The Only North American Mountains That Blow Colorado Away
My parents were professional photographers, and not coincidentally I grew up in the shadow of the most gorgeous mountains in the hemisphere. Work took them up into the mountains, especially in the summer, and as a kid I’d tag along, hauling gear and loading film. Over time, the scenery made me the world’s most spoiled pack mule.
Don’t get me wrong -- spending time around Canada’s Rocky Mountains was a privilege. But it also ruined years of other natural sightseeing for me since. Sure, this place is pretty, I’ll tell myself now. But is it as pretty as Maligne Lake? Not a chance.
The Canadian Rockies stretch 900 miles northwest from the Montana border. They began forming around 80 million years ago, making them 400 million years younger than the Appalachians. Their relative youth shows in their sharper edges and rough faces that contrast beautifully with the smooth lines of the glacial lakes they hold. These can take on downright surreal colors thanks to the microscopic bits of ground-up mountain that come off a glacier when it melts.
The lakes and peaks combined create gob-smacking scenery at any time of the year. But since a car is indispensable for visiting the Rockies, accessing their beauty is easiest in the warmer months, when the highways are clear. If the open road is calling you in the summer, a road trip to the Rockies is always a good idea. (Today’s exchange rate also makes it a great deal.) If you get in your car and go, here are the most beautiful views to chase.