I'm doing a road trip from Calgary to Edmonton, spending 2 nights in Lake Louise, and 2 nights in Jasper (and also 1 night in Edmonton).
There appear to be so many beautiful lakes to visit in that region, what are truly the best ones to visit, and photograph?
Since I'm driving, parking is important, but I don't mind doing a short to medium length hike, where I'll be rewarded with a great view.
I'm also a keen photographer, but I don't want to have to wear waders for 'the shot'!
Based on your description you will start in Lake Louise, most probably take Hwy 93 to Jasper and then follow Yellowhead (Hwy 16) to Edmonton.
You certainly don't wanna miss Lake Louise. It's a beautiful lake, but unfortunately almost always crowded with tourists posing for pics. But you can still hike halfway around the lake where lazy bones usually don't go and take pics from different angles. You can even rent a canoe or hike up to the tea house which is a nice and not difficult hike.
On your way to Jasper you have multiple lakes along the road. Certainly don't miss Peyto Lake. It's just a short hike (more walk on a paved path) from a parking lot that will take you to a viewpoint with a beautiful scenery from above. Between Lake Louise and Jasper you have to remember that it's a narrow and steep valley most of the time so depending on how serious a photographer you are and what lighting condition you prefer, but early in the morning or later in the day you will not get much sun there.
The most popular in Jasper is Maligne Lake with a cruise option. Again, it's a beautiful lake, but tends to be crowded with tourists. To have some fun and actually hike don't miss Maligne Canyon. It's not a difficult hike worth an effort for anybody new to the park. But even around Jasper town you have multiple lakes you can hike to (Pyramid Lake, Patricia Lake,...).
And remember, if hiking you will be in a bear country so either walk in a group with someone else or have at least bear spray (know how to use it!) or bear bangers. Both are available for purchase in outdoor stores. Just leave them behind when leaving Canada, the airport security will not have understanding for those.
In case you get some time in Edmonton, you might as well visit Elk Island NP some 50km east of the city with great hiking opportunities and high chance of seeing bison, deer, ducks. Early morning and late afternoon are better times to spot them since just like any other animal they don't like roasting during day at the sun :-)
Have a great trip!
Mentioned in this answer:
Mentioned in this answer: