Rocky Mountains in the fall - We love it!
September is our favourite travel month of all season, because of the fall colours in the Rocky Mountains. We do not have Indian Summer like the Eastern part of North America, but we have the Larch Season with its yellow larches covering the mountain slopes. Just Google "Larch Season Lake Louise".... You will be amazed.
Temperatures during the day are comfortable for hiking trips, the nasty mosquitoes are gone and most tourists have returned home too. At night temperatures can fall below 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) but if you don't mind this and bring a good sleeping bag, you will be a happy camper ;)
Tenting in one of our roof top tents will be similar to regular tenting, just with two major differences. The time saving you have with the tent setup (our tent sets up in just under one minute!) and the fact that you sleep above the ground to feel safer from wildlife and the nightly critters. I should not forget to mention the comfortable 2 inch foam mattress.
Another difference is the temperature compared to a regular tent. While the nightly cold fog and mist or possible frost occurs near the ground, it can be much colder sleeping on floor level. Up high on the van, the temperature will be a few degrees warmer.
Now, why do we love the September month?
For only 2-3 weeks in September (mid to end of September), the needles of the larch trees which grow on higher elevations turn from green to yellow before they fall off. The larch tree has green needles in summer and it is the only tree from the pine family that completely loses its needles in autumn. The larch grows at altitudes of over 2,300 meters.
There are many larch hikes near Banff and Lake Louise and you find some on the Parks Canada homepage.
The most popular hike is Larch Valley near Moraine Lake. Be aware, the road to Moraine Lake is closed for the season around the beginning of October and re opens around middle of May (weather permitting)
At the beginning of the trail there will be a sign that you can only hike in groups of four people. Bear safety, as you are in bear country after all. If you are by yourself or a couple, wait at the sign, and join other people to form a group.
The Larch Valley Trail starts from the shore of Moraine Lake and leads uphill over switchbacks over a length of 4.3 km. Up to 2,435 meters, where the larches grow. The path becomes much flatter at the top which makes it easier to look forward to what is expecting you. I have rarely seen so much beauty, and I ran back and forth to capture the best views with my camera. My favorite view to photograph was against the blue, cloudless sky.
On the plateau we had a panoramic view of the Valley of Ten Peaks, with the ten snow-capped peaks. From the plateau you can continue for another 2.5km and walk up the Sentinel Pass. The zigzag switchbacks can be seen in the very last picture. We never went up because of fear of heights.
Now here come the many pictures we took during our trips up to Larch Valley. Enjoy.