Pro Photographer’s Top 10 Canadian Rockies Places to Shoot

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010

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Hoping to get some great photos during your time here in the Canadian Rockies? Banff National Park and Jasper National Park offer some of the best opportunities to get great photos anywhere in the Rockies. To help you focus in on where to get your great photographs, we’ve gone to one of the local experts, Mike Grandmaison, to get his advice.

Mike Grandmaison photo of a male big horn sheep in the Canadian Rockies.

Grandmaison’s has been getting his photographs published by the likes of National Geographic, Outdoor Photography Canada, Canadian Geographic and other renowned outlets. He has published 11 books, including his 2007 book of Canadian Rockies photos.

We feel pretty confident saying he knows what he’s doing when it comes to photography in the Canadian Rockies.

These first four places are in Banff National Park. “These are all icons,” according to Grandmaison.

1. Peyto Lake: You’ll find this spectacular lake about 96 km north of Banff townsite on Icefields Parkway. The color of this lake is a truly spectacular bright aqua color, thanks to glacial deposits. Really makes for a fantastic photograph.

2. Lake Louise: About 55 km north of Banff townsite, Lake Louise is a classic, postcard perfect Canadian Rockies photographer stop. It’s a huge, pristine lake, whose color is enhanced by glacial deposits, with a fairytale-like castle sitting at one end.

3. Herbert Lake: You’ll find this gem just 10 minutes north of Lake Louise on Icefields Parkway. Besides being a great place to get some spectacular shots, but also a good place to swim in the summer, and a fun place to bird watch.

4. Moraine Lake: This is perhaps one of the most iconic places to photograph in the Canadian Rockies. In 1969 and 1979 a view of it from “The Rockpile” was used on the back of the Canadian $20 bill, hence the view here has been nicknamed “The $20 view.” You’ll find it just 12 km away from Lake Louise.

This next batch you’ll find in Jasper National Park:

5. Athabasca River: “I love the Athatbasca river for the reflections you can get off it,” says Grandmaison. This amazing river, one of the most powerful in the Canadian Rockies, is surrounded by amazing peaks that reflect off its surface.

6. Horseshoe Lake: “One place people don’t tend to go to as much is horseshoe lake,” Grandmaison told us. “It’s a gorgeous place, with lots of beautiful reflections.” You’ll find it just ten minutes south of Jasper, and you can reach the lake with just a ten minute walk from the trail head.

7. Jasper Townsite: Perhaps not what you expected to see on this list, but Jasper townsite is surrounded by beautiful peaks, and is one of the best spots to get photos of elk during the rutting season in the fall, when the elk gather in town. Check it out with the Jasper webcam.

8. Edith Lake: This fantastic glacial lake is surrounded by waterfalls, ice caves, amazing peaks and wildflower fields. It’s only about 6 km south of the town of Jasper on Icefields Parkway, then another 28 km on 93(a).

9. Pyramid Lake: You’ll find this fantastic lake literally just a few minutes out of the town of Jasper on Pyramid Lake Road. Great place to see wildlife and views of the Athabasca River.

10. Pocahontas Area: You’ll find this are about 45 minutes north east of Jasper town site. According to Grandmaison, it’s one of the best places to photograph big horn sheep.
Hope you find this helpful! Read more Canadian Rockies photo tips by Grandmaison here, and more from the Rockies expert guides here.

  • allan hargraves

    If Mike is such an expert on the Canadian Rockies why does he think Horseshoe Lake is north of Jasper (it’s south) or that Lake Louise is on the Icefields Parkway (it’s not).

  • ppeters


    Thanks for bringing those errors to our attention. They were not Mike’s but our mistakes made in transcribing the interview. They’ve been corrected.


  • I have fun with, lead to I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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