Adventure in the Rocky Mountains

Have three days to spend in the Rocky Mountains and fancy a mini-adventure this summer? Bookmark this page for the next road trippin’ season and let’s get rolling!

Adventure in the Rocky Mountains

Icefields Parkway

Starting either in Banff or Jasper (choose your own adventure, honey), take the scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway to the Glacier View Lodge, a jewel in what could well be considered the middle of nowhere, if “nowhere” was a reasonable word we could apply to one of Canada’s most magnificent glaciers. Before we even get inside the lodge, your day will already be off to an epic start; the road between Lake Louise and Jasper is frequently listed as one of the world’s most “epic drives”. Think mountains as far as the eye can see, frequently interspersed by glistening blue lakes and rivers such as the Howse River, Athabasca Falls and Bow Lake. There are SO many beautiful bodies of water to choose from.

Glacier View Lodge

Now open for the season!

Standing aside the Columbia Icefield and truly emotive Athabasca Glacier, the Glacier View Lodge has one of the most iconic hotel lobbies of all time. Think floor to ceiling triangular glass with a direct and unhindered view of (ah yes, the clue is in the name), a glacier. Not only are there views for days, the lobby’s Moraine Lounge offers complimentary charcuterie and house cocktails from 5-7 pm. Save room for a real dinner, though; guests are welcome to dine at the on-site restaurant, Altitude, which serves up elevated Canadian fare and freshly shaken cocktails.

Adventure in the Rocky Mountains

Columbia Icefields Adventure

The Glacier View Lodge sits atop the home base of the Columbia Icefields Adventure, an immersive journey on to the actual glacier with a sky-walk finale. I’d recommend arriving to the Lodge earlier in the day to factor in a jaunt to the glacier before check-in. Adventurers will adore the journey to the 10,000 year old ice sheet; all-terrain Ice Explorers are used to access the historical marvel, which offers front-row access to the base of the Athabasca glacier and the opportunity to drink fresh glacial water directly from the source. That stuff has to be magic, right?

From the glacier, the journey continues to a death-defying glass bottomed skywalk over the Sunwapta Valley with some of the most breathtaking views on earth.

Golden Skybridge

After a hearty breakfast at the Lodge (we encourage a sunrise wakeup for the magical 1:1 time with the mountains before glacier tours start), get on the road to Golden, approximately a 90 minute drive East. Family friendly fun awaits (no worries if you don’t have kids, though; I can confirm that the attraction is awesome for child-free big kids like me too!) with access to ziplines, climbing wall and sky bridge galore. Oh, and, there is a TRULY terrifying (read: AWESOME!) Canyon Swing experience, plus a mountain coaster too. Axe throwing, life-size games and incredible views over the Maligne Canyon; the Golden Skybridge is good for a whole day’s entertainment.

Adventure in the Rocky Mountains

Drive To Banff

The much-famed and deeply beloved town of Banff is just a 1 hour and 30 minute drive from Golden, but if that feels like a stretch all in one go, both Emerald Lake and Lake Louise are stop-options on the drive and are 10/10 icons in their own right year-round. There is also an abundance of hikes on the route, should you still be feeling adventuresome after a day of ziplining across scenic gaps in the earth.

Eating & Drinking In Banff

Arriving in Banff is to arrive in a gourmand’s dreamland, and you’ll be ripe for the plucking after a day of fun. There are so many excellent spots to make resos for dinner, but sticking with the intrepid theme, you might want to check out Brazen, one of the newest and most revered restaurants in town. Brazen is a concept restaurant nestled in the inner belly of the Mount Royal Hotel. The theme is pretty much “adventure!”, which is rather applicable to the road trip vibe. Expect innovative flavour profiles and dinner theatre (pssst, order the Ginger Beef!). We’ve never been ones to shy away from well-mixed drinks; the cocktail menu at Brazen is also well-worth a swill.

If you’re looking for pizza, may we recommend Farm & Fire? The fresh veg, wood-fire and rotisserie forward menu is popular among locals and tourists alike. Local Canadian Farmers provide the eatery with the freshest of ingredients (look for the list of local suppliers on the wall) and the forno oven is a great focal point of the bright, airy and low-key chiq space. Pizzas are certainly a hit, but the brunch here is also stellar. Honestly, I still dream of the French Toast.

Adventure in the Rocky Mountains

Banff Gondola

Before journeying forth or heading back from when you came (again, choose your own adventure), you’d be remiss not to experience the wonder that is the top of Sulphur Mountain. The Banff Gondola takes you 2,292ft up to the very top, with a soul-affirming view of the sweeping mountain range. If you’re feeling SUPER adventurous, you can always hike the two-and-half-hour-ish trail to the top and take the Gondola down. Either way, check in for some lunch before continuing on your next adventure. The Sky Bisto is one of our favourite scenic restaurants in town, but if you’re looking for more casual fare, Northern Lights has you.

To Infinity and Beyond!

Where you go from Banff is completely up to you, but rest assured you’re in one of the best locations in the world for outdoor activities!

Looking for what to do in Winter? Check out our guide.