Earlier this month my grandparents requested to go on a road trip to the Canadian Rockies and eventually to Calgary. They’ve been to the Rockies a few times already but they insist to drive through the Rockies again because they never truly enjoyed the scenery on the road. Biggest reason is because they are old and they can’t drive themselves. Which left them no choice but join travel agencies. And we all know about travel agencies… Anyways, this is my second time traveling to the Rockies. I didn’t stay overnight in the National Park the last time I visit. Tour agencies (especially Chinese agencies) obviously won’t pay that much for you to stay in the National Park. They would always arrange accommodation in towns outside the area so it is much cheaper. Last time, I stayed in the town name Golden and I remember clearly cause we had to eat Chinese buffet. Not to offend anyone but if you live in Vancouver long enough, any Chinese food out of town is pretty much gross. A bit exaggerated but I’m sure a lot of people would agree that you won’t even dare to think about Chinese food when you’re traveling to a White town. Enough with the food. The perk of traveling on your own is pretty much everything. You choose where you live, what you eat, when to stop, when to move on, enough shopping time, enough relax time, choose where you want to walk around or skip, and just basically everything. Grandparents are both very happy about this trip. Especially grandpa who didn’t sleep the whole ride and kept commenting about the sceneries! Gooo grandpa! Amazing how a 80 year.
I can really go on forever about what happened during road trips but what I would like to share today is not what happened but what I experienced and would recommend. Obviously, there’s always those standard routines you would go and do cause everyone go and travel books said so. It’s not really worth your time reading me write something that is better explained through publish tour guide books.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK – PYRAMID LAKE
Pyramid lake is named after the mountain that looks like a golden pyramid when the sun shines bright on the scene. We didn’t have plans to go there at all but we accidentally drove up the road and found this wonderful gem. This location is right behind the town of Jasper. I doubt tour agencies would bring you to this location as it is right outside the Pyramid Lake Resort. Usually agencies would bring you to standard location like Lake Louise, town of Banff, Colombia Ice Field, etc. This location is absolutely stunning! Too bad it was pretty cloudy and the “pyramid” was covered up. But that reflection from that lake is priceless. I thought I was in heaven.
Oh and yes, we saw a elk on the way up to Pyramid Lake. Mother nature is just fascinating.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK – THE FAIRMONT LODGE
To be honest I would love to just go ahead and say I recommend you all stay at Pyramid Lake Resort cause the view is just unbeatable. However, I did not stay at there so I really can’t comment or recommend it. We stayed at the Fairmont Lodge and till now, I still have the struggle of deciding whether I like this stay or not. The lodge is like a village with different blocks of ranch style building that have 5-8 rooms. The main lobby (building) also only have 5-10 rooms. The remaining of the space is just recreational facilities like the swimming pool, the restaurants, or the ballrooms (function rooms). The outdoor pool that is connected to the indoor pool is just lovely to swim in with that view right outside of the main lobby. The only problem is there’s only a few building blocks that would have such beautiful view. Unless you are planning to rent the cabins which could cost up to 2k a night. The rooms that we got was a bit further away from the main lobby and there was absolutely no view at all. The room didn’t look like a room you expect to see from Fairmont. It’s almost like Best Western or Travelodge kind of room. Disappointing but the area is beautiful and relaxing.
If you’re out traveling, you wouldn’t want to stay in the hotel room anyways. That’s probably why I still recommend it because the area is stunning. You might argue or think it’s silly for me to say that cause as long as you’re in Jasper National Park, everywhere you stay would be stunning. But no. If you decided to stay in places like the Marriott, you will never have the same experience cause it is in the town of Jasper where there’s just road, shops, and restaurants. At least when I walk out of my room, I know there’s a lake within 5 minutes away and I can just sit by the lake with a cup of coffee and a book to read. Just kidding, I don’t read.
JASPER NATIONAL PARK – COLUMBIA ICEFIELD
Yes. This is for sure a must stop location whenever you visit Jasper National Park. I’ve been there before so we didn’t go up there this time. Just stop for pictures. What I’m recommending is not the obvious tourist stop. I just want to mention it because right before you drive to the visiting centre, the back of this Columbia Icefield is also stunning.
The best part of traveling with out tour agencies is that we get to stop whenever we wanted to. Isn’t it beautiful? Adding on to that, I do not recommend you spend money to take the sky tram or the walker. If you keep your eyes open on the road, you basically see everything and be satisfied about it. Really no point paying that much for a minute of walk that doesn’t get you closer to any of the mountains. The National Park does a great job of providing view points along the way. It is more than enough.
No. We did not stop at Banff or Lake Louise. To be honest, just look out of your window at all times. Everywhere in the National Park is stunning. Even if its just trees and roads, you’ll still see the Rockies everywhere you go. I didn’t know how to appreciate this wonderful scenery a few years ago when I traveled with a tour agency. I still remember clearly I was basically sleeping on the bus until they stop for bathroom breaks or standard location for pictures. I must admit I missed out a lot.
If you want to know about the food I enjoyed inside Jasper National Park, visit Pug Life Confession. I will have posts up soon.
PS: No photos are edited in this post. That’s just how beautiful it is.