There are two things that drive my passion which are travel and photography. When I get to merge the two together I am truly happy. Chris and I love to travel and try to do it as much as we possibly can. 2018 we found ourselves welcoming the New Year in Banff and at the end of the year returning to to this incredible must visit place in Canada. There is something about the mountains that truly call to us and we always answer the call and keep returning. One of the things we look to do is travel in the off seasons as there tends to be less tourists making it a quieter experience when we travel. We love being able to find tourist hot spots quieter and being able to take in their beauty often to ourselves. This time we choose to adventure in Banff and Jasper National Park in November which meant winter had already come to Alberta which left us very excited for some beautiful snowy explorations.
When we landed in Calgary we had rented a campervan through Karma Campervans and were so stoked to be able to try out the #vanlife that has become so popular over the last few years. We hit the road and quickly headed to Banff as we were so excited to start our vacation but we were also going to meet Sarah and Jordan, old high school friends who we were going their engagement photos in Banff National Park! We spent the afternoon with them exploring Lake Minnewanka and watched the most beautiful sunset of our entire trip with them all four of us cozied up along the shores of the lake before heading off for drinks and dinner downtown Banff.
We spent two more days exploring the town of Banff and Canmore, having some of our favourite beers at Grizzly Paw Brewing and finding some hidden gems we had not found on our last trip – including a rope swing that overlooked the Three Sisters allowing us to laugh like kids as we swung back and forth off the tree (or for me screaming and laughing so hard as Chris was pushing me on the swing so I could never stop). After two days we hit the road and began to head up the Icefields Parkway while making a few stops along the way. Here are our must see stops while driving along the Icefields Parkway:
– Lake Louise (Visit right before the start of the actual parkway)
– Peyto Lake
– Athabasca Glacier
– Athabasca Falls
– Sunwapta Falls
At the end of the Icefields Parkway you will find the town of Jasper which is where Jasper National Park is named after. Jasper is a sleepy town in the off season which was perfect for us! We got a chance to hang out with the local wildlife, hike the beautiful Maligne Canyon without ever seeing another hiker and watched the stars come out each night with only the wolves howling in the distance and the tall snowy pines towering over top of us.
Our next destination from Jasper was to explore Kootenay National Park, Radium Hotsprings and the stretch of British Columbia all the way down to Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park. Our night in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia was probably our favourite night on the trip. To get into Whiteswan Lake you have to drive for quite a distance down a logging road and the first destination you will see in the park are the Lussier Hot Springs, a natural set of hot springs that sit right along the side of a mountain river. Here we soaked in the springs for what felt like hours watching the river rush by and the snow fall and cover the trees in the mountain valley. That night we were the only people camping in the park and could again hear nothing but the wind whipping through the mountains and the wolves calling to each other – it was something so incredibly magical about being the only person around for miles. It truly allowed us to connect back with nature and spend some time with each other without any distractions of technology. Cozied up with our little home on wheels it was a perfect night for a bonfire and stargazing.
Chris + I had the best time on our adventure in Banff & Jasper National Park it allowed us to reconnect with the beauty of nature, each other and got us very excited for the winter to come. The snowy mountains in beautiful Banff and Jasper could tell so many stories of great adventures of each person that travels through them and that is one of the many reasons we love visiting. Each trip is so different based on the weather and we do our best to explore different little areas each time we come out. If you have not had the chance to visit Banff and Jasper National Park I highly recommend you do! It is a place like no other that will leave you with national geographic views at every turn and make you want to come back (just like us!). We are so excited to be heading back to Banff in October 2019 to capture a beautiful wedding! Enjoy a snapshot of our adventure in Banff and Jasper National Park and if you love what you see feel free to check out our travel blog Chris and Nicole for more photos and information from our trip!