The journey started with a flight from DFW via Salt Lake City into Calgary. This was one of my Delta Days trip, and I was taking advantage of a recent merger between Delta and Western Airlines. This provided new cities in the northwest, which placed Calgary and Vancouver on the available destinations list.
A fellow colleague and I landed in Calgary and made our way directly to the train station and boarded the train headed towards Banff. This was our first leg of the Canadian Rockies journey and only a short 1.5-hour ride. However, the scenery starts almost immediately after departing the station in Calgary.
I headed straight for the observation deck because I didn’t want to miss a thing. The majority of foliage are pine trees, but they create amazing green blankets draped across the rugged mountains of the Canadian Rockies.
The train pulled into the station and we got off the train and made our way to the Douglas Fir Resort and Chalets. I had arranged to stay in the lodge, which turned out to be a comfortable and convenient stay.
The next morning confirmed that I was in the wild when I was greeted by elk grazing in the grasses around the lodge. I exited the room and they they were. We spent the day touring the Banff National Park where catching views of buffalo was one of the highlights.
Every visitor to Banff needs to explore the Banff Springs Hotel, which is now called the Fairmont Banff Springs. My colleague and I explored the river and waterfall in front of the hotel and then made our way for tea in the hotel.
Drinking tea and looking out over the town and valley was quite a treat. On our way out we spotted some elk and deer along the golf course. One of the interesting things is that the course actually has “hazard” rules for golf balls that hit an elk.
Our lodge also provided a view of Pinnacle Mountain and easy access to the hoodoos, which are unique rock formations comprised of sedimentary rock covered by harder rock.
After a short 2-day stay in Banff, we boarded the train for a shorter ride to Lake Louise. I was fortunate to receive a wonderful Delta travel industry discount that allowed us to stay at the Chateau Lake Louise.
Lake Louise is a small lake that is backed by a beautiful mountain range. The trail and hike around the edge of the lake is easy and accessible for almost all individuals. Neither of us was prepared for the time and effort it was going to take to climb to the peak that looks over the lake.
The next morning was probably the highlight of the trip for me. I got up early and drove out to Moraine Lake, which is also called the “valley of the ten peaks.” This is another small lake that is surround by 10 different mountain peaks.
This is one of the most beautiful Canadian Rockies attractions. It is so famous and valued that it actually serves as one of the images used on some of the Canadian currency. It is also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Canada.
I was one of the first to arrive at Moraine Lake. Just for the record, it is good to arrive early for a number of reasons. First the sun is somewhat behind you as you view the peaks and lake, providing the mirror reflection. Second, this is the greatest probability of being able to view the lake and mountains without canoes and travelers interfering with the scene.
I took the trail to the left of the lake. It was a short trail that took me up a small hill. When I reached the top of the hill, I quickly discovered the incredible picturesque view that draws people to this wonder of nature.
The next day we took a drive through the Canadian Rockies towards another natural wonder. The drive itself is rather scenic. We were there the first week of June and many of the mountains still displayed snow-capped peaks and crevices.
The destination was Peyto Lake. This is a glacier fed lake and the rich aqua blue water is so colorful that it almost seemed that it was manipulated by man. A mountain ridge serves as the backdrop of the lake with the valley of trees adding to the aesthetics.
The remainder of the journey was an overnight train through the mountains of Alberta and British Columbia. The journey started out wonderful as the train followed the river and valley.
I saw a beaver swimming in a dammed up portion of the river. That became the closing finale of the trip because the rest of the journey would occur in the dark of night.
The only disappointing part of this wonder wandering of the Canadian Rockies was that the train journey through much of the Rockies was in the dark. I would love to repeat this trip except I would start in Vancouver and make my way back to Lake Louise and Banff during the day.
It would also be essential to incorporate a trip through Jasper National Park. Every bit of research suggests that an exploration of Jasper National Park would be a taste of heaven.