Bow Valley Parkway and Lake Louise
If you haven’t read the last installment of our blog, you should. See it HERE!
After a short, beautiful drive up the Bow Valley Parkway, you should arrive at Johnston Canyon. Johnston Canyon was a favorite stop for both of us. The trail is easy and well-marked and meanders along some truly beautiful cascades. The falls themselves make for an excellent place to stop and take in the view.
A more strenuous hike leads up the mountain-side to the “ink pots”. These pools were less than interesting, but the vast expanse of the top of the forest made the hike worth it. If you visit in the fall, be sure and take some warm clothes, it was brisk up top.
We camped in the Johnston Canyon RV parking lot across the street from the trailhead. It was free and no one hassled us either night that we camped there. To see more about where and how we boondocked in our rented RV, check out our blog post here! www.okienomads.com/rvrental .
This is what we woke up to the next morning…
Continue travelling down the Bow Valley Parkway as far as you can and it will terminate at Lake Louise Village. Due to bad weather and visiting in October, we had to leave the parkway at Castle Junction and continue North on HWY-1. If the weather and road closures permit, take your time on this road. There are beautiful things to see all along it. Don’t get in such a hurry that you miss it.
Lake Louise is an interesting little village, but there was not much in the actual village that interested us. We got some advice for a “private” hike from a ranger at the information center in Lake Louise that we were glad we got.
The gentleman explained that he liked to be alone, and this is the hike he likes to be alone. We followed his directions to Moraine Lake Rd and parked at the road closed sign to continue on foot. Due to visiting in mid-October, Moraine Lake Rd was closed, but we parked at the highway and continued onto Lake Annette on foot.
We bundled up and stepped out into a fairly substantial snowfall and brought along our YakTrax in case things got sketchy. We hiked the road for a few KM’s and found the trailhead to Lake Annette, as described by our new friend at the visitor center. The trail was moderate and fantastic as it was covered in about 6 inches of fresh powder. We were the only humans that had been on it since the most recent storm.
We hiked a total of around 11 KM’s up to ice-covered Lake Annette and the unnamed glacier hanging on Mt. Temple. We made much better time back down the trail as we followed our original steps out of the woods. Although this is prime bear country, we saw none. We saw absolutely no wildlife on this hike, which was strange. This however was a great snow hike and an awesome experience to get into the backcountry.
We then made our way to iconic Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau that rests on the lakeshore. Although the hotel is beautiful and in a prime location for hiking and skiing in the winter, it is not really our style and definitely not in our price range.
The lake, however, is beautiful. The mountains in Alberta seem to burst out of the lakes and erupt into the clouds. So is the case for Lake Louise. The emerald blue water is like nothing I have ever seen. We walked around the lake and took in the sights, conversed with some very nice tourists, took obligatory shots of the boathouse and made our way back to the RV for lunch.
A lot of the popular trails either had roads closed to the trailheads or were socked in with snow, so we missed some of the more iconic hikes at Lake Louise such as the Plain of Six Glaciers or Moraine Lake. We will save those for another trip.
North of Lake Louise, the Bow Valley Parkway turns into HWY 93, the Icefields Parkway. One could spend a few days travelling the Icefields Parkway by itself, and we will leave that to a later post. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read about our adventures. If you enjoyed the stories or the photos, let us know by leaving a comment or sending us an e-mail at email@example.com. You can see all of our images on Instagram and videos of our bus build on YouTube. Subscriptions, shares, and follows are always appreciated, they help keep this dream alive.