Jasper to Banff: Waterfowl Lake and Beyond

July 29 , 2008

Waterfowl Lake

Continuing our drive from Jasper to Banff, we happened upon Waterfowl Lake, which we didn't even know about. It was an idyllic setting of beautiful blue water and a skirt of beautiful forest up the dramatic snow-patched rocky mountains.

This is a view further around to the north end of the lake at a little higher magnification.

The most distinctive peak, and the highest from our perspective, was rugged Mt. Chephren. We saw several peaks with this sharply peaked geometry. The thing that really put me into a reverie was the combination of the blue water with the unspoiled green forest. It is peaceful to look at a scene with no sign of human development - just one of God's paintings.

We parked at a turnout and walked down to Waterfowl Lake to get a more unobstructed view. At lakeside there was a beautiful view of the forest and two hanging glaciers on the opposite side of the lake. The mountain on the right above is Mt. Chephren. Two young Spanish couples from Barcelona walked up and one of them took the picture of us. We found the wild primrose below close to the shore where we were standing and the white flowers along the path.

This enterprising ground squirrel had made its burrow right in the lakeside turnout.

The roadside wildflowers we found in this area included several color variations of Indian paintbrush. There were the usual yellow daisies and some columbine.

Peyto Lake

We drove on to aqua blue Peyto Lake, which we had heard a great deal more about, and which had been the northernmost point of our 1995 trip.

The south end of Peyto Lake was not as beautiful, but it had the large glacier in the distance, and the interesting woven streams on the broad flat plane.

Bow Lake

At left is our first view of Bow Lake from the Icefields Parkway, looking southwest. We drove down by the lake and to the Num-ti-jah Lodge there. There was a nice trail by the lake, and the view below toward the north end of the lake showed an even more dramatic blue color.

At the north end of the lake are Bow Falls and Bow Glacier. A very pleasant place to revisit.

We sat outside the lodge and watched the almost glowing green trees across the blue water. The squirrels and Clark's nutcrackers were also entertaining. With the blue sky, the Canadian flag on the lodge was dramatic.

We made it down to Lake Louise and thought to go to have a brief look at Lake Louise. We went to the parking lot where we had parked before but it was jammed full. They had build a larger parking lot above it, and it was also jammed fulll. We gave up and drove out and there were vehicles just parked along the road for a quarter mile. We thought, OK, we'll visit Morraine Lake so we drove the 10 km out there and never even saw the lake. Cars were parked on the side of the road way out of sight of the lake, so we turned around and started driving back. We met three full sized tour buses headed toward Morraine Lake! These look like two locations to just scratch off your agenda - the crowding is totally ridiculous and there are lots of beautiful lakes in the Canadian Rockies.

We followed the Bow River all the way to Banff and found our B&B just a couple of blocks from the railway station. We walked to downtown Banff, which is neatly laid out. We visited the Canada House and flower gardens before walking back to call it a night.

To Lake Louise

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