Archive for August, 2013

postheadericon Becker’s Chalets in Jasper National Forest – Hotel Review

 

 

In July, we escaped the heat of the South and headed up to the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains for a week long adventure in Jasper National Park and Banff National Park!  We saw the most beautiful lakes, got up close and personal with tons of wildlife, stood on a 1,000 foot deep glacier, and hiked all through the area!  I’d spent a lot of time researching where to stay in each place and, for Jasper National Park, had my heart set on Becker’s Chalets.  I had a friend that stayed a long time ago and said great things about it, but what really sealed the deal was knowing how much my kids would love not only staying at a place on such a beautiful river, but also experiencing the frequent nightly visits by the elk!

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postheadericon Weeping Wall: Banff National Park

 

Weeping Wall, Banff National Park

 

 

postheadericon Petyo Lake, Banff National Park: A Must-See Lake

 

Is Peyto Lake Really That Blue?

YES, It Sure Is!  The bright, turquoise color is because of glacial rock flower that flows into the lake in the summer.

 

 

 

 

Peyto Lake – Located inside of Banff National Park

This must-see lake is located on the Icefields Parkway and can be easily accessed via a steep, paved walkway to a viewing deck.

 

 

 

postheadericon Athabasca Falls: Jasper, Alberta

 

Athabasca Falls is a magnificently powerful waterfall located in Jasper National Park just off the Icefields Parkway.  Flowing from the glaciers of the Columbia Icefields, the Athabasca River rushes through a narrow gorge where, by the sheer force of rushing water, the walls have been smoothed and a short canyon and potholes have been formed.

 

 

Oh So Interesting

 

The Good:

These uber powerful waterfalls are a very short walk from the parking area.  You get a great view from several different viewing points and have the option to walk further to see the calm lake they flow into.

The Bad:

You will not be alone at this very popular tourist stop!  The crowds can get quite large and there is not a lot of room to spread out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Tip:  Arrive early to beat the crowds!

 

 

 

The Athabasca Falls are rated the #1 attraction on Tripadvisor.  I’m not so sure I agree, but it’s certainly worth the visit!

 

 

 

These falls are among the most powerful in the Canadian Rockies and put off a lot of mist (camera beware)!  The rocks can get very slippery so use caution when walking and never go outside of the designated paths!

Restroom Facilities Available

 

postheadericon Wildlife in the Canadian Rockies: Banff and Jasper

This large male Elk was grazing very close to the road on the Bow Field Parkway.

 

 

Take a drive on one of the many scenic and secluded winding roads and you might just find a bear or elk grazing peacefully on the shoulder.  Have a picnic at one of the breathtaking lakes and a herd of Bighorn Sheep may wander over to investigate you!  One of the most spectacular things about visiting the Canadian Rockies is that you never know what wildlife you’re going to see or when you’re going to see it!  Below you’ll find some of the Wildlife in Canada we saw on our weeklong adventure in Jasper and Banff!

 

This young sheep was with its herd at Medicine Lake.

The two main scenic drives are the Bow Field Parkway and the Icefields Parkway, but you have a good chance of seeing wildlife in either national forest!  When traveling from Banff to Jasper, take the Bowfield Parkway to the Icefields parkway and, if you like to stop and take it all in, you should allow 6-8 hours for the journey!

Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park and it spans 2,564 square miles!  It’s one of the world’s premier destinations spots full of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows, and rivers!

 

This deer was grazing just outside of the '5th Bridge' parking lot at Maligne Canyon.

 

Black Bear eating berries in Jasper on the Icefields Parkway just past Becker's Chalets.

 

Jasper joins Banff National Park to the south via the Icefields Parkway.  This parkway offers unparalleled beauty as you travel alongside a chain of massive icefields straddling the Continental Divide.

 

Deer along the Bow Field Parkway. There was also a Bear at this location!

 

Bighorn Sheep and his herd holding up traffic!

 

While someone is snapping a photo, this curious sheep wants to investigate!

 

Best Time to View Wildlife: Early Morning and Late Afternoon/Early Evening.

 

 

Chipmunk at Peyto Lake! Chipmunks are EVERYWHERE in the area!

 

Group of Elk at Becker's Chalets.

 

Elk along the road in the evening in Jasper along the Icefields Parkway just before town.

 

Barriers can't stop Sheep! This group was just outside Lake Minnewanka, just a short drive from Banff townsite.

 

Young sheep near Lake Minnewanka.

 

Resting Sheep on the side of the road in Banff. There was a group of about 10!

 

The sheep shed once a year and can have a scruffy appearance with patches of matted hair until the new coat grows in. This usually happens in June or July!

 

Herd of Sheep walking to Medicine Lake.

 

Baby Elk on the property of Becker's Chalets.

Elk feeding along the Athabasca River in Jasper.

 

Male Elk along the Bow Field Parkway

 

Resting Bighorn in Jasper.

 

postheadericon Arriving in the Canadian Rockies: Banff and Jasper

 

Who: Myself, Spencer, our two girls, and my awesome in-laws!

When: July, one of the regions warmest (and busiest) months with an endless selection of things to do:

Why Go: It’s one of the most beautiful places in North America and an awesome family vacation destination spot!  From spotting wildlife to soaking in the natural beauty of the incomparable mountain scenery, this is one vacation you’ll never forget!

 

 

How we got there: Flew into Calgary Airport (YYC) and then rented a mini van.  The distance from Calgary Airport to Jasper is about 5.5 hours.  The distance from Calgary to Banff it’s about 1.5 hours.  Our flight arrived in the afternoon and we didn’t want to make the long drive in the same day so we stayed one night in Banff and then drove out to Jasper the next morning.

The Bow Field Parkway and the Icefields Parkway are two of the most scenic drives in Canada so it’s best not to rush through them!  It’s best to allow 6-8 hours for the drive! Along the way you may spot elk, bear, deer, and other wild creatures!

Travel Tip: When you arrive in Canada make sure to stop for necessities in Calgary.  Bottled water, for example, was almost double the price in Banff and Jasper.  Calgary is the most affordable place to stock of on drinks and snacks!

Our Accommodations Itinerary:

Night 1:  Banff.  Get aquatinted with the area.
Nights 2-4:  Jasper National Forest @ Becker’s Chalets
Nights 5-7:  Banff @ Fox Hotel and Suites

Travel Tip: If you have an early morning flight it may be best to stay in Calgary the night before.

 

National Park Pass: Parks Canada requires you to buy a pass to drive into the national parks.  Visit their website to determine if you should buy a daily pass or a yearly pass.  For our six people for seven nights we got the yearly pass for $136.40.

Did you Know: Daylight hours in July the Canadian Rockies are from 5:30 am- 10:00 pm?  That’s a lot of daylight!!

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