Icy road trip in the Canadian Rockies

A big sign with flashing lights read: “Poor winter travel conditions”. It didn’t exaggerate, a thick blanket of snow hid the road. We looked at each other, doubted for a moment and then said “Let’s do this”. Looking back, I’m glad we did, because it was totally worth it.

Two weeks ago, we left Vancouver for a road trip through the interior of British Columbia and Alberta. It was our first time visiting these areas since moving to Vancouver. Our trip started at the shores of Shuswap lake in Salmon Arm, surrounded by peaceful mountains.

panorama salmon arm shuswap lake photo

The next night we felt adventurous and decided to sleep in the car. Unfortunately our romantic idea of looking at the stars through the glass roof got ”snowed under”. Cozy, but good for one night only. Winter caught up with us and dropped temperatures to -25.

lake louise frozen banff image

In Banff we hiked up Tunnel Mountain, to escape from the swarm of tourists and were rewarded with a view on the monumental Rockies. Afterwards we soaked our sore muscles (and Jelger’s bruises, who may have slipped twice) in the steaming water of the Upper Hot Springs.

banff tunnel mountain scenic view photo

The next day the Icefields Parkway challenged us, with its warning sign and flashing lights about poor winter condition. We chose to be brave and continue our journey, otherwise we would have felt silly about the insane amounts of food, water and blankets in our trunk. What followed was a winter wonderland straight from a National Geographic documentary.

columbia icefield glacier panorama photo

The wind pulled at our jackets as we watched chunks of ice floating by and clinging to the frozen edges of the river.

Our numb fingers and toes made us hurry back into the comfort of the heated leather seats of our dependable car. Despite the road being covered in snow and ice, it whizzed us through the mountains!

icefields highway outlook jasper image

After a good night of sleep in Jasper, we immersed in the silence of Pyramid Lake. I love this photograph Jelger took of me.

tanja at snowy pyramid lake jasper picture

Come back soon for the rest of our story.

Special thanks to Lianne, Rob and Nick to have us stay with them in Salmon Arm.

And thank you Traveling Jones, for the couch in Canmore!