Away From The Bay: Striking Views At Glacier National Park Montana & Banff National Park Canada

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For the venturesome heads that are looking to expand their horizons, heading north will illuminate even the most experienced traveler. With that said, I decided to check out Glacier National Park in Montana. The park covers over 1,000,000 acres of wide-ranged mountains and crystal clear lakes. The only way to really see the entire vicinity without investing months into it is by exploring the terrain by air.

With over 130 named lakes and a limited time, it was obvious I had to establish the few lakes that caught my attention that was easy to access. McDonald Lake was an apparent choice since it was the largest lake in Glacier National Park and it didn’t require a hike to visit. Avalanche Lake was more of a laidback 4.5 mile (approx. 2-hour) hike round trip. The cascading sound of water rushing through the creeks was a constant reminder of the intimate feeling of what the state of Montana had to offer. Avalanche Lake itself is surrounded by beautiful 4800 ft. mountains; look closely and you could see several waterfalls on your horizon.

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The distance from Glacier National Park to the Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is only a mere 4-hour drive, which makes visiting these two national parks feasible. The landscape of Banff National Park is absolutely breathtaking. The mountain ranges are something right out of a fantasy movie. This massive park is right next to Jasper National Park and Yoho National Park, an impressive combination of landscapes. Figuring out which location to visit for sunrise and sunset is prime when you’re trying to make the most of your time with all the locations Banff National Park has to offer. Lake Louise and Lake Moraine are two very popular lakes to visit during sunset hour. A short 30-minute drive from one another makes these two lakes a must-visit location. Lake Louise also happens to be in Fairmont Chateau’s backyard, which is a great place to stay while on vacation.

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Peyto Lake is a unique glacier-fed lake that should certainly make the top five places to visit while in Banff. Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka are amazing spots for mid-day adventures that do not require very much hiking. Also, a great place to stop just to check out is Moraine curve. A river and train tracks runs through the valley and in the distant, stunning mountains cover the horizon. Stick around and you might catch a train!

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Town of Banff is a place where you can wander through and find everything you’ll need from restaurants, art galleries, museums, and place to eat and shop. A vibrant and lively area to unwind from your long days of exploring and hiking.


Photography and written by Minh Nguyen — Get a load of his last trips outside the Bay Area, an absolute stunner. Minh is a lifestyle and editorial photographer based in San Francisco.

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