Canadian Rockies travel guide

Filed under Adventure Canada

by Angela Saurine

This guide made possible by Travel Associates

OVERVIEW

Turquoise lakes, thundering waterfalls and snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see – is it any wonder the Canadian Rockies features on so many Aussie bucket lists?

Even if you’ve been once, as many of us have, there’s always the lure of returning in a different season. Think sleigh rides and back-country skiing in light and fluffy powder snow in winter, wildflowers and baby animals in the springtime, sunny patios and those famous lakes in summer, and gorgeous red, yellow and orange fall foliage colours in autumn.

The Canadian Rockies cover a 1,200km section of the North American Rocky Mountains, encompassing five national parks along the border of Alberta and British Columbia. The region has been a popular spot for leisure seekers since the railway was built linking the country’s western and eastern provinces in the late 1800s, with grand hotels constructed to house the visitors it brought.

With outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking and horse-riding, breweries serving craft beer made with pure glacial water and galleries filled with spectacular landscape photographs and indigenous art, there’s something for everyone in this wilderness paradise.

MUST DO

There are many ways to experience the epic beauty of the Canadian Rockies – so many, in fact, that narrowing them down can be overwhelming. We’ve done the hard work for you and shortlisted the top experiences, from soaking in hot springs and staying in a castle-like hotel to a heli-skiing adventure in search of the best powder snow.

The Icefields Parkway

The 232km road linking Lake Louise and Jasper is regarded as one of the most scenic in the world. Take time out at the bright turquoise Peyto Lake and powerful Athabasca Falls for photo stops en route, and ride a snow coach on the Columbia Icefield to walk on Athabasca Glacier.

Hot springs

The Canadian Rockies is littered with mineral pools, so be sure to factor in a long, hot soak. Banff Upper Hot Springs, Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park and Radium Hot Springs at the south entrance to Kootenay National Park are among the best.

Rocky Mountaineer train

Considered one of the world’s great rail journeys, this is an ideal way to relax and take in the incredible scenery while getting to know fellow travellers from around the globe. A range of routes and packages are available.

Stay in a “castle hotel”

A night at the luxurious Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel or Fairmont Lake Louise Chateau (or both!) is pretty much compulsory in any Canadian Rockies itinerary. Surrounded by majestic wilderness, these grand properties were built by Canadian Pacific Railways to entice visitors.

Wildlife safari

Grizzlies, black bears, elk, moose, long horn sheep, squirrels, grey wolves, cougars, lynx – you name it, the Canadian Rockies has got it. An evening wildlife safari in Jasper National Park with Sun Dog Tours is a great way to go.

Toast s’mores

One of Canada’s quintessential experiences has to be toasting s’mores over a campfire. Short for “some more”, a s’more consists of a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers. Thank me later.

Backcountry skiing

Being so far inland means the snow in the Canadian Rockies is drier, lighter and fluffier than that found at ski resorts closer to the coast, making it heaven for powderhounds. Go all out and book a multi-day cat-skiing or heli-skiing adventure, staying at backcountry lodges overnight.

Spirit Island

In the 1950s a large Kodak photo of Spirit Island, in the middle of Moraine Lake, was displayed at Grand Central Station in New York and led to a tourism boom in Jasper. It’s a scene that’s still hard to beat, and one not to miss.

Afternoon tea at Prince of Wales Hotel

Spend a civilised afternoon admiring the view over Waterton Lake from the lobby of the Prince of Wales Hotel in southern Alberta while sipping tea and snacking on sandwiches and pastries.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

It tours the globe every year, but nothing beats seeing the world’s greatest adventure film festival in the place where it all began. Held at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the inspiring festival celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016.

SLEEP

Whether it’s a rustic log cabin on the shores of a lake or a castle-like hotel surrounded by forest and towering peaks, the Canadian Rockies has plenty of attractive accommodation options. The hardest thing will be deciding which to choose.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

This village of log cabins in Jasper National Park began its life in 1915 as a group of large luxury tents with wooden floors and walls. Everyone from Marilyn Munroe to Queen Elizabeth has stayed at the 28 hectare resort on Lake Beauvert.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

With unbeatable views of Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier, this grand 550 room hotel in Banff National Park was built as a base for outdoor enthusiasts in 1890. It offers everything from Italian cuisine to fondue at its many restaurants.

Fairmont Banff Springs

Also in Banff National Park, this landmark hotel is known as Canada’s “castle in the Rockies.” Opened in 1888, it has 764 rooms and suites, a golf course and spa. Food offerings include an Indian restaurant, smokehouse, sushi bar and the acclaimed 1888 Chop House.

Rimrock Resort Hotel

With magnificent views over Banff National Park, this hotel has 343 guest rooms and suites, a spa, indoor pool, sauna, gym and squash courts. Dine on Italian in Primrose Dining Room, French cuisine at Eden, sip a martini in Divas cocktail bar, where the walls are lined with photographs of female Hollywood stars, or a cognac or whiskey in front of the fire in Larkspur Lounge.

Hidden Ridge Resort

In the downtown area of Banff on Tunnel Mountain, Hidden Ridge Resort has condos with full kitchens, patios or balconies and real wood burning fireplaces. There are two outdoor hot tubs and a sauna, barbecue and picnic areas and bike hire.

Moraine Lake Lodge

This eco-friendly lodge near Lake Louise has hand-crafted log furniture in its cabins and rooms.  Its Walter Wilcox Dining Room showcases cuisine from the region, including buffalo carpaccio with roasted pine nuts and deer tenderloin with red currants and juniper berries.

Lac Le Jeune Resort

Named after a French reverend who migrated to Canada in the 1880s, this resort is great for bird watchers and fly fishermen, with a range of cabins overlooking the lake plus chalets, a dining room with a fireplace and lounge.

Tyax Wilderness Resort and Spa

On the shores of Tyaughton Lake in British Columbia, Tyax is surrounded by the towering peaks of the Southern Chilcotin Mountains. It has 29 guest rooms, dining room and patio overlooking the lake, a lounge and den, spa, outdoor hot tub and yoga studio.

Emerald Lake Lodge

With an oak bar salvaged from an 1890s Yukon saloon in its lounge and large stone fireplaces throughout, this lodge built of hand-hewn timber in Yoho National Park is all charm. The menu in Mount Burgess Dining Room includes elk, bison and caribou, plus there’s a games room, sauna, hot tub and gym.

Prince of Wales Hotel

On a bluff overlooking Waterton Lake in Waterton National Park, this grand, Swiss-style property was built in 1926 and 1927 by the American Great Northern Railway and named Prince of Wales Hotel in an attempt to entice him to stay during his 1927 tour. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

EAT

From the classic Canadian dish of poutine to fine dining restaurants specialising in game meats such as bison and elk, there’s no shortage of places to find a good feed in the Rockies. As a bonus, many are built to make the most of the beautiful scenery the region is known for.

Aardvark

If there’s one dish Canada is known for it’s poutine – and locals head to Aardvark in Caribou St, Banff for their indulgent fix of fries, cheese curds and gravy. There’s also buffalo wings, pizza made with home-made sauces, subs and more.

Waffleton

After a day hiking in Waterton National Park, why not indulge in a freshly-made Belgian waffle?  Favourites include the golden liege waffle topped with whipped cream and strawberries and the Liege waffle with Nutella and sliced banana.

1888 Chop House

Décor in this acclaimed noshery in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is inspired by the property’s railway origins, with a menu focusing on prime cuts of Alberta beef and sustainably-sourced wild game and seafood.

Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House

After a 5.5km hike from the Chateau Lake Louise to an elevation of 2,100m, the charming Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House is a welcome sight. Built by two Swiss guides in 1927, there is no electricity so food is made fresh daily on propane stoves.

Murrietas West Coast Grill

Don’t leave Canmore without trying the signature black truffle butter on a juicy sirloin or tenderloin steak at this fine dining restaurant, named after gentleman bandit Joaquin Murrieta because of his sense of adventure and passion for life.

The Maple Leaf Grill and Lounge

With stone walls, crackling fireplaces and wooden logs throughout, diners love the cabin-like feel of this two-level restaurant on Banff Avenue’s busiest corner. Chef Sal Polizzi serves up a menu of Alberta beef, game, fish and other seafood.

The Bison

The seasonal farm-to-table menu at this Banff institution, which has windows on three sides, includes signature braised bison short ribs, a bison burger, venison striploin, and gnocchi poutine made with 24-hour braised elk, curds and truffle gravy.

Rocky Mountain Bagel Co

Everything is made from scratch at this Canmore bakery serving artisan New York-style bagels topped with home-made cream cheeses, as well as muffins, cookies and cinnamon buns. Between 35 to 90 dozen bagels in 12 different flavours are baked each night.

The Raven Bistro

This trendy Jasper diner has colourful couches with comfortable cushions, cool hanging lampshades and a bar. Dishes include coconut kaffir lime seafood pot, pistachio crusted lamb loin and a s’mores tart made with graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache and toasted house-made maple marshmallow.

The Iron Goat Pub and Grill

With two patios offering views of the Three Sisters mountain range, this three-level timber frame restaurant in Canmore is a great place to relax and snack on chipotle mango duck wings, Alberta baby back ribs and maple walnut salmon.

DRINK

With craft beers made with pure glacial water, tea houses perched on mirror-like lakes, atmospheric pubs where you can watch the hockey with locals on big screens and bars offering creative cocktails, there’s no chance of going thirsty in the Rockies –  no matter what your tipple.

Jasper Brewing Co Brew Pub and Eatery

Canada’s first national park brewery when it opened in 2005, Jasper Brewing Co makes craft beer with mineral-rich glacial water. Standouts include the Jasper the Bear Pale Ale, brewed with clover honey from the Okanagan Valley and German hops, and Blackeye Blueberry Vanilla Ale.

Beamers Coffee Bar

For the best coffee in Canmore, head to Beamers Coffee Bar’s downtown store.  Owner Michael Beamer previously worked at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise as assistant beverage manager and focuses on custom Arabic roasted blends plus baked goods and sandwiches.

Lake Agnes Tea House

Choose from more than 100 types of loose leaf tea, including blueberry, maple and pomegranate, at this iconic family-run tea house on the shores of Lake Agnes, a short hike from Lake Louise, which has been serving visitors since 1905.

Where the Buffalo Roam Saloon

Wash down your Mexican Mule or Whiskey Sour cocktail with deep fried cheese, wings or tacos at this Canmore watering hole, which opened in 2015. It also offers beers from everywhere from California to the Czech Republic.

The Magpie & Stump

Strawberry margaritas and other tequila-based cocktails are what it’s all about at this Mexican-themed bar and eatery in downtown Banff. The cosy establishment has atmosphere in spades, with wooden furniture and sombreros hanging from timber beams.

Snowdome Coffee Bar

A coffee bar in a laundromat? Yep! Snowdome Coffee Bar is located inside Jasper’s Coin Clean Laundry, so you can sip a latte while your washing spins. Wash it down with a freshly baked fruit and buttermilk muffin or an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

Rose and Crown

On a sunny day, no matter what the season, there’s no better place to soak up 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains than the rooftop of the Rose and Crown pub in Banff. It also has live music seven nights a week.

The Whistle Stop

Catch all the excitement of the hockey on one of six big screens or get to know the locals over a game of pool while sipping a Kokanee and munching a cheeseburger at this atmospheric pub inside The Whistler Inn in Jasper.

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company

Take a tour to learn about the brewing process at this architecturally-designed brewery in Canmore with magnificent views from its floor-to-ceiling windows before tasting the Beaver Tale Raspberry Ale, Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat and Powder Hound Pilsner.

Devil’s Gap

As far as dive bars go, Devil’s Gap is where it’s at in Banff with live music, foosball and cheap drinks.  But be warned – it can get a little rowdy, especially on a Sunday afternoon when the locals hit.

SHOP

For keen shoppers, there’s nothing like finding a store where you can buy unique local products and gifts to take home for loved ones while on holidays, and Canada’s creativity is on show at many shops across the Rockies – whether it’s homemade fudge, toxin-free soaps or colourful quilts.

Rocky Mountain Soap Company

With stores in Canmore and Banff, Rocky Mountain Soap Company is a great place to stock up on toxin-free soaps, creams, deodorant, bath oils and body washes made with natural ingredients. Scents include lemongrass, geranium and root beer.

Valhalla Pure Outfitters

Set yourself up for your Canadian Rockies adventure at this outdoor gear shop in Canmore, which sells everything from drybags, hydration packs and transceivers to men’s and women’s gloves, hiking boots and waterproof jackets.

The Tin Box

This trendy boutique feels more like something you would find in the big city than in a little town like Canmore. Opened by two locals in 1995 and expanded three times since, it sells a range of unique artsy jewellery, handbags, home décor and stationery.

Banff Tea Co.

Stock up on exclusive blends such as Alberta Rose, Banff Earl Grey Snowflake and Hair of the Dog hangover tea at this cute store, which gives a quarter of its profits to charity. It’s owned by the same family who has operated The Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House at Lake Louise for more than 50 years.

Hudson’s Bay

Canada’s equivalent of David Jones or Myer, this iconic department store in Banff has everything from handbags and homewares to women’s and men’s clothing and shoes, beauty products, jewellery and accessories.

Evoolution

Taste premium olive oils from around the world, including Tuscan herb olive oil, wild mushroom and sage olive oil and white truffle gourmet olive oil, at this Canmore store. It also has a large range of aged balsamic vinegars bottled on site.

Candy Bear Lair

Handmade fudge, candies, caramels and candy apples and other tasty treats combine with teddy bears, bear rugs, bear puzzles and bear pillows at this specialty store in the heart of Jasper.

The Banff Farmers Market

Held every Wednesday over summer, these markets offer the opportunity to purchase locally-made merino knitwear, vintage crafts, fruit wine, jewellery, ethical organic skin and hair products, handmade, eco-conscious accessories and more.

My Sisters Room

This small gift shop located in a historic building in Waterton is packed full of treasures, from purses and scarves to home decor and tea. The family-run store prides itself on supporting small businesses, with many products made with upcycled materials.

The Sugar Pine Company

There are more than 300 colourful quilts and quilted wall hangings by Canadian designers on display at this family owned and operated quilt shop in Canmore. Staff love to chat about fabrics and knitting yarns with customers from around the world.

ACTIVE

There are few places in the world that can compare to the Canadian Rockies when it comes to the variety of outdoor pursuits on offer – with incredible scenery to boot! Whether it’s playing golf on an award-winning course, a Harley Davidson tour through a national park or kayaking on a pristine lake, there’s no shortage of activities to choose from.

Horse-riding

Saddle up for a ride along the base of Sulphur Mountain and along the Bow River on the back of a horse or in a covered wagon before stopping for a cowboy cookout with BBQ steak, homemade baked beans and baked potatoes by the Sundance Canyon Trail with Banff Trail Riders.

Harley-Davidson tour

Pop on your leathers and jump in a sidecar beside a Harley Davidson ridden by an experienced rider with Jasper Motorcycle Tours. One, two and three-hour options are available to see the sights in Jasper National Park.

Golf

Golf is one of the most popular pastimes during summer in the Rockies, with the area regarded as having the best collection of courses in Canada.  The historic Stanley Thompson course at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is a must.

White water rafting

With an abundance of glacier-fed rivers, there’s plenty of places where adrenaline junkies can get their thrills white water rafting in the Rockies. One of the best is the Athabaska River, near Jasper, which has many challenging class two rapids.

Hiking

There are countless hikes throughout the Rockies but for something different head to the Burgess Shale quarry in Yoho National Park, where you can hold a 505 million-year-old fossil in your hand. But book early because the popular guided hikes sell out fast.

Wildlife spotting

Jasper National Park is one of the best places in the country to spot wildlife such as black bears, elk, big horned sheep, mountain goats, foxes, coyotes, wolves and moose. Consider doing an evening tour, when animals are more likely to be out and about.

Cave exploration

Crawl and squeeze through narrow rock cavities and pass prehistoric bones on a cave tour near Canmore. The Rat’s Nest Cave, under Grotto Mountain, has more than 4km of explored passages. Don’t forget your torch!

Glacier Skywalk

Opened in 2014, the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park has to be one of the more dramatic attractions in the Rockies. A cliff-edge walkway leads to a platform where glass is all that separates sightseers from a 280m drop over the Sunwapta Valley. Not for the faint-hearted!

Kayaking and canoeing

There are dozens of lakes in the Canadian Rockies – many so beautiful they will take your breath away – so grab a kayak and a paddle and get out and explore. Johnson Lake, Two Jack Lake, Vermilion Lakes and Bow Lake are all great places to start.

Mountain biking

Soak up the fresh air of the Canadian Rockies as you hit its soaring peaks on two wheels. During summer, the ski resort areas turn into a mountain bikers’ paradise, with the activity permitted on many marked trails.

ART

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Canadian Rockies, but there is a surprising array of options in the area for those who are artistically inclined. The streets of its mountain towns are dotted with galleries showcasing beautiful watercolours and photographs inspired by the surroundings.

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Discover the art, history and culture of Canada’s Rocky Mountains through the collections, exhibitions and events at this Banff museum, which was founded by Catharine and Peter White, who met in 1927 at the Boston Museum School of Fine Art.

The Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity

Best known for presenting the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, here visitors can see everything from classic jazz and orchestral performances in its Eric Harvie Theatre to outdoor summer rock concerts at Shaw Amphitheatre and contemporary dance at its Margaret Greenham Theatre.

All in the Wild galleries

Canadian wildlife photographer Jason Leo Bantle travels to some of the country’s most remote regions capturing stunning landscapes on 35mm film. His fine art photography is displayed at two galleries in the Rockies, in Banff and Canmore.

Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives

From historic black and white photos documenting the history of the area to wooden skis, snow shoes, bear traps, guns and teepees to art and photographic exhibitions, this Jasper museum is definitely worth a visit.

Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont

These commercial galleries at Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge showcase the work of Canadian artists, including sculpture, watercolours and ceramics. Their artist in residence program gives guests the opportunity to talk to exhibiting artists about their work.

The Lost American Art Gallery and Museum

Peruse jewellery, pottery and baskets from First Nation tribes as well as turn of the century saddles, bridles and chaps at this art gallery and museum at Longview. Navajo rugs, landscape and wildlife paintings, books and cards by local artists are also available for purchase.

Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre

Learn about the area’s coal mining and railroad heritage and the geology of the Rocky Mountains at this Canmore museum, which also oversees the preservation of the 19th Century North West Mounted Police Barrack, which was built in 1893.

Gust Gallery

This fine art gallery in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Waterton Lakes National Park celebrates the landscapes of southern Alberta through paintings, ceramics, sculptures and woodwork created by local artists.

ArtsPlace

A hub for artists of all kinds, ArtsPlace in Canmore hosts exhibitions, film screenings, jazz performances, plays, artist lectures, workshops and festivals.

Our Native Land

Easily recognisable by the large mammoth tusk in the window, Our Native Land in Jasper showcases pieces by artisans from Canada and the United States, including Ammolite jewellery, Inuit sculptures, arts and crafts.

DIARY

Canadians love a party – and there is plenty to celebrate in the Rockies no matter what the season. From Christmas markets and ice carving festivals in winter to folk music and rodeos in summer and the world-renowned Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, our calendar will help determine when to visit.

January: Ice Magic Festival

Ice artists from around the world descend on Lake Louise each January for the Ice Magic Festival, where ice carving teams of two create sculptures around a particular theme, which changes each year.

April: Canmore Uncorked

Foodies love this 12-day feast, which includes a long table dinner for 150 people where each course is served by a chef from a different Canmore restaurant, progressive dinners and a culinary symphony where live classical music is paired with each dish.

July: Canada Day

There’s no funner time to be in Banff than Canada Day on July 1. The locals get positively patriotic with a parade down Banff Avenue, bands, a birthday cake, and a spectacular evening fireworks display.

July/August: Canmore Folk Music Festival

Running since 1978, this three-day event held over the Heritage Day long weekend is a celebration of folk, world, blues and roots music. There’s more than 30 acts across four stages, including a free concert in downtown Centennial Park.

August: Jasper Heritage Rodeo

Yee-haw! See real-life cowboys competing across seven events, including steer wrestling, team roping and bull-riding, each night at this rodeo which has been running since 1926 and is now on the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Circuit.

October: Jasper Dark Sky Festival

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated Jasper National Park as a dark sky preserve – an area where almost no artificial lighting is visible at night – in 2011. As the days get shorter, this month-long festival celebrates the night sky.

October/November: Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

This world-famous festival had its humble beginnings in Banff in 1976 and is still the most exciting place to see the most inspiring short adventure films of the year before it heads off on its tour of the globe.

November: Banff Christmas Market

Get into the festive spirit as you peruse the offerings of local fashion designers and find unique handcrafted gifts for loved ones at this annual Christmas market in Sundance Rd while enjoying good food and live entertainment.

November: Banff Craft Beer Festival

Taste test a range of beers from Alberta breweries and meet local brew masters at the Banff Craft Beer Festival. The event is held at The Cave and Basin National Historic Site, which commemorates the birthplace of Canada’s National Park system in 1885.

November/December: Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup

Watch in awe as some of the world’s fastest men and women alpine racers begin the World Cup speed circuit at Lake Louise Ski Resort in the only event of its kind to be held in Canada.

WINTER

Snow lovers from around the world flock to the Canadian Rockies each winter to bask in its dry powder snow and soak up the beauty of its seemingly endless white peaks. As well as top-class ski resorts, there’s the lure of backcountry heli-skiing and cat-skiing adventures, sleigh rides, dog sledding and more.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

The biggest resort in the Canadian Rockies at 1700ha, Lake Louise Ski Resort is spread over three mountains. The views are to-die-for and its back bowls are a skier’s dream.  Runs funnel back to a grand timber building at the resort’s base.

Heli-skiing

Imagine the thrill of being dropped off on top of a mountain by helicopter with nothing but untracked powder snow as far as the eye can see. A range of single day and multi-day trips, which involve staying at a backcountry lodge, are available throughout the Rockies.

Fernie Alpine Resort

Above the historic mining town of Fernie, this resort in the Lizard Mountain Range is known for its dry powder, with up to 11m of snow falling in a season. It’s less crowded than the Banff resorts, with five big bowls stretching across 1,013ha.

Sleigh ride

What could be more magical than a sleigh ride through the snow, snuggling under a blanket for warmth as you gaze up at a sky full of stars? Brewster Lake Louise Stables offers sleigh rides during the day and in the evenings throughout winter.

Cat-skiing

Access untracked powder snow in the backcountry around Fernie in a cosy heated snowcat which fits up to 16 fellow skiers and snowboarders. Single, overnight and multi-day trips are available with Fernie Wilderness Adventures or Island Lake Cat Skiing.

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

With the fourth highest vertical drop in North America, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort near Golden in British Columbia is known for its long downhill runs, rugged mountains and powder snow. There’s also the option to heli-ski for those looking for further adventure.

Sunshine Village

An 18km drive from Banff, at Sunshine Village it’s possible to ski in the two provinces of Alberta and British Columbia in one run. The resort can get up to 9 metres of snow in a season, which is also the longest in Canada running from early November until late May.

Dog sledding

Feel the thrill of gliding through the wilderness on a sled pulled by a team of excited Alaskan, Siberian and Seppala huskies. Howling Dog Tours offers rides through Spray Lakes Provincial Park, with pick up available from Banff and Canmore hotels.

Marmot Basin

Around 20km from the town of Jasper in Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin is a small, family-friendly resort with a laidback vibe. It has the highest base elevation in the Canadian Rockies at nearly 1700m above sea level, with seven lifts taking skiers and snowboarders to nearly 700ha of terrain.

Snowshoeing

Like hiking on snow, snowshoeing is a beautiful way to explore the pristine beauty of the region. There are several companies in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Fernie that offer snowshoe rental and guided tours throughout winter.

24 HOURS

Days don’t get much better than this! Waking up in a log cabin, falling asleep in a castle-like hotel, and driving one of the world’s most stunningly spectacular roads in between, stopping to photograph thundering waterfalls and lakes so turquoise it’s hard to believe they’re real en route.

7am

Wake in a log cabin at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and enjoy a buffet breakfast on the deck overlooking Beauvert Lake. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as elk, which are often seen roaming the grounds of this 28ha resort.

8am

Drive into the town of Jasper and spend some time wandering the historic mountain town, which was established as a fur trading outpost in the early 1800s. Pop in to Snowdome Coffee Bar for a latte or cappuccino at this laundromat-cum-café and grab a buttermilk muffin or cookie to save for morning tea.

9am

Depart Jasper for a scenic road trip along the Icefields Parkway, or Highway 93 North – the iconic 232km road linking Jasper National Park to Lake Louise.  Keep an eye out for bears, big horn sheep, deer and black bears en route.

9.30am

First stop is Athabasca Falls, around 30km south of town on the upper Athabasca River. Walk along the trails and view the powerful 23m high waterfall as it thunders into the canyon below.

11am

Arrive at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre, opposite Columbia Icefield. Hop on an Ice Explorer snow coach to walk on the 6km long Athabasca Glacier – one of 36 emanating from the icefield – and fill water bottles with the pure glacial water.

1pm

Pull in to The Parkway Pub at The Crossing Resort and cook a steak or burger on the grill before devouring it on the deck overlooking Mt Sarbach and Mt Murcheson outside.

3pm

Stop at Bow Summit Lookout and marvel at the dog-shaped Peyto Lake, one of the most photographed places in the Canadian Rockies thanks to its incredible bright turquoise colour caused by glacial rock flour.

4pm

Enjoy an afternoon tea of pastries and finger sandwiches at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise while admiring views of the lake and Victoria Glacier.

5pm

Check in to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and explore the historic property, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Perhaps take a peek in the gallery and chat to the artist in residence before a quick rest before dinner.

7.30pm

Head to the Bison restaurant in downtown Banff and dine from the seasonal, farm-to-table menu, which includes signature braised bison short ribs, venison striploin, and gnocchi poutine made with 24-hour braised elk, curds and truffle gravy.

10pm

Return to the Banff Springs Hotel and have a nightcap in Rundle Lounge – known for its creative cocktails – while listening to a singer perform live.

 

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