Get a Fresh Perspective in the Canadian Rockies
Mountain landscapes that seem to embrace you, friendly locals who make you feel welcome, and a roster of unique outdoor activities for any skill level make Canada’s Banff/Lake Louise and Whistler regions legendary. The temperate weather of summer is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors here before winter sets in. So what are you waiting for?
Banff and Lake Louise are close in proximity, but vary in experiences. Banff is the mountain town where restaurants are plentiful, more amenities can be found, and there are activities to do once the sun goes down. Lake Louise, however, is all about nature. Here the lakes are a spectacular iridescent turquoise blue from glacial sediment. Combine a visit to each to experience the best of both worlds. Hiking is a must. From a gentle stroll to hiking to the top of an alpine trail, the choices are endless. If you challenge yourself with a more moderate climb to the historic tea houses, you will be rewarded with sweet treats and hot cups of tea at rustic cottages situated on the side of a mountain. Walk off the edge of a cliff, literally, on the Glacier Skywalk, a nerve-wracking glass-floored observation platform perched 918 feet above the Sunwapta Valley. The landscapes of Banff and Lake Louise are vast, so they can’t all be enjoyed on foot. From lake tours and gondolas to biking and canoeing, there are diverse ways for you to enjoy the scenery.
Exploring the great outdoors all day works up a hefty appetite. Enjoy Canada’s farm-to-table food specialties at The Bison. The aptly named restaurant features bison meat on much of its menu, along with organic and local ingredients and spectacular views of Rundle Mountain. Looking for a decidedly unique eatery? The Grizzly House won’t disappoint. Fondue and wild game are served up in the 1970s-era former disco nightclub, which still looks the same and plays music from the past (and, yes, there’s still a disco ball!).
Whistler is another active mountain community, perhaps best known for its skiing. Yet summer is a brilliant time to visit this western Canadian town. Tour from above in a floatplane for a unique perspective, or enjoy the nearly 25-mile Whistler Valley Trail that winds along lakes. As a venue for the 2010 Winter Olympics, there are plenty of adventure sports, including summer bobsleigh runs.
Après is a must in Whistler. Traditionally a time to refuel and refresh after skiing, après is now celebrated year-round. So sit back and rest your weary feet from hiking in the afternoon with a drink and light snack at bars and lounges that offer après menus. The BC Ale Trail is a local favorite, too, any time of the day. Summer is the only time to enjoy the Mountain Top BBQ Series. Journey to 6,000 feet in the Whistler Village Gondola to enjoy live music, mountain top views, and hearty BBQ and desserts for one incredible dinner.