests. As a point of reference, our focus was on hiking and the outdoors, which has a clear influence on our choice of categories.

  • Best Drive – Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway) entering Jasper, for all the wildlife we saw in a short span
  • Best View – Wilcox Pass, with snowbound mountains in all directions
  • Best Lake – Glacier Lake, for its blue-green coloring, mountain and forest surroundings, and absence of people. (We gave this the Best Campsite vote also.)
  • Best Hike – Plain of Six Glaciers, for the uniqueness of traversing snow, wildlife sightings, views and avalanche!
  • Best Waterfall – Stanley Falls on Beauty Creek, for being tucked away, unimpeded by railings and extensive length
  • Best Wildflowers – Calypso Orchid, for it’s delicate purple shape and Indian Paintbrush, for it’s brilliant red color
  • Best Wildlife Sighting – Mama Bear and three cubs
  • Best Boating – The illicit rowboat on Fifth Lake
  • Best Meal – Hearty soup and slices of thick homemade bread at the Teahouse at the top of the Plain of Six Glaciers
  • Best Restaurant – Earl’s in Jasper, for the view, outdoor patio and good food  (Erik gave their Albino Rhino the Best Beer vote too.)
  • Best Lodging – Paradise Lodge and Bungalows in Lake Louise, for the impeccably maintained log cabins, cozy interiors, gracious innkeepers and the breakfast treats and coffee in the lodge
  • Best Coffee Shop – Bear’s Paw in Jasper, for the superb pastries and local ambiance

We also compiled a few fun statistics from our trip:

  • Total distance driven = 600 miles
  • Total kilometers hiked = 100 km  (62 miles)
  • Longest Hike = 15 km  Glacier Lake Trail
  • Most Elevation Gained = 2,276 ft  Glacier Lake Trail
  • Highest Elevation Reached = 7,750 ft  Wilcox Pass Trail
  • Steepest Hike (most elevation gained per km) = Wilcox Pass Trail
  • Usual morning temperature = 45 F
  • Usual afternoon temperature = 58 F
  • Highest afternoon temperature = 70 F
  • Wildlife seen: bears (4 grizzly, 11 black bears), elk, gray wolf, marmot, porcupine, mountain goats, mule deer, chipmunks, Clark’s Nutcracker, grouse, woodpecker

There is very little that is second-best in the Canadian Rockies!

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