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When you search “Canada” on Google Images, this view (cover photo) of Moraine Lake is one of the first results. To celebrate Canada Day, we grudgingly got out of bed at 4am in order to experience this iconic Canadian symbol at sunrise.
The parking lot at Moraine Lake was no different from its Pacific Mall compatriot – hazardous to the car, the mind, and the body. The time is 5:40am. Had we arrived 15 minutes earlier, an actual parking spot would have been possible. Anyhow we parked illegally on the shoulder, just like everyone else, ignoring the array of “No Parking - Tow Away” signage that neatly lineup the road.
It was a calculated risk, but the rewards were worth it.
We dipped out of Moraine Lake just as the park staff were beginning their workday. The clue? When you start seeing high-vis jackets roaming around the parking lot, it’s time to GTFO ASAP.
Only a 15 minute drive away is Lake Louise. The views are not as amazing but parking situation was magnitudes better. We took a quick walk around Lake Louise and headed back to the lodge for breakfast.
Escaping to Kootenay
After being sufficiently overwhelmed by Moraine Lake parking lot, we decided to go off the beaten path. Marble Canyon, a normally popular spot, is inaccessible by car due to parking lot repairs. As a result, only those who are committed enough to walk the 3km trail to reach Marble Canyon may enjoy its beauty.
To get to Marble Canyon, we must first walk through the Paint Pots. The ochre bed is resulted from rich mineral soil and can be used as paint pigments. Although the glimmer of orange colours under the sun is pretty attractive, you definitely don’t want to get too close and fall into a bed of wet clay.
Arriving at Marble Canyon, there was not a soul in sight – a much needed reprieve from Moraine Lake. I could take my sweet time staring at the sights, read the educational geological information boards, and just in general relax.
The views were gorgeous too.
Town of Banff
We ended the day going around the town itself, which has a totally different vibe than Jasper. To start, it’s too busy. It was not very conducive for spending large amounts of time sadly.
The solution was to eat something quickly then leave the town to catch some views with the remaining daylight.
And so it concludes a short trip to Alberta. Definitely lots of reasons to come back – but maybe not over Canada Day long weekend.