Greetings from the Canadian Rockies-Trip to Banff National Park (2)

This is the second part of my travel story. The first part is at

Travel continues…

Lake O’Hara.

GPS: 51°21’28.08″N 116°20’17.92″W

Different with well developed Lake Louise, this lake is featured with fragile and original ecosystem. As a result, the park limits daily visitor counts. A dirt road exclusively for bus with 7 miles length leads into the lake area and no private vehicles are allowed. Bus ride is the only way to get to the lake. Due to the extremely difficult reservation in which slots in one year are said gone in one week after being published online. There are people arrive in early morning at the bus station (GPS: 51°26’41.24″N 116°19’44.99″W),to try their luck. Only a few are fortunate enough to get abandoned slots. Getting out of the lake on bus ride, on the other hand, is much easier as no reservation required. For us, hike-in is the only choice. The view on road is mostly in forest without interesting view but is not challenging as well.


Fallen trees in shallow water


Cabins by lake


Fragile ecosystem



Heavy snow and overhead thundering were encountered during the hiking and I broke my personal daily hiking record on that memorable day: 30+ pounds camera gear in backpack, 15 miles distance (including 7 miles hiking to the lake).


Unexpected charm of Yoho National Park

I love life full of uncertainty and excitement. Several most popular shots from the trip came from this little-know location: Great Divide Lodge:

This is the only night we ever stayed in hotel. On our way to a waterfall in Yoho National Park, it started at first as heavy rain then developed into a blizzard storm. In such a bad road condition, we decided to stay in this little hotel at the road side. A lake and high mountains were on the other side crossing the road. After a brief rest, my wife and I walked downstairs to have dinner in a little bar. It started to clear up with sunshine penetrating heavy cloud onto the mountain top litting the newly accumulated white snow. Moisture from the storm hovered over lake and keep flowing between mountains and forests. With water reflection, the view is abundant with vibrant colors and curves. I couldn’t think of any places more beautiful than what I saw at that moment. While half of my hamburger was gone, my heart started to stay restless at what was happening outside. My wife hold her laugh and watched me patiently till I rose up and rushed to our room leaving credit card and her behind. In such a hurry, I set up my camera/tripod and got the shot in the balcony of hotel room.


This shot made to National Geographic Daily Dozen:


Reflections, light fog and light trail


 Misty mountain and bird

A bit Milky Way and fog

Lake Minnewanka

GPS: 51°14’32.40″N 115°29’39.93″W
This lake is close to Two Jack Lakefront Campsite and Banff Town
Abstract sky from slow shutter. This shot was picked by Editor of and made to the front page of that day.


Holy beam

Shallow water

Bow Lake

GPS: 51°40’44.61″N 116°27’51.44″W
This is a large lake surrounded by mountain range with newly accumulated snow.


Columbia Icefield

GPS: 52°13’12.12″N 117°13’34.28″W
Formed between 120,000 and 230,000BC, it is the largest icefield in Rockies of North America. It has a dozen of the highest peaks in Rocky mountain system with altitude above 10,000 feet.

Snow Coach, designed for Arctic environment and with all-wheel drive, is capable of transporting in 40-60 degree slope ice zone. If you look closely, there are 3 on the right hand side of this photo in far distance driving in deep mountains.

This panorama was from the camp site in Icefield. As surrounded by glaciers, temperature is low and with cold wind, it was challenging to successfully lit the bonfire. If you plan to camp here, be well prepared. My 0F rated sleep bag worked well in such a cold location.

Sunset at visitor center. While working on this shot, it was 10F around. I rubbed my hand when chatting with a native Canadian, who was enjoying his coffee in a chair. Me: “Cold…. is it?” Canadian (give me a casual look): “Ah… Nope, a little chilly.” (Keep reading newspaper). Me: “……”

Herbert Lake

GPS: 51°27’42.05″N 116°13’27.50″W

An easy-to-ignore little lake turns to be a fairyland in a foggy windless morning.

Pyeto Lake

GPS: 51°43’1.42″N 116°29’56.43″W
A popular lake in Banff. Bus is allowed to park close to the observation deck while private cars have to park downhill. You need to take 15 minutes uphill hiking to reach the view point.

Vermillion Lake

GPS: 51°11’4.76″N 115°35’32.81″W
Another little lake with beautiful mountain reflections. Good for sunset/sunrise in a windless day.

Fairmont Hotel

GPS: 51°10’1.56″N 115°33’32.59″W Belongs to the famous Canadian Fairmont hotel chain. It sits at the foot of Rocky Mountain in historical castle style giving a fairy look. A famous landmark architecture in Banff Town.


Thank you for your time. You are welcome to check my site for full collection of this trip.

Songquan Photography is the author of this article and reserve full rights. You are welcome to repost. Please credit the author.


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