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Alberta is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking places on earth, as beautiful as it is varied in landscape and experiences.
Picture a beautiful land of boreal forests, towering mountains, deep glacial lakes, rushing rivers and an abundance of extraordinary wildlife. Get out into nature and hike, cycle, horseback ride or climb mountains in pristine national parks. Release your inner cowboy as you herd cattle on a ranch vacation. You’ll never forget canoeing or cruise Alberta’s glacier-fed lakes and rivers with wildlife grazing at the water’s edge. Or reach new heights on a heli-hiking or heli-yoga adventure.
Stay in mountain lodges and cabins that are rustic or lavish as you like. Take a luxury train ride through the Canadian Rockies. Experience the thrill of rodeo and ranch life. Explore the Canadian Badlands, home to some of the greatest dinosaur finds in the world. Alberta is home to five national parks and hundreds of provincial parks, some of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The international gateway cities of Edmonton and Calgary offer exceptional urban experiences – luxury accommodation, fine dining, endless shopping and vibrant arts and cultural scene.
Discover Alberta’s key destinations
Set dramatically between prairies and peaks, the Stampede City of Calgary is a modern urban landscape surrounded by natural grandeur. Here you can savour the Rocky Mountain wilderness by day and enjoy world-class cuisine and entertainment by night. It is one of Canada's key business centres but also embraces its rich western heritage.
Calgarians seem to love all things speed related, like chuckwagon or bobsleigh racing. The legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics still resonates in the city, and its top sports facilities allow today's Olympic hopefuls train for gold. If you really want to get Immersed in Calgary’s wild west spirit, then a visit to one of the biggest rodeo shows on the planet - the Calgary Stampede is a must. Held every year in July, over one million revellers visit the city for ten days of non-stop action.
Getting to Calgary
Calgary International Airport is the gateway to Western Canada for many visitors, served by Air Canada, British Airways and Air Transat flights from the UK. It is situated on the Trans Canada Highway, just 2 hours drive from the Rocky Mountain resort of Banff. You may also arrive or depart by train onboard the spectacular 2 days Rocky Mountaineer - First Passage to the West journey to Vancouver via Kamloops.
Calgary is a chic urban landscape surrounded by incomparable natural grandeur. Immerse yourself in Calgary’s Wild West spirit at the Calgary Stampede, the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.
Home of the 1988 Winter Olympics
Host of the world famous Calgary Stampede rodeo show each July
Population: one million plus
Elevation: 1,139 m/3,740 ft above sea level
There are over 8,000 hectares of parkland within Calgary's city limits
Canada's best selling cocktail, the Bloody Caesar, was invented in Calgary in 1969
The popular Chinese dish Ginger Beef was invented in Calgary at the Silver Inn
Drumheller also was known as Dinosaur Valley is located 81 miles northeast of Calgary in Alberta. Made up of mostly barren terrain that includes grasslands, hoodoos, canyons and coulees. It is home to the largest dinosaur statue in the world located in downtown Drumheller and best known for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
o Drumheller is named after Colonel Samuel Drumheller, who bought land in 1910 and started coal mining operations here in 1911. The city became a railway station in 1912. It then incorporated as a village on May 15, 1913.
o Drumheller holds a small population of only 8,000 people.
o People experience a lot of Chinook's in Drumheller which are very warm and dry winds that cause sudden and drastic temperature increases in Drumheller throughout the winter months. During a Chinook, air temperature can raise by as much as 30 degrees Celsius in just a few hours. Chinooks typically last for a couple of days, during which time the snow melts very quickly. Once the Chinook passes, the water refreezes and the roads and sidewalks can get very icy. For this reason, sanding trucks are a common sight in southern Alberta during the winter months.
Alberta's Capital, Edmonton knows how to have fun. This "Festival City” is always celebrating something, from music, film, and theatre, to heritage, food, accordions, dragon boats, and even winter. With over 30 festivals throughout the year, it’s easy to find a reason to celebrate.
Escape the urban bustle without leaving the city in the parks and pathways winding along the river - the longest stretch of urban parkland on the continent. In the summer, check out an outdoor festival, or hike, bike or blade along 150 km (93 mi) of trails. Tee off on one of the valley’s golf courses. When the snow falls, embrace Edmonton’s passion for winter and go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Carve some powder on four downhill ski slopes right here in the valley.
Alberta's Capital, Edmonton and it's surrounding area are home to over 1 million residents, however, the city centre itself has one of the lowest population densities in the world. The city's river valley park area is 22 times the size of New York's Central Park making it the largest urban park in North America, so there is plenty of opportunities to take part in outdoor activities in the city, or simply to unwind and relax.
Edmonton is Canada's Festival City, playing host to more than 30 festivals each year. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival is popular amongst performers and music fans alike. The International Fringe Festival attracts over half a million visitors each year to see some of its 1000+ theatrical performances. The Heritage Festival is one of Canada's longest established multicultural celebrations, with over 60 cultures celebrated. Also extremely popular is the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival when street entertainers and performances from all over Canada and further afield congregate in the city.
Shopping is one of Edmonton's best and biggest attractions. The West Edmonton Mall has over 800 shops, 100 eateries and attractions including its waterpark all under one roof. The historic Old Strathcona shopping district offers a variety of dining and pubs as well as a farmers market.
You know the feeling of being somewhere and wishing you could stay forever? There are a few places like that in the world, and the Canadian Rockies is one of them. Dazzling peaks, lush mountain meadows, turquoise glacial lakes, virgin forest, towering waterfalls and ancient glaciers – take it all in by rail, road, helicopter tour or on foot or bike. Stay in a luxurious alpine castle, sumptuous wilderness lodge or backcountry cabin.
Stretching along Alberta’s western border, the Canadian Rockies contains a network of protected national parks. Banff and Jasper National Parks’ unparalleled alpine scenery will take your breath away. The alpine towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper are filled with top-notch dining and shopping experiences and are your gateways to outdoor adventure. As you slip into a natural outdoor hot spring, think about hiking, cycling, horseback riding, canoeing, wildlife viewing, lake cruising and why not try the brand new Glacier Skywalk on the Icefields Parkway.
Winter brings up to 30ft of legendary, airy powder to our Canadian Rockies resorts, revered by skiers and snowboarders worldwide. Dog sledding, northern lights viewing and ice canyon walks are just a few more winter adventures in store. Dream big!
Nestled high in the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a town that makes you feel at home and exhilarated with wonder all at the same time. There is no other place in the world where you can find a vibrant community of artists, athletes, families, outdoor enthusiasts, restaurateurs and hoteliers nestled in a 6,641 kilometre squared national park. This is a town that truly celebrates its heritage, lives and breathes mountain culture and never takes its backyard for granted.
With modern amenities and more than enough accommodations, restaurants and activities to choose from, Banff is a premier destination for authentic hospitality, mountain culture, relaxation and amusement. Once “Siding 29” on the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Town of Banff was intended to be a tourist town from its very inception. The park’s first superintendent, George Stewart, even oriented the town’s first street in such a way that it would offer the best possible views of Cascade Mountain.
National Historic Site
Banff National Park Facts
Established in 1885, Banff National Park was the first national park in Canada.
Banff National Park encompasses 6641 km2 of protected wilderness areas.
The highest mountain entirely located in Banff National Park is Mt. Forbes, at 3612m (11, 850 feet). At 3618m, Mt. Assiniboineis slightly higher than Mt. Forbes and stands in Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park and Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park.
Banff National Park sees 4 million visitors each year. The peak season is July and August
At 4,537 feet, the Town of Banff is the highest town in Canada. Lake Louise village is the highest community at 5,033 feet.
The Town of Banff has a permanent population of about 8300. This number increases in the summer to accommodate the high tourist season.
Many movies have been filmed in Banff National Park, including “River of No Return,” starring Marilyn Monroe.
There are three ski resorts located in Banff National Park, with 200 kilometres of trails spread over 7,748 acres. They are Banff Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and the Lake Louise Mountain Resort.
Located one-hour West of Calgary and only 5 minutes from the Banff National Park, Canmore lies nestled along the banks of the Bow River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Canmore is an authentic mountain community, where people from all walks of life live; including an impressive list of accomplished mountaineers and Olympic athletes. Here, you can take in the one-of-a-kind boutiques, eclectic art galleries or just enjoy the atmosphere without crowds of tourists huddled on jam-packed streets. In fact, in Canmore, laid back is a way of life.
Canmore is a fantastic place to visit and can be easily included as a stopover if you are exploring the Alberta area. There are many travel options on how to get to Canmore. You are able to fly into Calgary International Airport with Air Canada, and then its just a one and a half hour drive. It is a scenic drive to this city as it takes you from the prairies through the foothills and into the Canadian Rocky Mountains, renting a car and taking in all Canada has to offer is a popular choice.
Things to do
Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Canmore Alberta boasts a multitude of year-round and seasonal activities. You will enjoy the variety of summer and winter fun to be had in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Whether you're looking for hiking, fishing, golf, skiing, snowboarding, dogsled tours, hockey or other outdoor activity, you find something in Canmore! Below we have noted a few favourites amongst visitors to Canmore.
Explore the spectacular lakes, mountains and glaciers of Banff National Park and Jasper National Park in the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains. The Rockies are famous worldwide and are a major attraction in Canada, a must-see for any tourist. We at 1st class offer many tours to explore this glorious natural mountain range.
Fishing and fly fishing
Thousands of people come to fish in Canmore Alberta each year. Canmore and the surrounding Canadian Rockies area offers some of the best fishing found anywhere in Canada Spectacular scenery, fresh mountain air and a variety of pristine lakes, rivers and streams provide the perfect backdrop for fishermen of all ages and abilities to enjoy this wonderful outdoor activity.
The thrill of flight and the breathtaking scenery of the Canadian Rockies as seen from an eagle's perspective - helicopter sightseeing tours and heli hiking or heli walking trips are available, and can be arranged before or during your visit. Whether you're just looking to take in the sights by helicopter, or you want to experience the exhilaration and unparalleled beauty of hiking in the high alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains of Canada, you're sure to find it in Canmore Alberta!
Rafting, Boating & Float tours
Imagine the thrill of whitewater rafting, the breathtaking scenery and wildlife of the Canadian Rockies as seen from the pristine glacial waters of Canmore's mountain rivers. All types of rafting adventures, boating and float trips are available in Canmore and the Kananaskis Country. Whether you're just looking to take in the sights while gently floating down the world-renowned Bow River, or you want to experience the exhilaration of a true whitewater rush in the Canadian Rockies, this is a great day out for all.
Jasper offers a picturesque mountain getaway surrounded by towering peaks, untouched wilderness and turquoise lakes tucked into alpine valleys. The surrounding Jasper National Park offers endless picture postcard views.
If you arrive from the east, you will climb through the rolling foothills into Jasper’s iconic Rocky Mountains. 370 km (192 mi) west of Edmonton and 404 km (256 mi) northwest of Calgary, the spectacular drive is an adventure in itself. The town of Jasper is an authentic mountain community with welcoming locals. You will find all the comforts you could wish for, from luxury accommodation to charming cabins and fully serviced campsites, to eclectic dining options. Wildlife is abundant, even in the town centre. Where else will you find a herd of elk napping on the lawn?
• Jasper started out as a small trading post on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and to this day is still a railway town. It is home to the only VIA Rail train station in the Canadian Rockies making it a popular stopping off point for travellers of the Trans Canada "Canadian" train. It also lies at the northern end of the spectacular Icefields Parkway which links the town to Lake Louise and Banff passing by the Athabasca Glacier. Jasper is also one of the start/end points for 2 Rocky Mountaineer journeys, one travelling to Vancouver via Kamloops and the other travelling to Whistler via Quesnel. Another VIA Rail service operates from Jasper to Prince Rupert on the northern British Columbia coast via Prince George.
Jasper National Park is home to some of North America's most beautiful lakes, including Maligne Lake, Patricia Lake, Pyramid Lake and the beautiful Lac Beauvert just outside of town, on the shores of which you will find one of the Park's top hotels, the world famous Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge which has played host to film stars and royalty over the years.
o Jasper National Park is the largest of Canada’s Rocky Mountain Parks: 11,228 sq km (6,976 sq mi) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
o The nearby western mountain ranges are the highest and form the Continental Divide, the backbone of North America.
o Miette Hot Springs, the hottest in the Canadian Rockies, are 54ºC/129ºF but are naturally cooled to 39ºC/102ºF for the pools.
o Jasper is one of the largest dark sky preserves in the world - one of the best places in the world for stargazing.
o The Columbia Icefield to the south of Jasper covers 325 sq km (125 sq mi), the largest ice mass south of the Arctic Circle, whose meltwaters run to three different oceans and feed eight glaciers.
o Jasper has its share of secrets. Patricia Lake hides the remnants of an aircraft carrier made of ice! Dive the wreck and see one of WWII’s weirdest top secret projects. Unravel the mysteries of the people and the places, past and present, of Canada’s largest Rocky Mountain national park.
Alberta's Kananaskis is surrounded by the towering Canadian Rockies and home to grassy meadows, swift mountain rivers, streams, and fascinating wildlife. Situated just west of Calgary and southeast of Banff, Kananaskis Country is both a stunning and convenient location full of vacation activities for everyone. Kananaskis Country includes five provincial parks, four wildland provincial parks, one ecological reserve and several provincial recreation areas. It also encompasses the Canmore Nordic Centre, a world-class facility built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics as well as Nakiska Ski Resort, which was specially designed for the alpine events.
In Kananaskis, there are lots of things to do but this depends on whether you are visiting in the summer or winter months as a different array of activities are on offer depending on the time of year.
During the summer months, caving is a great activity for all the family. The highly trained, internationally experienced guides lead you through twisting passageways - etched over hundreds of thousands of years - exploring diverse large caverns and chambers, mineral formations, and ancient animal bones and fossils.
Cornerstone theatre proud to present the Oh Canada Eh? Dinner Show. Celebrating Canada with a 4-course dinner and 2-hour musical show. Canadian performers, food and music provide a unique evening of entertainment.
With the Canadian Rockies on your doorstep, this opens up the doors to some of the best fishing in the world. Many local companies in Kananaskis offer fishing tours, fly fishing and guided services for Kananaskis Country.
Experience the thrill and excitement of driving a team of Canadian Huskies in our majestic Rocky Mountain wilderness. Choose from a variety of tours and learn how to drive your own sled! This is a fantastic day out for all the family and a great Canada experience.
There are many Ice Walk tours available in and around the Banff area and are a great way to see the surrounding area. Why not try the Johnston Canyon Icewalk or the Grotto Canyon IceWalk.
Lake Louise is an iconic symbol of the Canadian Rockies. This alpine lake, known for its sparkling blue waters, is situated at the base of impressive glacier-clad peaks that have long been at the heart of Canadian mountaineering. At about 2.5 kilometres long and 90 metres deep, the lake offers a surreal paddling experience in the warm summer months and one of the most scenic skating rinks in the world in winter.
The hamlet of Lake Louise, located just minutes from the lake itself, has been developed over the last century to serve the needs of people visiting this astonishingly accessible and picturesque area of Banff National Park. Located nearby, Moraine Lake, with its indigo blue waters surrounded by the Valley of the Ten Peaks, is another one of Canada’s most iconic lakes.
This icon of the Rocky Mountains is a must visit for visitors to Western Canada. Located just 30 miles from Banff, still within Banff National Park and part of the Banff Ski Area, Lake Louise is home to the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise which lies at the head of the lake and is the only hotel in sight of the Lake. Behind the Chateau is the Deer Lodge, and these two properties are the only ones which are within walking distance of the lakeshore. Other properties in the area are located down the hill, approx 3kms away in the small Lake Louise Village area which is by the main highway.
Things To Do
Many visitors to Lake Louise only stay for just a night or even just a few hours, but there is plenty to do here during your visit.
Hiking: There is a trail along the lakeside which is a must, but for more adventurous hikers there are trails leading up into the surrounding mountains.
Canoeing: Taking a canoe out on Lake Louise is a great way to enjoy some relaxing time on the still waters, away from any crowds. Arrange your trip to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Lake Louise Gondola: Situated on the other side of the Valley from Lake Louise, back across the main highway is the Lake Louise Gondola (a shuttle service is available from the Village). In winter it takes skiers and snowboarders to the slopes, but in summer you can take in the amazing views across to the lake and take a gentle stroll (or more strenuous hike if you prefer) in the mountains. If you are lucky, you might catch sight of one of the mountain's resident grizzly bears on your 14-minute gondola ride up the mountain!
Visit Moraine Lake: The deep turquoise waters of Moraine Lake must be seen to be believed. Many people think photographs of the lake must have been enhanced to make it look the way it does, however visitors to the Lake, just a 20-minute drive from Lake Louise, soon realise that all the pictures are genuine!
Waterton is a National Park located in the southwest corner of Alberta and borders Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. Together they make-up the Waterton - Glacier International Peace Park, the first of its kind in the world. Waterton was Canada's fourth National Park formed in 1895 and named after Waterton Lake, it is a blend of unusual geology, mild climate, rare wildflowers and an abundance of wildlife. Many visitors enjoy this National Park as it is uncrowded and quiet creating the perfect place to enjoy the spectacular scenery.
There are many ways to reach Waterton, driving is a great way to take in all the scenery, we offer many car rentals or for those who are a little more adventurous, we offer Motorhomes. This can be an excellent way to see not just Waterton National Parks, but many more. The nearest airport to Waterton is Calgary operating direct flights from the UK with Air Canada, and just a 120-mile drive south or the nearest U.S airport in Kalispell with a similar driving distance of 120 miles.
A quick guide
The park covers an area of 505 square kilometres (195 square miles)
Waterton has some of the oldest, exposed sedimentary rock in the Rocky Mountains.
Waterton is one of Alberta’s windiest places. Winter winds over 100 km/hr are common. Waterton has many chinooks, which contribute to it being one of Alberta’s warmest areas in winter. Chinook winds can cause winter temperatures to rise dramatically within hours.
Waterton is home to more than 60 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 24 species of fish and 10 species of reptiles and amphibians. Some of the larger predators include grizzly bears, black bears, wolf, coyote and cougar.