Would you like to see landscapes with your own eyes like those that Bob Ross painted on his television show? There is a place with “happy little trees” and “pretty mountains”: the Canadian Rockies. Known in English as the “ Rocky Mountains ” or the “ Canadian Rockies “, these spectacular geographical formations are the ideal destination for people who love nature and stroll among trails full of conifers.
The area of the also called Rocky Mountains comprises four national parks, which are one of the main tourist places in Canada for their indescribable beauty. They are found in the provinces of Calgary and Alberta, in the southwestern region of the country. You can rent a car to meet them at your own pace. As for accommodation, there are luxury hotels and even camps if you travel on a limited budget.
There are also excursions that take you to know this impressive place. You can hire a day tour and thus include other tourist destinations on your list. If you want to add a wild touch to your vacation, check out this tour that includes a visit to a bear shelter !
While there are options for boating and hiking on foot or by bike in almost every park, each has its own charm. Here is a brief introduction to them.
Banff National Park, the most visited of Canada’s Rocky Mountains
In the province of Alberta, Banff National Park is located just 110 km from Calgary , a city that receives flights from various national and international destinations. Because of this convenient location, it is the most popular with tourists visiting the Rocky Mountains and deciding to rent a car to explore on their own. It is also the oldest of the four, as it was established in 1885.
In Banff National Park are:
- The Lake Moraine , whose fascinating turquoise has made it worthy of appearing on wallpapers Android and Windows operating systems
- The Louise Lake , home to the luxurious resort Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
- The Johnston canyon , which has a unique route for hiking. There are the Upper Falls and Lower Falls waterfalls, as well as the Ink Pots natural pools
- Castle Mountain , a rocky mountain that, as its name indicates, has the shape of a castle
- The small town of Banff , a good starting point to enter the park due to its picturesque environment, its lodging options and its tourist services
Jasper National Park
Unlike Banff, Jasper National Park receives fewer tourists ; however, this does not mean that it is empty or that it has less to offer. To get to Jasper, you can take a flight to Edmonton and then drive 365 km west on the Yellowhead Highway.
Another option to reach Jasper is from Banff, on the scenic Icefields Parkway . Along the way, be sure to stop by the Peyto Lake Lookout and take pictures of this iconic spot in the Canadian Rockies.
In Jasper National Park is Maligne Lake , where you can take a boat excursion to Spirit Island . According to legend, two lovers of enemy tribes used to meet on Spirit Island in hiding from their respective families. When the young woman’s father finds out about the romance, he forbids his daughter from returning to Spirit Island. The boy died waiting for her there and it is said that his spirit still wanders the area, hence the name of the island.
You also can visit:
- The Maligne Canyon to appreciate the intensity of the water that runs between its rock formations
- The town of Jasper that, with less than 5,000 inhabitants, will captivate you with its charm
- The Miette hot springs , a perfect place to relax and unwind from the low temperatures that the region can reach
Yoho National Park
Yoho National Park is presumed to be named after an expression of the Chippewa-Cree language (from the Aboriginal tribe in the area) that denotes awe. If you want to visit it, you should know that it is 736 km from Vancouver and 190 km from Calgary. We suggest you include in your itinerary sites such as:
- Lake Emerald , which as its name implies, is characterized by its dazzling emerald hue
- The Takakkaw Waterfall , 284 meters high. Wear a poncho to avoid soaking your clothes!
- O’Hara Lake , for which you must reserve your place in advance because the number of visitors per day is limited
- The Wapta Waterfalls , 30 meters high and 150 meters long
Kootenay National Park
This park is located in the southeast area of the province of British Columbia. Like Banff, Jasper and Yoho, it has a high rate of visitors during the summer for its incredible landscapes. In the winter, although many sections are not open to the public due to snow, it is a good place for those who enjoy snowboarding or skiing.
Among the attractions of the Kootenay National Park are:
- The hot springs , which are undoubtedly an oasis in a country characterized by its temperate to very cold temperatures
- The Canyon Marble , with several bridges from where you can appreciate the beauty and power of the river intimidating
- Paint Pots , which are accumulations (0llas) of water with iron and striking reddish tones
Useful information for your Canadian Rocky Mountain vacation
Finally, we would like to give you some additional tips and data that will save your life on your visit to the Rocky Mountains:
- You must buy a mandatory pass whose cost varies according to the number of days. Otherwise, it will be impossible to enter the parks
- If you travel in summer, you will have good weather, although it is the time with the largest number of visitors
- If you go in winter, consider that some places could be closed due to the accumulation of snow. Of course, the snowy landscapes will leave you breathless!
- Get to the places you choose early . Some attractions have limited space or fill up fast
- Follow the advice of experts to avoid attracting bears. Remember that it is your home and we humans are just guests
- Try to buy everything you need in big cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Everything is usually more expensive in the towns within the parks
- In case you decide to venture by car, make sure your vehicle has special tires or anti-skid chains in case you must drive after a snowfall. Your safety comes first!
- Pack hot and cold clothes because the weather is unpredictable even in summer
- Prepare your camera because you could have the opportunity to see northern lights
- Are you going to camp You can only do it in designated areas
We hope you enjoy your Canadian Rocky Mountain vacation very much. If you have already had the opportunity to meet them, tell us which park you liked the most and what your experience was like.