From the rugged peaks of the Rockies to creaking glaciers and serene lakes, Alberta is home to the most spectacular scenery in all Canada. Covering more than 4,200 square miles of Rocky Mountain scenery, Jasper is Canada’s largest national park and offers outdoor adventures year-round. Raft the roiling white water of the Athabasca and Sunwapta rivers, hike the narrow Maligne Canyon, saddle up for trail rides around Patricia Lake, or canoe mirror-still Maligne Lake, the largest of the Rockies’ glacier-fed lakes.
One of the world’s most scenic roads, the 142-mile Icefields Parkway links Jasper to Banff, passing through an unbroken panorama of glacier-topped peaks, waterfalls and turquoise lakes flanked by spruce and fir forests. A highlight along the way is the Columbia Icefield, the largest sub-polar glacial area in North America, where you can drive on the Athabasca Glacier in a massive all-terrain vehicle and walk above the ice on a glass-bottomed Skywalk.
The Parkway ends in Banff, whose great dining, shopping and hotel options belie its status as the highest altitude town in Canada. The town also offers access to Banff National Park, the first national park in Canada, whose star attractions are a pair of shimmering jade-green lakes: stunning Moraine Lake, nestled beneath soaring 10,000-foot peaks, and magical Lake Louise, known for its dramatic setting at the foot of the Victoria Glacier.
From Banff it’s only a short hop east to Calgary, one of Alberta’s two principal cities, the other being Edmonton, about a three-hour drive north. A vibrant ‘cow town’, Calgary is a great base in which to start or end any tour of the Rockies, with a burgeoning arts scene, excellent restaurants and cafes (including a revolving restaurant at the top of the Calgary Tower), splendid parks and some lively neighbourhoods that are good for strolling. It is a bridge of sorts, between the rolling prairies and ranchlands to the east, and the magnetic pull of the Rockies to the west.
Fairmont Banff Springs
Built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to resemble a Scottish baronial castle, Fairmont Banff Springs – or the ‘Castle in the Rockies’ as it’s affectionately known – sits right in the heart of Banff National Park, [...]View Hotel
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Originally built as a base for mountaineers over 100 years ago, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is one of the most recognisable hotels in all Canada: a storybook castle on the milky-blue shores of magical Lake Louise, surrounded by s [...]View Hotel
The Rimrock Resort Hotel
Clinging to the side of Sulphur Mountain just south of the town of Banff, The Rimrock Resort is a luxurious hotel with over 300 varied, contemporary-style rooms and suites, almost all with sweeping views of the majestic Rocky Moun [...]View Hotel