Canadian Rockies Road Trip

Yoho National Park, and more

That was all for our adventures in Banff National Park. The next day we drove west past Lake Louise and back into British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. Yoho is located on the western slopes of the Rockies, so there is more majestic mountains to be seen. The weather was again not that great, and we saw some heavy rain early in the morning, but fortunately the rains stopped or were really light when we got to the places we wanted to see.

Takakkaw Falls
Takakkaw Falls is magnificent alright.

We stuck to attractions that we could drive to and didn’t require a long hike. First, we stopped by Takakkaw Falls, which at 384m tall in total, is billed as one of the tallest falls in Canada. The name of the waterfall means “magnificent” in Cree, and it is an impressive looking waterfall with a powerful stream of water falling down. There is a short trail that leads to the base of the waterfall, and further out there are two red Adirondack chairs that people can see on and look at the falls from afar.

The other easily accessible point of interest in Yoho National Park is Emerald Lake. On the road to the lake there is a Natural Bridge, which is a rock formation that forms a bridge over the Kicking Horse River. It is a pretty neat formation and worth the stop for the photo.

Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge before Emerald Lake

After the stop at Natural Bridge, we reached Emerald Lake. It is another gorgeous alpine lake in the Canadian Rockies. While the skies weren’t bright and blue that day, there wasn’t a lot of wind, and this allowed for some nearly perfect reflections on the lake surface. Emerald Lake is also different from the other lakes we visited in that there is a trail that goes completely around the lake. After a picnic under this picturesque setting, we took that 5 km hike around the lake and saw Emerald Lake from all the different directions. The trail on the left of the lake is paved and easy walking, but on the right side of the lake the trail is inside the forest and a little more rugged. The contrast makes the otherwise flat trail more interesting.

Emerald Lake
Look at that reflection… (Click to Enlarge)

We then left Yoho National Park and continued driving west, passing through Glacier National Park (not to be confused with the one in Montana) and Mount Revelstoke National Park. Glacier is mostly a hiking park, and we didn’t have that much time on our hands to hike to see the glaciers. We only stopped by the Rogers Pass National History Site, which commemorates the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Trans-Canada Highway through the mountain pass.

Rogers Pass Centre
Exhibits at the Rogers Pass visitor center

Due to time constraints, we also didn’t do much in Mount Revelstoke NP. We took a quick 15 minute walk on the Giant Cedars boardwalk in some old growth forest, and that was about it. We arrived in the city of Revelstoke too late to drive up to the summit of Mount Revelstoke, so we just kept going.

Giant Cedar boardwalk
Short stroll through the forest on the Giant Cedar boardwalk

Kelowna and the Okanagan

Kelowna City Park
Kelowna lake side.

On the last day of our trip, we stopped by Kelowna to take a look at the Okanagan Valley and visit some of the wineries that operate in this region. The Okanagan Valley looks quite different from the Rockies, mainly because of the climate is different. The hot and dry summers give the landscape a different look, and also makes the valley one of Canada’s largest wine regions. Okanagan Valley a beautiful region in its own right, and the weather was fantastic when we got to Kelowna.

Quail's Gate Winery
The vineyards of Quail’s Gate lies right beside Lake Okanagan

We visited three well-known wineries in the region: Summerhill Pyramid, Quail’s Gate, and Mission Hill. All of these wineries have vineyards, restaurants and tasting rooms that have a view of Lake Okanagan. The winery facilities are also pretty upscale, especially Mission Hill which has a clock tower and a large courtyard among other things. It’s too bad that most of the tasting rooms were indoors, since sipping a glass a wine and enjoying the scenery would have been the dream. It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy our visit to the wineries though. Since my dad was driving that day, I was free to do the tastings. We even bought one or two bottles to bring home.

Mission Hill Winery
Mission Hill is the grandest looking winery I’ve been to.

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That is all for my family trip through the Canadian Rockies. It was an immensely enjoyable trip, and it’s always great when I get to go back to Vancouver and spend time with my family. In addition to this trip, I also had my fill of the world-class Chinese cuisine that Greater Vancouver offers. I wish I had more vacation time and could stay longer, but one has to work to pay the bills. There is always next time though. There are still so many cool place in Canada, the US, and actually the rest of world that I want to visit. Stay tuned for more travel adventures :lol: .

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