Single girls’ guide to hiking Banff and Jasper.

Hi everyone! Long time no travel! It’s so weird being cooped up at home and unable to travel and once I heard the national parks were opening in Canada, I had to book myself a trip to the Rockies! Why? Coz that was the thing that made me fall in love with Canada. My first fly over to Canada was over the Rockies and I told myself I HAD to get my ass there. And ass there I did! Being a single female traveller on hikes may seem daunting at first but if you follow some basic rules, you’ll make it out alive and feel so good!

Rule number 1: tell family and friends where you’ll be hiking that day. Just 1 person is enough. As long as they know where you are and which trails you’re doing. Please always text them once you’re back so they know you’re safe and if not, they know to send a search crew for you. There isn’t reception on many of the trails so this is pretty essential in my opinion.

Rule number 2: take the roads more travelled. We are all tempted to try that amazing 10-14 hours and not so easy hike. I suggest not doing it alone and tag onto a group. Usually they’ll be ok if you follow behind them. In fact, I tagged along a group of 2 guys and a gal and they were so accommodating and nice and even made sure I was ok doing the rocks behind them. Yes I think still safer to follow a group with at least a girl so it’s not weird?

Rule number 3: bring enough food, water, money and a bear bell. You never know when you’ll be stuck and hungry or have a bear chasing you right?

So here are the hikes I did alone and felt safe.

Lake Louise

Lake Louise is just lovely. It’s an easy flat hike along the lake and I did it 2 times post dinner coz it’s just so easy and a good way to spend time as the sun set at 10pm when I was there in July. It’s crowded anytime of day so it’s so safe! The car park here is huge so you shouldn’t have a problem if you go there early or late.

Lake Agnes hike from lake Louise.

This hike is a must do if you love breakfast or tea at a beautiful lake at the tea house. Don’t be daunted by the steep hike. It’s gonna be worth it as after all the switchbacks, you’re gonna be so pleased you did it. The view at the top is really amazing. Oh! Eat a snack coz the hike is rather strenuous up! I had the banana cake and tuna sandwich as my reward at the tea house after my 1 hour hike up. Yum! From there, you can continue to the beehive hike or devils thumb. Start the hike from the fairmont hotel. Walk along the lake till you see the arrow up to the tea house.

Moraine lake

I LOVE Moraine lake. In fact I love it so much I did it twice. Once after dinner around the lake and up the rocks for the view. Second time up the rocks for breakfast and then consolation lake. And after my lunch, I went to Larch valley and Eiffel lake. So my full day there was really fun as that was the time I joined the group for the consolation lake hike and then when I was halfway up larch valley, it started raining and it didn’t stop. One thing I love about Canadians is, we’re so used to rain that we continue hiking. I wasn’t alone as there were many other couples and small groups hiking with me and we’re all friendly so we’ll just say hi and ask how long more, and is it worth it? The answer is always ‘not too far and yes it’s gorgeous up!’ And they’re not wrong. Larch valley was beautiful even when it’s hidden amongst clouds. There was still snow and it’s still lovely. I can only imagine how gorgeous it can be with all the mountains visible on a sunny day and the gorgeous smaller lakes around it.

Halfway down larch valley, there is the option to go to Eiffel lake or go back down to moraine lake. I did Eiffel of course as it was just 3pm and the sun sets late, and I was already halfway up, meaning already done all the altitude. Hike to Eiffel lake was pretty flat. However there were still snow covered bits that I had to walk along. I past by a couple half way and they were so kind to tell me I was the only one left on the trail. So after walking past my 4th snow patch, I decided to turn back instead of going all the way to Eiffel lake. I could see it but I just felt it was too dangerous to walk on the snow and alone as if I fell, no one would have possibly found me in this wilderness. So if you’re alone, maybe not venture this far. Go if you see hikers still in front of you. It’s a gorgeous hike though, even if I didn’t make it to the end.

In Banff, they still had a few trails closed so I managed to drive up tunnel mountain and did the hoodoo trail hike. It’s a gorgeous hike with a beautiful view of bow valley and it’s also a rather rays and well trafficked hike so no worries there at all.

I soo wanted to do the Johnson canyon as the photos looked beautiful but they closed the roads when I was there so I either had to hike 6km on the roads to the entrance or not. I chose not 🤣

I also did Yoho national park which is close to Lake Louise. Emerald lake and the Takakkaw falls was easy and full of fellow hikers so very safe and very easy hikes and so so gorgeous. Remember to stop by the spiralling tunnels and if you’re lucky enough like me you can admire the super long trains go in and out of the tunnels.

On route from Banff to Jasper, is stopped by the Athabasca glacier toe. It’s free! If you want you can also do the glacier walks. It actually snowed on me as I was driving on the Icefields parkway. Thankfully no ice but just drove carefully. It was raining and snowing the whole

Time I was driving but this Highway is the most scenic so I’m sure it’s gorgeous when there are no clouds covering the gorgeous mountains. This just means I’ll have to make a road trip up again when it’s sunnier. Perhaps in August.

I also stopped by the Athabasca falls and saw my first black bear. It was so adorable. Athabasca falls is not even a hike. It’s a walk in the amazing falls. I’m sure you can see rainbows if it’s sunny.

As i arrived at 2pm in Jasper, and I saw that the car park to the valley of the 5 lakes was rather crowded, I decided to do that hike. The rain has lessened and it was a gorgeous easy hike and there were many families and couples that I passed along the hike so it’s very safe. I did lake 1 to 5 but you can also choose the other direction as it’s a loop.

One of my favourite hikes in Jasper was the Edith Cavell hike. The glacier is beautiful and the lake and also the trail to the top where there are so many alpine flowers. When I was there, snow was apparent so they closed off the top but even halfway was a gorgeous hike and you can see the beautiful glacier and lake from the top. It’s also a braid to drive up and it’s full of curves so if you drive a well balanced car like me, have fun with the curves! You will see many people hike past the rails to be lake to get a closer look at the glacier. Do that. It’s perfectly safe and legit! I saw a marmot too so that made it real special.

Maligne lake is huge! You can’t really miss it and it’s a must do. Some people take the boat to spirit island. I didn’t. I did the hikes around the lake. Both Mary Schaffer and the moose lake are flat hikes. I love the moose lake as the reflection on the lake is amazing! If I had more time and if it’s not raining I would have done the opal hills hike. The drive to malign lake is amazing. The medicine lake was where I stopped for my lunch as it’s just so peaceful and amazing. The drive along the medicine lake to Maligne lake was amazing. The 2 flat hikes are heavily trafficked but if you wanna do opal or bald hills, you will need to follow a group or have a buddy. As I arrived in the late afternoon, I didn’t see anyone doing opal hills so I stuck to my flat hikes and made it back to the jasper for dinner.

The malign canyon was another hike I absolutely loved. It was recommended by my BNB owner as he said if it’s raining it’s gonna be gorgeous. He wasn’t wrong. Do all the 6 bridges as it’s worth it. If you wanna do less hiking and still see all 6 bridges, do 1-4 as they’re very close by and then walk back to your car and do 5 and 6 together. You can park at the 5th or 6th bridge for this part. Watch out for the signs before you got the actual canyon. I did this in the morning before i headed to Maligne lake.

Wanna know where we’re my fave places for dinners?

Jasper

Syrahs of jasper: Great service and good food. I had the steak and I didn’t have space for dessert but the table beside me was raving about it.

Karouza’s steakhouse: Gotta have Alberta steak right? The crab with asparagus was really good too!

Lake Louise

Baker creek bistro: I fell in love with the braised short ribs here. Best Ribs I’ve had in a while. So yum!

The Station restaurant that was the old Train station. Old school food and cute little spot. Food was good too! Can’t go wrong with Schnitzel and yam fries!

Banff

Balkan restaurant. This was Greek but it had the beat slow cooked lamb I’ve tasted. Yum!

Revelstoke

Kawakubo has amazing Japanese food at a good price. It was my stop before I landed in lake Louise as it was dinner time when I arrived there and I had driven 8 hours from Vancouve so I needed my rest stop and meal!

I totally enjoyed the 9 hours drive up to Banff from Vancouver and back and I’ll do it all over again!!

Never stop wandering

XOXO

Stella

Ps: for more photos of the trip, check out @4toegraphs on Instagram

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