#ERT_2015 Day 5 – Banff and Yoho National Parks – 07.31.15

Whew. This day was a crazy whirlwind! So much to see in such a short amount of time. Lots of short little stops to see as many cool things as we could. Banff DEFINITELY deserves its own trip! (Prepare yourself- photo OVERLOAD ahead.)

Sunrise Pano
PC Ben Sisson, aka the Master of Sunrises! (I’ll admit it, we were still asleep at this point.)
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More Half Dome goodness of mama and baby. These two were both ours. We have problems.

Bow Valley Critters

Bow Valley Critters 2
Yes. We’re weird.

We started off the day at Cave and Basin National Monument, which was the birthplace of Canada’s Park Service- pretty cool! The cave is home to snails adapted especially for the sulfuric high temperature waters, and they’re the size of a kernel of corn! There’s your fun fact for the day. We didn’t photograph any of them, though. 😦

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Here we see our friends Will and Ally modeling the Parks Canada signs. They’re all exactly like this. I’m sorry Canada, I love you a whole lot, but your park signs are incredibly boring.

After that, it was off to what Lonely Planet claimed as the #1 hike in Canada! (It was pretty awesome, I’ll give it that… but I don’t know that I’d call it the #1 in the entire country.) Sunshine Meadows, a ski area, runs a shuttle bus from the “real base” to the base of operations up high on the mountain. It was actually a pretty cool concept for a ski area- during the winter you take a gondola up and you can stay in one of the lodges. The shuttle buses were actually just old school buses (complete with lighter imprints and all… glad to know that’s not just an American thing, hahahaha) that only went about 10 miles an hour, which was PAINFUL, but it was still a fun experience. And the hike was GORGEOUS.

Look at this precious li’l bus.

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Rock Isle Lake, one of the highlights of the hike! I wanted to swim out and just lounge on that island.


Brady gives me so much crap for taking these. I don’t care.

It was definitely a beautiful hike. After we caught the snails-pace shuttle down to the base, we headed off for Johnston Canyon! Unfortunately we got there at the exact same time as several huge tourbuses, so there was quite the crowd on our hike, but it was still beautiful.


Johnston Canyon Pano
You had to wait in line (no lie) to go through this little tunnel to get into the “cave” with the waterfall. It was pretty, but I have never seen so many people wearing Crocs on a hike… and every single one of them slipped on the wet rock. Oops! But, better to hike in Crocs than not hike at all!


After that we headed to “Instagram Lake” which I can pretty much guarantee you’ve seen on your Instagram feed at least once in your life. But anyway, it’s really called Moraine Lake, and it’s famous for good reason. It’s beautiful! I had heard that it was tough to find parking during the day, so I wanted to save Moraine Lake for a bit later to perhaps give us a better chance of finding a place to park. That strategy worked, go me! (This day in particular was one I AGONIZED over in the planning stages.) We explored around the lake a bit, and had dinner before heading on to our last stop of the day before camp time.

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I promise I’m wearing pants!


All of the little furry creatures wanted to say hello to our friend Ivy.
A pretty common occurrence on road trips – parking lot dinners! Time is gold!

After Moraine Lake, we headed to our last stop of the day, Takkakaw Falls (knocking off another national park, Yoho, which is technically adjacent to Banff, but a separate park. Jasper NP, to the north, is also adjacent to Banff NP, but I couldn’t make it work, which was a real bummer. Next trip for sure!)! Our gas light came on as we were driving there, which got a wee bit stressful, haha. (It turned out fine btw.)


The mist gets intense when you get up close to the falls! I’ve already bought a rain cover for my camera specifically for this purpose when we go back in August 2017.
Takkakaw Falls is almost 800 feet tall. Its height simply cannot be captured in mere photographs.

After a long and eventful day, we finally headed to camp at Lake Louise campground. The only negative thing about this campground (and Bow Valley the night before) was the proximity to the train tracks. At least in western Canada, semi trucks are almost nonexistent, and the vast majority of shipping is done by freight trains. That was awesome for the roads, but not so fun when a train horn wakes you up at 2:30 in the morning. We’ll definitely be prepared with ear plugs on our next trip!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Karl says:

    You’ve clicked some amazing pics! Which camera and lens do you use?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jen Groves says:

      Thanks Karl! 🙂 I shoot with the Canon 60D with the Canon 18-135mm lens. The photos in this post were also shot with my phone, and a Canon PowerShot! One can never have too many cameras!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Always wanted to explore a cave such as the one pictured. This place is unreal looking!


    1. Jen Groves says:

      It is unreal! We can never get enough of it. Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for most posts about this gorgeous place. Thanks for the love!


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