SEE AND DO IN ALBERTA
Welcome to Alberta, a place with many experiences, adventures, open spaces, fun places and sheer beauty. From the rolling foothills, to prehistoric hoodoos to intimidating mountains, Alberta’s diverse landscapes offers a host of activities and places to discover. Your vacation can be as action packed or as laid back as you like. Where ever you choose to stay, there is something for you in Alberta.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
An oasis in the ‘desert’ of Southern Alberta, this parkland straddles the Saskatchewan and Alberta borders, and offers outdoor activities for everyone.
With cooler temperatures and more rain than the rest of the grassland region, this park supports an astounding array of flora and fauna such as pines, aspen, wetlands, moose, elk, deer and squirrels. It is the highest point between Banff and Labrador, and visitors can spend the day golfing, cycling, playing tennis, hiking, fishing, a variety of water sports, horseback riding, skating, or Nordic skiing.
Charming Inn: Elkwater Lake Lodge
Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park
Everyone is dwarfed to childlike stature at this mind-boggling attraction, hosting one of the most extensive collections of fossil beds in the world. The area surrounding Drumheller is the largest area of badlands in Canada, and Drumheller grew from a miner’s town to one of the most visited sites in the province! This exciting spot is not only for science buffs – it is wildly interesting for people of all ages and interests because of its amazing collection of dinosaur bones and eggs. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology hosts life-size models, full skeletons, fossils, hands-on exhibits, films, and an indoor science garden that illustrates millions of years of geological and biological progressions. Fill your water bottle, and check out the nearby Horseshoe Canyon, Canada’s own Grand Canyon, where 70 million years of history is carved into the land. A drive around the East Coulee and Hoodoo Trail reveals sandstone columns capped by a hard rock (the ‘Hoodoos’), as well as the mining town of East Coulee, where all the above-ground buildings have been preserved as they were when the mine was closed in the early 1980s.
Charming Inn: Heartwood Inn & Spa
Waterton Lakes National Park
Prepare to see the most picturesque views around in this special location where the open prairies meet looming distant mountains. On the edge of the Rockies, but still in the Alberta prairies lies the stunning Waterton Lakes National Park. With breathtaking views that are post-card worthy, visitors will not be disappointed. Stay in a Waterton Lakes National Park area accommodation and relax, or take part in the hiking, golfing, fishing, boating, cycling and skiing offered. Keep the camera ready to catch squirrels, marmots, deer, bears, bison, and thousands of waterfowl on film.
Charming Inn: Crandell Mountain Lodge
Rocky Mountain House, Central Alberta
Delve into the rich history of the fur trade at the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Park where marked trails take you through four original fur trading posts. What is now a timber, agriculture, oil and gas resource center was once the site of four fur trading posts in the early nineteenth century. The National Historic Park site features a walking trail system where audio guides and illustrated signs take visitors from post to post. For the nature enthusiast, there are several signs depicting the plants of the region as well as other natural points of interest. Rocky Mountain House offers outdoor activities such as golf, canoeing, fishing in the nearby Prairie Creek and trail riding. In the winter, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and cuddling up beside a fire are favourites.
Charming Inn: The Prairie Creek Inn
Nordegg, Big Horn Country
Bighorn Country, a 7,000 sq km area of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, includes five of the six eco-systems found in the province of Alberta – from boreal forest to alpine. It represents one of the least disturbed regions of the Rocky Mountains, with endless forests and mountain chains, but few roads and limited access into the backcountry. From a tourism perspective this area is in the shadow of the well known neighbouring parks, however, this is the appeal of this area. The traffic is light in Big Horn Country but there is just as much to see and do as any Canadian Rocky Mountain destination. Charming Inn: Aurum Lodge
Canmore & Kananaskis Country
Get ready to play in this premier recreation paradise, where bird watching, photography and every possible outdoor recreation activity is offered.
Kananaskis Country, located southwest of Calgary, comprises five provincial parks as well as the resort village of Kananaskis itself. This is recreation central: take advantage of beautiful scenery, bird watching (bird migrations in October are especially impressive!), and wildlife spotting. Get ready to see elk, deer, Rocky Mountain sheep, bears, snowshoe hares, and moose. Charming Inn: Mount Engadine Lodge offers a front row seat to wildlife viewing from their deck overlooking none other than Moose Meadows.
Canmore is home to a cave system known as the ‘Rats Nest’, and with a guide, visitors have the opportunity to embark on an in-depth exploration of these mountain caves. Hiking companies offer escorted hikes deep into the Rockies, and Aboriginal guides teach about native traditions on snow shoe and cross-country skiing trips. Canmore offers more than excellent hiking and outdoor recreation; we recommend you take in the annual ArtSpeak and outdoor music Festivals (Folk Festival & Mozart in the Mountains) during the summer months.
Charming Inns: A Bear & Bison Inn and Georgetown Inn
Banff and Banff National Park
World-renowned Banff National Park offers a small-town experience in the midst of the stunning Rocky Mountains. Spend the day skiing at one of three world-class ski resorts; Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise or cross-country ski on spectacular trails throughout the park. Snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice skating, ice walks and ice climbing are favourite outdoor activities. For a more relaxed vacation, soak in Banff Upper Hot Springs to unwind. Take a tour to the top of Sulphur Mountain for bird’s eye view of Banff and the surrounding mountain ranges. Banff National Park with all its natural riches is the perfect place to enjoy all the Rocky Mountains has to offer. In the summer hiking, woodland walks, shopping, wildlife viewing, canoeing and touring the Town of Banff are the preferred activities. Charming Inn: The Juniper Hotel & Bistro
Stand in awe at the sight of the green-blue waters of Lake Louise, in front of the towering Victoria Glacier. Ski at this internationally renowned destination, or cross-country ski, hike, horseback ride or bike Lake Louise’s world-class trails. White water rafting on four nearby rivers is also popular with the thrill-seeking tourist. For a peaceful escape, check out Lake Louise, a crystal blue-green lake set against the backdrop of the Victoria Glacier located 183 km (114 mi.) northwest of Calgary. Standing at the lakeside, its colour seems almost impossibly teal. When in Lake Louise a visit to the Lake Agnes Tea House is a must. Lake Louise offers a variety of activities including; horseback riding, white-water rafting, hiking, sleigh rides, gondola rides, skating, canoeing, snow shoeing, and of course, skiing at the famous Lake Louise Ski Resort. Charming Inn: Baker Creek Chalets
The Columbia Icefield
The largest ice field south of Alaska, the Columbia Icefield will astonish you. Walk around on glacial ice at Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park, and taste pure glacial waters. Drive through this unique region alongside a chain of massive ice fields, and experience truly ‘Canadian’ sights of sparkling glacial ice and crisp snow. Covering 389 sq km (233 sq mi), this territory is something every visitor to the Canadian Rockies should see. Several guided tours of the ice field are available, and you can even walk around on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park, as well as have a taste of pure glacial water.
Charming Inn: Num Ti-Jah Lodge
Jasper and Jasper National Park
Visitors to Jasper enjoy wildlife and nature untouched, unspoiled. Viewpoints overlooking falls, hot springs, lakes, ranching communities, and unparalleled wildlife experiences await you here in Jasper National Park. Jasper is a 309 km (192 mi.) drive from Edmonton. Check out Athabasca Falls and the beautiful view offered at several points along the falls. Goat Lookout also offers stunning views as well as a picnic area where mountain goats and bighorn sheep can be seen. Plan the perfect day at the Miette Hot Springs, the hottest in the Canadian Rockies, with trails and picnicking areas nearby. In the winter season you will be amazed by the ice walk at Maligne Canyon. Imagine frozen waterfalls and a river frozen on top while you walk on it with water rushing underneath. Jasper’s wildlife viewing opportunities are second to none. Charming Inn: Overlander Mountain Lodge