A-Z Travels: R is for Rocky Mountains: Winter V Summer

When you think of Canada you think of the Rocky Mountains, the outstanding mountain range is the crowning jewel of Canada. Even before arriving in the country I knew that I wanted to explore the snowy capped mountains and crystal clear turquoise lakes. Therefore, we started our two-year adventure in Calgary. The city has all the advantages of the city, but you can still get to the mountains within an hour.

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Rocky Mountain Facts

The Rocky Mountains stretch through the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta and the US states of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.

Most of the mountain range has been protected by National Park status which make them popular for hiking, biking, skiing and snowboarding.

The Rockies are home to an abundance of wildlife such as bears, moose, elk, deer and bison.

The range stretches over 3000 miles.

Matt and I have been fortunate enough to experience the Rockies through a variety of seasons. We arrived in winter and were able to make several day trips to Kananaskis Country before completing a road-trip through Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper during spring. It was during this time that we fell in love with the area. The sound of nothing but snow crunching beneath your feet as you walk through a forest of snow covered trees to a frozen lake or waterfall is truly one the best feelings.

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Even after venturing through British Columbia and over to the Maritimes the  Albertan Rockies have always been calling. Luckily, Matt and I, have been able to return to Calgary for the summer where we will be able to explore the mountain range through to autumn/fall.

We are trying to get back to the places we visited before to be able to see the difference between now and then. Between frozen and snowy and hot and green! The palette of Calgary during our first stay was white, grey and brown but now it is so green it hardly looks like the same place.

So, this week I’d thought I’d share a few now and then pictures for some of the locations we’ve managed to revisit already.

Johnston Canyon

This was one of my favourite hikes during Spring as the waterfalls were spectacular when frozen. However, it was super icy and if you do head there during winter/spring I would recommend ice cleats and poles.

During summer the trail is incredibly busy. Matt and I hit the trail mid-week before 10am and we only just managed to get a parking space in the overflow parking lot. It was crazy. Due to this the trail was slightly less enjoyable. In parts it can be quite narrow and with lots of people fighting to get through it can take a bit of time. There were even line ups to view the waterfalls!

However, it was still a great trail. This time around I didn’t slip on ice which I was grateful for as there would have been far more witnesses this time around. We were also able to extend our hike up to the Ink Pots to make it an 11km roundtrip.

Morants Curve

Not a hiking trail but a great roadside spot for a beautiful picture. If you pull over just once on the Bow Valley Parkway, then this is the spot to do it. You’ll get a snap of a quintessential rocky mountain scene of mountains, railways and blue waters. Just look at how GREEN it is!!!

Canmore

The town of Canmore is one of the first places you’ll get to on your way out of the city and it is beautiful. We passed through on our first trip but managed to hike the stunning Grassi Lakes and hope to attempt one of the Three Sisters peaks before we leave.

Drumheller

Whilst Drumheller is not in the Rocky Mountains I thought I’d include it in the now and then section as when we first visited we were in near white out conditions and when we returned last week it was outrageously hot!

 

When is best to visit?

Maybe controversially Matt and I both commented that we were glad to have visited during the winter and spring. Unsurprisingly, the Rockies are busy during the peak summer months. But for both of us this did take away from the experience a little bit. Not only was it more crowded but we found ourselves becoming infuriated by the naivety of fellow visitors. For instance, we saw at least five people actively following a bear cub. If it’s a cub there is going to to be Momma bear not too far away and I am not up for that fight! Another time we saw people climbing over the wet rocks at the top of a waterfall. This just days after three hikers died doing the same thing in British Columbia. Whilst we are going to continue to explore the area we will be rising early to avoid the crowds!

However, no matter how many people are there, the mountains are still the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. You have to weigh up your options and see what is best for you. If you don’t like crowds but don’t like minus temperatures I’d recommend Spring. If you love winter sports than head there when the snow is plentiful.

For more tips of travelling the Rockies check out:

Top tips for Spring travel

Banff: When should I visit?

Thank you again for joining me for A-Z Travels. The next instalment will be in two weeks’ time and will be S for Sports. Happy Travels 🙂

26 thoughts on “A-Z Travels: R is for Rocky Mountains: Winter V Summer

  1. bordersandbucketlists says:

    All of these places look absolutely stunning! I love the Rocky Mountains, and I can’t wait to see them again in a month.

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  2. Tazim says:

    I grew up in Calgary, so was fortunate to visit the Rocky Mountains throughout all the seasons! It’s so beautiful and there’s so much to do anytime of year!

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  3. MC Adventure Blog says:

    Such beautiful photos and varied scenery. We also grumble when there are too many tourists and try to go to more unusual places to miss the crowds but sometimes there is no getting away from it!

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    • airmailadventures says:

      It’s not so much the volume of tourists, its more that I see so many disregarding the rules of the trails and putting themselves in danger, for example, going onto slippery waterfalls or towards wildlife! But it does encourage us to find more unusual places for sure! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. lifespassionalltheway says:

    Although I prefer summer weather any Day over winter, I still love seeing rocky mountains in winter. They do have a beautiful and unique look to them. What a lovely read. It made me actually think about what I like!

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  5. thetravellingsociologist says:

    I enjoyed reading your highlights and comparisons of your favourite places in the Rockies. The summer-spring/winter comparisons are great, and I can’t help agreeing with you about going in the cooler seasons – definitely more enjoyable due to the lack of crowds, and the cold doesn’t really detract from the full experience for me either. Thanks for sharing your perspectives and photos!

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  6. Alex Trembath says:

    Having spent several weeks in the Andes last year, the Rockies is now very high in my list of places to go! Always wanted to see both of these great mountain ranges of the world. Your article and photos are great for a bit of motivation! Really enjoying your A-Z series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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