An Easy guide to hiking Angel’s Landing


Angel’s Landing is one of the toughest hikes in the United States. It is by no means an easy hike. Therefore, I will provide you with a quick and easy guide for one of the most highly endurance paced hikes in the world.


Zion national Park is visited by 4.3 million tourists ever year and over half of them attempt the Angle’s Landing Hike. The hike is difficult and not recommended to anyone that has a serious fear of heights. The hike starts across from the Grotto Trailhead, the 6th stop on the Zion canyon shuttle.


Hike Details

  • Difficulty: Extremely strenuous, not recommend for individuals with serious fear of heights
  • Distance: 5 mile round trip
  • Time: 4-5 hour round trip
  • Location: The Grotto Trailhead
  • Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
  • Season: Angels’s Landing is open to hikers year around, but is not recommended during the winter if the trails are icy and slippery.

Before Hiking…

Before you embark on your journey for the hike of a life time. I recommend doing some cardio activities in the gym or outside. The whole point behind this is to build up your cardiovascular endurance for the hike. Before heading out on any major hike or road trip, I make sure to spend at least one week in the gym switching up my routine with HIIT training or Circuit workouts.


Pack Light!

The best way to ensure you make it to the top is by minimizing the weight load on your legs and back. Only pack what you need. Take a few bottles of water, some protein or granola bars, and some fruits (apple’s or orange’s are the best for a hike).

If you are taking a camera like me, make sure to only take the gear you are absolutely going to use. I took my Sony A7riii, 16-35mm lens, and a light tripod. Packing light will ensure that I don’t put a heavy strain on my body and will keep me going for a long time.


Start early

We started our day at 9 am and took the Zion Canyon Shuttle to The Grotto Trailhead and were on our way. Being early means much of the valley is still in the shade and cooler until the sun warms it up. It can tend to get hot, especially during the summer season.


Walter’s Wiggles

Walter’s Wiggles is a set of 21 switchbacks that are very steep and will present a challenge for any climber. This is the real challenge before the view point where the HIIT and Circuit training comes to pay off.

Scout’s Lookout

Just after the switchbacks is Scout’s Lookout, giving you a view of the the whole canyon. Restrooms are available at the lookout point. This is where most people take a break before finishing the hike or if you are afraid of heights this is where you turn around.


The Last 1/2 mile

The last 1/2 miles is what makes Angel’s Landing the most visited hike in Zion National Park. With 1000 ft drop off on both sides, some places are 2 feet wide that require to hang onto the chains bolted into the rocks. The path up Angel’s Landing gives its intimidating reputation and a thrill for some individuals.

Also know as “Hogsback,” the gigantic rock is crowded with thrill seekers. Be careful when you cross path with another hiker and always make sure you are properly secured before you cross. Always hang on to the chain and never let go when climbing, also do not rush the climb be patient and calm. After climbing the Hogsback, it is a flat walk to the viewpoint. Take in the view, relax and enjoy before heading back down.


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An Easy guide to hiking Angel’s Landing

Angel’s Landing is one of the toughest hikes in the United States. It is by no means an easy hike. Therefore, I will provide you with a quick and easy guide for one of the most highly endurance paced hikes in the world.


Zion national Park is visited by 4.3 million tourists ever year and over half of the them attempt the Angle’s Landing Hike. The hike is difficult and not recommended to anyone that has a serious fear of heights. The hike starts across from the Grotto Trailhead, the 6th stop on the Zion canyon shuttle.


Hike Details

  • Difficulty: Extremely strenuous, not recommend for individuals with serious fear of heights

  • Distance: 5 mile round trip

  • Time: 4-5 hour round trip

  • Location: The Grotto Trailhead

  • Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

  • Season: Angels’s Landing is open to hikers year around, but is not recommended during the winter if the trails are icy and slippery.


Before Hiking…

Before you embark on your journey for the hike of a life time. I recommend doing some cardio activities in the gym or outside. The whole point behind this is to build up your cardiovascular endurance for the hike. Before heading out on any major hike or road trip, I make sure to spend at least one week in the gym switching up my routine with HIIT training or Circuit workouts.


Pack Light!

The best way to ensure you make it to the top is by minimizing the weight load on your legs and back. Only pack what you need. Take a few bottles of water, some protein or granola bars, and some fruits (apple’s or orange’s are the best for a hike).

 Photo by   Presley Roozenburg
Photo by Presley Roozenburg

If you are taking a camera like me, make sure to only take the gear you are absolutely going to use. I took my Sony A7riii, 16-35mm lens, and a light tripod. Packing light will ensure that I don’t put a heavy strain on my body and will keep me going for a long time.


Start early

We started our day at 9 am and took the Zion Canyon Shuttle to The Grotto Trailhead and were on our way. Being early means much of the valley is still in the shade and cooler until the sun warms it up. It can tend to get hot, especially during the summer season.


Walter’s Wiggles

Walter’s Wiggles is a set of 21 switchbacks that are very steep and will present a challenge for any climber. This is the real challenge before the view point where the HIIT and Circuit training comes to pay off.

Scout’s Lookout

Just after the switchbacks is Scout’s Lookout, giving you a view of the the whole canyon. Restrooms are available at the lookout point. This is where most people take a break before finishing the hike or if you are afraid of heights this is where you turn around.


The Last 1/2 mile

The last 1/2 miles is what makes Angel’s Landing the most visited hike in Zion National Park. With 1000 ft drop off on both sides, some places are 2 feet wide that require to hang onto the chains bolted into the rocks. The path up Angel’s Landing gives its intimidating reputation and a thrill for some individuals.

Also know as “Hogsback,” the gigantic rock is crowded with thrill seekers. Be careful when you cross path with another hiker and always make sure you are properly secured before you cross. Always hang on to the chain and never let go when climbing, also do not rush the climb be patient and calm. After climbing the Hogsback, it is a flat walk to the viewpoint. Take in the view, relax and enjoy before heading back down.


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10 must see places in Oregon

While traveling to Oregon, I realized that it has everything I ever imaged and more. It has everything a curious and adventurous traveler is looking for. Its lush landscape and 300 miles of open coast are what makes tourists so attracted to this beautiful state. One of the greatest things about Oregon is its beauty year around.

To check out my full travel itinerary click here


10. Crater National Park

Crater Lake National Park is located in Southern Oregon and is the most popular place in that area. It is the only national park in all of Oregon. Before the crystal clear blue waters of the lake, it used to be a volcano. About 7,700 years ago, Mount Mazama collapsed on itself creating a beautiful rim crater that it is today. Mount Mazama peaked at 11,000 feet The lake is approximately 2000 feet, making it the deepest lake in the United States. The island in the middle of the lake can be visited by a boat tour. There are countless hikes and trails that offer the best views of the the lake from above.


9. Painted Hills

The Painted Hills are one of the seven wonders of Oregon. These hills are part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located in Wheeler County, Oregon.  Each color unveils a layer of history dating back to millions of years. The hills are best visited during the sunset hour. The golden glow from the sun lights up the hills in such a way that is pleasing to the eyes. The yellow, red, and pink illuminate and reveal the history of this planet. When I took a glance at them from the viewpoint, it was as if I was looking at a piece of landscape from Mars. These Painted Hills are a must visit for any admirer of this planet.


8. Blue Lagoon

The Tamolitch, more commonly know as “Blue Lagoon” or “Blue Pool” is located in Chinook just off the OR-216 highway. It is off the OR-12 exit, passing the sign for Tamolitch Trail Head. You can park your car there and it is a short hike along side the McKenzie River. The hike is filled with giant lush trees, green moss, and crystal clear waters or the McKenzie River. Just keep going until you stumble upon a huge blue pool that is crystal clear. Before, there was a way to go down to the pool, but because of the recent rock slide the path is blocked.

 Mckenzie River Trail
Mckenzie River Trail


7. Airplane Home

This is no ordinary plane, I did not crash land here. It was built and assembled piece by piece. Believe it or not this is someones home, yes a HOME! The Airplane home is located in the farming community of Hillsboro, Oregon among the tall trees. Ever since I saw this place on the internet, I was very intrigued by it and had to visit. The owner of this extraordinary home is Bruce and is very welcoming. If the owner is home, you can take a tour, but if not then he asks you to be civilized around the plane and treat it with respect. To find the directions you can find them here.


6. Samuel H. Boardman State Park

The Oregon Coast is one of the most scenic on the west coast. Samuel H. Boardman State Park located in Southern, Oregon Park has some of the intersting rock formations in the country. The most famous being “Arch Rock” is just off the coast and can be viewed from the park. The park is located just off the 101-Highway, so don’t miss it.

 Photo by   David Kovalenko
Photo by David Kovalenko


5. Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls is located close to the Columbia River Gorge. This is one of the closest falls to Portland, just 20 minutes away. There is a hiking loop trail that leads you to the top of the falls that is just 2.4 miles. There is also a trail that leads you to the base of the falls, if you are in hurry I recommend taking this trail.

The fall is 225 feet high and is always fully roaring. If you are feeling a little adventurous like me, I recommend taking a walk to the back of the waterfall. Just make sure you have shoes with good grip as the ground is always muddy.


4. Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park is one of the most beautiful parks in all of Oregon. It is located near the town of Silverton, and is a perfect place to go for a day hike. It is just 10 minutes from the parking lot of South Falls, which is the most famous falls in the park and definitely the most picturesque. The hiking trail continues in a loop that leads you behind the waterfall. If you find yourself in Oregon and have a few hours to spare, this is the perfect place to go.


3. Mt. Hood

 Photo provided by Unsplash, photographer Atanas Malamov
Photo provided by Unsplash, photographer Atanas Malamov

Mt. Hood is one of the seven wonders of Oregon. It is located in the town of Sandy, and the volcanic peak can leave anyone speechless. According to statistics, Mt. Hood is the second most climbed mountain in the world. Mt. Hood is also home to countless alpine lakes, a world class ski resort and beautiful glaciers. This is a must visit for any traveler in their lifetime.


2. Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is the icon of the Oregon Coast, specifically Haystack Rock.It is located in northern Oregon, and named after a cannon being rolled up on the beach. Depending on the sea level, you can walk to Haystack Rock and is sometimes covered in water. During our visit, the elements were not in our favor. It was raining with high speed winds, so I had to settle for an average shot on my phone. But don’t let this stop you from exploring such a beautiful place, no matter the conditions. Here is a picture of Cannon Beach under better weather conditions.

  Photo by    Caleb Jones   , provided by Unslpash
Photo by Caleb Jones , provided by Unslpash


  1. Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is the most visited place in all of the Pacific Northwest.It is located just off the 84-Highway and 30 minutes from downtown Portland. This place is perfect for a quick getaway from the city. The Falls plunge a whopping 620 feet from the top to the bottom of the second waterfall. In order to get to the bridge on the second level, it is a short 5 minute walk from the viewpoint. This is the most busiest places in Oregon. I recommend going there super early in the morning to get some quite time before the horde of tourist start to flow in. If there was only once place to see in Oregon, I would highly recommend this place.


I hope you have an adventure of a lifetime in Oregon, and the elements are always in your favor.

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Hike of a lifetime in Kauai

The micro climates of Kauai have created some unique and breathtaking landscapes. Waimea Canyon is one of the most picturesque landscapes in Kauai. The orange and red dirt makes it feel like you are on mars. 

We headed out from the The Koloa Landing Resort and made our way towards the Waimea Canyon in Kōkeʻe State Park. Make sure to keep reading until the end, there is a bonus viewpoint.


How to get there?

  1. Take HI-50 W to head towards the town of Waimea.

  2. Make a right on the HI-550 N.

  3. Keep driving until you hit mile marker 13.

  4. Turn right on to Puu Hinahina viewpoint parking lot


We were not ready for this!

Once you park your car, take the steps up to the Puu Hinahina viewpoint to catch a glimpse of the Waimea Canyon. Walk back towards the end of the parking lot and you will find the canyon trail to your right.

The Canyon trail hike to the Waipo’o falls is about 3.6 mile hike round trip and takes approximately 2.5 hours. As soon as we parked our car, it started raining cats and dogs and then 2 minutes later it was gone. That is something you are going to have to get used to. After the rain stopped, we grabbed our bags and headed down the canyon trail. I was wearing my white converse and my 2 other friends were wearing their workout nike shoes. We had clearly underestimated this hike and the weather. More on how that turned out later down the page.


Walking through a rain forest

We were really excited for this hike, as this was the only adventure activity we had planned in Kauai. Ten minutes in to the hike, we started second guessing our situation at hand. We could keep going or we can go back. The trail was muddy, it was raining, and I had expensive camera equipment; but this was our only chance to hike in Kauai. As we approached the hike, we told ourselves “this is going be a hike of a lifetime”. After that we never looked back, we wanted that view point and that secret waterfall at the end. It was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Slipping, Falling, and more slipping

WEAR THE CORRECT SHOES, I can’t emphasize this enough wear your hiking shoes. Although there were some women who did the hike in sandals. There were 3 year old kids hiking along the way. I will admit I was the first one to fall on my butt with my camera in my hand. It is not worth it people, put those cameras in your bag and take them out once you get to the view point.

Walking over tree roots, climbing down trees, crossing a big puddle while holding on to a rope with one hand, strolling through lush green landscapes felt like I was in the amazon rain forest. I could not believe I was here..


About half way

About half way you will see a junction and a small parking lot. Pro tip: Only drive to that parking lot if you have a 4-wheel drive. You will see a sign for Canyon Trail and Waipo’o Falls. We didn’t take the Canyon Trail and continued to the falls. The trail starts to get more treacherous as you go further into the hike. There are switchbacks going up and down, watch where you step, and double check you have proper footing before taking the next. During the rainy season, which is almost all the time, it can get very slippery. There is one part in the hike where everyone slipped. My friend George kept on slipping “every step” he took, or at least that’s what he said.

Once you get closer you will start to get a glimpse of the Waimea Canyon on your right side. Go up a few rocks and you will arrive at an open mountain covered in red dirt. Be careful because there are no guard rails, the ridge seems to fall straight down the canyon.  

Don’t stop there, your reward awaits

As the clouds are rolling through, you can admire the sheer beauty of the Waimea Canyon. Keep going straight and the mountain starts to curve to the left, follow it down, make a left, duck under some trees, and squeeze through some big rocks and your reward waits at the end.

This is where the Waipo’o Falls begin. I wasted no time, I set up my camera and walked right in to the small pool. Be careful stepping on the rocks, the water can make them slippery. Although it is not the waterfall you see from the lookout point, it is better than the big one.

Hike of a lifetime?

If you ask me, this hike was worth every slip, every fall, every “oh s**t” moment. I knew that I was never going to experience this kind of thrill in my life anywhere. I am so glad I booked that last-minute flight to Kauai. This was an experience I will never ever forget.  

My advice: Don’t let a little fall on your butt stop you from experiencing one of the best moments of your life.

I will leave you with a quote from my friend George: “This is probably the best worst idea we have had”.


Bonus viewpoint:

I want to thank you if you have made it this far in to the blog. Once you have made it back to your car from the Waipo’o Falls hike. Keep on driving up to the main road until it ends, you will arrive at the Pu’u O Kila Lookout point. This look out point offers breathtaking views of the Kalalau valley. This valley has been featured in many blockbuster films, one of them being Jurassic Park.


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A perfect Canadian road trip: From the Vancouver Sea through the Canadian Rockies.

The country of Canada is so beautiful, and so are its people. There is a saying in the world, “People in Canada are so nice” well I agree with that sentence 100 percent. My friends and I do an annual road trip in the states, but this time we decided to do something out of the country. Canada was always on the list. So, why not?


Here is our 1 week itinerary!

Check out the google maps directions below.


Day 1: Arriving in Vancouver

The first thing you want to do is get yourself a car. My American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card made it easy to book a rental from the airport.

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

After getting a quick bite to eat, we wasted no time and headed straight to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge located in Northern Vancouver, about an hour from the airport.

In order to get to the park you have to go through a neighborhood, if you feel like you are lost, don’t worry we had had the same feeling, just keep driving and you will see the forest. After parking the car, it is a 10-minute walk to the bridge. The Bridge spans over a roaring river and a waterfall, you might catch people jumping over the waterfall into the river down below. On the other side of the bridge, there is a hike along a small river. If you want the bridge to yourself, I recommend getting there early in the morning, perhaps 7 or 8 am.

Stanley Park

Before heading back to our hostel, we made a quick stop at Stanley Park. Stanley Park has an 8 km sea wall that wraps around downtown Vancouver. It is definitely a beautiful place to visit.

There are many activities like running, biking, or walking along the sea wall. Make sure to catch a glimpse of wild life along the beach side and at the right time of the year, you might see some Orcas passing through the bay. When we started walking through the park, we found an open field where we played with the Frisbee. Later on, we sat on the sea wall by the beach and watched the planes landing in the water.

Finally around 4 pm, we decided to check into our hostel Samesun Vancouver. Samesun Vancouver is a budget friendly place with exceptional accommodations and services. It is in the heart of downtown Vancouver and surrounded by bars and restaurants. Also, most importantly hold on to that free drink voucher you get while checking in.

We got settled in to our room and headed straight to the bar downstairs to use the free drink voucher. We took a stroll around the district to check out the local bar scene. Doolin’s is an Irish pub right around the corner that offers great drinks and bites for happy hour. The Granville Street is filled with local eateries that offer something for all palates.


Day 2: From the ground to the skies

I Woke up at 8 am on my bunk bed, showered, cleaned up and headed straight for the complimentary breakfast downstairs.

We started our day heading north on Route 99, Sea to sky highway is one of the most scenic highways. There is plenty to do on the 120 km trip to Whistler. Pull over when you see Alice lake about 75 km into the drive or just pull over whenever you see a body of water, you are guaranteed to be amazed.

Brandywine Falls

Make sure to stop at the Brandywine Falls Provincial park, and take a short stroll through the woods, cross a railroad and shortly after that you are greeted by the Brandywine Falls.

Whistler

Whistler is one of the best ski towns in the world and it was also home to the 2012 Winter Olympics. It is hard not to like this place let alone all of Canada.

Bungee Jumping

We had planned all of the adventurous activities for one day. We started our action-packed day by Bungee Jumping or as my dear friend Nigam Patel would say “Jumping off a perfectly normal bridge”. Whistler Bungee is located just 15-minute south of Whistler village; it is the most exhilarating thing to do in Whistler.

As you arrive, you will cross the bridge to check in. However, there is an age limit for this activity. If you are over the age of 19, you can partake in this activity, but if you are under the age of 19, you need a parental consent form.

Luckily, I was not the first one to go, but my heart was pumping faster each time one of my friends took a leap. and when it was my turn, it was game over. Adrenaline hit me as soon as I realized it was my turn to go down. Heart pumping, hands sweating, stepping on the ledge of a 160 ft. high bridge with the glacier fed Cheakamus River flowing below you.

When its time to jump don’t forget to smile for the one site photographer, the photos can be purchased. Depending on the time of the year the height of the Cheakamus River is higher, so when you jump off you might dip your head or half your body in the river, probably the best way to take a shower if you ask me. Whistler Bungee has been open since 2002 and they haven’t had a single accident, their people have been in the bungee jumping industry for over 20 years, so trust that you are in good hands.

After having our bodies tossed from a bridge and having our stomachs turned upside down, it was time to fill them up. We headed back to Whistler Village to grab some lunch. We opened up yelp and found the best pizza place in Whistler Village, Pizzeria Antico.

They have a variety of choices, ranging from pizza, pasta, calzones and salads. I ordered the Napoletana, one of their best pizzas. Pizzeria Antico also offers a great list of beer and wine, some coming from local breweries and vineyards. If you love Pizza, this place is a must visit. It was the best pizza I have ever had.

Zipline

It was time to resume our action-packed day. We had booked a zipline adventure with Super Fly Ziplines, Whistlers only backcountry zipline experience. We had booked the 3-hour twilight ziplining tour for $129/person and $99/child. After parking and checking in, we were given our gear. Then we took a short dune buggy ride up the mountain. Our awesome guides gave us a quick lesson on the gear and safety.

We got to the first platform and there it was, Canada’s longest and highest zip line. They start you off with a line ranging 1 km than can reach speeds up to 100 km/hr – I know, right? There are 2 ziplines side by side, one for you and your friend.

I highly recommend this experience, it was so relaxing, gliding across the mountains over a beautiful forest with breath taking views. There are short walks from one platform to the next. At the last platform, the lines are closer to each other, so you can hold hands with your friend while you go down. It takes you right back to the base, where you parked your car.

After returning the gear, we hopped in the car and continued our journey to the town of Lillooet. The sun was beginning to set behind us as we drove through farm country with mountains in the background. We decided to eat dinner at a Thai restaurant in the middle of nowhere, let’s just say that the view was good, but the food wasn’t.


Day 3: Lillooet to Clearwater

We spent the night at the Canadas Best Value Inn Mile-0-Motel in the town of Lillooet.Since that Thai food wasn’t satisfying last night, we were pretty hungry in the morning. We grabbed breakfast at the local A&W joint and headed towards Clearwater

Clearwater is about 295 km, making it a 3.5-hour journey from Lillooet. Today’s agenda was whitewater rafting with Interior Whitewater Expeditions(IWE). We picked the “Ready-Set-Go” package for the seven of us, a 4-hour tour with $92 per person.

What to wear?

You are going to get wet, so just be ready for it. A bathing suit or board shorts is the best choice. You will be given a wet suit and a helmet when you get there. Leave all your belongings in the bus.

Once you arrive at the river, you and your group will have to carry your raft to the river – its actually heavier than it looks! Even if you are not an extreme adrenaline junkie – they offer different levels for rafting, everything from rookie to expert.

Off we go, once you are settled in the raft your instructor will give you a short lesson and tips on how to paddle, when to paddle and when to sit down. You will have to practice jumping in the water and pulling people out of the river – the water was cold!

It is a 4-hour tour, so there will be times where you will get rest. About half way, we pulled over to side of the river and had some fresh fruit, snacks and water provided by IWE.

Depending on the time of the year and the flow of the river, there are different class rapids ranging from 1-5, the higher the number the more FUN!! Our awesome instructor was from Argentina, and he has been doing rafting tours for about 15 years. He was very passionate about his job, so we trusted him and were in good hands.

My advice is once you are in the raft, just enjoy the ride, have fun, and be present in the moment. As IWE likes to say “Its Mother Nature’s Roller Coaster”.

As the tour came to an end, we carried the raft back to the bus, put it on tow rack and headed back to our cars. I cannot emphasize enough how well organized this adventure was, IWE does an amazing job at keeping their customers satisfied, I already want to go back and do it again.

Before getting back on the highway, about 5 minutes away from IWE, there is a Dutch Lake. We decided to stop there and take a quick dip; the water was so perfect in the summer time – still brings memories! Some of us decided to jump in the water and swam to the dock in the middle of the lake and just spend some time there.

It was time to call it a day and head to our hotel in Blue River, Glacier Mountain Lodge.


Day 4: Blue River to Jasper

We grabbed our complimentary breakfast at Glacier Mountain Lodge and headed out for Jasper. Jasper is 211 km from Blue River, giving us plenty of time mingle, chat, and laugh. If there is one thing we did on this trip over and over again was laugh just absurd amounts of it.

Today’s plan was to mountain bike down the mountains around jasper, but there was so much smoke and haze in the air due to the fire at the time we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea. We instead decided to just explore and do some sightseeing around Jasper National Park.

But before leaving, we grabbed some lunch at the Jasper Curry Place. During lunch they offer an all-you-can-eat buffet with about 15 different types of tasteful dishes and the best part is their unlimited Garlic Naan.

Maligne Lake

About an hour southwest from the town of Jasper is Maligne Lake. We wasted no time and headed straight for the lake. Got there and spend some time on the dock, taking in the views and the fresh air.

Shortly after we started walking alongside the lake through water and dirt until we felt liked stopping. Finally came to a stop, and what do I see? My friend hanging in his hammock and sipping on a cold one, I just had to go and experience it myself – it was awesome!

We made our way back to downtown Jasper. We were hungry and thirsty; Jasper Brewing Company was the perfect the perfect solution. They have a great selection of food, beer and cocktails. I tried their Jasper the Bear Ale, mainly because of the name but It was actually pretty good. If you are not sure what to order, get a flight of beers to start with. Order the fried chicken sandwich and you are in good hands – don’t forget to add the bacon!

The weirdest thing happened, we walked out of the brewery at about 10 pm and it was still day light out, I was so surprised!

During July the average day is 16 hours long, making it the perfect time to visit. We headed to our reservation for the night at Tara Vista Inn.


Day 5: Ice fields Parkway

There are ten provinces in Canada, I think Alberta is the most beautiful among all of them, but that’s just me. We hoped on the Ice Fields Parkway highway and headed south.

Athabasca Falls

Our first stop was at the Athabasca Falls, a short 30-minute drive from Jasper. When you get there, it’s a 5-minute walk from the parking lot to the view point. We got lucky because during July the falls are roaring at full capacity due to all the snow melting.

Spent some time admiring natures perfect creation and headed down the stairs behind us to the river. The bank of the river was filled with rocks, visitors had built their own “Rock Balancing” statues so we decided to add to the collection. If you go there I highly recommend trying to build one (send me a pic!)

Another 20 minutes on the highway and you will see the Sunwapta Falls. We didn’t get a chance to stop, but now that I think about it we should have.

Columbia Ice fields

We headed straight towards the Columbia Ice fields, the largest ice field in the Canadian Rockies. Athabasca Glacier is one of the “toes” of the ice fields.

From far the glacier seem tiny, but up close it is a whole different thing. According to research, these ice fields started forming about 240,000 and ice has been piling up ever since. They cover an area 125 square miles and 1200 feet deep, just to put things in perspective that is higher than the Empire State Building. The glacier shown above covers an area of 6 square km and can be up to 900 feet thick in some places.

Where to Park?

Park at the Columbia Ice fields Discovery Centre. Enjoy gourmet dining at the Altitude Restaurant with breathtaking views, take a stroll through the Chalet shop they offer various teas, coffees, and snacks, grab a souvenir to add to that collection at home.

There are 2 ways to experience the Ice fields, either you walk to the toe of the ice fields or you can take a tour. We walked to the toe, when I got there I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I mean how can a river of ice be so mesmerizing. The glacier use to stretch all the way to the discovery centre, but human foot print has receded it back almost a 1.5 km in 125 years.

If you have a higher budget, I recommend doing the Columbia Ice field glacier adventure. Buy your tickets at the discovery centre for $90/adult and $45/child. A bus will pick you up and drive to the glacier. From there you will get in a different bus specifically designed for glacier travel. The tour takes you up much higher into the Athabasca Glacier, and you get a chance to step off the bus and walk on the glaciers. You can see how big the glacier is in comparison to the red bus.

Entering Banff

We hoped back on to the Icefields Parkway Highway and headed towards Banff. At the edge of Banff and just off the highway lies something truly spectacular, Peyto Lake. Take the Bow summit exit, and you are almost there.

There are two ways to get to the main view point, there is a drop off zone for passengers at the top or if you are feeling a little adventurous like us, park your car at the main parking lot and do a short 10-minute hike up to the view point. Either way you are guaranteed to be blown away by what you are about to experience.

This is one of the most scenic places in all of Canada and the most visited, it is very busy during the summer.

Make sure to grab some awesome pictures, to show your family and friends back home. A guaranteed question they will ask you, “Is that the real color?” or “That’s photoshopped, there is no way the water is THAT blue”.

When I got to the top, I was speechless. I couldn’t comprehend in my mind; how beautiful this place was. We spent some time sitting on the rocks, taking some pictures, and enjoyed the serenity of the lake. It is places like this that make me really appreciative how beautiful our world truly is and we should cherish it.

10 minutes down the road, is another blue body of water; Mistaya Lake. There is no viewpoint like Peyto Lake, but it is definitely worth checking it out. There are also campsites available along side the lake. We parked our car in the parking lot and walked to the edge of the lake, depending on the time of the year the lake can be closer or farther from you.

Driving on the Icefields Parkway Highway is the best it gets, huge mountains, lush greenery and epic bodies of water are guaranteed to melt your heart. After Mistaya Lake we headed towards our hotel in Golden. On the way we pulled over at a rest stop and started playing hacky sack, one of the best memories of my life. Just my friends, I, and the Canadian Rockies surrounding us; at that moment life was at its best, at that moment.


Day 6: Glacier National Park, and more lakes…

We had a lot to cover today, so we had to get up early this time. There is only 2 days left (don’t want go home). We checked out of our room at the Ponderosa Motor Inn in Golden and headed to Glacier National Park. It is only a 30 minute drive on the Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1.

Glacier National Park is a year-around paradise. From the snow covered rockies in the winter to the glacial fed rivers in the summer, you are never to be disappointed. 2017 was Canada’s 150th birthday, so all the parks had free entry. Check out this link to find prices for all the parks in Canada.

We parked and headed for the trails, there is one main trail that takes you in to the park from the parking lot. Just keep following the trail and you will enter the forest, shortly after you will arrive at the river, look for a wooden bridge and two red chairs. The river was flowing at full speed and the air was very fresh. We spent some time relaxing at the bridge and shortly after headed back to the car.

Canoeing on the Blue waters of Lake Louise!

Lake Louise is in the heart of Banff National Park and it is the most visited location. You will find tourist’s there every day of the year. My best advice is getting there super early, I am talking about like 6 or 7 am. If you want the lake to yourself and enjoy the sunrise, before the storm of tourist start to get there. We got there around 10 am and the lake was crawling with tourist, everyone trying to get that perfect picture for their Instagram. Just a piece of advice you are never going to get that perfect picture. Everyone is trying to get the same picture from the same spot, walk along the side of the lake and grab a few shots from there, you will be much satisfied.

This is one of those things you must do, we didn’t plan on Canoeing but when we got there and saw the view and the color of the water everyone wanted to get in on the action.

During Summer it is very busy, so the lines can be very long and the wait can be more than an hour sometime. Get there when they open at 11 am or during evening hours around 5 or 6 pm to skip the line.

The prices are $105 per hour or $95 for half hour, you might as well get the whole hour. Each canoe can fit 3 people, one in the front, middle and back.

We wasted no time, got in our canoe and headed straight for the other end of the lake. After barely making it half way, we realized this lake is huge. Instead of going to the other side, we decided to just park our canoe’s in the middle of the lake and just enjoy the view. I can still see the exact color of the water when I close my eyes. – Let me know how your experience is in the comments.

Moraine Lake

Our next stop was Moraine Lake, trust me when I say; this place is Nature’s Mona Lisa. The natural beauty here is breathtaking and so surreal. Moraine Lake is a 20-minute drive from Lake Louise. There is one main parking lot right by the lake and there are 2 ways up to the main viewpoint.

Take a short walk up to the viewpoint or if you are feeling adventurous like us, walk across wooden logs on the water and climb the rocks up to the viewpoint.

I suggest you take the adventurous route, plus you might get to see one of your friends slip and fall in the water – Miraj Patel.

Moraine Lake is surrounded by the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake is glacier fed which gives it the vibrant turquoise blue color.

You can also rent a canoe or do some short hikes around the lake. The Lake is just half the size of Lake Louise but twice as more scenic.

The best time of the year to visit and see the true color of the lake is between late June to August. By summer the glaciers have melted, and the lake is full to the top. During the months of winter, the lake is fully frozen and can be just as beautiful. But some of the roads might be closed, check the local government website before you decide to make your way out there.

Banff

It was around 4 pm, we got to our room at the Banff Park Lodge, the Lodge Suite was perfect with 2 queen beds, a pull out double bed, and 2 bathrooms. The Lodge is surrounded by shops and restaurants within walking distance.

There was still some day light left, so we decided to go walk around and explore the small resort town of Banff. This place is surrounded by tall and beautiful mountains. Banff Ave. is filled with local shops that sell authentic souvenirs, gifts, and various art and photo galleries.

After walking around for a while, we started to get hungry so we decided to get some pizza. I don’t know what it is with Canada and Pizza, but they seem to know what they are doing. I know I said I had the best pizza in my life earlier in whistler, but this place is a close second. Bear Street Tavern offers great pizza and beer with such friendly staff.

Get a pie for yourself or split it with a friend, either way it will leave a lasting taste.

We slowly made our way back to the room to relax for a bit before we head out to celebrate our last night of the road trip.

Its about 9 pm and everybody had cleaned up and dressed for a fun night out. We started by a celebratory drink at the hotel bar and headed towards the town.

Our first stop was at the Elk & Oarsman kitchen & Bar; this place is like a cabin in the woods. Built with big timber logs and an open patio on the second floor, this place has a very home like feeling. They offer a wide selection of beers and spirits, it was also rated the Top 12 pubs in all of Canada.

As the night started to progress and our minds started to wander, me made our way to the Dancing Sasquatch. If you are looking to get you groove on and show off your dance moves this place is perfect. They do have an entry fee of around $10 depending on the day of the week.

The drinks started to pile up, going from bar to bar so some of us called it a night and some still wanted to party.

Its about 2 am, and the bars are closing. So we did what everyone does when they are drunk, grab some Pizza- I know right, again! But its just so good we couldn’t get enough of it. It was time to call it a night.


Day 7: Final day of the trip- 😦

Today was our official last day of the trip. I was feeling like vacation is over and now it’s time to go back to school. But I told my self that, I should be grateful for what I was able to experience and the memories that would last a life time.

We checked out of our room, grabbed some breakfast at the local Tim Hortons. It is a must visit if you are in any part of Canada, their breakfast and donuts are exceptionally yummy. We grabbed some beer from a local shop and drove to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

Start by walking around the discovery center, learn about the history of the Canada Parks and how they came to be, and then make your way to Canada’s most protected asset. An underground cave filled with a natural pool of water, be warned this place has a distinct smell from all the sulfur and minerals in the cave; just don’t breath through your mouth.

Don’t forget to check out the local musical performance.

Shortly after we made our way to a nearby lake. Just to relax and enjoy some cold beers while enjoying the views again (something you can never get enough of). About 30 minutes later, we were serenaded with a beautiful trumpet solo. To this day, I am not sure if it was a government employee or just random person, either way it was perfect.

Goodbyes are never easy!

Eventually all good things must come to an end. If you are anything like me, you are going to miss this beautiful country very much and you will remember it for years to come.

This place is still etched in my brain as if it was today.

We made our to way Calgary, an hour from Banff. We explored downtown for a few hours, and shortly after headed to the airport. Don’t forget to return your rental car.

I hope this itinerary helps you plan your perfect Canadian road trip. I want to hear all about your experience. If you have any questions, please comment below or email me.

Happy Travels!! 🙂


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