Hootenay NP, Banff NP, Yoho NP, and Jasper NP (Canada)
May 12 to May 16, 2008

State and National Parks and Monuments Visited:

Kootenay National Park (British Columbia)
Banff National Park (Alberta)
Yoho National Park (British Columbia)
Jasper National Park (Alberta)

Koontenay National Park, Banff National Park, Yoho National Park, and Jasper National Park are all right next to each other. And each one is spectacular!

As we made plans to go to Banff and Jasper National Parks, the shortest route for us was through Kootenay National Park. We had never been aware of Kootenay, we had never gone through it, and almost immediately we feel in love with it. Our first stop within the park was at the historic Radium Hot Springs.They are hot, they don't smell of sulphur, and we enjoyed just soaking for an hour! And then we started the almost steady climb up through Kootenay to the Continental Divide---which also is the border between Hootenay NP and Banff NP. ON the way, we hiked through Marble Canyon and up to the Paint Pots.

Kootenay National Park
Near the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park
Part of Johnson Canyon in Banff National Park
Part of Johnson Canyon in Banff National Park

Once we got to Banff, we headed for the Lake Louise of the few campgrounds opened already...where we stayed for four nights.

The first day we drove to the village of Banff by taking the Bow Valley Parkway. And on the way, we stopped at and hiked Johnson Canyon ....a beautiful canyon with a number of falls! Eventually we got to Banff where we went to the village, explored the town, the environs, and the historic hot springs. And while we were exploring the Lodge in Banff and its golf course, we saw our first elks and wolf!

Banff  Elks
Elk Members of the Banff Golf Club
Wolfs in Banff
A Wolf Member of the Banff Golf Club

The next day we tried to ride our bikes up the 5.3 km hill to Lake Louise, but the hill beat us, and so we coasted back to the campground and our car! With the car, we got up the hill, and it was just as beautiful as we had remembered from our visit there over thirty years ago! And On our last full day in the Lake Louise area, we drove through Yoho National Park from one end to the other.

Lake Louise
Lake Louise in Banff NP

Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Bruce and Sara at Lake Louise

After our day in Yoho, we headed north to the Jasper NP. First stop was at the very beginning of the park where the Icefield Center is located. The Icefield Center is at the "toe" of the Athabascan Glacier ---one of several glaciers that descend down from the huge Columbia Icefield. Pretending we were tourist for a few hours, we went up the glacier on the "Brewster Ice Explorer"---a huge six wheeled monster that climbs up to the top of the Athabascan Glacier. It was exciting and it was awesome, but seeing the glacier now and comparing it to when we saw it in 1976 was kind of sad. Like most of the glaciers in the world, it is shrinking, and the rate at which is has been changing is accelerating.

A typical horizon on the Icefield Parkway
The Athabascan Glacier--or what's left of it

From the icefields area, we drove to the Athabascan Falls....where we ended up spending the night in the parking lot. It wasn't an official campsite, but we were tired of driving and it was quiet. And we were all alone until around 1 AM when another "camper" decided to set up camp in the parking lot. Then on Saturday, we went to the village of Jasper and its museum.

The river right after the falls
The river right after the falls

In the end, it's hard trying to describe Kootenay, Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks. Each one is spectacular!And the combined effect of seeing all of them is overwhelming!

Simply stated....they are beautiful! You don't know when to stop taking pictures and so you just keep taking them, you keep thinking you've seen the best, and then another awesome view appears, and you find yourself saying again and again and again,"Wow....look at that!" For so many reasons, these parks capture the best of the Canadian Rockies, and they are the jewells of the Parks Canada system.....and it's one of those special places everyone should try to visit someday!

A typical view of Jasper NP
from along the Icefields Parkway

Bruce and Sara--Travels in 2008 (Opening Page)

Jan to April 2008---The SAM Shortline in Cordele, GA

April 1st to April 13, 2008---Driving from GA to Big Bend NP, TX

April 14 to April 23, 2008---Driving from Carlsbad Caverns NP to Mesa Verde NP

April 24 to May 4, 2008---Snow in Yellowstone, a Change in Plans, and a Detour to Zion NP

May 4 to May 11, 2008---From Zion NP to Salt Lake City and Glacier, and then to Canada

May 12 to May 16, 2008---Kootenay, Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks Yoho)

May 16 to May 25, 2008---The Alaskan Highway---From Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Skagway, Alaska

May 25 to June 7, 2008---Southeast Alaska--Skagway, Sitka, Juneau, and Haines

June 8 to June 21, 2008---Haines Junction, Fairbanks, and Denali

June 22 to July 4, 2008---The Kenai Peninsula: Portgage, Seward, and Homer

July 5 to July 22, 2008---Whittier, Anchorage, Palmer, Valdez Prince William Sound and Wrangell-St. Elias NP

July 23 to July 28, 2008---Driving Down the Cassier Highay: Steward and Hyder

July 29 to August 14, 2008---Driving Home after 13,600 Miles

If you want to write to or contact Bruce and Sara, their email addresses are: and/or

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