Alberta's Rockies: A Delightful Destination In Every Season
|Jasper National Park|
The magnificence of the Alberta Rockies defies description. You could visit a thousand times and they will always look different from before, but always spectacular. The Rockies are a year round attraction, no matter what season you visit in, you can be assured that you will have a tremendous time. There are two major resort areas in the Alberta Rockies. The world famous Banff is situated in Banff National Park. The equally famous, (but a little quieter) resort of Jasper is situated in Banff is situated in Jasper National Park. Some people may choose to stay away from a major resort centre. The town of Canmore, just outside of Banff National Park is also a good base for a trip to the Banff Rockies. The town of Hinton, a good centre for a visit to Jasper National Park, is also just outside the park boundaries.
|The Chau Lake Louise Hotel in Winter|
Both Banff and Jasper have good highway links to the rest of Canada and the U.S.A. Banff 's closest airport is Calgary International Airport. There is a bus link from the airport direct to Banff, or you can rent a vehicle. Rocky Mountaineer Vacations serve Banff and Jasper by train from Vancouver. The nearest major airport to Jasper is at Edmonton, where you can travel on to Jasper by bus, train or rental vehicle. Jasper is linked to the transcontinental train service of Via Rail Canada. For more transportation information click here.
|/td>||The Gardens at Jasper Park Lodge|
In the Alberta Rockies the sun shines all year round. In winter the weather is cold, but usually with blue skies. Dress as you would for any ski resort, and bring sunscreen. Summers usually are warm during the day, but it does cool down in the evening, and it can also rain, so pack appropriate attire. Spring is a great time to visit, with fresh new growth in the meadows. Though often warm, bring sweaters and rain gear. The same applies to fall, the sun still shines and the air is refreshingly crisp - the colours are incredible.
|The Banff Springs Hotel|
There are three world-famous resort hotels in the Alberta Rockies. Images of the Rockies are often synonymous with those of the Banff Springs Hotel, a castle-like structure that is the focal point of the Banff town site. Full of atmosphere and with an Old World charm, the Banff Springs is a full facility resort that is well worth a visit, even if you are not lucky enough to be staying there. On the edge of Lake Louise is the spectacular Chateau Lake Louise, the stunning setting is matched by the quality and ambience of the hotel. The Jasper Park Lodge consists of rustic but elegant cabins surrounding a main building. This hotel has everything from cross-country skiing trails to a world class golf course that is a favourite haunt of Hollywood stars. Stay in one of these hotels or all three, it will really add to the wonderful memories of your stay in the Alberta Rockies.
|A Skier in the Alberta Rockies|
The ski resorts here are excellent, and it is little wonder that people come from all over the world to ski the fine powder of the Alberta Rockies. There are world class resorts at Marmot Basin near Jasper, Lake Louise, Sunshine (between Lake Louise and Banff) Banff Norquay and the site of the downhill skiing for the 1988 Olympics at Nakiska, in Kananaskis Country. All these resorts are good for all levels of skiing, and wherever you choose, it will definitely be the skiing experience of a lifetime.
|A Kananaskis Golf Course|
Kananaskis Country is the Alberta Rockies best kept secret. To the southwest of Banff National Park, 'K Country' as it is known, is an unspoiled paradise. Full of picture perfect mountain scenery, wildlife and flora, Kananaskis Country can be visited at any time of the year. There are excellent cross-country skiing trails, which become excellent hiking trails in the spring. Whether you camp, stay in a lodge or in a luxury hotel, all the facilities in 'K Country' are of an excellent standard.
|The Jasper Tramway|
The Jasper Tramway is Canada's longest and highest aerial tramway tour and the only one to offer a fully narrated and guided mountain lift tour in the Alberta Rockies. The tramway is a thrilling mode of transportation that enables everyone to explore the breathtaking sights and spectacular views of the area. At the top you can take a hiking trail or enjoy a snack or fine meal in the restaurant. A great time to go on the tramway is in the peaceful early evening, stay for dinner and enjoy the sunset.
|Big Horn Sheep near the Icefields Parkway|
The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper is 230km of unsurpassed scenery. It is considered one of the greatest mountain drives in the world. The mountain peaks (often snowcapped) and many rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and above all the glaciers, make this drive a must for any visitor to the Alberta Rockies. Despite the rugged terrain, this is an excellent highway that makes for easy driving (except on occasion in winter). There are numerous viewing points along the route, and this are well signed with information on the immediate area. Often there are hiking trails leading off from these areas, and there are plenty of campsites, so it is possible to spend a number of days to take in the whole route. The highlight of the Parkway is undoubtedly Columbia Icefield. There is a visitors centre that explains all about the glacier, and it is possible to walk or take a trip by snowcoach on to the glacier itself.
|Welch's Candy and Chocolate Store, Banff|
Banff has a very eclectic range of stores along its main street - Banff Avenue. There is something for everyone, from fine boutiques to doughnut shops. One of the stores where every visitor to Banff seems to stop is Welch's Chocolate Shop. There is candy of all kinds from all over the world here. This is a small store and yet the stock seems limitless. Even if you have an iron will, as you stroll around you will almost certainly be tempted, if not for yourself then for someone back home.