The Canadian Rockies are some of the most awe-inspiring mountains in North America. Banff and Yoho National Parks feature jagged, snow-capped peaks and jewell-like turquoise lakes. At first sight, the color of the lakes do not seem real. The color is so intense. This is a paradise for exploring. And there are plenty of hikes leading to glaciers, waterfalls and grand vistas.From Calgary, the Canadian Rockies span the horizon. The range appears close from Calgary, but these peaks are still about 2 hours away. Two worthwhile spots are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, but the many tour buses and crowds can put a damper on the great view if you go during peak tourist times. There are other lakes with equally impressive views, without the crowds. Emerald Lake lies in a tranquil setting and has a nice lodge. Peyto Lake, along Highway 93 toward Jasper is not to be missed. And if you are lucky enough to have the time and resources, see the Lake O'Hara area, which is not easily accesible, but has trails leading to fabulous vistas.