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Canadian Rockies Holidays

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Picture a holiday to Canada and the first thing to come to mind is likely to be a spectacular array of soaring mountains, sparkling glaciers and vivid turquoise lakes. Add in some waterfalls, alpine forests and an abundance of wildlife and you have the Canadian Rockies. Marking the border between British Columbia and Alberta, the Rocky Mountains can be accessed from either province. A network of carefully preserved national and provincial parks offer the chance to drive, hike, bike, ride, paddle and ski through some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery.

The ranges, which follow the course of the Continental Divide, are home to various Canadian icons including grizzly and black bear, caribou, moose, wolves and coyotes. Mt Robson is the highest peak of the Rockies at 12,972ft, appearing all the more impressive as it towers over one of the area’s lowest passes, the Yellowhead Pass.

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Banff Town

This thriving resort town has been attracting tourists for more than a century – and it’s easy to see why! Surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, Banff is the ideal base from which to explore the Canadian Rockies.

The gateway to Banff National Park, the town is flanked by mountains and dissected by the Bow River. Here you can pick up trail maps, hiking boots and souvenirs, or enjoy a well-earned drink in one of the many bars and restaurants at the end of a day exploring the Rockies. Countless guided activities are available from town, such as white-water rafting on the Kicking Horse River and horse-riding into the rugged high country.

Nearer to town, drive up Tunnel Mountain to start the short walk to the mysterious Hoodoos rock formations, or take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for fantastic views over Banff. Hire a bike to cycle down to the Vermilion Lakes, overlooked by the jagged Mt Rundle, or head to Lake Minnewanka for a scenic cruise. Lesser known gems include Johnson Lake and the beautiful Cascade Ponds, the perfect picnic spot away from the crowds.

Banff and Cascade Mountain

Lake Louise

Often described as the jewel in the crown, the striking turquoise waters of Lake Louise are perhaps the most photographed in Canada. Follow one of the lakeside trails or spend a night at the imposing Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to enjoy uninterrupted views once the day-trippers have left. Stretch your legs with a forest walk to the historic Lake Agnes teahouse, or tackle the Plain of Six Glaciers trail to be rewarded with spectacular views. A short drive from Lake Louise is the equally stunning Moraine Lake, another glacier-fed lake located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks – well worth a detour.

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Moraine Lake

Situated in the evocatively named Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is fed by meltwater from the Fay Glacier, resulting in its distinctive and much photographed turquoise hue. With fewer visitors than its famous neighbour, Lake Louise (just 14kms down the road), Moraine Lake offers equally spectacular views and a good variety of hiking trails. Meander along the wooded lakeside trail or tackle the longer trek to Wenkchemna Pass – your efforts will be rewarded with panoramic vistas of all ten peaks down the length of the valley. For a different perspective paddle across the lake in a canoe or board a helicopter to watch a landscape of vivid lakes and dazzling glaciers unfurl before you.

canada alberta hiking at moraine lake bllt

Icefields Parkway

Widely renowned as one of North America’s most scenic drives, the Icefields Parkway boasts over 100 ancient glaciers along its 232km length. The road connects Jasper in the north with Lake Louise in the south and passes countless scenic attractions as it threads its way through the soaring peaks of the Rockies. Highlights include the tumultuous Athabasca Falls, dramatic Peyto Lake and the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield south of the Arctic. Journey onto the Athabasca Glacier in a specially designed Ice Explorer vehicle, test your nerve on the Glacier Skywalk or simply find a quiet spot to marvel at the sheer scale of the towering mountains around you.

Wing mirror view of the Icefields Parkway

Jasper National Park

At the northern end of the Icefields Parkway lies the laid-back village of Jasper, right in the heart of the vast Jasper National Park. The park is the largest in the Rockies at over 10,000 sq km, much of which is untouched wilderness, defined by glaciers, lakes and mountains. Wildlife abounds, including moose, wolves and bears, as well as bighorn sheep and hoary marmots. Countless natural attractions include Maligne Lake, the Columbia Icefields and Mt. Edith Cavell. Take the Jasper Skytram to the top of Whistlers Mountain for spectacular views and access to a wealth of hiking trails. In the winter months, ski and snowboard fanatics flock to a snow-capped wonderland, whilst every October eyes turn skywards for the annual Dark Sky Festival.

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Start planning your trip

Allow plenty of time to explore this beautiful region, whether you are on an active winter adventure, an iconic rail journey, a leisurely independent summer self-drive or a small group hiking adventure exploring the Rocky Mountains’ lesser-known trails.

Read our guide to exploring the Canadian Rockies

Contact our team of Canada Specialists to discuss your travel plans or browse our collection of Canada holidays using our holiday finder.