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Are you looking for the best photography spots in the Canadian Rockies? Well let me tell you, this blogpost has got you completely covered!
I just came back from a 2 week whirlwind road trip through the Canadian Rockies in both British Columbia and Alberta and I am hear to spill the tea where to find all of the best photography locations.
This is a list that every landscape photographer should save to their itinerary when planning their trip.
Some locations require some hiking while others can be found right next to the road.
For more information and details about our time in Canada make sure to have a look at my Canada travel guides.
14 Spectacular Photography Spots In The Canadian Rockies
1. Spirit Island, Maligne Lake
Let me start with one of my absolute favorite photography spots in the Canadian Rockies and one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!
Spirit Island is one of the most remote locations in Jasper National Park. While there are many day tours visiting this beautiful place in the Canadian Rockies, the best time to visit Spirit Island is for sunrise or sunset.
The journey to Spirit Island is 14km one way and can only be reached by boat . We rented a canoe from Pure Outdoors and started paddling at 1am. We arrived at 4.30am and had the entire place just to ourselves.
For all of the information regarding this adventure check out my detailed article:
When driving the Yellowhead Highway from Jasper National Park you’ll soon find yourself in Mount Robson Provincial Park.
This wonderful view is located directly off the road, right behind the Mount Robson visitor centre. During late spring, early summer you can admire the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies from a beautiful field filled with wildflowers.
3. Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park is one of the most stunning locations to photograph the sunrise. You’ll see the mist rising up from the lake while the first rays of sun will light up Pyramid Mountain in the back.
My favorite place to photography Pyramid Lake is from the wooden bridge that connects the mainland with the small island in the middle of the lake called Pyramid Island. There’s a small parking lot in front of it but in the morning you won’t have any trouble finding a parking spot.
We also walked up the road a little more to get a better view of Pyramid Mountain and its reflection in the lake.
4. Bow Lake
Bow Lake is a must stop when you’re driving the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper or vice versa. It was one of my favorite stops on this scenic drive and if you can time it make sure to arrive here for sunrise.
5. Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is one of the most popular lakes in Banff National Park and you can also find it along the Icefields Parkway.
It’s parking lot is however a little tricky to find cause the sign on the road doesn’t say Peyto Lake but Bow Pass. There are two parking lots and the one for cars and RV’s is the first one on your right that you’ll see.
From there it’s a 10 minute hike up to the viewpoint. They’ve created a platform from where you can stand but if you go through the bushes just a little before that you’ll arrive at these rocks where you can take better photos.
6. Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is probably one of the most photographed places in the Canadian Rockies and these days you have to wake up early to even be able to see it.
The parking lot at Moraine Lake fills up right after sunrise and once it’s full they will close off Moraine Lake Road and you won’t be able to enter.
My advice? Arrive 1 hour before sunrise so you also have enough time to find a spot to take photos. And know that even though you’ve arrived super early there will be a lot of other people. arriving at sunrise is definitely not a secret anymore at Moraine Lake.
The morning we visited Moraine Lake was unfortunately very cloudy but even then it’s worth visiting! And yes, Moraine Lake is that blue!
❗️2023 UPDATE – As of 2023, Moraine Lake Road will be closed to privately owned vehicles. According to Parks Canada, access to the lake will be by Parks Canada Shuttle, Roam Transit, commercial buses and taxis from June to mid-October.
7. Lake Louise
Lake Louise is world famous for its pristine turquoise water surrounded by the Victoria Glaciers and insane mountain backdrop.
The best time to photograph Lake Louise is in the early morning when the first sunlight hits the mountains and the lake. Lake Louise has its bright turquoise color year round but it does get enhanced by the sunshine.
8. Two Jack Lake
Two Jack Lake is located along the Lake Minnewanka Scenic Road and is the perfect spot to watch the sunset! It’s a 15 minute drive from the town Banff and offers fantastic views of Mount Rundle.
Don’t be fooled by the photo below, the water is pretty much freezing cold!
9. Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive
The Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive is one of the most beautiful roads in the Canadian Rockies. And in the early and late hours it’s also the perfect place to spot wildlife. We were staying at a nearby campsite and drove this loop about 3 times just because it’s so beautiful.
In the timespan of just two days we saw our first black bear, a wolf, a grizzly bear with her cub and a bunch of elk.
When spotting wildlife make sure to keep your distance. All of my photos were taken from the safety of our van with a tele lens.
10. Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake is a beautiful lake in Yoho National Park and as it name already says it’s a emerald colored lake. It’s the perfect place for a late afternoon stroll and to capture the sunset glow on the surrounding mountains.
There’s a pretty big parking lot right next to the lake and there’s a hiking trail that goes around it with little to no elevation.
11. Cascade Ponds
Cascade Ponds is a small park located only 5 minutes away from Banff. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy an afternoon picknick and capture the beautiful Mount Rundle from a different perspective.
12. Barrier Lake
This viewpoint requires a bit of a hike but all in all it’s not too strenuous. The hike up to the Barrier Lake lookout point will lead you through a forest and past a beautiful waterfall.
This stunning viewpoint can be found in Kananaskis Country and it’s one of the few places where on one side you can admire the Canadian Rockies and on the other the prairie.
13. Joffre Lakes
Joffre Lakes is another very popular hiking trail in the Canadian Rockies and located in the province of British Columbia. This one does require a bit of planning though, especially if you’re visiting in the summer months.
Due to its popularity you now need to make a reservation through the Parks Canada website to ensure yourself a parking spot and a trail pass. You can make your reservation 48 hours in advance and it’s completely free. Reservations start at 7am (BC time) and I do strongly recommend that you book it at opening time or otherwise you might miss out on the day you would like to visit!
14. Mistaya Canyon
The incredibly picturesque Mistaya Canyon is one of the many stops along the Icefields Parkway. If you’re staying in the neighborhood know that it’s an excellent spot to photograph the sunrise in the Canadian Rockies.
During the day Mistaya Canyon can become pretty crowded but it’s pretty easy and straight forward to a photo like this here. There’s no dangerous rock climbing involved!
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.