Canadian Rockies National Parks 10 Jaw Dropping Photos

 

Have you ever seen pictures of some magical destination online (Instagram, Pinterest) and thought to yourself, there is no way those colors are real. Experience ancient glaciers, waterfalls, dramatic rock formations, and emerald lakes as you road trip through the Canadian Rockies into the National Parks. The colors are bright, vibrant and unbelievably breathtaking. The drive would take us through 3 jaw dropping national parks. Sure I knew they would be gorgeous, but was the water really THAT blue? I found out the answer during a week long summer road trip along the Icefields Pathway through Jasper, Banff, & Yoho National Parks.

If Canada wasn’t on your bucket list before- it will be after these 10 photos!

1. Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada

Peyto Lake is a glacier fed lake in Banff National Park. The lake is easily accessed from the Icefields Parkway, but with just a short hike up a trail you can reach this breathtaking view.

2. Sulfer Skyline

Sulfer Skyline summit Jasper national park

Sulphur Skyline is a 7.7 kilometer moderate out and back trail in Jasper National Park. The trailhead hosts the parks hot springs (and and ice-cream shop) so bring a suit and relax your muscles after the long hike up!

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3. Emerald Lake

emerald lake yoho National park

Located in Yoho National Park, British Colombia. Emerald lake is the largest in the park. Canoe’s are available for rent out on the absolutely beautiful glacial-fed lake with vibrant turquoise colored water.

4. 4th Lake

Fourth Lake in Yoho National Park, British Colombia Canada

In Jasper National Park there is a 4.5 kilometer trail called Valley of the Five Lakes. The Loop is rated as moderate and is dotted with 5 lakes and breathtaking mountain views. The trail is primarily used for hiking, and is best used from March until October.

5. Moraine Lake with Canadian Rockies

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada

This iconic jaw-dropping shade of turquoise is sure to leave a lasting impression. The waters are the most amazing color, and set in the Valley of Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, Alberta. The lake is great for kayaking, hiking or picnicking as it is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock piles. 

6. Ice-fields Parkway Canadian Rockies National Parks

ice fields parkway Alberta Canada  Canadian rockies national parks

The Icefields Pathway is unlike any other.  The stretch of road is an adventure itself as it takes you through the Canadian rockies national parks. The road goes from Jasper down to Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta. Along the drive you’ll see more than 100 ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls, dramatic rock formations, and crystal clear emerald lakes. All surrounded by sweeping valleys of thick pine and rich forests.

7. Lake Louise Adventure

lake Louise Banff Canadian rockies national parks

Perhaps one of the most crowded lakes in Banff National Park- Lake Louise is known for its turquoise, glacier-fed lake ringed by high peaks. Hiking trails wind up to the Lake Agnes Tea House giving hikers a bird’s-eye view of the lake. You can also rent canoes in summer, or skate on a frozen glacier lake skating rink in winter. The lake also has a ski resort and gondola, making this a year round attraction in the park.

8. 2nd Lake Hike

2nd lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada

9. Yoho National Park

Yoho national park emerald lake

The least visited of the 3 Canadian rockies national parks is Yoho. The park should not be overlooked by its more famous siblings Banff & Jasper. This park has tons of adventure opportunities with more than 61 lakes just a jaw dropping as this- I wish we had planned more time in Yoho and less in Banff. Yoho was half as crowded in the busy summer season of July.

10. Jasper National Park

jasper national park lake

Jasper National Park has so much to offer it’s visitors. From rock climbing, to white water rafting- this is an adventurers dream park. Check out my Adventurers Guide to Jasper National Park HERE for more info!

Adventurers Guide to Jasper National Park
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Big Sky Montana Winter Adventure Guide

Big Sky Montana Snow Covered Trees

Big Sky is a community within the Rocky Mountains of southern Montana. Located halfway between Yellowstone & the city of Bozeman. The area has no local government (which is why it is considered a “community” not a town- neat, right?), so the community is primarily supported by locals and tourism. Big Sky is known for it’s incredible mountains and ski slopes. Hike to frozen waterfalls, snow shoe up a mountain, or take a sleigh ride. Big Sky Montana has something for everyone in this winter adventure guide!

Drone Shot Big Sky Montana

Big Sky is home to epic ski resorts, a historic dude ranch, and incredible outdoor adventures. All bringing plenty of excitement to this friendly community year round.

Winter Snow Covered Cabin Montana

This winter I set out to explore the community and its surrounding area with some girlfriends. We spent the perfect winter weekend exploring the high summits and beautiful surrounding nature. Here’s my tips and recommendations for the perfect Big Sky Montana winter adventure!

Getting to Big Sky Montana

Plane window at sunset

The nearest airport to Big Sky Montana is Bozeman Yellowstone International airport (BZN). The quaint airport is warm and welcoming with beautiful stone fireplaces and wood accents throughout the halls.

Get Cozy after Adventures

AirBnb Condo Fireplace Montana

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This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission for referring you. This comes at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I have personally used + loved.

Another AirBnb for the win for Big Sky. Our condo was super cozy with a warm stone fireplace in the group gathering area. The condo was in an alpine valley surrounded by rivers and panoramic mountain views named the “Meadow” area of Big Sky.

Big Sky Montana Winter Adventures

Drone Shot Big Sky Montana

Snowboard Big Sky!

Snowshoe Frozen Ousel Falls

Snow Shoeing Big Sky Montana
Montana Snow Pile

Snow Shoe Big Sky Ski Slopes

snow shoe big sky Montana

Winter Adventure to Frozen Waterfalls

Frozen Waterfall rock wall

If you run out of water, just eat icicles like Lenka.

Eat icicles frozen waterfall

Callatin National Forest Montana

Callatin National Forest in Winter

Winter Horse Sleigh Ride 


Go Sledding

Snow Shoe Bridge Big Sky Montana Winter
Snow Shoe Bridge Big Sky Montana Winter

10 Gifts Every Traveler Needs

It’s that time of year again! I keep getting the “what do you want for the holidays?” question from my family and Logan. Which inspired me to put together some Gift Lists for Travelers! If you’re at a loss for what to get the traveler in your life- look no further!

Here are 10 Gifts Every Traveler Needs!

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Away Carry On

Meet the perfect carry-on! Seriously, it’s unbreakable, designed for travels, and guaranteed for life. I’ve had several bags over the years that have broken or ripped. I hope for this to be my last carry-on I ever purchase. Months later- I adore everything about my Away carry-on, from it’s amazing storage compartments to the ejectable TSA-approved (safe to fly) battery; this Away carry-on is a gift any type of traveler would appreciate. Click HERE to get $20 off any suitcase or bag!

Away Everywhere Bag

The best addition for any carry-on? The Away everywhere bag with laptop pouch. Its thoughtful design impressed me with features that keep what you need at hand. The bag attaches efficiently onto your suitcase, making your airport travels effortless. I ordered mine originally to use as a “travel-laptop-under my seat bag”. I used it on one trip and it instantly became my everywhere bag. Click HERE to get $20 off any suitcase or bag!

Away Dopp Kit

This little gem is designed to keep your toiletries organized and contained to eliminate spills.

Packing Cubes

Perhaps the most genius travel invention ever. These will change the way you travel forever. The cubes keep your clothes separated, keep your bag organized, and make packing things up fast and efficient.

DJI Mavic Air

Give the ultraportable Mavic Air drone to open doors to a new world. Exploring the world from a limitless aerial view perspective has never been easier. The drone is installed with a 3-axis gimbal & 4k camera with up to 21 minute flight time.

GoPro Hero 7

Never miss an action shot again. This small compact adventure camera is great for any traveler, and takes up minimal packing space.

Travel Voucher

A gift card or travel voucher to any major airline or hotel chain is always a great gift for any traveler. Flights and accomodations are the largest expenses when traveling- a travel voucher of any sort will be appreciated by a lover of travel. Plus, it gives us an excuse to do what we love, and to plan another trip!

Solar Powered Charger

There is nothing worse than a dead electronic when you need it the most. A phone, a camera, navigation, music- whatever it may be, keep it going no matter where you’re at with a solar powered charging unit!

Travel Shoes

Finding the perfect pair of shoes to travel in can sometimes be a challenge. Especially when you are flying from one extreme climate to the next (tropical to snow). Prepare for any situation with All Bird’s wool shoe that’s naturally soft, cozy all over, and fits your every move.

Waterproof DSLR Camera Case

Part of traveling is experiencing the unexpected- prepare any traveler for any experience with this waterproof camera case. Protect expensive gear to save money in the long run.

What’s on your holiday list? Leave a comment!

For more Gift Ideas- check out my post on 13 Unique Eco Friendly Gifts For Travelers!

13 Eco Friendly Gifts for Travelers

The Perfect Weekend Camping in Michigan’s UP Eastern Region

The U.S. state of Michigan is made up of two major peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula (UP), is the northern of the two. My favorite time to visit the UP is the fall season, when the trees are bursting with bright colors. A year ago, my boyfriend Logan and I went camping in the eastern region of the UP.

Lake Superior Fall Colors

It was the end of the season in late October, we had JUST made it to see the fall colors. It was the last weekend the campground was open, and we were the only ones crazy enough to be camping there.

Find out why, in this edition of THE PERFECT WEEKEND featuring Michigan’s UP Eastern Region!

Tahquamenon Falls Michigan

Where To Camp

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

We camped directly on Lake Superior at Brimley State Park, one of the oldest parks in the UP. In typical Logan/Chelsea fashion we arrived at our campsite in the dark. Setting up at night was never a concern of mine, in fact I kind of like it… waking up in a new place, really seeing it for the first time that morning. It’s like a surprise, or a present waiting to be unwrapped.

Lake Superior

Our gift the first morning was waking up to a snow-covered tent… in October. Really neither of us were surprised…welcome to The UP. 

Brimley State Park

Take a Drive

Tunnel of Trees Michigan

Freezing and in desperate need of caffeine we went in search of coffee. We fueled up and hit the road, enjoying the views as we sipped our way back to warmth.

Michigan Fall Colors

Pro Tip: Take the scenic route along W Lakeshore Dr on your way to Tahquamenon Falls. This route will take you along Whitefish Bay giving you gorgeous lake views and the opportunity to see a lighthouse! 

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Just a short 15 minute drive from Brimley, this historic lighthouse is worth the stop. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic back in 1975. Its name meaning “Place of Iroquois Bones” derived from a battle fought back in 1662 by local Native American’s of the Chippewa and Iroquois. The lighthouse was closed for the season so we couldn’t climb the tower but we were able to explore the grounds.

Logan Fall Colors

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Tahquamenon Falls

Located in Paradise, Michigan- this state park is one you won’t want to miss. Experience one of the largest waterfalls this side of the Mississippi- Tahquamenon Falls. It’s beautiful rust colored falls are caused from leached tannins of the cedar swamps which the river drains. Explore the park, and stop into the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub for some local made beer!

Go on a Hike

Prayer of the Woods

There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the eastern region of the UP. Hiking in the fall is my ideal hiking conditions- beautiful fall colors, crisp air, lower temperatures.

Trailhead

UP NEXT: What to do in Michigan’s UP Central Region!

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Lake Michigan touches four US states- Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Around 12 million people reside on this magnificent great lake. It’s crystal clear turquoise waters are lined with 275,000 acres of sand dunes, making it the largest freshwater dune system in the world! Lake Michigan has so many beaches it’s often referred to as “The Third Coast” of the United States. In my completely unbiased opinion, it’s the best of the coasts. The fresh water lake comes shark and salt free!

Lake Michigan South Haven Beach

This past weekend Logan and I explored a new part of Michigan with his family, complete with fur babies and adorable nephews. We headed to the west coast over to Warren Dunes State Park where we camped for the weekend. The west side of the state is so beautiful, and just a short drive from Detroit or Chicago.

Where to Camp

Warren Dunes State Park Pet Friendly beach

As if setting up in the dark isn’t bad enough, it started to monsoon type rain as soon as we pulled into our campsite (and every weekend we camp, ever). Once again Logan and I questioned if tent camping was still our best option. We’ve been debating all summer if we should bite the bullet and buy a used camper to keep us dry on the rainy weekends (all in favor, say “i”). There are state campgrounds all up the coastline, here’s some of my favorites I’ve camped at along Lake Michigan.

Drone shot of Lake Michigan colors

Warren Dunes State Park: Three miles of rare PET FRIENDLY shoreline along gorgeous Lake Michigan. The park also includes around six miles of hiking trails through forest and sand dunes. Modern & rustic sites available.

Ludington State Park: My favorite Michigan state park has everything- a lighthouse, hiking trails, lakes, sand dunes, dense forest, adventure activities and so much more. This is a must visit park! Check out my post on 5 Reason’s to Love Ludington. Modern & rustic sites.

Leelanau State Park: Another park home to a magnificent lighthouse. The drive up the peninsula to Leelanau State Park takes you through Michigan’s wine country with water views on both sides. Rustic campground.

Wilderness State Park: This park is a night photographers dream spot, as it’s just a few minutes’ drive from Headlands International Dark Sky Park. Modern & rustic sites.

Lighthouse Hunting

Lighthouse hunting on Lake Michigan

Take a drive along the coast and explore the waterfront towns while looking for lighthouses. The western coast of Michigan is dotted with around 35 lighthouses. Two of those reside side by side in the town of St. Joseph. It was about a 30 minute drive from our campground, 80 f degrees and the sun was shining. Perfect lighthouse hunting weather!

South Haven Lighthouse, Michigan

Each lighthouse is unique and has its own fascinating history, road tripping around the shorelines of Michigan you’re bound to run into a lighthouse or two.

St. Joseph North Pier

Saint Joseph Lighthouses, Michigan

South Haven South Pier

South Haven Lighthouse, Michigan   

Go for a Swim

Lake Michigan Swim

Like I mentioned earlier, Lake Michigan is a freshwater lake that comes salt and shark free. Immerse yourself in the crystal clear blue waters to cool down from the summer sun and Michigan humidity.

Search for Petoskey Stones

Petoskey stone, Michigan state stone

Searching for stones as you walk along the beach shore was a tradition growing up. If you were lucky, you would find a Petoskey stone- the Michigan state stone. The stones are unique to the Great Lakes, and can only be found along the shores of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

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The lake temperatures range from 60s in early summer to high 70s in late summer. The beach entrance at Warren Dunes State park has a sign showing the water temp each day so you can plan accordingly.

Relax on the Beach

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Pack a beach bag, your furry friend or adorable nephew, and a picnic lunch- then head to the beach. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can hike to the beach on one of the many trails that runs through Warren Dunes State Park.

Hike a Sand Dune

Sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan

Enjoy the world’s largest dune system, and go for a hike! At 400 ft the highest dune resides in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The dune formation pictured above was the largest at Warren Dunes State park. The dune rises 260 feet above the water with Lake Michigan views from the top.

Drink Local

three blondes brewery.jpg

We stopped at the local Three Blonde’s Brewing for lunch and a drink to cool down. Michigan’s west coast is crawling with local watering holes. Beer, Wine, Cider. We do them all impeccably well. The craft beer craze has swept through the state like wildfire, with hundreds of local breweries statewide. Just as Michigan has its own west coast, we have our own wine country, much of which resides on the beautiful Lake Michigan. You haven’t tasted anything like the sweet nectar Michigan’s cideries create. Cider is easily my beverage of choice, and I would highly recommend any produced locally, a few of my favorites include Blakes, JK Scrumpys, and Vandermill.

Treat Yourself

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After our boozy lunch we decided dessert was a must. Good thing icecream is yet another thing Michigan is awesome at. There was a local dairy farm mere seconds away from the brewery we ate lunch at. Sherman’s Dairy Bar didn’t disappoint. I had a hard time deciding between the yellow cake batter flavor and the birthday cake. With over 70 different flavors of homemade recipes featuring all the Michigan classics, can you blame me? (I went with yellow cake batter 😊)

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Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my post, you might also be interested in The Perfect Weekend in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!