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Tour the Athabasca Glacier, the “toe” of the Columbia Icefield

Big-horn sheep can be spotted feeding roadside in the Rockies

The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is luxury at its finest

Skating on Lake Louise

Cabins on the shores of Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park

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Rocky Mountains: naturally Inspiring

 


 

Features:

 

  • Driving tour from Banff to Jasper
  • Exploring the Icefields Parkway
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Summer activities
  • Winter sports
  • Explore Yoho National Park
  • Traveling to Banff and Jasper

 

 

Canada’s Rocky Mountains are proof that nature is architecture unequalled. British Columbia and Alberta’s alpine villages and resorts hug the peaks and valleys of this range that straddles the border of Canada’s two westernmost provinces. The carved canyons, rugged peaks and ridges, ancient glaciers, limestone cave systems, turquoise lakes and 56 species of mammals that live here have earned the area—Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks—status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Seven parks covering a staggering 2.3 million hectares make up Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. Yoho, Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine, Kootenay and Hamber parks are in British Columbia. Banff and Jasper in Alberta. The Parks’ collective beauty knows no boundaries and every season showcases its own splendid diversity. Yoho, for example, is home to 254-metre Takakkawa falls and Emerald Lake, named for its jewel-like colour. Kootenay is a geological wonder with both glacial peaks and arid grasslands home to prickly pear cactus.

Banff, Canada’s first national park, was established in 1885, and it offers near-endless opportunities for adventure and tranquility. Skoki Lodge, Canada’s first commercial ski resort is located in the backcountry of Banff National Park. Summer visitors must hike the 11-kilometre trail that winds through alpine meadows. And in winter, cross-country skis or snowshoes are the transportation of choice.  

Picture-postcard views are more easily accessed in Banff at Moraine Lake. Explore its impossibly blue waters by canoe, paddling in the shadow of the surrounding Valley of the Ten Peaks. Sleep in these spectacular surroundings by bedding down in the luxurious cabins at Moraine Lake Lodge. And if a fairytale is what you’re seeking, The Fairmont Banff Springs, a national historic site in its own right, was designed to emulate a Scottish castle.

The busy town of Banff is worth exploring, if only to see the ubiquitous herd of resident elk walking the streets. There are festivals to attend, historic sites to explore and hot springs to visit. Banff is also an idea jumping off spot for Lake Louise and Sunshine Village ski areas, plus a must-see tour of the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), which travels north by the Columbia Icefield to Jasper, where you can venture out onto the Athabasca Glacier in a passenger vehicle called The Ice Explorer.  

Banff may be Canada’s first national park, but Jasper, 288 kilometres north of Banff, is its largest. Wolves, grizzly bears, moose and big-horn sheep inhabit the park, making it a natural place for wildlife viewing. Underground caves, carved canyons and gorgeous Maligne Lake, with its iconic tree-fringed Spirit Island plopped in the middle, are the awe-inspiring result of glacier upheaval over the ages. Make your base at one of the grand lodges, quaint inns and rustic cabins and get ready for a supernatural experience.