Budget Rockies Tour Canada

Rockies’ Lakes, Glaciers & Polar Bears?

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We are refreshed and ready to take on ‘one of the most scenic roads to drive’ according to the National Geographic, the wolfpack is bus bound and on the move by 8am.

Sleepy Mount Robson

Our first stop of day two of West Trek’s Summer Explorer Rockies Tour is Mount Robson. My first reaction is to ohhhOHHohhh (Korean Girl) at the burnt orange and red colours mixed in with purple from blueberries.

The 3000 metre Mount Robson is being shy, hiding behind the clouds. We are used to the Dita Von Teases of the earth (like our summer expedition with the Sunshine Coast whale.) The tallest mountain in the Rockies was just not up for showing off that tip. The wolfpack unites as a team again and starts the day with a group hug before moving on to our next stop – Jasper.

Mount Robson West Trek Tours Rockies Lakes

Rockies’ Lakes, Just Jasper, Gorgeous Guests

Jasper is smaller than I expected. There are a handful of restaurants and cafes but because West Trek knows its client base doesn’t have the pockets of the mature holidaymakers in the area, we are advised to buy lunch at the supermarket, which suits us. We grab a coffee at a very busy and touristy cafe too, Jasper has a population of 3 thousand and a tourist footfall of 3 million! The small town didn’t blow me away; it’s like a poor man’s Pitlochry in Scotland (jokes, it’s expensive to stay anywhere in the Rockies) but Jasper is obviously the gateway to some of nature’s greatest offerings such as…

Athabasca Falls

Peyto Rockies Lakes Canada

Day two really was the day to be in awe of that typical turquoise water we all came to Canada to see. This beauty is just jaw dropping. So what makes the Rockies’ lakes so blue? In layman’s terms, rock flour runs down the glacier after ice has thawed on the mountains. The silt particles that lie underneath the water give off that stunning turquoise colour but they need reflection from light to do so. The lakes don’t look like this all year round, the best months to see the turquoise colours are in summer but don’t rule out other seasons in the Rockies!

Polar Bear Swim – Bow Lake

It wouldn’t be a trip to the lakes without a swim. Our past experiences of lake life in B.C have been pleasant; this experience was a thrill but let’s just say, not toasty! The daredevils of the pack, stripped down to their swim stuff, held hands, ran and took a dive. Cue scrambling to get out of the five degrees glacier water! Refreshing.

Thanks to our companions who had our towels ready for us – team!

Bow Rockies Lake Polar Bear Swim West Trek Tours

Columbia Icefields

Deemed the ‘pyramids of Canada’ by Brewster Attractions, the Columbia Icefields weren’t even on my radar but Craig ticked off a bucket list item today. This additional activity ($58 / £29) allowed us to board an Ice Explorer and there are only 23 in the world!

Ice Explorer Columbia Glacier Rockies Lakes

This monster truck took us on to the Athabasca Glacier and dropped us off on the ice.

Columbia Icefields Athabasca Falls Rockies Lakes

Although this glacier is as thick as the Eiffel Tower is tall, it may not exist in the next hundred years! Athabasca looses ten metres of ice every year so get there quick to taste nature’s skin age defying ice cold glacier water. And it was our biggest hit on Instagram! We even saw a group (and a dog) hiking on it and our Colombian friend, Sebastian, saw snow for the first time!

Columbia Icefields Rockies Lakes

Banging Banff

Now that we were looking ten years younger, it was time to party in the Rockies most happening party town, Banff! We checked into our plush hotel, put on our party gear and had a pre party meal to line the stomach. I brought along fluorescent face paints so we donned a few tribal stripes and hit the dance floor of Club Hoodoo.

West Trek Rockies Lakes Party Night

We were the envy of the club with those bright stripes – sorry, for wolves only! Then it was a slice of pizza and drunken stumble back to the hotel, not before a game of Pass the Hug (from day one) on the street!

Hoodoo Lounge Banff Rockies Lakes West Trek Tours
Another fun packed day full of Canadian Rockies’ lakes, glaciers and mountains. No bears though!

Autumn Leaves Mount Robson Canadian Rockies

Have you seen anything like these lakes?

West Trek Tours
Thanks to West Trek Tours for making this trip possible. Our honest views as always. We LOVED it!

Website: West Trek Tours
our: The Rocky Mountains (Summer Explorer)
Contact: (604) 408-WEST (9378)
Cost: $448 / £226 (adult) / $399 / £171 (student) + room upgrade options and additional activities

Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

Comments 20

  1. Sounds like a solid day. Awesome that West Trek knows their clientele as well, makes all the difference. That blue as well, choooooice. Must say I know how it appears know, thanks for teaching me something that I shall forget in 3.5 days time haha

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  2. This makes me miss home so much! Right in our backyard 🙂 So glad you guys enjoyed our home and wow did you ever take beautiful photos 🙂 Jasper is actually the very first place Alyse and I ever went on vacation together. I really like how they’ve really curtailed overdevelopment there to keep the natural beauty intact. Cheers guys and looking forward to reading through more of your blog.

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      That’s so lovely to hear, you are very lucky to have the Rockies on your doorstep. When we come back I definitely want to spend more time there. Your country is so big! Happy thanksgiving!

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  3. Wow, some of these pictures reminded me of the water in New Zealand, I didn’t realise it was that colour in Canada too! Looks like an amazing trip.

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  4. It makes me so proud as a Canadian, to see you enjoying our country so much.

    I’ve seen all the places you mention and love them all. The Rockies really are spectacular and the colour of that mountain water is worth seeking out as it takes your breath away–no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

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      Aw this brought a tear to my eye! I love how kind and positive you Canadians are too. I was joking to my friend Helen when we were in Toronto that all you need a map for is to look lost, they are magnets for help in this country because you guys are so nice!

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  5. Gorgeous photos! I cannot believe you ran into that lake though! I don’t know if there is anything in the world that could get me into 5 degree water…

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  6. Hi Gemma,

    Wow! That Peyto Lake looks absurd. I’ve seen nothing like it, to answer your question, from the play of the blue to the stunning beauty surrounding the lake too. And I’ve spent months in the South Pacific, soaking up some of the most beautiful waters on earth. Fabulous share.


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  7. Wow, the photos! I love it, especially the lake! Autumn just kick off here and your beautiful article made me so jelly 🙁

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