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6 Epic Views in the Canadian Rockies

This summer, if you do nothing else, do a Western Canadian road trip to see these six epic views in the Canadian Rockies. These are my favourite stops and are only 4 to 5 hours from where I live. This road trip can be done in one week but I recommend taking a bit more time so you can explore more in each area, enjoy the food and stunning views, and search for wildlife to photograph.

I am sharing the top six amazing views in this article: the Golden Skybridge, Banff Gondola, Town of Banff, Lake Minnewanka, Columbia Icefield, and Sunwapta Valley. The drive from Golden, BC to Banff, Alberta is only one and a half hours, but give a bit more time as there is road construction along the way. From Banff to the Columbia Icefield, it is 2 hours and 15 minutes. Give yourself extra time to visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake for stunning lake photos. I recommend visiting early in the morning as the parking lots fill up quickly in the summertime. There are shuttles as well, so that’s always an option!

Update: Moraine Lake access is only available by shuttle and open from June to October. I highly recommend it with its turquoise colour and surrounded by the Valley of Ten Peaks.

There are many tours you can book that will get you to the most popular locations in Banff National Park.

Epic View #1 The Golden Skybridge

Golden Skybridge, Golden British Columbia Canada. Highest suspension bridges in Canada.

Canada’s highest suspension bridges…the Golden Skybridge by Pursuit Collection near Golden, BC, look over the Columbia Valley. These brand new suspension bridges, 426 ft above the canyon floor, just opened in June 2021, and the views are stunning. From here, you can see the Rocky and Purcell mountain ranges and listen to the crashing river and 200-foot waterfall thundering below. There’s a canyon swing for photo Insta-worthy photo ops and coming soon… a zipline!

If you choose to stay in Golden, there are accommodations. Ask me, and I’ll help you find the right one for your preferences. If you decide to stay in Golden, the best place for breakfast I can recommend is Big Bend Cafe — it’s just like eating at home! They have a great patio area for outdoor dining.

Epic View #2 Ride the Banff Gondola to the Top of Sulphur Mountain

Stunning views of six mountain ranges, the Bow Valley, and many rivers and lakes are your rewards when you ride the Banff Gondola at the top of Sulphur Mountain. A leisurely stroll along the boardwalk will take you to the Cosmic Ray Station and Sanson’s Peak. After your stroll, you must have lunch or dinner at Sky Bistro, and admire the views for longer. Of the two, I recommend dinner at a window table so you can enjoy the epic sunset. I had to include images of my meal below, the Beef Tartar is one recommended by Sky Bistro’s Chef Scott Hergott…thanks for the advice, it was amazing!

Banff Gondola, Sulphur Mountain, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canadian Rockies

Epic View #3 Town of Banff

I had to sneak in this view from the Mount Norquay Lookout. We stopped to see this great view while on an Open Top Tour in a replica vintage 1930s coach. You can read more about this new and fun tour on my other post.

Town of Banff from Mt Norquay

Epic View #4 Lake Minnewanka

“Water of the Spirits” in the Nakoda language is a glacial lake only a 15-minute drive from downtown Banff. The best way to see the lake is by boat cruise, but you can also hike and mountain bike the trails along its northern shores.

Epic View #5 Columbia Icefield at Athabasca Glacier

For something completely different than the aqua lakes, I recommend visiting the Columbia Icefield for an adventure of a lifetime. Where else can you walk on one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world? The ice explorers are slow-moving and take you up onto the icefield where you have the opportunity to walk around within specific areas marked for safety. Tip…wear waterproof boots in case you step in a soft section. It’s fairly cold! You can also bring a water bottle and fill it with clean, clear glacier water!

I recommend buying a package that includes the hotel Glacier View Lodge, Ice Explorer Tour, and the Skywalk.

I stayed up later than usual, left the curtains open in my hotel room and was rewarded with this epic moon view!

As part of my stay at Glacier View Lodge, I had dinner at Altitude, where I had a stunning view of the glacier. Executive Chef Terry Port creates exceptional dishes that are just as delicious as they are visually stunning. Below are the BC Kuterra Salmon Gravlax “Tartar” and Braised Alberta Beef Short Rib.

Epic View #6 Sunwapta Valley from the Glacier Skywalk

The views from the Glacier Skywalk of the Sunwapta Valley are simply stunning. The 1 km walk along the cliff’s edge from the shuttle parking lot is presented in an interpretive storytelling format about the area’s history, waterfalls, wildlife, and fossils. You won’t even notice it’s 1 km.

Walking on the glass floor is completely safe. Our guide said that it’s amazingly strong — to put this into perspective, one square inch can hold 1000 lbs. Looking down as I walked, I could see the river and waterfalls 918 feet below.

Glacier Skywalk, Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Alberta

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