The elements of nature feel so close here – breathing in the mountain air, hearing the growl of a bear in the distance, getting to the end of a hike and seeing the sweeping views below. Here are the experiences you should have on your list for your first time exploring this special part of Canada:
1) Driving the Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway, otherwise known as Highway 93, has been named one of the most scenic drives in THE WORLD. It connects Banff National Park with Jasper Town in Jasper National Park and it will take your breath away. In good weather and without stopping, the drive normally takes about four hours. But you would be remiss not to stop – along the way, there’s lots of scenic viewpoints that will take your breath away.
2) Banff National Park and Banff town
Surrounded by mountains, there is something magical about the shop-lined streets in the quaint mountain town of Banff. Banff National Park is Canada’s first and most famous National Park and is a dreamy destination, with wildlife sightings, picture-perfect hiking trails and outdoor activities to get your heart pumping. After a long day of exploration, there’s nothing better than going into one of the restaurants in the heart of town and enjoying a local bison burger or gooey fondue.
3) Discover the wild of Jasper
Jasper National Park is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies and being lesser known than others (like Banff), it has managed to keep its wild. Take advantage of the spotty WiFi and connect with the nature you’re surrounded with – the mountains, canyons, waterfalls and rugged backcountry trails. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced hiker, the gorge of Maligne Canyon is a must, offering an easy trail with picturesque views the whole way.
4) Go lake hopping
Between iconic Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, you’ll want to make sure your camera is charged for this adventure. Glacial lake Louise is unbelievably beautiful. Its unique turquoise colour comes from the rock flour that gets carried into the lake by melt-water from the glaciers that overlook the lake. Moraine is a glacially fed lake located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks and is a stunning azure blue shade. This colour comes from the reflection of light off the rock flour which gets deposited into the lake continuously by surrounding glaciers.
5) Eat your way through the food scene in Calgary
Tall buildings, shopping, nature in the downtown core and incredible restaurants is what Calgary is all about. Calgary has been flying under the radar when it comes to food and cooking but this meat-centric city (we’re talking Alberta beef) has exploded with independent restaurants in the last few years. Young, bold chefs are creating ingredient-driven dishes that are creative and locally inspired. Beyond prime steak cuts, you can taste exquisite pasta dishes, phenomenal tacos and pan-Asian tapas. Not to mention, this city is the birthplace of The Caesar – a vodka/Clamato juice cocktail which is a Canadian brunch staple.
Is Alberta on your bucket list? Check out our Road Trip Through the Rocky Mountains – we can’t wait to see you on the road!
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