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 crowded 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 is popular with tourists, 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 Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) can be used from Edmonton and Prince George.
- For the south the Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) 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.
- Banff AIrporter, ☏ , toll-free: . Operates a route daily between Calgary International Airport, Canmore, and Banff. $73 one way for adults, no savings for round trips. Discounted rate for children and seniors.
- Brewster Express, toll-free: . Bus service throughout the year between downtown Calgary and Lake Louise including stops at Calgary International Airport, at Kananaskis Village (some trips), in Canmore and in Banff. Some trips operate between Calgary International Airport and Banff. From May to mid-October, a trip extends beyond Lake Louise to and from Jasper. $74 one way and $126 round trip for adults traveling between Banff and Calgary. Discounted rate for children.
- Mountain Man Mike's Bus Service, ☏ , email@example.com. Once per week bus service between Nakusp and Calgary via Nelson, Cranbrook, and Lethbridge.
- Rider Express, toll-free: . Multiple days per week service along the Trans-Canada Highway from between Calgary and Vancouver. Connecting services from Calgary enable travel to Edmonton (Alberta), Regina (Saskatchewan), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan), and Winnipeg (Manitoba).
- SunDog Tours, ☏ , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Operates a route daily between Edmonton International Airport and Jasper including stops in downtown Edmonton, Hinton, and Edson.
- Thompson Valley Charters, ☏ . In partnership with Ebus, operates twice per week service between Kamloops and Edmonton via Jasper.
- VIA Rail Canada, toll-free: . Operates trains routes across Canada. Operates the following routes in the Alberta Rockies:
- The Canadian (between Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia) two to three times per week. Stops in Alberta include Edmonton and Jasper. Other major stops include from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba
- "The Skeena" (between Jasper and Prince Rupert, British Columbia) Trip involves an overnight stay in Prince George, British Columbia. Operates twice per week.
- Rocky Mountaineer, toll-free: . Offers an elite-class, expensive tourist train runs on routes entering the Rocky Mountains between Vancouver-Banff-Calgary and Vancouver-Jasper. It does not pick up passengers along the route. See Rocky Mountaineer.
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.