Driving Through the Western National Parks

Even though it feels like forever ago now, it’s only been a few weeks since we hit the road with our kids and did a five day road trip through BC and Alberta. When I first started planning the driving trip my biggest worry was space; I didn’t want to feel cramped for an entire week (and we were ending our trip at West Edmonton Mall so I wanted to be able to shop!) Thankfully the folks at Chevrolet were able to set us up with a Chevrolet Impala to test drive for the week, so we didn’t all have to squeeze into our little Chevy Optra. 

chevrolet impala 2014The only park we missed was Kootney National Park – maybe next summer?western national parks

Initially the idea of road-tripping in a car was a bit nerve wracking because as kids we always took road trips in a mini van, but as soon as we started loading up the trunk of the Impala we realized just how roomy and spacious it is – the leg room was totally appreciated! As I mentioned in my previous post about our trip, the first leg of our drive took us from Surrey to Kamloops, about 4 hrs with one ‘stretch it out’ break in Merritt. After a quick lunch from the grocery store deli we drove on to the first stop in our tour of the Western National Parks; Revelstone National Park. Revelstone Park was a beautiful drive, but we didn’t really feel the urge to pull over and take pics. 

Rogers Pass BC{I swear Mr. T and I don’t match intentionally, it just happens}chevrolet impala 2014

The next park we drove through was Glacier Mountain Park. It was interesting how the temperature was changing minute by minute and the weather was alternating between full sunshine and misty showers during our drive. Not going to lie, I took full advantage of the heated seats in the Impala because no one gets cold as quickly as I do in the car. 

If you are driving through Glacier Mountain Park I highly recommend buying a park pass and stopping at Rogers Pass, it was just stunning. There is actually a nice area where you can have a picnic and the kids can run around and stretch their legs. Definitely a must-stop location.

emerald lake{Sightseeing, yes of course – but first, let me take some selfies 😉 }

After our stay in Golden BC, we headed on to Yoho National Park, and Banff National Park on the same day. There is a booth where you can purchase passes for the park right as soon as you enter, or you can drive a little further to the visitor centre in Field. My kids loved the visitor centre; there was lots of little activities there and so many maps to look it. If you drive to the visitor centre to buy your park pass, you’ll have to back track about 5-10 minutes to Emerald Lake, but you have to go there. Emerald Lake is probably in the top 3 most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life!

emerald lake 2{Can you believe there is no colour re-touching in these photos. Emerald Lake is actually emerald! Also, I’m so regretting the fact that we didn’t go kayaking.}emerald lake

After Emerald Lake we gassed up in Field, AB and realized that we had made it to Golden, driven around for two days, and carried on to Yoho on less than two tanks of gas; fuel efficient, check! So far the Impala was a win with mom for heated seats and individual temperature control, dad loved the gas mileage it gives, and nani (grandma) said it was so smooth it drove like her old Park Avenue Cadillac (quite the compliment coming from her!)

takkakaw falls

The second stop we made in Yoho National Park was Takkakawa Falls. At this point Z had fallen asleep on my mom’s shoulder and Mr. T wasn’t feeling like hiking so Armaan and I headed towards the falls on our own. This was one of my favourite moments of the trip, a special moment between me and A, something just the two of us did together. It could be wishful thinking, but I feel like years from now he’ll be like, “remember the time we went to Takkakaw falls together mom?”. Okay, gush fest over; in short, the falls are worth a visit.

The last stop on our drive through parks was Banff National Park. We stopped at Lake Louise for an obligatory picture and lunch. To be honest, Lake Louise was a bit disappointing. After spending some time at the peaceful, hidden, and beautiful Emerald Lake, it just seemed so busy and full of tourists. Also, if you decided to go to Lake Louise, don’t plan your lunch stop in the village, it was so pricey! If you leave the Lake Louise village and drive about 20 minutes you’ll hit Banff, and there is a lot of food choices there. IMG_4243{Armaan fits right in with the background & of course Zara striking a pose}


Just as we were driving out of Banff National park towards our next stop (Calgary), Armaan said, “mom you should get a tech savvy car like this, it even has outlets in the back to charge my DS.”. Well there you have it, the Chevy Impala was a winner with everyone in our family!

As I always say when I do test drives, I’m no car expert, but there were lots of things I love about the Chevy Impala. The thing that impressed me the most though was all the space and the ease of driving it. Now that Mr. T coaches Armaan’s soccer team our car is always full to the max with gear and I was worried we might have to get a minivan (I don’t want to be a minivan mom, I just can’t do it), but the Chevy Impala has more than enough space for a family of four that has lots of stuff. Since we are on the market for a new vehicle, I have to say; the Chevy Impala is definitely a contender for us.

PS: If you are taking a road trip with kids that are still in a car seat or booster you should check out the Chevy Safe and Sure site to make sure they are in the right seat. I found out after attending one of their workshops that I was belting Zara into her booster wrong!

Disclosure: Chevrolet loaned a vehicle to me for a week to test drive, but all the opinions in this post are mine as always!



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