Roadtrip through Canada: Banff

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Banff National Park

Banff National Park is one of the most touristy parks in West-Canada we’ve visited on our roadtrip. One of the reasons it attracts so many tourists is Lake Louise. This lake with is clear blue water, is completely surrounded by mountains, giving you a stunning view. When visiting Lake Louise, you can opt to stay close to the lake, take a walk beside the banks or kayak on the lake. If you chose to do this, I would advise you to go early in the day as it can get quite busy. However, in this area, you have several beautiful trails you can hike. We’ve chosen to combine 2 trails, so we had 1 long hike ahead.
First stop: Lake Agnes. After a steep climb up, we arrived at this astonishing lake. Take in the view while picnicking at its banks. You can even enjoy a cup of tea in the teahouse that’s located near Lake Agnes! Second part of our trail, brought us to the plain of six glaciers. As mentioned in its name, this hike takes you to a plain where you are surrounded by six glaciers. As we hiked from Lake Agnes to this plain, the road wasn’t that steep anymore. However, the view while hiking was beautiful as all the fall colours started to show. After you arrived at the plain, you have several options. You can enjoy a cup of tea in another teahouse or you can walk further to a lookout point where you could see the snow much more up close. While walking to this lookout point, we even saw the snow falling from the mountain. An incredible thing to experience, especially when you hear the sound later on.
Besides Lake Louise, there are of course lots of other lakes you can visit in Banff National Park. I’ve heard Moraine lake is even more beautiful than Lake Louise. We couldn’t visit the lake as the road was closed. If you have the opportunity to visit this lake, definitely take your chance and send your pictures! : )

We also visited Johnston Canyon. There are several trails you can hike. You have a very short trail to the lower canyon, a longer trail to the upper canyon and one trail that will take you into the back country to the ink pots. As previously mentioned, Banff National Park is quite touristy, so you will come along a lot of tourists when hiking these trails. The lower canyons can get quite busy as it’s easy to access. The upper canyon is less crowded, but gives you an amazing view. You can check out the upper canyon while standing at the bottom of the canyon. You see the water crashing down from quite a height, giving an amazing view. At the top of the canyon is a lookout platform where you can see the water crashing down.

You can also take a scenic drive up or down the route Bow Valley Parkway. This route has several lookout points where you have a great view on certain landscapes (castle mountain), but also places where you can stop to learn more about its history. I found this really interesting as I love to learn more about the history of countries I visit. If you’re lucky you can even spot some wildlife while driving this road. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any wildlife at all in Banff National Park.

Lastly, another scenic drive you can take, is the Icefields Parkway which will bring you all the way to Jasper. On this drive you have the opportunity to stop at several lookout points. At some of these points, you can also hike. When we drove this road, we weren’t that lucky with the weather as it was raining almost all the time. This didn’t stop us to check out the surroundings at these lookout points. I’ve never seen so many rainbows on one day (except in Wells Gray Park). We made several stops. Herbert Lake and Bow Lake were the first 2 lakes we made a stop. As we were the only people there and the mountains were clouded by the mist, I found there was quite a mysterious vibe. Next stop was Peyto Lake. The colour of this lake is so beautiful! The contrast with it’s surrounding makes the blue stand out even more. Can you spot the rainbow on the picture? Mistaya Canyon was our next stop. Follow a short trail over a bridge and you will see the water flow below you. Last stop in Banff National Park was the Bridal Veil Falls. At quite some distance you could see the water crashing down. Our adventure continued to Jasper National Park. The places we stopped at in this park can be found in the next post.

Have you visited Banff National Park? What places did you visit?

Royal Greenhouse

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Feeling royal

During a limited period of time (app. 3 weeks), the royal greenhouse in Laken (Belgium) is open for visitors. This means you can go through the otherwise closed gates of the royal palace, and take a walk in the king and queen their garden. As the greenhouse is only open for a limited time, you have to take into account that you’ll be there with a lot of other people. In certain places, it is possible you will need to queue before you can proceed further. Meanwhile, the beauty of the surroundings will definitely distract you!

The variety of plants and trees you’ll find in this garden and greenhouse is so extensive. One moment you’ll think you’re in Asia, surrounded by the blossoms of a Japanese cherry tree and a Japanese tower in the background. The next moment, you feel all these tropical vibes when you’re surrounded by palm trees. Mix this with architectural style of all the different buildings, and you’ll be in awe all day long. The only thing missing on this day was the sun. Where are you dear friend?

Roadtrip through Canada: Yoho National Park

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Yoho National Park

When you think about Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake will probably be one of the first things that will pop into your mind. This is of course one of the lakes you must visit when you visit Yoho National Park. When you arrive at the lake, just take a minute to enjoy the scenery. Don’t mind all the tourists, but just focus on the lake and the mountains surrounding it. The lake is definitely its name worthy. I’ve never seen a lake with such a beautiful colour. After these first impressions, take you time to hike around the lake. You will have some calmer areas where you truly enjoy the scenery.

The river associated with Yoho Park is the Kicking Horse River. You simply can’t miss it as it passes the Trans-Canada highway several times. When you drive up the road to Emerald Park, you can take a stop to see a bridge that was naturally created by river due to erosion.  For the adventurous people who don’t mind the cold, you can even go rafting on the river. We didn’t do this as I’m not that good with the cold. Rafting a river existing mostly of glacier water therefore wasn’t really a must-do on our trip.

In Yoho National Park, there are also several waterfalls you can visit. We made a quick stop a the Takakkaw falls. Once you reach the lookout point at the base, the waterfall is quite impressive to see.  As this lookout point is very easy to reach, it can get busy here. Due to limited time we had, we weren’t able to visit the Wapta waterfalls. As this is one of the largest waterfalls in Canada, I can only imagine the amazing view you get!

When researching our trip, I found that lake O’Hara is also a must visit in Yoho National Park. However, take into account that access to this lake is limited and you must make reservations. Unfortunately, I found out too late and we weren’t able to visit the lake. So if you’re reading this ahead of time, make your reservations! 😉

Have you ever visited Yoho National Park? What were your highlights/must-visits/experiences?

Roadtrip through Canada: Glacier National Park

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Glacier National Park

The most difficult hike we’ve done on this trip was in Glacier National Park. But oh boy, what was this hike satisfying! The Abbott Ridge hike will take you 1000m higher during a 6km hike. Somewhere in the middle of this hike, you can take a break at Marion Lake. This place will already give you a (very) small preview of the view you’ll get at the top.

Shortly after Marion lake, the road will split. You can take a longer, less steep road to the top. Or a shorter, but steeper road. Of course, we’ve chosen the second option to go further as it seemed more adventurous.  As you go higher, the trees grow less dense and smaller, giving you an amazing overview of the surrounding mountains. After this steep climb, we reached a meadow where took a short break to just enjoy our surroundings. We were on the final part of our hike to the top. Once we reached the top, you get such a rush. You really feel like you’re at the top of the world!

When you go up, you of course also need to go back down. This is always my least favorite part of hiking. Taking a less steep road seemed like a good idea, so we took the long way back. This way, we also wouldn’t miss a thing. This path crosses what I think is an avalanche area. In this area we were lucky to spot our first wild animal on this trip: a marmot. Can you spot him on the pictures?

Every time I think back on this hike, I remember the difficulty of the hike, but also the amazing things I’ve experienced and seen. Have you already visited Glacier Park? What trails did you hike?

 

Roadtrip through Canada: Revelstoke National Park

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Revelstoke National Park

Once you enter the park, the Meadow-in-the-Sky parkway will take you closer to the summit. During this scenic drive, you have the opportunity to take several stops at lookout points. These lookout points will give you a preview of the fantastic view you’ll get once you reach the summit. Park your car near the top and take the short walk to the summit. An amazing view is awaiting you.

As the road from Penticton to Revelstoke was closed due to an accident, we had to take a detour. Unfortunately, this also meant we didn’t have enough time to hike the Eva Lake trail as we’ve had planned. I’ve heard you see a great variety in landscapes while you hike this trail. If you have the time, I would recommend to hike this trail. Don’t forget to share your pictures! 🙂

Roadtrip through Canada: Manning Park & Penticton

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After our visit to Vancouver, our roadtrip through Western Canada started. First stop on our itinerary: Penticton. As the drive from Vancouver to Penticton is quite a long one (almost 400km), we added several stops to this trip.

Hope
Hope is a small town, somewhere in the middle between Manning Park and Vancouver. In books we found several reasons to take a stop in this town (did you know that Rambo was filmed here?). However, we needed to stop for an entire different reason. The memory card of the camera was quite limited and we forgot to bring the USB cord. So we made a stop here to see if we could find a USB cord in some store. Eventually, we found one in the local hardware store owned by a friendly German. It’s always fun to meet people, hear their stories, etc. After the stop to the hardware store, we also stopped in the park just to take a break from driving and to relax a little bit. In the end, there isn’t much to see, but it’s an ideal place to stop during such a long journey. And sometimes, you get to meet people and hear fantastic stories!

Manning Park
Our second stop of the day was in Manning Park. There are quite a lot of hiking trails in this park. Some are very long going all the way to the boarder with the U.S.A, others are shorter. We chose to hike some of the shorter trails, as we still had to drive a long way. The trail we’ve chosen was the one around Lightning Lake. The hike wasn’t that difficult and you had a beautiful view while walking around the lake. As we had planned some longer and more difficult hikes in other parks, this was the ideal warm-up! Don’t forget to bring your picknick, as you have a lot of places where you can eat around the lake. But please clean up afterwards – think of the animals and nature.

We also drove up all the way to the Cascade lookout, where you had an incredible view of the surrounding mountains. You could even see some mountains that were situated in the U.S.A., which was some quite far away. We were also lucky to spot some bird and a chipmunk while we were at this lookout spot.

Penticton
After our hike in Manning Park, our journey to Penticton continued. During this drive we saw the landscape changing from green, full with trees to a more rocky, drier landscape. After a long drive, we arrived late at night in Penticton. As it was already dark, there wasn’t much we could do to explore the area. We found a nice Italian restaurant (Villa Rosa Ristorante). The meal was delicious and the Canadian wine did surprise us (in a good way!). The next day we took some time to stop and check out the different lakes in this region. It was truly beautiful to see this blue lakes, sunny sky. I immediately thought I was somewhere in the South of Europe. As we had a long way to go to Revelstoke, we didn’t had that much time to explore the region more. However, if you also make a roadtrip through Canada, I can truly recommend you to make a stop in this region!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadtrip through Canada: Vancouver

Our roadtrip through West-Canada started and ended in Vancouver. My first thought on this city? It has the perfect mix of a city vibe, but there is still enough green and quietness. I absolutely loved it! As we were only 2,5 days in the city, we had to select what we wanted to do. Read further to see what my top 5 things are when visiting Vancouver.

Continue reading “Roadtrip through Canada: Vancouver”