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Explore the Canadian Rockies to experience jaw-dropping scenery and wonderful wildlife

The Canadian Rockies offer nature lovers and travellers just looking for a new vacation experience something incredibly different. We’ll take you on a tour of what to see, what to do, and one of the world’s most beautiful road trips.

The Rocky Mountains of Canada easily rivals any landscape in the world. With dazzling peaks, turquoise lakes, lush forests, and amazing glaciers, people from all around the world are drawn to Canada’s natural beauty.

Located in Western Canada, the Canadian Rockies are a great place for visitors who want a wilderness trip that may include a close encounter with the local wildlife. Adventurers can cycle, camp, or paddle during the summer months, and if you’re visiting in the winter, this is one of the top spots in the world for skiing. For those looking for an unforgettable vacation any time of year, the Canadian Rockies are where you can incredible adventure in just a short period of time.

How to travel to the Canadian Rockies

camper van driving along the highway with views of the Canadian Rockies in the distance
Take a road trip to the Canadian Rockies

With the Canadian Rockies being the major draw, you’d be forgiven if you decided to skip the major cities of Vancouver and Calgary, but that would be a mistake. Both cities offer a diverse culture and have plenty of things for visitors to see and do before they head out to the mountains.

Vancouver tends to be the starting point for most tourists since you can fly here direct from many international destinations. As one of the most multicultural cities in the world, Vancouver is a perfect introduction to Canada. From the start of April to the end of October you can go whale watching, or explore the historic district of Gastown where its old charm and spirit is still very much alive. If you’re craving more outdoor adventure, try one of these hiking trails in and around Vancouver.

Many travellers also go through Calgary as it’s the closest major city to the eastern part of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary can be the starting or end point for travellers. Some visitors decide to skip Calgary completely, but it’s still a worthwhile destination with many family friendly attractions.

What to see and do on a trip to the Canadian Rockies

woman in a kayak with her dog, paddling in a lake in the Canadian Rockies
Kayaking is one of the best activities to do in the Canadian Rockies

What makes the Canadian Rockies such as traveller’s dream is the ability to get close to nature. Go for a hike and you might spot some local Canadian wildlife: moose, deer, elk, beavers, and even bears. Even if you don’t get a chance to see some wildlife, there are plenty of opportunities to marvel at the jaw-dropping scenery.

Part of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is not only Canada’s oldest national park, but it’s also its most famous – with the emerald waters of Lake Louise making the cover of many guidebooks. Take a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain and you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of six mountain ranges. If you need a recharge, “take the waters” of the Banff Upper Hot Springs like other travellers have been doing for over a hundred years.

A real treat awaits you when travelling from Banff to Jasper. That’s because the journey takes you through the Icefields Parkway, which National Geographic called one of 10 Greatest Drives in the World. Along the way, you’ll also pass by the Athabasca Glacier where you can explore Glacier Discovery Centre and take in epic views from the Glacier Skywalk.

If you missed the gondola in Banff, Jasper National Park has a SkyTram that takes you up 2,300 metres. If you prefer to stay closer to the ground, head over to the Mount Robson Visitor Centre where, on a clear day, you can see the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies. After a long day of adventuring, head into town where you can enjoy a wide range of amazing eats.

Now we know it’s not part of the Canadian Rockies, but many visitors make an effort to stop at Whistler, a resort town located just a few hours north of Vancouver. During the summer the most popular activities are kayaking, rafting, and ziplining; for those who prefer the snow, Whistler Blackcomb is world famous for skiing and snowboarding.

Depending on your route, there are plenty of other places that are worth making a stop. At Wells Gray Provincial Park you can canoe on Clearwater Lake; while the lesser-known Yoho National Park is home to Takakkaw Falls, the second highest falls in Canada. Regardless of where you end up, accommodations won’t be an issue since you can camp, get a hotel room, or stay at a resort.

Planning your trip to the Rockies

image of two peoples feet as they lay down in a tent, camping in the Canadian Rockies at Pyramid Mountain, Jasper National Park, Canada.
Camping in the Canadian Rockies guarantees epic views

Many people choose to rent a car and do the drive on their own, but there are also plenty of tour options available in the Canadian Rockies. Adventure travel company Intrepid Travel has a 15-day Canadian Rockies trip which takes you to five national parks. What makes Intrepid unique is their small group style of travel which allows you to travel like the locals do. 

With the current exchange rate of $1 US dollar equal to $1.34 Canadian, it has never been a better time for Americans to make a trip north. Canadians, on the other hand, won’t need to worry about exchange rates when exploring their own backyard, so why not take a trip and see the natural wonders of the Great North?