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Old Fort Point Summit in Jasper

The hike up to Old Fort Point summit may not be the easiest hike around, but its relative distance to the town of Jasper and the resulting view from the top make this hike a must for anybody visiting Jasper National Park.

Nikon D800, 1/1000 sec., f/8.0, ISO 200, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/1000 sec., f/8.0, ISO 200, 14mm

I don’t recall who it was that suggested I go there, but I’m glad I listened because it wasn’t on my list of places to visit, but offered some of the more spectacular views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The total length of this hike if you follow the looped trail markers, is about 4km and will take you about one to two hours. Going to the summit, however, is a much shorter hike, albeit not necessarily any easier. The elevation gain is about 130m. but don’t let that fool you; if you start from the base of the cliff near the Athabasca River monument (where the photo above was taken), taking  the wooden stairs, it’s a fairly steep climb all the way up in a short amount of time. Be sure to take breaks if you get tired.

Nikon D800, 1/100 sec., f/9.0, ISO 200, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/100 sec., f/9.0, ISO 200, 14mm

Climbing up the pathway, you’ll first reach an initial plateau area where you can walk around and enjoy the panoramic view. In the photo below, these hikers decided to take a break at this plateau before continuing on to the summit.

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec.f, f/7.1, ISO 100, 200mm

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec.f, f/7.1, ISO 100, 200mm

If you look around though, you’ll see that there’s a lookout just above where you’re standing. To get to the highest point, you’ll have to continue on the trail going around the lookout point. Keep to the left and you’ll eventually make your way up to the summit. Take care hiking around the lookout point though, as the path does get a little narrow.

Bears are also known to frequent the area now and again so be on the lookout for them as well.

Nikon D800, 1/8 sec., f/11, ISO 100 70mm

Nikon D800, 1/8 sec., f/11, ISO 100 70mm

The view up at the very top is very rewarding, especially after hiking up a steep grade such as this. Be sure to stay awhile and take in the scenery. Those low-laying clouds that hug the mountain’s peak can only be seen in the mornings.

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/11, ISO 100, 150mm

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/11, ISO 100, 150mm

On the way down, be sure to take in the scenery on the other side of the lookout, where you’ll be able to see the mountain ranges in the far distance. The morning clouds right above the valley made for some great photos.

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 70mm

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 70mm

I loved this view so much that I came back multiple times making sure I was here during a sunset and a sunrise.

Nikon D800, 1/60 sec., f/9.0, ISO 200, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/60 sec., f/9.0, ISO 200, 14mm

At the top of the summit, you can continue on the loop hike by following the trail behind the lookout. I opted to go back down the way I came up as I was merely interested in the view and not the loop hike itself.

Whatever the case may be, this is a hike that should not be missed. Take it easy and take your time if needed. Don’t feel like you have to run up the trail, which looks like what this girl may have done!

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/7.1, ISO 100, 200mm

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/7.1, ISO 100, 200mm

The breathtaking views from the Jasper Skytram

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/10, ISO 100, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/10, ISO 100, 14mm

The Jasper Skytram is Canada’s longest and highest aerial tram. Reaching a height of 2277m above sea level, it gives you 360 degree views of the majestic landscapes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It is one tramway that should not be missed.

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 185mm

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 185mm

Located just 10 minutes from Jasper, Alberta, the Skytram is a seven-minute ride up to the side of Whistlers mountain. Pay attention during this seven-minute tram ride because the views are magnificent well before you reach the top. As seen below, you’re surrounded by trees lined all along the mountainside for some breathtaking vistas.

Nikon D800, 1/640 sec., f/4.0, ISO 100, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/640 sec., f/4.0, ISO 100, 24mm

And of course, the curious me had to take a photo of the inside of the Jasper SkyTram as well. The tram operator was explaining to us the scenes surround us and told everybody to look towards our left as he explained what we were looking at.

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/4.0, ISO 100, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/4.0, ISO 100, 24mm

Once you get off the tram, you are confronted with views that literally take your breath away. Everywhere you look the beauty of the Rocky Mountains sits in front of you, it’s hard not to be awestruck. The observation deck just outside the tram station allows for people to enjoy the view from behind a barrier.

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 195mm

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 195mm

You can see the turquoise lakes scattered across Jasper National Park, and reminisce about the time you were actually standing there—or tell yourself you’ll be there tomorrow!

Nikon D800, 1/125 sec., f/10, ISO 100, 160mm

Nikon D800, 1/125 sec., f/10, ISO 100, 160mm

Once you get off the tram, you have the option of hiking further up the mountainside for a truly magical view all around you. The hike can be somewhat challenging but take your time and you’ll be glad you made the effort to get there.

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 175mm

Nikon D800, 1/80 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 175mm

Once at the top, you’ll come to a dial that displays the direction of various locations around the province, showing you how far it is from where you are standing.

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 14mm

The summit is quite flat allowing you to walk all around. On one side you’ll see snow-capped mountaintops like below, while on the other side, you’ll see the town of Jasper and the surrounding mountain ranges. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 200mm

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 200mm

Be careful walking around though as the winds can change in an instant. From calm and windless one second to winds that can topple you off your feet the next, you’ll have to be wary of this change in weather pattern while up here.

Nikon D800, 1/250sec., f/11, ISO 100, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/250sec., f/11, ISO 100, 14mm

The tram station sits on top overlooking the entire national park, really giving you a sense of how high up you are.

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/7.1, ISO 125, 90mm

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/7.1, ISO 125, 90mm

The Jasper Skytram is one tramway that I will always recommend to people when in the area. And if you’re wary about the price of the ticket, I’d say it’s worth every penny. If you ask which one I prefer between the Jasper Skytram and the Banff Gondola, which I reviewed here, I’d have to say I did like the more wild and open nature of the trip up the Jasper Skytram. The view I felt was more raw and breathtaking—don’t get me wrong, the Banff Gondola was still great in its own way.

Click here for more information on the Jasper Skytram.

Have you been up the Jasper Skytram? What was your experience like up here?

The Banff Gondola gives epic views

The Banff Gondola

The Banff Gondola is located just 5 minutes away from the Town of Banff within the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The 8min. gondola ride takes you up Sulphur Mountain to a breathtaking height of 2281m. above sea level.

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec., f/7.1, ISO100, 175mm

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec., f/7.1, ISO100, 175mm

Once at the top, you’ll encounter epic views of six mountain ranges and beautiful landscapes for as far as the eye can see.

Nikon D800, 1/640 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 19mm

Nikon D800, 1/640 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 19mm

It is truly a gorgeous view that must be seen in person to be really appreciated. These pictures here certainly do not do the area justice.

Once you get off the gondola you can walk on either side of the terminal for truly amazing views of Banff National Park spotted with emerald-green, glacial-fed lakes. That’s what got me at first. I was mesmerized with one view after another. There is also a main-level observation deck that can offer great views too—albeit a little more restricted.

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/8.0, ISO100, 120mm

Nikon D800, 1/500 sec., f/8.0, ISO100, 120mm

For an even higher perspective, you can hike another 1km up Sulphur Mountain to reach the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site, and Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Station.

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/7.1, ISO 100, 185mm

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/7.1, ISO 100, 185mm

If you peak inside the meteorological station, you’ll get a glimpse of how people lived up here.

Nikon D800, 1/13 sec., f/6.3, ISO 100, 14mm

Nikon D800, 1/13 sec., f/6.3, ISO 100, 14mm

And if you’re on the lookout, you’ll no doubt spot some wildlife on the mountainside as well.

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/5.0, ISO 100, 200mm

Nikon D800, 1/320 sec., f/5.0, ISO 100, 200mm

The Banff Gondola truly offers some spectacular views that shouldn’t be missed. Even the views offered from within the gondola itself are spectacular in their own ways.

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 35mm

Nikon D800, 1/400 sec., f/9.0, ISO 100, 35mm

For more information on the Banff Gondola, head over to the Brewster Travel Canada website.

Canmore, Alberta

One of the very few photos that I took while I stayed in Canmore, Alberta was from here. Beside a bridge, I came here specifically so that I could take a photo of the rushing waters with the mountains in the background.

Nikon D800, 15 sec., f/18, ISO 100, 70mm

Nikon D800, 15 sec., f/18, ISO 100, 70mm

During my stay in Alberta, it was really unfortunate that I didn’t get a single day of sunset where the sky was just bursting with colours. The magnificent sunset and sunrise that the Canadian Rockies are known for had eluded me throughout my 10-day trip there.

I later found out that there were indeed many prime locations to shoot in and around Canmore, and I regret not being able to visit any of them during my trip. It just looks like I’ll have to go back another time.

Nonetheless, this extra long exposure during nightfall was made with a 6-stop ND filter and a polarizer to stop me down another stop. The ominous clouds were a great capture here as it made the mood for the photo. I tried to accentuate the winding of the river from the background to the foreground through the long exposure trails the water made.

Chateau Lake Louise from Fairview Mountain

When you go to Lake Louise, one of the first hikes people gravitate to is the one that goes around the lake—the beginnings of the Plain of Six Glaciers hike. It’s a pretty long hike if you go all the way around, but an easy one with no elevation gain. However, if you have the time and energy, the hike leading up Fairview Mountain to this view is definitely worth your while.

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 32mm

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec., f/8.0, ISO 100, 32mm

It’s a steep climb at first but the effort is well worth the breathtaking scenery you get of the mountain ranges and of Lake Louise. It’s a great way to spend a day in the area if you have that extra bit of time. If you have even more time on your hands, you can continue to the peak of Fairview Mountain where you’ll get even more spectacular views of Lake Louise and surrounding areas.

This spectacular view makes Chateau Lake Louise look quite majestic in its own way. Surrounded by greenery and mountain ranges for as far as the eye can see, this is one hike that will be sure to make you want to come back for more.