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Its not hard to have your breath stolen in the Canadian Rockies, but there are a few places that will leave you gasping for oxygen. These mountains are notoriously beautiful and are easy to access on both the Alberta and British Columbia side, with major airports within ninety minutes of some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Some of these places are accessible just meters from the road, and others by gruelling multiday hikes. Each one of these places has something different to offer but one thing is for sure, your senses will be overwhelmed and you’ll be left speechless.
Famous for its time spent on the Canadian $20 bill, Moraine Lake is a short drive from the hamlet of Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Accessible by car to the lake shore, and a short walk up the ‘rockpile’ will give you an incredible view of the deep Turquoise lake. Surrounded by the magnificent Valley of the Ten Peaks, its impossible to take a bad photo here. Changing your perspective by heading out onto the lake in a Canoe will make you feel smaller than an ant. There are plenty of other places to see and hike in Banff National Park and you can check them out here: Guide to exploring Banff National Park
Deep in the heart of the wilderness on the continental divide is the ‘Matterhorn of the Rockies’, Mount Assiniboine. At the foot of the towering peak is Magog Lake, surrounded by lush meadows full of wildflowers and wildlife. You can access the area a few different ways, a 27km hike being the most popular option and there’s even a scheduled helicopter service for people wanting to save their energy to hike when they get there. You can camp, stay in the stunning Assiniboine lodge, or head over to the 125 year old Naiset Huts to spent the night, each option still making you feel more remote than ever before.
Truly a hidden gem in the backcountry of Yoho National Park, Lake O’Hara remains one of the most protected environments in the whole of Canada. Restricted access into the region keeps the trails well maintained giving you a complete sense of wilderness. Some of Canada’s best alpine hiking trails are squeezed into this small pocket of perfection, each one offering fairytale views of places you thought could only exist in your dreams. A campground, Lake O’Hara Lodge and an Alpine Club of Canada Hut allow you to stay for one or more nights in the area to explore further.
Twenty-two kilometres into Mount Robson provincial park at the foot of the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies is Berg Lake. Fed by Snowbird Glacier and Berg Glacier, this lake has a stunning mirky turquoise colour to it. Berg glacier calves daily with a thundering roar, throwing its ancient ice into the lake below echoing around the valley. The icebergs slowly drift towards Berg Lake Campground where you can spend a few nights taking in this wild view.
Very few people have heard or even seen photos of Shadow Lake, it seems to be forgotten about by most. Its easily one of the most beautiful places in The Canadian Rockies. Accessible by a 15km hike up the Redearth Creek trail, fifteen minutes West of Banff townsite on highway 1. A small campground sits next to several backcountry cabins allowing people to stay close to the lake for the night to spend time exploring the lake and surrounding areas. Towering Peaks, beautiful wildflower meadows and plenty of wildlife greets you up at the lake where you can stare endlessly into an untouched landscape.