Visiting the Alberta Rockies is like being transported to a world of infinite possibilities for soft or hard-core adventures. Between the vast snowy peaks, jewel blue lakes, forests, campgrounds and trails you can luxuriate in a “castle” in the Rockies or get rustic hiking into a historic back-country lodge, like the Skoki Lodge.
Canada’s oldest national park has a deep heritage of exploring. Hire an outfitter and horseback ride on the same trails as the famed explorers, crossing streams and setting up camp in the forest. Not that adventurous? Banff town offers adventures in shopping and dining, like taking a tour of the new Park distillery and then dining on elevated camp food.
Further afield is the tiny hamlet of Lake Louise with gigantic opportunities for skiing, ice climbing, hiking, or soaking up the awe-inspiring views like the eponymous Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and the Plain of Six Glaciers, which ends up at the ever-popular Lake Louise Teahouse.
The Icefields Parkway & Jasper
The Icefields Parkway connects Lake Louise and Jasper. The drive is another bucket list activity, guaranteeing gob-smacking views and the chance to see wildlife around every corner. Just inside Jasper National Park, you'll find the iconic Columbia Icefields, and further on, the small mountain town of Jasper itself, with year-round adventure on its doorstep.
Waterton Lakes National Park
In the most southwestern corner of the region lies Waterton Lakes National Park, a breathtaking international Peace Park that borders Glacier National Park in Montana. The small lakefront town is surrounded by colossal peaks and abundant wildlife in every direction. Hike to iconic Crypt Lake for a brag-worthy adventure that includes taking a boat to the trail and climbing a ladder up the side of a mountain. During the winter months, Waterton is inhabited by only 30 people, making it the perfect peaceful getaway for the anti-tourist.