The Alberta Rockies are the portion of the Rocky Mountains in western Alberta, Canada. This region attracts many visitors with its beauty, outdoor activities and two of Canada's oldest and best known national parks, Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
- 1 Banff, the oldest and most famous mountain resort town in the Canadian West. A good place to do shopping and fine dining, but expensive and often crowed at peak season.
- 2 Canmore, being outside the boundaries of Banff National Park, and therefore not subject to the same environmentally-minded restrictions, this town has been able to expand rapidly in recent decades and now rivals Banff as a tourism hub.
- 3 Grande Cache, an isolated mining and trapping town, seemingly a different planet from glitzy Banff, but a good base for more adventurous hikes, trail rides and so on.
- 4 Hinton, mostly an industry town, but with all the services RVers and car campers need before entering the mountains proper.
- 5 Jasper, the less-crowded alternative to Banff. Just as many lakes and peaks to see, but a fraction of the coach tours.
- 1 Banff National Park was Canada's first national park in 1885, and it is also one of the largest. The park sees visits well into the millions annually.
- 2 Columbia Icefield is one of the largest glaciers you'll ever be able to just drive up to the edge of. Namesake of the Icefields Parkway, located halfway between Jasper and Lake Louise.
- 3 Jasper National Park The largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain Parks, it features broad valleys, rugged mountains, glaciers, forests, alpine meadows and wild rivers along the eastern slopes of the Rockies in western Alberta.
- 4 Kananaskis Country Maintained by the Province of Alberta, the Kananaskis park area consists of a number of provincial parks and reserves.
- 5 Lake Louise, the photo that everyone wants is of this post-card perfect lake. Also home to a major resort hotel and a World Cup ski hill.
- 6 David Thompson Country, wilderness area centred around the hamlet of Nordegg along the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11)
This is spectacular mountain scenery. It has been discovered by Asian bus tour companies, so to see the best sights you need to get there early in the morning; however do not be put off by this, hike a few hundred metres away for the car-park and you are on your own in the wilderness.
Banff and Banff Park are the most popular destinations followed by Jasper. However do not underestimate Kananaskis Country, it is easy to drive past it but it can actually be one of the better areas for wildlife spotting, particularly grizzly bears.
- For the north the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) can be used from Edmonton and Prince George.
- For the south the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) can be used from Calgary, Kamloops and Vancouver.
- An alternative route from Calgary to the main highway is the 1A though Cochrane and the Stoney reservation, which although slower provides excellent views of the rock mountain range.
- Brewster Banff Airport Express offers shuttle service from the Calgary airport, downtown Calgary, Edmonton airport, and the West Edmonton Mall.
- [dead link] Rider Express, toll-free: . Bus service along the Trans-Canada Highway from Vancouver to Calgary. Service from Vancouver, Surrey, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Merritt, Kamloops, Chase, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Revelstoke, and Golden (British Columbia); Lake Louise, Banff, Canmore, and Calgary (Alberta).
- Sun Dog Tours provides service from Edmonton to Jasper.
- Via Rail have scheduled trains to Jasper from Edmonton, Kamloops, Vancouver, and Prince Rupert
- Rocky Mountaineer a tourist train runs three routes, Vancouver-Banff-Calgary, Vancouver-Jasper and Whistler and Jasper
The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) runs north/south through the region.
If you are not in a hurry to reach your destination an alternative to Highway 1 between Banff and Lake Louise is the Bow Valley Parkway (Alberta Highway 1A). The road winds through the woods giving the chance of seeing more wildlife (mainly deer) than the Trans-Canadian. Good quality road surface but a speed limit of 60 km/h. Similarly the 93A between Jasper and the Athabasca Falls provides a slow option with a greater chance of seeing bears.
- Lake Louise, Peyto Lake and Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.
- Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park
- Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
- Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls and Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park
- Angel Glacier and Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park
In the winter skiing, in the summer hiking.
This is bear country so be careful. Also be aware that there is a good chance of coming across longhorn sheep, deer and moose on the road.
The Canadian Rockies spill over into Northern British Columbia and the Kootenays region, with numerous national parks there. The Rockies also exist in Southern Alberta, though in a much narrower band, but with notable sights at Crowsnest Pass and Waterton Lakes National Park. And of course, the Rockies also extend all the way down into the American states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado.