Years before I even knew where it was, Lake Louise was pretty high on my bucket list. It was pretty surreal to have it down as one of the places I was finally going to visit, especially in 2020. It turns out I wasn’t the only one visiting it in 2020, in fact, the popularity of some of these spots was beyond me!
I laid eyes on Lake Louise first when Andy and I were about to do a day hike out the back of it. It was far less busy at 7.30am compared to the next few times we’d see it later in the day, but the sun hadn’t yet hit the lake, which had an effect on the colour of the lake and the ability to capture that iconic shot. Seeing Lake Louise from our vantage point on the way to Lake Agnes teahouse was pretty special, the colour of the water was a chalky ice blue and such a stand out with the mountains around, as we spotted it through the trees.
The second time we visited Lake Louise was in the afternoon with Nick and Jos. We actually drove up the road, only to find the park was currently full. As we drove back down the road, making secondary plans to possibly park at the bottom and catch the shuttle up, we were suddenly beckoned into the turnoff lane for Lake Moraine. We had not expected to get to Lake Moraine before Lake Louise, but we were not about to turn the chance down.
I enjoyed Lake Moraine far more than Lake Louise. Not only was the clear blue colour of the water more beautiful (in my opinion) than the chalkiness of Lake Louise, the backdrop of mountains and glaciers was just a little more picturesque. We climbed the rockpile first, which is about a 20 minute walk that provides the most outstanding viewpoint of the whole lake. We then followed the path around the shoreline to the cascade at the end, where the further we got we actually started to exchange the people for deer on the path!
Sticking with the letter M, we also visited Lake Minnewanka for a picnic lunch. We had been advised to visit here later in the day, but we took our chances with a picnic lunch and fortunately we were successful. It was a bit breezy and definitely more of a local feeling lake (i.e. it doesn’t look like it has been copy and pasted from a postcard) but it was still really beautiful and walking the easy 3km to Stewart Canyon afterwards was a fun way to round out the afternoon.
The last series of lakes we visited in the Banff region are the Vermillion Lakes. Our resident photographer (Jocelyn) had scoped this place out as somewhere that was supposed to be picturesque and good for photos, so naturally we were on board. We headed there after our Sulfur Mountain hike and were really impressed with what we saw. The reflections on the lakes were amazing! The quantities of bugs were pretty insane, and I know I wasn’t the only one to be glad that we weren’t stopping for a picnic lunch here.
There are so many beautiful sights in and around the Banff area that I’m sure we probably only scratched the surface, however I am more than happy with what we did manage to see as they were some pretty big bucket list ticks!