Home Blog Top 9 Ways to see Canada’s Rocky Mountains

Top 9 Ways to see Canada’s Rocky Mountains

Saturday, 25th March 2023

Destination Specialist

Views over Banff from Sulphur Mountain

The lofty wilderness of the Canadian Rockies provides a consummate draw for visitors to Canada, the jagged peaks, turquoise lakes and verdant forests offering picture-perfect vistas. Canada’s Rocky Mountains span the border between British Columbia and Alberta, with both provinces offering opportunities to explore. When it comes to experiencing this famous mountain range, it is not only where you visit, but also how. Read on for our guide to the different ways you see the Canadian Rocky Mountains, then pick the perspective that suits you.

1. By Rail

Undoubtedly one of the most popular ‘Rockies’ experiences is travelling aboard the iconic Rocky Mountaineer – one the world’s leading luxury rail journeys. Travel through magnificent scenery from Vancouver on BC’s coast to Banff or Jasper in Alberta (or vice versa should that be your preference). Each journey includes an overnight in Kamloops, the gateway to the Thompson Valley. Sit back and relax, watching in comfort as the landscape unfolds as you approach the soaring peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

We recommend: Majestic Rockies by Rail and Road

canada rocky mountaineer scenic rail journey rm

2. By Road

Set your own pace for exploring on a road trip through this spectacular mountain range. Prepare for scenic driving at its best, with incredible views in abundance and plenty of places to stop to stretch your legs or partake of a roadside picnic. The majestic Icefields Parkway, connecting Jasper and Lake Louise, is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Sweeping glaciers and snow-capped peaks appear round every bend in the road along this 230km stretch. Plan your time well, and savour the beauty, being sure to visit Peyto Lake and the Columbia Icefield along the way.

We recommended: Rocky Mountains in Depth

Wing mirror view of the Icefields Parkway

3. On Foot

You’ve not really experienced the Rockies until you’ve laced up your boots and hit the trail. Stroll through pine-scented forests, skirt pristine lakeshores or set more lofty ambitions and hike to alpine meadows. Watching out for wildlife including bears and moose, getting footloose is a great way to feel at one with nature. With trails ranging from gentle lakeside paths to challenging alpine treks, you’ll find something to suit your energy and abilities.

We recommend: Hiking the Rockies


4. From Above

Probably the best way to appreciate the sheer scale of the Rockies is from the air. You could choose to take to the skies by helicopter for unforgettable aerial views over glaciers, lakes, forests and snow-covered mountaintops. Alternatively, you might opt for other ways to reach higher vantage points, such as a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff or the Glacier Skywalk along the Icefields Parkway. The latter provides a thrilling perspective across a glacial valley via a glass-floored walkway.

We recommend: Rockies and Rainforests

Glacier Skywalk

5. Through a Lens

Such is the beauty of this alpine landscape that you’ll find it hard to put your camera. The Rockies really do offer picture-perfect views. While it’s important to appreciate the scenery in real time, photographs often enhance our memories. To ensure you get the most out of your photography, be mindful of light and changing colours, consider additional equipment such as wide angle lenses for landscapes and telephotos for wildlife and take your time.

We recommend: A tailor-made self drive

alberta vermillion lakes sunset mt norquay banff np istk

6. By Dog Sled

Snow falls in the Rockies in winter, the landscapes take on a different visage and available activities change. Dog sledding for instance, gives you the chance to feel the wind in your face as you silently explore wilderness trails the traditional way. Whether you sit back and relax snuggled under a blanket or mush your own team, this is a magical way to see the scenery.

We recommend: Rockies Winter Retreat

blue eyed husky sled dog istk

7. By Ice Explorer

The vast Columbia Icefield straddles Banff and Jasper national parks. This ancient mass of ice extends 325 square kilometres and offers an otherworldly experience to visitors. Accessible on an ice truck excursion along the Icefields Parkway, you’ll have the chance to set foot on the ice of the Athabasca Glacier, one of the six major glaciers that make up the icefield.

Recommended experience: Ice Explorer Glacier Tour

canada aberta ice explorers on athabasca glacier astk

8. On Horseback

Saddle up and unleash your inner cowboy to explore backcountry trails on horseback. You’ll evoke the spirit of early pioneers as you follow meandering mountain rivers, keeping watch for wildlife and taking in the fresh air and inspiring views. Perhaps try your hand at roping and enjoy a traditional cook-out during a relaxed interlude to more modern modes of transport.

We recommend: Canadian Family Adventure: Glaciers and Dinosaurs

canada alberta horse riding banff national park ta

9. By Canadian Canoe

You’ll be hard pressed to journey around the Rockies without catching sight of brightly coloured canoes moored to lake shores. They are almost as iconic as the lakes themselves, particularly at Lake Louise. The chance to jump aboard and paddle across one of the Rockies’ beautiful glacial lakes or rivers, surrounded by towering mountains, offers a real sense of peace and solitude.

We recommend: Totem Discovery

alberta fairmont chateau lake louise hotel canoeing couple

Feeling inspired?

To start planning your own journey through Canada’s Rocky Mountains, browse our collection of itineraries, enquire online or speak to one of our Travel Specialists for suggestions and insider tips.

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