Millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed eastern Alberta, in an area known as the Canadian Badlands near Drumheller, where the prairie gives way to canyons. Along the 29-mile journey is Horseshoe Canyon, a U-shaped canyon carved out by glaciers that showcases the eroded layers of sandstone, mud, coal, and clay. To the north on Highway 838 is Horsethief Canyon, which the outlaws used as a hideout in the coulees between the rock walls and the view of the valley from the lookout is spectacular. South of Drumheller on Highway 10 is the Hoodoo Trail, where you can see up close where the erosion of sandstone and limestone created impressive chimneys of rock formations. At the end of the dinosaur trail is the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site, Canada’s most efficient coal mine and the last piece of wood standing.
Just a couple of blocks from downtown Calgary is Fort Calgary, which has a long and rich history to tell. The construction of the fort in 1875 marked the birth of a new city. The museum displays artifacts that tell the history of the cities from where they are today.
The Canadian Rockies have four national parks that will lay waste to one with uninterrupted beauty. Jasper and Banff are on the western side of Alberta, while Kootenay and Yoho are on the eastern side of British Columbia.
Right in the heart of Banff and Jasper National Parks is the backbone of the Canadian Rockies, The Icefield Parkway, rich in history and natural beauty. The avenue links Lake Louise and Jasper Alberta and stretches for 232 km (143 miles) along the continental divide through towering Rocky Mountain peaks, ice fields, waterfalls, turquoise lakes and vast valleys. extensive dense pine forests. The avenue is not only filled with captivating scenery, it is also an ideal habitat for an abundance of wildlife that will keep one looking around every corner.
Taking the time to stop over to do some of the short hiking trails is sure to leave you in awe, such as the 100-yard walk to Sunwapta Falls or Athabasca Falls, where there are several bridges to view the falls. A 15 minute hike through thick forest to the avenue’s highest elevation at 6,965 feet, will take you to where the landscape opens up to the beautiful Peyto Lake that stretches across the valley floor with mountain peaks and glaciers. as a backdrop, or the quarter-mile walk to Mistaya Canyon, where the river has eroded the limestone bedrock and created a narrow gorge. Places like the Columbia Icefields The 62-mile hike up a steep incline puts you right at the foot of the Athabasca Glacier. Without a doubt, traveling the Icefield Parkway is experiencing one of Canada’s national treasures and most rewarding destinations.
What used to be an outpost at the end of the Canadian Pacific Railroad is today’s village, Lake Louise now part of the heritage-rich Banff National Park and a stunning turquoise lake with Mount Victoria as a backdrop. With six glaciers feeding the lake, which is more than 70 meters deep, a delicate ecosystem has been created. To really enjoy the views of the lake, you must do the hiking trail along the lake. At the end of the lake, the trail continues up the mountainside for great views of a melting glacier waterfall and surrounding forest.
Located in Banff National Park is the Town of Banff, part of a world heritage site. Banff is a small resort town nestled in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, where the peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade blend into the horizon. Throughout the town there are castle-style hotels mixed with restaurants, souvenir shops, and boutiques. Around the outskirts of town there are several scenic drives through the park that lead to sparkling turquoise lakes where an abundance of wildlife calls home.
Kootenay National Park in eastern British Columbia offers a wide range of scenic wonders, from hanging glaciers, mountain peaks, marble canyons to natural pools of hot minerals. With the Kootenay Parkway running through the center of the park for 94 km (58 miles), many of the scenic attractions are just a short walk from the highway. The one hour trip will allow one to discover a new surprise around every corner.
On the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies is Yoho National Park, a park with dizzying mountain peaks, vertical rock faces, and one of the tallest waterfalls in Canada that is sure to impress just about everyone. A 10 minute walk through the forest leads to the base of the falls where the cold mist can be felt 50 meters away. This park offers a unique insight into the natural wonders of Canada. Right on the Trans-Canada Highway is Kicking Horse Pass, the highest point on the highway from which you can see a spectacular mountain corridor.