I feel blessed to be living in Calgary,( Alberta, Canada) which is the closest drive to the Rockies. When I feel like going outdoors and come close to nature to breathe and be myself I drive up to the Rockies. We all work hard for a good life and always work towards future goals. In this journey, we forget to take a break and breath. The beautiful mountains are always so welcoming, no matter how tired I am every time I drive up to them I feel like my first visit as if I am fresh and completely recharged. Rocky Mountains is North America's largest mountain range and they are widely popular for their beauty, spectacular views and rugged terrains. These mountains form a natural boundary between Alberta and British Columbia, and further up to the United States Of America.
The Rocky Mountains boast some beautiful small towns that are absolutely a treat to your eyes. It almost feels like these beautiful towns are hugged by the magnificent mountain range and beautifully look like icing on the cake for these towns. I am always very excited to wake up early to watch the beautiful sunrise with my cup of coffee sitting outside or even driving up to the hill. It is an absolute treat to my eyes and I am never tired of this view ever. Some of the closest towns from Calgary that are located in the mountains are Canmore, Banff, Mount. Norquay, Jasper, Waterton, and Lake Louise. I get excited it's almost like a kid in a candy store when I am driving to these towns. My heart beats fast with excitement as I am closer and closer to the mountains
These mountains have so much to offer in every season. Starting with the spring, the flowers blooming in the new year, with parts of the mountains covered with the snow, it looks like the foot of the mountain is colorful and the peak is white like a beautiful crown which gets brighter with the sunrise as the sunshine makes it even more beautiful to watch, the closest comparison I could give is like that perfect highlight.
In the summer, these mountains offer endless hiking trails in Canmore, Kananaskis, Banff, Jasper, Waterton. Some of these hikes can seem overwhelming for beginners, however, they are certainly worth visiting. These hikes have so much to offer and the places that are rich in the habitat of some rare species of plants, trees, and colorful flora and fauna. Some of the hiking trails lead to beautiful waterfalls and some others lead to picturesque views from the top of the hills. Trust me these views instantly recharges and boosts you up.
As summer comes for a very small span, so Canadian's enjoy every bit of the summertime and are never willing to miss out on the outdoors. Summer is the best time to view wildlife as well. The Rocky Mountain offers a variety of wildlife species, some of the commonly seen are Mountain Goats, bighorn sheep, Elk, Deer, Mule, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear.
Squirrels are the best friend of a hiker in the mountains, you will come across many of them as you hike, they are simply adorable. I have been lucky to have come across Grizzly and a Black bear a couple of times, even with the babies.
It is always advised by the Park authorities not to feed the wildlife and make sure to view from a distance in your car. We should respect their space as we expect in turn from wildlife the same as human beings. As a tourist it is so exciting to watch these beautiful animals in their natural habitat, it brings goosebumps to me every time I spot any wildlife in the rocky mountains. After summer we transition into fall, and these mountains have so much to offer even in the colder weather of fall.
Fall is one of my favorite seasons, I love to change my closet from summer to winter clothes. The excitement of bringing out my beanies and warm scarf is just on the next level and as I am changing my closet, my mind starts to travel up to the hills and it signals my heart to plan a trip to these mountains. These Rocky Mountains have many beautiful hikes that lead to larch valley views. Larch is the only tree with needles that turn yellow as the fall season begins and eventually fall by the time winter starts. They start to change their colors by the end of September which offers a beautiful view of the mountains. Fall is the best season to click pictures with the orange, yellow, and red background of the trees. This beautiful background offers an awesome opportunity to click photos and create endless memories for life.
Talking about the winter season, the mountains offer many different skiing hills fully covered with a white blanket of snow for the ski lovers, don't worry if you don't know how to ski, there are lessons for beginners and if you feel this is not your cup of tea, the town of Canmore offers Snow Dog Sledge Ride for nature lovers. They offer different tours for winter. Grab your cozy blankets, roll-up your warm mittens, and wear your cozy beanies and sit back and relax, let the snow dogs do their magic, and take you into the winter wonderland. These mountains travel to the US and even there it welcomes many tourists from all over the world. The popularity of these Rockies all around the world keeps them busy all year round.
It is a privilege to be living so close to these mountains, that when my heart desires to go near them I can drive any time of the year and be close to these magnificent beauties created by mother nature. In my next blog series, I will cover Canmore and details of the best places to stay, visit, eat, and shop.
Some tips to keep in mind when visiting these mountains:
-Carry a Warm set of clothes in your backpack, alight jacket, mittens, hat, and a warm scarf as the weather can drastically change so it is good to be prepared.
-Always have a hiking map handy when hiking in the Rockies and preferably make lots of noise and carry bear spray for just in case situations.
- Wild animals are cute to watch but let's not forget that we are in their home and so keeping your distance from them is the best way to go as they can be very unpredictable.
-Never feed or approach any wild animals.
-Carry some nuts and bars with you as they come quite handy when hiking for long hours.
-Water is a must, keep yourself hydrated at all times.
Popular Hikes in the Rockies near Calgary:
Grassy Lake in Canmore
Kananaskis offers lots of different hikes for all. Please make sure to visit the Park Canada website before you plan your visit. Kananaskis Country has many trails to choose from, below are some most incredible hikes in Kananaskis that are totally worth the visit:
Rawson Lake, this takes aprox 2 hours to complete the loop of 7.8 kms and is moderate to challenging in terms of difficulty. This hike is situated in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
Chester Lake, total distance is 8 km and this hike takes 3 hours to complete the roundtrip, it is moderately difficult.
Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail, this is a 15 km loop an takes pretty much full day to complete, it takes almost 6 hours to finish the loop. This trail is open from March- October. This is mild to moderately difficult.
West wind Pass, another popular amongst hikers this is a 4.7 km trail and takes 3 hours to complete. This trail is open from June to November and is moderately difficult.
During fall some of the popular hikes to see the Larches are, larch valley that is near lake Moraine. This trial has achieved the number one spot on social media because of its popularity. The breathtaking pictures of the valley are definitely worth the hype.
One of the most visited hike during fall season in Kananaskis Country is Pocaterra Ridge, this is a full 12 km trail and takes 6 hours complete. This trail is situated in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, it is a moderately difficult trail make sure to take your hiking gear with you. It is worth the visit.
Jasper National Park also offers some spectacular hikes for all. For information on more hikes visit Park Canada's website.