The Best Nature Spots in Alberta
There’s nothing more breathtaking than some of the top nature spots in Alberta. You won’t have to look far to find jaw-dropping scenery around every corner. The Canadian Rockies serve up such a diverse array of nature-related sights and activities – the landscape is backcountry goodness that invites even the heartiest of explorers. Here is why.
This is the shining star when it comes to the best nature spots in Alberta. With 10,878-square kilometers of wilderness, it invites true backcountry exploring. Jasper has a fantastic trail system as well as the famous Columbia Icefields, which are one of the only in the world accessible by road. Visit stunning Athabasca Falls set in a limestone gorge, with Mount Kerkeslin in the background. The trails nearby provide many platforms with which to take that Instagram-worthy shot.
Ski bunnies can get their powder on at Mount Basin. Jasper is also home to some of North America’s rarest animals, with chances to view moose, grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou. The tiny city of Jasper is a refreshing retreat in the heart of all that nature, with many places to eat, drink and shop. Boutique shops abound, and it’s the perfect place to purchase that souvenir.
The best way to get to Jasper National Park is by car. That way, you can make stops at your leisure along the way when the moment strikes you. It is 370 km west of Edmonton and 404 km northwest of Calgary.
Located just southeast of Jasper National Park, many visitors will extend their trip and visit both for a truly epic natural holiday. Get up early and catch an incredible sunrise over the mountains, so bring that camera! Banff National Park may see a few more crowds during the high seasons of July and August than Jasper’s more rustic overall feel. Still, there are so many remote areas here to explore, your hiking boots will get a workout.
The town of Banff has both small mountain town friendliness and historical charm. Discover authentic saloons, and try your hand on a mechanical bull! Eat dinner at farm-fresh restaurants after a day of small-town shopping. Here you can also unwind at Upper Hot Springs, or opt for more adventure at National Park’s Cave.
This indescribable road actually runs through both parks but is worthy of its own section. It stretches from Jasper to Lake Louise and is dotted with about 100 cascading waterfalls, incredible rock spires, and of course, ancient glaciers! All of this with the backdrop of thick larch and pine forests.
This is a road with which to take your time. Take a full day, stop when the moment moves you, and hike any one of the many trails along the way. Wilcox Pass is a good choice; it is located on the border between Jasper and Banff National Parks. It is a 4 km one-way moderate hike taking you through fields of sheep with the best mountain views. Take a picnic lunch (or two) and eat peacefully in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Be sure to stop at Icefields Centre, which looks out over Athabasca Glacier. Here you can take in interesting displays of the Columbia Icefields, and it offers a unique perspective of the ice fields as a whole. Here you can book a tour that takes you out onto the glacier itself. Glacier Skywalk is a large observation deck, towering 280 meters above the valley, with a glass floor. Don’t worry, there are also glass railing for those that may be a bit wary!
As one of the most photographed lakes in Canada, it is about an hour east of Banff town. Its vibrant blue waters host a multitude of water-based activities, from canoeing, fishing, stand-up paddling, tubing, and ice skating. This along with hiking, horseback riding, and so much more. Lake Louise will fill you with awe, with wonder and a sense of true connection with the great outdoors.
This is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous nature spots in Alberta. Summer brings lush green trees and waterfall views, and in winter, massive ice formations. It is beautiful year-round, but if you are going in the winter months, it is advisable to have a guide to give you the low-down on the most accessible areas.
The canyon and lake are about a ½ hour’s drive from each other in Jasper National Park. Splurge on a cruise around the lake, or see the sights on your own by renting a kayak. Arrive in the early morning for optimal tranquility and wildlife viewing.
The best time to take in nature in Alberta is June through September – June is when the snow starts to melt, filling the beautiful turquoise lakes. September still sees great weather and the crowds will have thinned from the summer rush.
One could take weeks to explore all that Alberta has to offer in the way of outstanding natural attractions. These are just the highlights, but words are not enough! You must come see for yourself.
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