Canada by Rail – Lake Louise to Jasper

Travel Dates: September 15-16, 2022

We didn’t travel via rail over every mile of our trip. In order to squeeze Lake Louise and a trip up to a glacier we had to travel from Banff to Jasper by car, tour bus and ice explorer. Our driver picked us up at our hotel in the afternoon of Thursday September 15 to drive us northwest to Lake Louise by the scenic route on Canada 1A. Our first stop was the viewpoint overlooking the iconic Moran’s Curve on the Canadian Pacific Railway (Yay! Trains figured into the day trip anyway!) Do a search for roadside pictures of Canada and you are bound to see this. The picture for January on my Canadian wall calendar is of this same sight.

Iconic View from Moran’s Curve heading to Lake Louise. Literally one minute after we got in the car to go we heard a train heading up the grade here! Aaargh!

We tried to get a picture of the four of us at the viewpoint but in each photo one of us is talking or looking another way. We are pretty undirectable I guess.

You can see that glacier flour in the Bow River that turns the river blue. We got back in the car and drove toward Lake Louise when we heard a train horn; DANGIT! It was too late to turn back, park, and scramble down to the viewpoint for a picture. I need to get back here in the next few years for train pictures.

Lake Louise is absolutely as beautiful as you’ve heard. We were fortunate enough to stay at the Fairmont Château on the east end of the Lake. Here is the view from the walkway behind the lodge.

Lake Louise from the Fairmont Château.

How about a panorama.

Lake Louise Panorama

Just look at that blue water.

We had a couple of hours to kill before our rooms were ready so we figured we could enjoy the view with some adult beverages on the veranda.

Coffee drink at the Lake Louise Lodge

Yes, I do know how lucky I am.

After resting in our rooms for a bit we met the Mattilas for (more) drinks, and dinner. I had the stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer.

Mushroom appetizer at the Lake Louise Lodge. It was as delicious as it looks

We just had an overnight stay and had a busy day ahead of us. But it was clearer (and colder) in the morning so I rushed out to get one more picture of the lake before boarding our tour bus to Jasper. I love that early morning light and the reflection.

Catching the early morning light at Lake Louise

We headed up to a glacier coming down from the Columbia Ice Field. Our tour bus dropped us off with a new guide at the visitor center where another bus which took us across the highway to the jumping off point for these large glacier Ice Explorer vehicles. It was a steep, bumpy ride; I wouldn’t trust my Subaru to make the trip out on the glacier.

The Ice Explorer that took us up to the glacier.

The view from the glacier was -like most everything else this day – was amazing.

Columbia Ice Field. Alberta, Canada

This picture is taken looking into the sun so the people are mostly in shadow; but I hope you can still get an idea of the view.

Columbia Ice Field. Alberta, Canada

The walking was a little dicey. It was cold, but not cold enough for snow; just a bit of rain. The rain mixed with the ice made for a very slippery walk. The four of us wished we brought our walking sticks. But we managed. In the next picture you can see Jim and Terri stepping gingerly across a little rivulet of water on the way back to the ice explorer.

A closer view of the $1M ice explorer. It had rained earlier in the day and the glacier was SOOOO slippery.

It all looked enormous from our viewpoint; but it is a small part of the ice field. Here is a Google Maps view.

Clip from Google Maps showing our location on the ice field. Click here to see it in Google Maps

We got back onboard without falling! Back on the tour bus we had a short drive to another stop at the Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint. The walkway features a walkway suspended over the valley.

Close up of Carla, Terri, and Jim on the Bridge over the valley near the Columbia Ice Fields

Why are Carla, Terri, and Jim all holding on so tightly?

Bridge over the valley near the Columbia Ice Fields

A portion of the walkway has a transparent floor which is a little scary.

Our last stop before Jasper was Athabasca Falls. Breathtaking.

Athabasca Falls, Alberta Canada

We were dropped off at our hotel in Jasper where we settled in for the night. I don’t have pictures from dinner or the rest of the evening; maybe Carla, Jim, or Terri will add a comment for us.

The next day we boarded “The Canadian” VIA Rail train for the three night trip to Toronto. More on that -including our late departure – in the next post.

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