Home Blog Three Different Experiences of Canada’s Alberta

Three Different Experiences of Canada’s Alberta

Monday, 15th May 2023

Pam Forrest

canada exploring writing on stone provincial park alberta ta

When you picture Canada, what springs to mind? Soaring mountains, pine forests and vivid turquoise lakes? That picture-perfect image is very real in Alberta, the Canadian province with real star power. The famous Rocky Mountains dominate its western border and boasting no less than five national parks, its the ideal destination for outdoor-enthusiasts and nature-lovers, but it also claims a fascinating past. Worthy of more than one visit, here are three different experiences you can, and should, have in Alberta.

The Outdoor Experience: Mountains & Lakes

Visiting the Rocky Mountains tops many visitor’s wishlists, and for good reason. The scenery is breathtaking, the air invigorating and the possibility of wildlife encounters is tantalising. Plus there is a wealth of things to do both active and leisurely.

Banff and Jasper National Parks boast some of North America’s best hiking. With both short hikes offering scenic viewpoints as their reward and long trails suited to experienced hikers, there’s no shortage of opportunities to lace up your boots in Alberta. May, June or September typically offer optimum conditions for exploring on foot, avoiding the heat (and the crowds) of mid-summer’s peak season. Opt for an escorted tour, such as our 8-night Hiking the Rockies itinerary, which combines day hikes with comfortable hotel accommodation, for an immersive experience.

Saddle up and feel the freedom of the open trail on a horseback ride in true cowboy territory. Mosey through mountain meadows and alongside fresh-water streams as you embrace the wilderness on a trusty steed.

Make sure to factor in a spot of paddling in your Alberta itinerary. Canoe across the crystal-clear lakes of the Rockies for the most iconic of experiences, but you might also try river rafting – gently floating down glacial rivers taking in the scenery whilst on the lookout for wildlife. If you’d rather kick back and soak up the spectacular alpine scenery in more sedentary fashion, there’s no better way to do so than bathing in natural hot springs.

However you prefer to spend your time, our self-drive itinerary, Rocky Mountains In Depth, offers the perfect framework to personalise your trip.

canada hiking in jasper np ta

The Winter Experience: Snow & Ice

Winter in Canada is a truly magical time – especially in Alberta. The light, dry snow here is regarded as some of the best in the world, blanketing the scenery in white. The cooler temperatures turn lakes into ice rinks and canyons into ice capades.

This is the time to slip on snowshoes and head out exploring on forest trails. Perhaps pop on skates and glide across frozen Lake Louise with the Victoria Glacier and snow-capped Rocky Mountains as your backdrop. Or swap skates for crampons and take a unique ice walk through the narrow gorge of Maligne Canyon adorned with icicles and frozen waterfalls.

As evening descends, night skies takes centre stage. More than a decade ago, Jasper was designated an International Dark Sky Preserve. With minimal little light pollution, the national park is renowned for its stargazing. With 11,000 square kilometres of preserved sky, on a clear night you’re guaranteed to get an incredible view. And visiting in winter, also offers the possibility of seeing the northern lights. An annual Dark Sky Festival takes place every October, featuring a programme of events and experts on hand to help you learn about the cosmos.

The pick of Alberta’s winter activities are included in our 7-night Rockies Winter Retreat.

canada snowshoeing fun in banff istk

The Heritage Experience: First Nations & Dinosaurs

The majestic mountains and lakes may take centre stage in Alberta, but there is a lesser-known side of this province, which is just as compelling – that of its indigenous heritage and very earliest inhabitants. Heading south to the Canadian Badlands brings surreal landscape of hoodoos, flat topped mountains and deep river gullies where you can gain an insight into this fascinating past.

There are a number of places to experience First Nations culture in Alberta, a province where at least 11 different languages are spoken. Discover ancient rock art at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park or travel back in time to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site preserving the story of First Nations prairie hunters dating back thousands of years. Explore both on Gems of Southern Alberta, our off-the-beaten-track 8-night self drive.

This area is also the ‘dinosaur capital of the world’ where you can search for real fossils in UNESCO Dinosaur Provincial Park in the heart of the Badlands. Consider unleashing your inner palaeontologist on our Canadian Family Adventure self drive, which includes admission to the impressive Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology at Drumheller.

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Plan your visit to Alberta

Whenever you choose to visit and whatever you’d like to do while there, our experienced Canada Travel Specialists can put together an Alberta holiday to remember.

Get in touch on 01737 214 250 or send an enquiry.