Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies are some of the most dramatic landscapes in all of Canada. This vast landscape, found in both Alberta to British Columbia, sets the stage for all kind of vacations. If you seek adventure, relaxation, or something in between, you'll find it in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The inspiring scenery of mountain peaks, quiet lakes, and lush greenery provides an inviting place to explore, whatever your idea of the ideal vacation.

Many people who book Canadian Rockies tours visit Banff or Lake Louise. Both of these gateway cities to Banff National Park have everything you need to put together vacation packages, and many tour companies will take care all of all of the details of a trip. No matter who does the planning, you'll find a lot to enjoy in both of these Alberta cities nestled in the Canadian Rockies.

This national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, long a favorite for Canadian Rockies vacations, is a fascinating place to visit in any season. In the wintertime, visitors enjoy skiing and snowboarding as well as stays in cozy chalets. Three ski resorts are located within the bounds of the national park, offering 200 kilometers of trails and nearly 8,000 acres. Every January, Lake Louise hosts an ice carving festival, celebrating beginning of the year in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

The peak visitor season at Banff National Park is mid-summer, July and August. Canada's first national park, established in 1885, continues to welcome Canadian Rockies tours year after year. Summertime visitors enjoy a host of outdoor recreational activities at Banff and other sites spread throughout the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Hiking is especially popular here; in Lake Louise, hikers are invited to stop at off-the-beaten path teahouses, just like in the Himalayas.

Banff is just one of the national parks nestled in the mountains. Kootenay preserves an array of landscapes in the southwestern corner of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The park is easily accessible by highway and buses from Calgary to the east and Vancouver to the west. Many birdwatchers know Kootenay as one the best places to spot feathered friends. Several wildlife refuges have been set up throughout this region of British Columbia, offering many things to do and places to explore. The wetlands alongside the Columbia River draw a host of shorebirds and migratory songbirds, along with elk, deer, and wildlife watchers to the Canadian Rockies.

A third national park also is a popular choice for Canadian Rockies tours. Jasper National Park is the most northerly of the Rockies national parks. Located 200 miles to the west of Edmonton, via the Yellowhead Highway, Jasper is a vast, wide-open outdoor space ready to explore. From the thundering Sunwapta Falls to the relaxing Miette Hot Springs, and everything in between, Jasper is a delight to discover. It's also home to the Athabasca Glacier and numerous hiking trails.

In 2011, the park was declared a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. It's the eighth Canadian National Park to receive this designation. More than 95 percent of the park is wilderness area, so there aren't a lot of lights to affect the views of the night skies. After the sun sets, the night sky is the star of the show in Jasper and the Canadian Rockies.

Whether you're planning to hop from one part of the Rockies to another of you're just visiting a small part, you'll be treated to a vacation to remember—a place to step away from the ordinary and enjoy nature at its best.

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