In July-August 2014 I did a three week trip around the northwestern US and Canadian Rockies with Grand American Adventures. The trip I did was called 'The Best of the Rockies'. It commenced in Seattle, and five US states, two Canadian provinces and seven national parks later, it concluded in Vancouver. This trip provided a great variety of scenery and the opportunity to see a large part of the northwestern US and the Rocky Mountains. A selection of photographs from this trip is contained below. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:


This map shows the route of the Best of the Rockies tour throughout the northwestern US states and into Canada.


Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill provides one of the best views of the Seattle CBD, with Mt Rainier in the distance.


Pikes Place Market is the original farmers market in Seattle and was founded in 1907. It is a very popular destination in downtown Seattle.


The Museum of Flight is a fantastic aviation museum situated at King County International Airport (Boeing Field) on the southern outskirts of Seattle. This is the largest private air and space museum in the world and contains many historic aircraft and displays. It also contains the restored Red Barn which was used during the early 1900's as Boeing's original manufacturing plant. I spent a day at this museum.


The museum contains a Concorde donated by British Airways. The jet, one of only twenty Concordes ever built, is one of only four outside Europe, with the other three being near Washington, in New York, and in Barbados.


The "City of Everett", serial number RA001, was the first Boeing 747 ever built, and the first flight-worthy 747 airliner. Its first flight was on February 9, 1969, and was retired in 1990. This famous aircraft was undergoing a badly needed repaint whilst I was there.


The museum contains the Full Fuselage Trainer (FFT), a shuttle mockup that was used to train all Space Shuttle astronauts. Because it is a trainer and not an actual shuttle, groups are allowed to tour its interior. I did a tour through the flight deck and crew compartment, which was very interesting.


The next day our tour group departed Seattle and caught a ferry west towards the Olympic Peninsula.


View of the Seattle waterfront from the ferry.


In Olympic National Park we drove up to Hurricane Ridge for views of the Olympic mountains.


The Hoh Rainforest is situated in a valley on the western side of Olympic National Park. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S and receives 140 to 170 inches of rain per year. We walked along the Hall of Mosses and Spruce Trails which contain trees covered in enormous amounts of moss and lichen.


This moss covered phone box near the Hoh Rainforest shows how wet the area is.


We did a short walk through lush vegetation to the Sol Duc Falls elsewhere in Olympic National Park.


We continued to Mt Rainier National Park and did some walks in the meadows in the Paradise area on the southern side of the mountain. The peak was clouded in whilst we were here.


Paradise Inn is a historic hotel built in 1916 at 1,600m elevation on the south slope of Mount Rainier. The inn is named after Paradise, the area of the mountain in which it is located. This area receives some of the biggest snowfalls in the world, accounting for the very steep roof on the hotel.


We left Mt Rainier and drove through central Washington into Oregon. Near Baker City we visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre which contained good displays on the natural history, travelers and explorers, Native Americans, wagon journeys and pioneer life, and the mining and settlement of Northeast Oregon.


Wagon display at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre.


We stayed overnight at the Geiser Hotel in Baker City. This magnificent old hotel was built in 1889.


In Idaho we visited the Craters of the Moon National Monument, a huge area of lava fields, lava tubes and cinder cones lying along the Great Rift in Idaho. We did a short walk through this weird landscape to some lava tubes.


Inside Indian Tunnel, which is the largest of the lava tubes in the area.


Climbing Inferno Cone, a black cinder cone, provided good views of the entire area.


We headed into Wyoming and visited Grand Teton National Park. There were great views of the Grand Teton range rising dramatically above the valley.


In Grand Teton National Park we caught a boat across Jenny Lake and did a walk to Hidden Falls then on to Inspiration Point.


At Inspiration Point overlooking Jenny Lake.


View of Jenny Lake from Inspiration Point.


We stayed overnight in Jackson Hole. The elk antler arches are a major feature of the town square.


A gunfight re-enactment is held every evening near the Jackson town square.


Ski runs above the town of Jackson.


Jackson Lake and the Grand Teton range on the drive north to Yellowstone National Park.


We spent two days in Yellowstone National Park. The first thermal area visited was West Thumb Geyser Basin on the shores of Yellowstone Lake.


A bison herd near the Mud Volcano thermal area.


Close up of a bison.


We did a walk along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, from Uncle Tom's Point to Artist Point, which provided good views of the Lower Yellowstone Falls.


Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs and travertine terraces in the northwestern part of Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone. It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the springs cooled and deposited calcium carbonate.


Close up of the travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs.


The Morning Glory Pool is a spectacular hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin near Old Faithful. It is a deep, funnel-shaped pool with a dark blue center, named after its resemblance to the corolla and color of a morning glory.


We watched the Grand Geyser erupt for almost 15 minutes. This was a much more spectacular geyser than Old Faithful. This area has the world's largest concentration of active geysers.


A hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin.


The Grand Prismatic Spring at the Midway Geyser Basin is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone. The spring is approximately 80 by 90 m in size and 50 m deep. We got some good views of this spring from a nearby hill.


From Yellowstone we headed north and stayed overnight at the Iron Wheel Ranch in central Montana, not far from Butte.


We went horseriding in the hills surrounding the ranch.


The ranch owners had a great taxidermy museum full of various former wildlife.


We camped at St Marys, on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park in northern Montana.


We travelled on a park shuttle bus on the "Going to the Sun" highway to Logan Pass and did a walk to the Hidden Lake Overlook. The trail went along boardwalks, across snow drifts and through flower covered meadows below Clements Mountain. This was a day of perfect weather and scenery.


Crossing remnant snow drifts on the Hidden Lake Overlook trail.


A mountain goat cooling off on the snow.


People at the Hidden Lake Overlook.


Hidden Lake and Bearhat Mountain from the Hidden Lake Overlook. The trail down to the lake was closed due to bear activity.


Logan Pass is the highest point on the "Going to the Sun" highway that crosses Glacier National Park.


We did another walk from Logan Pass north along the Highline Trail.


The Highline Trail contours around some very steep slopes. The trail follows the Garden Wall ridge and the continental divide for most of its length.


Beautiful scenery from the Highline Trail.


There were great wildflower displays whilst we were there, which included the distinctive Bear Grass.


An interesting section of the Highline Trail above the road close to Logan Pass.


The distinctive "Red Jammers", with roll-back canvas convertible tops, take tourists on tours throughout Glacier National Park, mainly along the "Going-to-the-Sun" Road. They were manufactured as the Model 706 by the White Motor Company from 1936-1939.


From St Marys, we crossed into Canada and passed through Calgary on the way to Banff. We spent two nights in Banff . There was little snow on the surrounding mountains at this time of the year.


The Banff Springs Hotel is a luxury hotel that was built during the 19th century as one of Canada's grand railway hotels, being constructed in Scottish Baronial style. The hotel was opened in 1888. We stayed in tents at the Tunnel Mountain Campground, not in this hotel.


The Banff Springs Golf Course close to the hotel.


A day was spent at Lake Louise in perfect conditions. We walked to the end of the lake and continued on the Plain of the Six Glaciers trail to the Teahouse and towards the Victoria Glacier.


Walking on the Plain of the Six Glaciers trail towards Mount Lefroy, Mount Victoria and the Victoria Glacier.


Walking on a scree slope near the Abbott Pass Viewpoint.


Avalanche falling off the upper Victoria Glacier.


View towards Mt Victoria and Abbott Pass. The Abbotts Pass Hut located on the pass was constructed by Canadian Pacific Railway Swiss guides in 1922. It is the second highest permanent, habitable structure in Canada.


A columbian ground squirrel near the Teahouse. These animals were very tame and very cute.


Heading back down the mountain towards Lake Louise and the Chateau in the distance.


The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is on the eastern shore of Lake Louise. The original Chateau was built in 1890 by the Canadian Pacific Railway following completion of the transcontinental railway.


Moraine Lake is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks about 14 kilometres from Lake Louise.


Moraine Lake. The lake is renowned for its blue coloured waters.


We spent the following day driving from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. This is one of the most scenic drives in the world, containing great mountain scenery, numerous glaciers, beautiful lakes and rivers. Our first stop during the drive was at Bow Lake.


Peyto Lake from Bow Summit. The lake has a brilliant blue colour caused by glacial runoff.


At Mistaya Canyon, the Mistaya River plunges into a narrow canyon forming many potholes.


Scenery along the Icefields Parkway.


The Icefield Interpretive Centre is located near the Columbia Icefield, and is used as a lodge and for ticket sales for sightseeing on the nearby Athabasca Glacier. The Columbia Icefield sits astride the Continental Divide of North America, lies partly in Banff and Jasper National Parks, and feeds eight major glaciers.


The Athabasca Glacier has receding significantly since its greatest modern-era extent in 1844. The glacier currently recedes at a rate of about 20 metres per year and has receded more than 1.5 km in the past 125 years and lost over half of its volume.


We did a 2.5 hour guided icewalk on the lower half of the Athabasca Glacier, walking past crevasses and meltstreams, and learning about glaciology. Crampons made walking on the ice very easy.


Meltwater flowing into the interior of the Athabasca Glacier.


Some of the group on the Athabasca Glacier.


As we walked on the glacier we watched Snow Coaches transporting tourists further up the glacier.


On the Athabasca Glacier.


Walking back down the glacier.


The following day in Jasper we did a walk at Mount Edith Cavell to view the Angel Glacier and surrounding scenery.


The Angel Glacier flows down the north face of Mount Edith Cavell. It is named as such because it has the appearance of an angel with out-swept wings.


Glacier and lake at the base of Mount Edith Cavell.


We also walked around the Valley of the Five Lakes near Jasper. This area contained a series of green and turquoise coloured lakes.


Totem pole in Jasper. The original totem pole stood for nearly a century, but was replaced in 2010 because of weather and structural damage.


Steam Locomotive 6015 on display in Jasper. This steam engine was one of 16 Mountain Type engines built by the Canadian Locomotive Company of Kingston, Ontario in 1923, and used by Canadian National Railways.


From Jasper we headed back towards Vancouver and stopped to view Mount Robson along the way. This is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies at 3954m.


The Othello railway tunnels are located in Coquihalla Canyon Recreation Area close to Hope. The tunnels were part of a railway route constructed by the Kettle Valley Railway in 1914. The decommissioned railway track is now a walking trail.


A walking trail takes people along the canyon and through the series of five tunnels. The tunnels are constructed through native granite, with concrete and wood interior supports, connected in several areas by trestles.


At the Othello Tunnels.


Our last night of the tour was spent in Hope, a small town on the Fraser River about 140km east of Vancouver.


Our vehicle at Stanley Park on arrival in Vancouver. This 1000 acre park is situated close to downtown Vancouver.


Totem poles in Stanley Park.


The Lions Gate Bridge crosses from Stanley Park to North Vancouver.


The Vancouver skyline from Stanley Park.


We spent a morning at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, an interesting tourist site containing a suspension bridge 230 ft above the river, a cliffwalk and a treetops walk set amongst the forest on either side of the Capilano River Canyon in North Vancouver.


View across the harbour towards North Vancouver.


Canada Place is the main cruise ship terminal for ships sailing up the coast to Alaska. The building's exterior is covered by fabric roofs resembling sails.


The float plane wharf in Vancouver. We watched numerous aircraft landing and taking off on the harbour.


The 2010 Winter Olympic cauldron in downtown Vancouver.

Contact "alanlevy at pcug dot org dot au" for more information.

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Page last modified on Friday 19 March 2021