By: Yulanda Hanson, CTC and Senior Travel Consultant
The mountains are one of the things I miss the most from my home, Alaska, so I chose the Best of the Canadian Rockies with Tauck for the opportunity to see the Canadian Rockies and to stay at the famous Fairmont Hotels in Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise.
Traveling by myself, I was met at the Calgary, Alberta airport by our driver and tour director and boarded our comfortable motor coach for the hour drive to Kananaskis Mountain Lodge at the base of the start of the Canadian Rockies.
A great introduction to the beauty of Alberta, Canada. There were hiking trails and great views of the Bow River Valley. We were treated to a BBQ at the Crosswaters Resort for our first evening together. There were 28 of us and several other single ladies, which quickly became friends.
After breakfast and a short drive to Canmore, Alpine Helicopter tours took us on a thrilling, scenic 12 minute ride to view the Three Sisters Mountains and valley. I was able to ride ‘shotgun’, next to the pilot in front. Beautiful blue skies and snow on the mountains provided amazing vistas.
We traveled high into the Canadian Rockies and crossed the Continental Divide through Kicking Horse Pass before entering YOHO National Park to visit Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is one of the most photographed lakes with its amazing green hues sparkling with reflections of the surrounding peaks and did not disappoint. It was absolutely stunning as we made our way to the wooded shores of Lake Louise.
Chateau Lake Louise is as amazingly grand as I imagined. Although Lake Louise was still frozen, the mountains and the Chateau were beyond my expectations with beauty. The hike around the lake was a great way to take in the beauty and learn about the flora, fauna and history of Lake Louise. The Chateau offered a wake up call to see the sunrise aka Alpine Glow, and a beautiful pink, orange and blue sunrise appeared!
Chateau Lake Louise offered a high tea in grand fashion. There were Adirondack chairs around fire pits to roast marshmallows and apples that were then rolled in sugar. Many restaurants to choose from, either on the deck with the Lake view or upscale fine dining with gourmet Canadian fare.
On our way to Jasper Park Lodge we saw the Spiral Train traveling in and out of the mountains, mountain goats, waterfalls all made more spectacular by the bright blue skies. Sunwapta Falls was our lunch stop and walk to the powerful waterfalls. You could feel the spray from the water falling.
Jasper is a charming little town. And the world renowned Jasper Park Lodge is remarkable. The Jasper Park Lodge was built in the 1800’s and consists of cabins along a paved trail which extends around the beautiful Lac Beauvert, with mountains in the background. Gorgeous weather and bright sunshine added to the beautiful scenery.
The Jasper Tramway took us for a ride up the mountain for a magnificent view of the entire Canadian Rockies Mountain range. Mt. Robson was shining as the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Other members of the group took in White Water Rafting and a Wildlife Discovery Tour.
Lunch on the deck of the Jasper Park Lodge was fabulous, overlooking the pool with the lake and mountains behind. Relaxing in the Adirondack chairs located all around the property, and soaking in the sun and scenery was a perfect way to unwind and relax.
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Columbia Icefield was the stop on our way to Banff with views of Athabasca Falls and the peaks framing Athabasca Glacier. We rode the specially designed Brewster Ice Explorer vehicle onto the Glacier. It was a bumpy ride but amazing to be standing on a glacier and learning about the geological features and formations of the glacier.
The arrival to the majestic Banff Springs Hotel is jaw dropping and my room had a fabulous view of the Bow River Valley and the mountains, of course. This hotel is a castle in a magnificent setting.
Touring the castle, shopping and sightseeing in scenic Banff was a wonderful way to spend the day. Banff offers lots of unique shops in a quaint walkable town.
Our farewell evening took place at the Banff Centre for the Arts where we met a Royal Mounty Canadian Police and treated to a violin and cello concert.
Our tour director was very entertaining, organized and friendly. The driver was great as well, always very helpful and accommodating during our Best of the Canadian Rockies with Tauck tour.
Since the Fairmont Resorts are so popular, dining reservations were required in advance for some of the restaurants, which Sarah, our tour guide made based on our desires. 17 meals were included with a wide variety of options to match anyone’s preference. The famous resorts have unique restaurants to experience.
Tauck has a reserved seat plan. The first time you board you will be given an assigned seat. Each day your Tauck Director will rotate your seat assignment providing everyone with a different view.
I recommend this Best of the Canadian Rockies with Tauck tour to anyone that wants to witness ancient glaciers, rugged peaks, green lakes and other natural wonders of the Canadian Rockies and enjoy the unique charm of the region’s iconic Fairmont Hotels. Perfect for couples or singles. I would like to return with my daughter.
CTC and Senior Travel Consultant
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