September 16, 2019
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about recommendations from our Canadian Rockies trip – so I figured it would be easiest to put it all here. Plus, having it all in one place makes it easier for us to always be able to see how much fun we had 🙂 I’m gonna start it off with this – when it comes to traveling (and let’s be honest – most of my life) I am a planner. I spend hours researching things to do, places to eat – cross check different sites/blogs – read multiple reviews, Google Maps everything so we’re never backtracking and can see the most amount of places/things with the most efficient route. I know, I’m crazy. I even ‘schedule’ time to relax, I factor in time to ‘explore and be spontaneous’ and I even put in multiple options of things to do depending on my mood that day.
So, that being said… it takes me a longgggg time to plan our trips. I hate it and I love it. But when I’m done – it’s a work of art (in my mind – to most people, it’s probably overwhelming). But, I just wanted to give that warning before I lay it all out here. I’m going to put everything that I had planned down – and I’ll talk about/show pictures of what we actually did. I’m also going to include the things we had planned but didn’t end up doing (in italics) because everything on this itinerary was thoroughly researched – and just because we didn’t get to it (we probably needed a nap or decided to be spontaneous), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. So, here it goes… don’t judge me. And yes, it’s a day by day schedule…
(photos are from a mix of iPhone, Pixel, Fuji X-t10, Sony A7s, etc.)
DATES: Monday, August 12th – Thursday, August 22nd, 2019
MONDAY, AUGUST 12th
American Flight 3949: ORD 9:55am > YYC 12:35pm
Drive to Jasper (~ 5 hours) – stop along the way
Lunch: Not gonna lie – we got Tim Horton’s because we just wanted to get on the road to Jasper! I still just don’t know what all the hype is about… am I missing something? The best thing about this wrap was the convenient container it came in…
We just did the drive up to Jasper and stopped at whatever lookout points we wanted… overall with stops, the drive took about 7 hours. We didn’t stop too long anywhere because our flight got delayed and we didn’t end up landing until 3pm. This was an amazing drive though – Icefields Parkway (must do!) – and we took our time on the way back down.
Hotel: Patricia Lake Bungalows: Whistler 2 Queen Suite
And there was a cute little dock right on Patricia Lake.
Dinner: Jasper Brewing Company – beer was okay, Dan got poutine and I got butter chicken (lots of Indian food options everywhere we went). This was all just fine, nothing about it was must do – we were so tired from traveling that we ate and went to bed. Sidenote: we did get a pretty dang good Cereal Milk Cheesecake with Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 13th
Breakfast: Bears Paw Bakery – This place got super crowded, super early. It was cute and had homemade pastries and pretty good coffee.
We had no real plans, but we ended up renting a row boat, motor, and fishing gear randomly from the Columbia store (highly recommend – they were super friendly, knowledgeable, and the guy gave us some lures from his personal stash). We fished for 3 hours in Talbot lake – caught a bunch of Northern Pike. This was Dan’s happy place. I was just happy to be on a boat in the middle of mountains.
Lunch: Patricia Street Deli sandwich to go – AMAZING. SO GOOD. If you like a good ol’ deli sandwich – you have to go here. It was so good, we went back the next day (and embarrassingly got recognized by the workers for being there the day before).
Other Activities We Had Planned But Didn’t Do:
Dinner: Fiddle River at 7:30pm – probably the most ‘Canadian’ place we ate… we had a bison steak and a few other things. All tasty, but nothing that memorable other than the delicious bottle of wine (read: I got tipsy and passed out immediately) and the dessert we shared (Nanaimo Pie).
Hotel: Patricia Lakes Bungalow
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14th:
Slowly woke up and checked out Pyramid and Patricia Lakes, did a small hike (about an hour and a half round trip), saw a grouse…
Then we went down to the Jasper Farmers Market (every Wednesday, 11am – 3pm) and got some DELICIOUS blueberries, strawberries, and sour grapes.
Lunch: We went back to Patricia Street Deli for sandwiches to go so we could have them during our hike at Maligne Canyon.
Dinner: We had reservations at Tekkara Lodge, but instead went to the Fairmont Jasper to check it out and get an elk burger.
Hotel: Patricia Lakes Bungalow
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15th
Breakfast: Sun House Cafe – this was the ‘hipster’ breakfast place of Jasper (as told to me by one of the locals). I liked it (Dan didn’t really see anything he wanted), had a great view of the town as we ate breakfast on the balcony. Avocado toast was delish – but you can’t really mess that up in my book.
We hit the road down Icefields Parkway towards Peyto Lake on our way to Lake Louise. We stopped and did quick mini hikes (about 1-2 hours each) several times… a lot of this was unplanned, so if we saw something that looked cool, we stopped and explored! It should’ve only been a 2-3 hour drive, but with all the stops it was basically a whole day.
(above: he’s about to skip a rock… I swear he’s not trying to look cool, haha)
Peyto Lake (recommended duration: 3 hours) – it’s pretty much a paved, uphill path that only takes about 10 minutes to get up… but definitely go off the trail once you get to the top (you might have to hop a fence), the views are worth it and you’ll escape the crowds.
Dinner: We had reservations at Walliser Sube (in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise) at 8:30pm – but ended up getting to Lake Louise Inn fairly late and we were so tired from the 5 hikes that we just grabbed dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Hotel: Lake Louise Inn – this was a perfect suite with kitchenette for us. Great for cooking dinner in, they had board games at the front desk, only downside was we didn’t have a hot tub.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 16th
Breakfast: We got groceries in town and made breakfast.
Activities: Rafting at Kicking Horse at 9am (40min drive) – super fun, we spent a good amount of time in calm water just floating to the rapids – but once it got started they were class 3’s and 4’s…
Lunch: BBQ Lunch Included
Activities we had planned but didn’t do: Wapta Falls Hike (30min. drive) – flat through trees hike, you can hear the waterfall. Instead we napped 🙂
Dinner: Made a yummy dinner in our suite.
Hotel: Lake Louise Inn
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17th
Breakfast: Made breakfast at home again.
Activities: Explore Moraine Lake (1.5 hours from Lake Louise) – canoe, picnic, hike – I wouldn’t recommend trying to drive here. Parking lots fill up at 8am. It’s super easy to get a shuttle from town, we randomly booked one a few hours before going through our hotel.
After our canoe trip, we hiked up the rock pile (very cool views but super crowded). We also hiked Constellation Lakes. I think we saw maybe one or two people on this trail, so it was much more secluded.
Lunch: Whitehorn Bistro (must take Lake Louise Gondola) – we didn’t do this. But looked like fun!
Dinner: Made dinner in our suite again 🙂
Hotel: Lake Louise Inn
SUNDAY, AUGUST 18th
Breakfast: I think we made breakfast at home again? Either that or just grabbed coffee in town.
Activities: Tea House Challenge Hike (starts on Lake Louise near the Fairmont Chateau Hotel) ~ 6 hours
The hike up to Devil’s Thumb had amazing views as it scaled the side of the mountain (photo below).
Views from the top of Devil’s Thumb… (sidenote, it’s not on the trail map or any signs, but you can find it on AllTrails)
You can also see incredible views of both Lake Agnes (left) and Lake Lorraine (right). The difference in color is so crazy to me!
Lunch: Packed lunch and ate on the top of the mountain.
Dinner: We were exhausted from 8 hours of hiking, and were super excited to have some beers and food at the Fairmont Lake Louise – but unfortunately the food was terrible and not worth it. We sent the mussels back because they were so rotten, the burger was super dry, and the bison tartare was mediocre at best.
Hotel: Lake Louise Inn
MONDAY, AUGUST 19th
Breakfast: We got breakfast sandwiches to go from Trailhead Cafe (super yummy). I recommend grabbing these to go and having them at one of the nearby picnic tables along the river (a quick 2 minute walk from the cafe).
Drive to Banff (45min)
Activities: we didn’t do any of these as we were so tired from the day before and just wanted to get to Banff.
Lunch: Banff Ave Brewing – our beer was warm, food was okay.
Dinner: Park Distillery – Reservation at 8pm – cocktails were delicious! Food was good, too.
Hotel: Banff Boutique Inn – Pension Tannenhof – we LOVED staying here! it was just a bit outside of town, away from the chaos. It was a newly renovated coach house that backed up to the woods, had a shared kitchen area where you could cook/make your own coffee, read books, etc.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 20th
Breakfast: Had the included breakfast at our Inn.
Activities: Via Ferrata Climb Adventure @ 9am (20 min. drive) – Summitteer Route ~ 6 hours
Hotel: Banff Boutique Inn
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21st
Breakfast: Stock Food and Drink at the Fairmont – quick, casual breakfast – really good! Was convenient to stop here before hitting the golf course. We golfed the 9-hole course at Banff Springs – such a beautiful course and it was a lot of fun. I shot a 53 (which is pretty good for my first time golfing in a year), and Dan a 45. Those kids in the picture below – Eli and his younger brother. They live 8 minutes from the golf course and golf there every day. Nicest kids ever. And REALLY good at golf for being 14 and 10. Like, REALLY good.
Then we went to the Banff Farmers Market (open Wednesdays, 10am – 6pm) for lunch.
Dinner: Sat on the roof of The Elk and Oarsmann for dinner.
Hotel: Banff Boutique Inn
THURSDAY, AUGUST 22ND
Lunch: got chicken sandwiches at Eddie Burger Bar
Activities: walked around town and shopped. There are tons of little tourist/gift shops.
Drive to YYC (~1.5 hours), leave by 12:30pm.
American Flight 4095: YYC 4:39 > ORD 9:15pm
That’s it! If you made it this far – I’m impressed! I hope you can use this itinerary to help plan a fun trip for yourself – let me know if you have any questions or comments below – I’m happy to help and go into more detail on anything specific you want to know more about! Highlight video in the works – coming to Instagram soon!
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