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Canada Unlocked latest issue of AWAYN magazine

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Adam Wessels Maligne Lake - Jasper

Maligne Lake is absolutely beautiful. The surrounding mountains were snow capped and the lake water is always crystal clear, which made for an amazing setting. If you in decent shape, and have 4-5 hours, do this hike to the top. You will not believe the views. The view from the boat going down Maligne Lake is also great, those mountains and the colors of the lake. But once at the viewpoint near Spirit Island, it turned almost magic, the color of the water, the reflections and the surrounding mountains. As usual the camera could not catch this, mostly because the sun was on the mountains tops but not fully on the island, but this only added to the drama, with the shining white glaciers.  

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Activities: HikeHike
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Parking Parking Restrooms Restrooms
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Marcus Schuler Kamloops Lake

Most of this lake are rocky. Cooney Bat on the east side and Savona on the west end are the best views. The Kamloops Lake has been called a widening of Thompson River with steep cliff surroundings the lake it gets relatively little use except for seasonal fishing and boating. We paddled our kayaks on the lake a few times each year. The North & South Thompson Rivers: The Thompson Rivers, which runs right through the city, are the perfect places to start a canoe or kayak adventure.  

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Activities: FishingFishing HikeHike KayakingKayaking
Amenities: Dog friendly Dog friendly Child Friendly Child Friendly Parking Parking
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AWAYN Editorial

Banff National Park's Most Iconic Photo Spots

Banff National Park is one of Canada’s great treasures. Landscape photos from within Banff’s borders are featured in publications across the globe. Four million people visit the park each and every year, all hoping to take photos like those they’ve seen in calendars and books. If you want to get postcard-worthy shots of Banff National Park, then you need to visit the right locations at the right times of the day. Here are the locations you need to visit to emulate Banff’s top five iconic photos, and the best times of day to visit each individual spot.

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Photography Equipment You’ll Need

Castle Mountain is a monolith of a mountain, even when compared to all the surrounding peaks. Castle Mountain is one of the few peaks that looks great no matter the time of day. It does get more spectacular while the sun is setting, but you can skill achieve amazing photos of Castle Mountain at sunrise, or mid-day. The iconic Castle Mountain photo is taken from Castle Junction on the banks of the Bow River, located 32k (20 miles) west on Highway 1 from Banff townsite. Exit right on AB-93S towards Kootenay National Park, and turn right at the stop. Advance and park before the bridge that crosses the Bow River. On the north side of the bridge, take the path down to a gate that provides access to the river’s west bank. There are great spots to setup your tripod along the banks of the Bow with Castle Mountain to the east. Also at this same location is a great opportunity to photograph a family of osprey have built a giant nest on top of the bridge, so keep a longer telephoto lens handy.


Photography Equipment You’ll Need

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Castle Mountain

Castle Mountain is a monolith of a mountain, even when compared to all the surrounding peaks. Castle Mountain is one of the few peaks that looks great no matter the time of day. It does get more spectacular while the sun is setting, but you can skill achieve amazing photos of Castle Mountain at sunrise, or mid-day. The iconic Castle Mountain photo is taken from Castle Junction on the banks of the Bow River, located 32k (20 miles) west on Highway 1 from Banff townsite. Exit right on AB-93S towards Kootenay National Park, and turn right at the stop. Advance and park before the bridge that crosses the Bow River. On the north side of the bridge, take the path down to a gate that provides access to the river’s west bank. There are great spots to setup your tripod along the banks of the Bow with Castle Mountain to the east. Also at this same location is a great opportunity to photograph a family of osprey have built a giant nest on top of the bridge, so keep a longer telephoto lens handy.


Peyto Lake

Of the five photo locations in this list, Peyto Lake is the furthest away from Banff townsite. To reach this location take highway 1 west. At approximately 55km (34 miles) from Banff Townsite take exit 93 onto Highway 93N and continue another 40km (25 miles) to the Peyto Lake parking area. From here, the viewpoint is an easy ten-minute uphill hike. Peyto Lake is a busy location in summer, so plan accordingly. Like Castle Mountain light is good any time of day, but sunset at Peyto is amazing. You can extend your outing by hiking the Bow Summit trail from the Peyto Lake Lookout. This will make the hour-long drive more worthwhile and provide different views of the lake.

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Lake Louise

Possibly the most iconic spot in Banff National Park, Lake Louise is on most visitor’s itineraries, and with good reason! The lake’s water can be anywhere from vibrant blue to a breathtaking emerald green depending on the season and sediment in the water. Lake Louise is one of the most visited places in the park. If you want to get that iconic Lake Louise photo, then you are best to arrive early in the morning – as close to sunrise as you can – before the crowds arrive. In the off-seasons, the lake can be captured at sunset to great effect, but sunrise is the best time for Lake Louise. Setup your tripod on the wooden walkway in between the lake and the Chateau Lake Louise.


Rundle Mountain Reflection

Despite the popularity of locations like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, Rundle Mountain is still probably the most photographed peak in the park, mostly thanks to its close proximity to the town of Banff. There are multiple locations around Banff where you can capture great photos of Rundle Mountain, but when most people think of the peak, they picture Rundle reflected in Vermillion Lakes. This is a spectacular location any time of day. It is also a popular location for astrophotography, so literally, beautiful photos can be created from this location at any hour. My suggestion is to visit Vermillion Lakes for sunset for best results. To reach this location either take the Norquay exit off Highway 1 towards Banff and turn onto Vermillion Lakes Rd. If in Banff, leave town via Lynx Street which will turn into Gopher Street, then Mount Norquay Road. From Mount Norquay Rd, turn onto Vermillion Lakes Rd and drive along the water until you find a spot you like. There are pull-offs for parking and docks all along the lakes’ sides.

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More ADVENTURES highlights

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Hidden Gems Awayn Ice Castles YEG

Formed from over 250 million pounds of hand placed icicles, this incredible attraction took between 8 and 10 weeks to put together. The builders are constantly working against the elements to put this castle together, and you can certainly see how much work has gone into it.

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Activities: ChillingChilling PhotographyPhotography
Amenities: Child Friendly Child Friendly Picnic Area Picnic Area Parking Parking
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Jacqueline Payton Kinney Lake, Canada

Just visited the park during the 1st week of August, 2012. It's about half an hour east of Valemount, BC or an hour drive west to Jasper, Alberta. Drop by the visitor centre as they have very helpful and knowledgeable staff for great ideas and services. You can stay overnight at Berg Lake ($10 pass required and can be purchased at visitor centre) or you can just do the 4.5 km Kinney Lake hike (one-way) - see picture. Parking at the trailhead can be busy.
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Activities: HikeHike KayakingKayaking
Amenities: Dog friendly Dog friendly Child Friendly Child Friendly
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