Snow-capped peaks, glaciers and ice fields, multihued lakes, rushing rivers, alpine meadows, and abundant wildlife make the Canadian Rockies a destination that is rivalled by few places in the world. Mother Nature dealt a winning hand to the Canadian Rockies and governments had the foresight to protect most of the land for all time in a string of contiguous parks – each with its own character but combining to create one massive swath of wilderness.
Outstanding recreational opportunities make the Canadian Rockies unique. Hiking tops the list in popularity. Over 3,000 kilometres of hiking trails lace the mountains, ranging from wheelchair-accessible boardwalks to backcountry treks. Biking, canoeing, kayaking, white-water rafting, golfing, and fishing also rank high in summertime popularity, while in winter visitors don skis, snowboards, and snowshoes. An abundance of wildlife can be found in the most unexpected places – an elk grazing on a golf course, a bear feasting on dandelions as you ride overhead on a gondola.
The Canadian Rockies’ parks are filled with tourism infrastructure. The opportunity to vacation in a wilderness setting without sacrificing the amenities of a resort destination is unequalled. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the town of Banff. Its main street is lined with boutiques, restaurants, and hotel rooms serving every budget. To the north, the town of Jasper offers a toned-down version of Banff with similar services. Outside of the parks, the city of Calgary is known around the world for the Calgary Stampede, while smaller mountain towns such as Canmore, Bragg Creek, Radium Hot Springs, and Invermere thrive. Throughout the region, campgrounds cater to those who like to sleep under the stars – even if it is in an RV with all the trimmings.
While natural beauty is the main selling point, the growth of towns as tourist resorts makes the Canadian Rockies an ideal destination for all interests and budgets. One visitor may spend the day golfing one of the world’s most scenic courses, taking a gondola to a mountain peak, soaking in a European-style spa, and then dining in a fine French restaurant before retiring to a luxurious suite. Another visitor may strike out early on foot for a remote alpine lake, go white-water rafting in the afternoon, and then return to pitch a tent and grill dinner over a campfire…Two very different experiences of a most singular destination
[From Moon’s Canadian Rockies travel guide]
Here are our recommended travel guides and maps for the Canadian Rockies:
Main image: Upper Kananaskis Lake, Rocky Mountains (Akiroq, Pixabay)