Alberta is Canada’s fourth-largest province and is packed with must-see attractions. Alberta is home to more than 600 lakes, as well as prairies, mountains, desert badlands, and extensive coniferous forests.
Alberta is packed with exciting opportunities. I assure you that I made the most of my fifteen years in residence by experiencing as much as I could. In fact, I still have relatives in Alberta, so I make frequent trips there to see them and to experience the province’s many attractions.
You may be at a loss for where to begin in Alberta if this is your first visit. I mean, Alberta is massive, and it would be next to impossible to travel to every part of the province in a single trip.
Best Places to Visit in Alberta
Don’t stress if you have no idea where in Alberta to begin planning your vacation. This article details the 10 best places to visit in Alberta, along with suggestions for activities at each.
1. Park of Banff, Canada
When it comes to Canadian national parks, few can compete with Banff for awe and awestruck visitors. Located only 130 kilometers west of Calgary, the area is home to breathtaking mountain scenery, world-class ski resorts, picture-perfect lakes, and the popular vacation destination of Banff.
Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, caribou, and elk are just some of the common wild animals that can be seen along the park’s main highway.
2. French for “Lake of Flowers”
Lake Louise is the crowning glory of Banff National Park, and its turquoise waters are well-known for their stunning reflection of the park’s mountains and the Victoria Glacier. The lake is a convenient day trip destination from Calgary, as it is only a short drive north of Banff.
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A breathtaking panorama of Lake Louise can be seen from the luxurious Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. A boardwalk stretches along the water’s edge, providing an ideal spot for sightseers to stroll and take it all in. Those interested in taking a canoe out on the lake can do so by renting one of several available vessels.
3. The Columbia Icefield
One of Canada’s most stunning drives is the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper. There are pull-offs along this 230-kilometer highway where tourists can get out and explore the lakes, mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. There are a plethora of day hikes that lead to breathtaking vistas of the glaciers and lakes that dot the landscape.
The Icefields Centre is an important landmark on the Icefields Parkway. This expansive building overlooks the Athabasca Glacier and houses informative exhibits about the Columbia Icefields. It’s tough to get a feel for the icefields’ layout and size from the road, but the center’s models and photos provide some insight.
4. Lake Moraine
Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks is located beyond Lake Louise at the end of a scenic 13-kilometer-long winding mountain road. The turquoise water and snow-capped mountains are reminiscent of those in Lake Louise. It is one of the most photographed locations in Canada due to its prominence on the back of the old Canadian twenty-dollar bill.
The Wenkchemna Glacier can be found at the base of one of the ten peaks that surround Moraine Lake, all of which are higher than 3,000 meters. Hiking up the short Rockpile Trail from the parking lot will bring you to an overlook with a breathtaking panorama of the lake. There is distant thunder in the spring from melting glaciers and landslides.
5. Waterton-Glacier International or National Park
Alberta and Montana, two states in the United States, share the Rocky Mountains’ Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Waterton Lakes National Park is located in Canada, while Glacier National Park is located in the United States.
Although smaller, Waterton Lakes National Park also boasts breathtaking mountain and lake scenery. The Prince of Wales Hotel, a Canadian National Historic Site, boasts a picture-perfect location on the north shore of the lake. Tourist services can be found in the nearby town center. People travel from all over to enjoy the park’s alpine trails, campsites, and tours.
6. The National Park of Jasper
The town of Jasper, located in the middle of Jasper National Park, shares its name with the park, as is the case with Banff.
The 10,878-square-kilometer Jasper National Park is Canada’s largest. Lakes, waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, and forests abound in this region, but it doesn’t look quite the same as the parks and natural areas to the south.
7. Resort de Ski Lake Louise
As a stop on the Ski World Cup circuit, Lake Louise Ski Resort has international recognition as one of Canada’s top ski destinations. There are 164 named runs here, plus a few hidden in the trees that only regulars know about, so there’s bound to be something for everyone.
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Skiing at Lake Louise is a family favorite because of the resort’s excellent ski school, a wide variety of terrain, and convenient lodging options. Accessible from all over the world, the resort can be reached in just two hours from Calgary International Airport.
8. Ski Area in the Village of Sunshine
One of Alberta’s most well-known ski areas, Sunshine Village can also be enjoyed as a beautiful summertime hiking and walking destination thanks to its proximity to the town of Banff. Skiers of all skill levels flock to the mountain every winter to enjoy its varied terrain. It’s a top-tier ski destination, both nationally and in Alberta.
9. The Calgary Stampede
Calgary is especially proud of its cowboy heritage. The annual Calgary Stampede, the city’s largest event, highlights this phenomenon. Over a million rodeo fans and competitors travel from all over North America to attend this ten-day event in early July.
In the summer, Calgary hosts a plethora of outdoor events catering to Western culture aficionados, including rodeos, cultural exhibits, country music, and more.
In addition to the events at the Stampede Grounds, businesses all over Calgary host free “Stampede breakfasts” every morning of the week. During this time, shops put up window displays, cowboy hats and boots are in style, and temporary petting zoos and midway rides appear in parking lots.
10. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and Drumheller
Drumheller is a small town in Alberta, Canada, that has taken great pride in being known as the “Town of the Dinosaurs.” Dinosaurs roamed this area around 75 million years ago, and numerous fossils have been unearthed in and around Drumheller as a result.
Some of the artifacts have been displayed at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, which also provides an in-depth look at the region’s history.
All five of Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in Alberta. Here, mountainous terrain meets flat prairies, and magnificent snow-capped peaks dominate the horizon.
Banff and Jasper National Parks, known for their glaciers and turquoise lakes, attract millions of tourists every summer. Alberta is known for its excellent skiing, and these parks are home to some of the best ski resorts in the province. The plains and badlands to the east are rich in cultural and historical significance.