With British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the US to the south and the vast empty Northwest Territories northwards, Alberta is everything you imagine Canada to be. Huge mountains capped with snow, vast pine forests and eye popping blue lakes. It’s the quintessential Canada from the travel brochures, but in real life the experience is ever so much more powerful.
The incredible Rocky Mountains form part of Alberta’s western border with British Columbia. This is where some of the Provinces major attractions can be found, including the stunning Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Summer or winter this area attracts people in their thousands who come to enjoy the pristine wilderness areas and ski, hike, canoe, ride or just relax. This is where those stunning blue lakes can be found and where the mountain peaks have to be seen to be believed.
The Alberta Rocky Mountains and National Parks have an abundance of wildlife including bears (both Black and Grizzly), moose, elk and bison as well as many species of birdlife and salmon and trout filled lakes and streams.
Staying in the Rockies does not necessitate fashioning your own shelter from logs or camping either. The Banff Springs Hotel and the Chateau Lake Louise are five star all the way, and look more like castles than hotels, especially with the contrast of the unspoilt wilderness all around. If those are a little out the your price range there are plenty of options right down to backpacker hostels to choose from.
There are five World Heritage areas in Alberta including the rather imaginatively named Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump as well as Dinosaur Provincial Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, in addition to Banff and Jasper National Parks.
Calgary and Edmonton are the two major cities in the Province, Edmonton being the capital. Calgary is the main entry point for most who visit the Alberta Rocky Mountains but it is well worth a visit in its own right. The Calgary Stampede is held each year and is basically like a giant rodeo and while the town definitely has a distinctive ‘cowboy’ feel, it also has its share of urban sophistication and nightlife as well. Edmonton is the closest major town to Jasper but again a great place to visit, with one of the largest shopping malls on earth being among its main attractions.
Serviced by two major airports in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta is a gateway to wonders and wilderness and there is nowhere quite like Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.