Last Updated on March 26, 2021
With awe inspiring landscapes and plentiful wildlife the Canadian Rockies is a dream come true for the hiking photographer.
With much of it available right off the highway the Canadian Rockies is truly a must go location if you are interested in nature photography.
Best Drives For Photographing the Canadian Rockies
Tracing the border of Alberta and British Columbia lay the majestic beauty of the Canadian Rockies. You can fly into Calgary International Airport, hop in a rental car and cruise down the Trans-Canadian Highway to Hwy 40 and hit one of the most beautiful locations to photograph in North America.
I highly recommend you come with all the right gear so you don’t miss a single shot. Bring a 24-70mm equivalent lens which is perfect for canyons and waterfalls. And keep a 70-300mm equivalent for wildlife and distant nature scenes.
And to get those wide mountain shots use a 17-40mm equivalent lens. And make sure to bring a tripod for perfect landscape shots.
And to find the best chance for capturing wildlife and amazing landscapes hit these locations.
Kananaskis Country, Highway 40
Hit this nature photography Mecca while all the crowds are at nearby Banff National Park. This location offers arguably better landscapes than Banff and it has far fewer people visiting.
This is one of your best chances for capturing animal life and grizzly bears are plentiful. You will also need your camera ready for deer, sheep, moose and elk.
Highway 40 will take you through a majestic view of mountain peaks, and if in the evening, one amazing sunset. And if you head south you can hit Highwood Pass. This area will provide a dizzying variety of landscapes and wildlife all in one drive.
You will see everything from alpine passes with roaming grizzlies to forest foothills with grazing elk.
Along the way there are numerous epic stops including Barrier Lake, Mount Kidd Reflecting Pools, Wedge Pond, and Mount Lorette Ponds.
And the list continues with Spillway Lake, Elbow Pass, and Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes. Be sure to hit the area when the weather is fair, summer and fall, as parts are closed during the rest of the year.
Vermilion Lakes Scenic Drive, Banff National Park
While it is far busier than the spots above, you can’t photograph the Canadian Rockies without hitting Banff. Head west on Highway 1 from Kananaskis Country and hit Banff. Take the second exit which heads to the town of Banff. You’ll take the first right onto Vermilion Lake Drive.
It’s a relatively short drive but it’s absolutely amazing! The scenes along this three mile drive are some of the best in the entire region. Among the sites are the Vermilion Lakes and Fairholme, Massive, and Sundance Range.
Your natural lighting is absolutely stunning offering some of the best conditions for landscape and nature photography you will ever see.
During sunrise and sunset you will be able to photograph the sun cascading the ridges of the Rockies. And catch sunsets reflecting off the pristine lakes.
Icefields Parkway, Banff and Jasper National Park
From Vermilion Lakes head west on Highway 1 until you reach Highway 93. This is where you will find Icefields Parkway which offers some of the best views of the Rockies.
This stretch is over 140 miles of majestic peaks, glistening lakes, and ancient glaciers.
Keep your eye peeled because there are so many picturesque scenes it’s hard to catch them all. You will be capturing pictures of raging rivers, snow tipped peaks and potentially many animals.
Some of the highlights include Peyto Lake, Bow Lake and Bow Summit, Panther Falls, Rampart Ponds, Mosquito Creek, Wilcox Pass, Horseshoe Lake and so much more!
This photography driving tour of the Canadian Rockies is an experience of a lifetime. There are so many majestic scenes it’s hard to not feel a bit overwhelmed. But if you are prepared with the right gear and the right destinations you will have an amazing trip.