Other than having some of the kindest people alive, and hockey culture like no other, I’m genuinely convinced that Canada has some of the most breathtaking locations on earth.
Last year we first stepped foot in British Columbia to work on a project with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and a few other outdoor brands. We immediately fell in love with the vast majestic mountain ranges, so the moment we were invited back for a project this summer, we jumped at it.
Our trip started out in Golden, British Columbia. Golden is a small mountain town that many move to because of its close proximity to 6 national parks (Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Kootenay, and Glacier). We stayed at a beautiful Lush Mountain Accommodation property located at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. That first night, we kicked back in front of a toasty fire, while planning the week of adventures that would soon unfold.
While staying at the resort, we did activities such as a via ferrata climb and mountain biking. Via ferrata is Italian for “iron road” and is a climbing technique developed by troops in the first world war in order to efficiently traverse the alps. This style of climbing consists of climbing on steel rungs serving as ladder steps on a mountain side, all while remaining harnessed into a steel cable for safety. Kicking Horse’s via ferrata begins by crossing a 197 ft long suspension bridge called “hanging glory”. We made our way up this adrenaline filled version of a ladder climb, all the while getting sweet vantage points for photos, and eventually summiting atop that route’s peak, titled T2. We’ve done a decent bit of rock climbing in our day, and would recommend via ferrata climbs to anyone who wants to expand their comfort zone, taking in some real vertical exposure, all while being 100% safe on a fixed route.
The next day, we woke up bright and early to shred the trails on mountain bikes (or so we thought). Trying to keep up with our pals Cole and Emile, who were raised in the Canadian mountains, kept us humble, making us look like “city boys” from Chicago. We ended the day feeling wiped in the best way possible. Although we weren’t quite catching the altitude on jumps, or speed around berms, that our daredevil companions were, we felt like we gave that mountain a run for its money.
Since Golden is located so close to surrounding national parks, we spent the second half of our trip on the road crossing off some of the most spectacular spots on our Canadian destinations bucket list. We started by making our way to potentially the most gorgeous and genuinely jaw dropping locations we’ve visited, Moraine Lake located in Banff. I’ll admit that Banff is heavily packed with tourists, but after seeing some of these incredible glacier lakes, it’s pretty apparent why.
We decided to bring with a Red Paddle Co inflatable paddle board in order to experience the destination in a new way. After hiking down a secluded path with the board on Kody’s back, and all our essential camera gear on mine, we made our way to a peaceful hidden rock harbor that met the water's edge. Taking a paddle board out on that majestic aqua blue lake felt a bit like the most epic meditation session you could imagine. Ending the day by unwinding in a hammock overlooking the sunset wasn’t the worst thing in the world either.
The next day, before leaving Banff, we visited a lake we had been hearing about and seeing on Instagram for years, Peyto Lake. Similarly to Moraine Lake, this is a glacier fed lake that has a comparable turquoise tint. The best overlook of this lake is arguably Bow Summit. From here, you can see the vastness of the lake as well as its most notable features. If you stare at the lake long enough, many will point out how the far right side appears to be shaped like a wolf’s head.
After this, we were off to Banff’s northern neighboring national park, Jasper. We made a stop at one of the most incredible waterfalls we’ve ever seen, Sunwapta Falls. Seeing the waterfall took only a brief hike down before having a prime view. We set up our befree Manfrotto tripod and used a 6 stop ND filter on our lens in order to get a long exposure shot - emphasizing the water’s movement over time.
Although we would have liked to stay all day, we had to rush out of there in order to get to our hotel. The next morning we’d have to wake up at 4am, and we wanted every bit of sleep we could grab. Early, sleep deprived mornings are never fun, that is unless you are rolling out of bed to catch a helicopter tour for a flight over the Canadian Rockies at sunrise. Located near the Columbia Icefields is Rockies Heli Canada’s Icefield Heliport.
Our helicopter tour’s first stop was at a landing near the Cline River. We hiked roughly a mile along the river, enjoying the relaxing water flow, ending in a waterfall. I brought a portable water filter with, and drank straight from the glacier river runoff - it doesn’t get any fresher than that! After snapping some photos and taking in the ambiance, our pilot, Ralph, wanted to show us one of his favorite spots. We dropped into a second location, which was a secluded glacier lake. It was refreshing to see such a naturally beautiful vista minus the crowds of tourists that similar destinations often attract. The only way to get to this destination is by helicopter, it’s that remote.
There’s no cherry on top of a trip quite like a helicopter ride. Kody and I have had the opportunity to go on many heli flights, but each time is no less exhilarating. British Columbia and Alberta will always have a special place in our hearts. The epic mountain ranges will never get old no matter how many times you return. If you haven’t been, please do yourself the favor of putting it on your travel bucket list. It won’t be a trip you’ll forget any time soon.
At young ages, Kyler and Kody McCormick have lived out their dreams as adventure filmmakers and entrepreneurs. As founders of the brand, The Outbound Life, they have become sponsored by top brands in the filmmaking industry. They have also acquired Fortune 500 clients, and have been heard on stages such as TEDx and Photo Plus Expo. Follow the inspiring brotherly duo for a daily look at how to turn your passion into a career, and ultimately, how to LIVE The Outbound Life.