Sunday, June 16, 2024

Get Off the Overwhelmed Path in Canada

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Places to Visit in Alberta

Right here’s a round-up of essentially the most superb locations to go to in Alberta – that can assist you plan your Canada journey wishlist. 

Twenty minutes in and I used to be nonetheless juddering down a dust observe in the course of nowhere, my tyres spraying gravel as I crawled as cautiously as I may over one other hill. Coronary heart in mouth, each muscle poised able to leap onto the brake. However as I crested the ridge and one other fantastic panorama unfold earlier than me, pleasure changed the nervousness and I fell – for maybe the hundredth time that week – in love with Alberta yet again. 

Alberta appears like journey personified! The province has all the pieces you could possibly need from a visit to Canada. The Rockies – snow-capped and at all times splendid – stretching prairies,  dramatic Badlands… the geographic range of the province is simply staggering. 

Over three visits to the Princess Province, I’ve explored many unimaginable Alberta locations. There are the plain – the well-known nationwide parks and cosmopolitan Calgary – however what I like about this province goes far past the mainstream. It’s the variety, the richness of the differing landscapes.

Getting off the overwhelmed path is straightforward in a province with a lot to supply – and a lot house! So in addition to the extra fashionable “high 5”, I’ve rounded up an entire bunch of less-visited spots and hidden gems so that you can add to your Canada journey wish-list. 

This information to the very best locations to go to in Alberta was sponsored by Discover Canada as a part of their #ForGlowingHearts marketing campaign. However, as at all times, all phrases and opinions are my very own. 

“Off the Overwhelmed Path” Alberta Locations


Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, however it’s all too usually missed by vacationers. Which is a disgrace, as a result of the town is basically enjoyable – and it’s the right place to whereas away a few days earlier than hitting the nationwide parks! 

Edmonton Alberta Canada green tram with street art in background

I spent almost an entire week there a few years in the past and had a blast. Edmonton is a extremely cool, up to date metropolis with hundreds to maintain guests busy. Quirky neighbourhoods, segway excursions alongside the river, an superior meals scene… even a rollercoaster inside a shopping center! There’s a lot to see and do, so try my information to Edmonton to seek out out extra. 

Elk Island Nationwide Park

Banff and Jasper aren’t the one nationwide parks in Alberta. Simply outdoors of Edmonton you’ll discover Elk Island Nationwide Park, a  194km² space of prairies, meadows, aspen forests, and lakes. It’s a lot much less visited than the extra well-known parks, however presents the right little countryside escape. Tenting or glamping in such a serene setting is an effective way to discover a really completely different facet of Alberta. 

Elk Island National Park Off the beaten path Alberta Destinations

Regardless of the identify, the park isn’t really an island in any respect. There are additionally far fewer elk than there are bison. In truth, the park has been engaged on some actually necessary conservation efforts, that are important because the species was nearly pushed to extinction by European settlers within the late 1800s. Be it bison, elk – and even wolves – you’re certain to see loads of wildlife on a visit to Elk Island. 

Head Smashed in Buffalo Leap

Talking of bison, there’s no higher place to study Canada’s lengthy and sophisticated historical past with these magnificent creatures than Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Leap

head smashed in buffalo jump alberta canada

Earlier than the Europeans got here and nearly wiped them out, North America was residence to some 30 million bison (aka buffalo). For the indigenous Blackfoot individuals, these bison herds had been important to on a regular basis life and survival. In Alberta there have been a number of “Buffalo Jumps”, clifftop websites the place the Blackfoot as soon as held huge mass hunts.

They’d rile the buffalo up right into a stampede and run the entire herd off the sting of a cliff, earlier than harvesting each a part of the creature. The annual Jumps would see the tribe via the tough winter, and regardless of their magnitude, they didn’t have any impact on the species numbers. 

The Interpretive Centre presents the prospect to be taught extra concerning the hunts, the historical past of the buffalo in Canada, and the tradition of the Blackfoot individuals. It’s a extremely fascinating website and a must-see vacation spot in Alberta. 

RELATED POST: Discovering the Blackfoot Tradition at Head Smashed in Buffalo Leap

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

If you wish to be taught extra concerning the Blackfoot individuals, head to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. Neglected by the brooding Sweetgrass Mountains in neighbouring Montana, the park takes its identify from the petroglyphs that litter the extensive valley. 

Literal writing – and drawing – on stone will be discovered all around the valley, left behind by the Blackfoot individuals over hundreds of years. 

Dinosaur Provincial Park

Delving even additional again into Canada’s historical past now, Dinosaur Provincial Park is probably one of many lesser-known locations to go to in Alberta. The park is within the coronary heart of the Badlands, a formidable panorama of winding rocky gullies, twisted hoodoos, and layered sandstone rock.

off the beaten path alberta destinations

That is Dinosaur Nation: Alberta’s Badlands had been as soon as residence to about 35 species of dinosaurs, and the 73 km² provincial park is among the richest fossil websites on this planet. Guests can take a guided hike or bus tour to discover the dramatic panorama, recognizing fossils and dinosaur bones on the bottom. 


In one other a part of the Badlands, the small city of Drumheller is residence to the world’s largest dinosaur. A 26m excessive mannequin of a t-rex towers over the customer centre carpark, giving guests a singular welcome. 

12 Amazing Places to Visit in Alberta Canada
Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology.

Simply outdoors city is the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology. Even when you solely have a passing curiosity in dinosaurs, the gathering of fossils right here is superb. And with mountain climbing trails setting off from the museum’s doorstep, you will get out into the spectacular surroundings simply. 

FIND OUT MORE: Watch my Alberta Badlands Street Journey video to seek out out extra about these unimaginable dino-themed Alberta locations. 

Fort Whoop-Up

Simply outdoors the town of Lethbridge, Fort Whoop-Up is a carefully-reconstructed reproduction of a Nineteenth-century buying and selling fort. Formally a fur buying and selling put up, the fort was additionally a part of the unlawful whisky commerce. This can be a brilliantly hands-on have a look at Alberta’s newer historical past, showcasing what frontier life was like for early settlers. 

Off the beaten path in Alberta Canada
Inside of Fort Whoop-Up

Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park

Final however not least on this checklist of off the overwhelmed path locations to go to in Alberta is Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park. This was in all probability my private favorite discovery within the province. Tucked away in a quiet nook of southwestern Alberta, proper on the border with the USA, Waterton Lakes appears like Banff and Jasper’s lovely child sister. 

Places to visit in Alberta
Higher Waterton Lake

Though so much smaller than its extra well-known cousins, the park additionally feels extra secluded. Solely locals appear to find out about it, and Waterton could be very a lot “off the overwhelmed path” when in comparison with the better-known nationwide parks. However the Rockies are the identical, the gorgeous landscapes are the identical, and the vividly blue glacial lakes are the identical, too. 

The dearth of crowds additionally means there’s extra probability of recognizing wildlife. Deer simply wander via the city streets, and I needed to brake for a wolf crossing the highway as I used to be driving in! On a ship tour of Higher Waterton Lake we noticed a mom and child moose. I even noticed a black bear as I used to be mountain climbing the Bertha Lake path! 

This small, cosy nationwide park is ideal for household holidays to Canada – particularly in case your youngsters are wildlife followers!

Waterton Lakes Alberta
Get views like this all to your self in Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park

Prime 4 Locations to Go to in Alberta

1. Banff Nationwide Park

Banff is among the two most well-known Nationwide Parks in Alberta. That is the place a LOT of tourists to the province are headed – and it’s simple to see why. Glittering glacial lakes, dense evergreen forests, snowcapped mountains… Banff appears like mom nature at her highest. 

Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Emerald Lake

The park covers 6,641 km² alongside the jap slopes of the well-known Rocky Mountains. In winter, vacationers flock to the mountain resorts for snowboarding and snowboarding within the Rockies, whereas summertime tempts with sunny climate and spectacular climate.

However throughout spring and autumn, there’s nonetheless a lot to draw guests, and that is additionally a extra “off the overwhelmed path” time to go to as you’ll share the park with far fewer vacationers. In each shoulder seasons, you possibly can get pleasure from wealthy wildlife, epic mountain climbing trails, and mind-blowingly fairly spots. These are among the greatest instances of 12 months to go to hotspots like Lake Louise!

2. Jasper Nationwide Park

One other of the preferred locations to go to in Alberta is Jasper Nationwide Park. At 11,000 km², it’s the most important Nationwide Park within the Rockies, and covers some actually gorgeous sights. Assume dramatic canyons, thundering waterfalls, and epic glaciers. 

Best Places to Visit in Alberta
Spirit Island in Jasper Nationwide Park

Like Banff, Jasper is especially fashionable throughout summer season and the winter ski season. However all 12 months spherical there are such a lot of superb adventures to have. Once more, spring and autumn are typically a lot quieter and supply a lot in the best way of journey. From glacier mountain climbing, to canoeing and kayaking on the gorgeous lakes, to climbing and canyoning. It doesn’t matter what your limits, journey and unimaginable surroundings await in Jasper Nationwide Park. 

3. Icefields Parkway

Connecting the city of Jasper with Banff’s Lake Louise, Freeway 93 North is healthier often called the Icefields Parkway. That is simply some of the scenic driving routes on this planet, and nearly undoubtedly essentially the most spectacular highway I’ve ever seen!

small group tours with Trek America
Mountaineering the Athabasca Glacier

The highway passes the Columbia Icefield, the place you possibly can cease to view the Athabasca Glacier. The Glacier Sky Stroll presents unbeatable views of the icefield from on excessive, however it’s also possible to rise up shut and private with a hike on the glacier itself. It’s a reasonably powerful hike so that you want a information and correct gear. 

One other unmissable cease alongside the Icefields Parkway is the viewing level above Peyto Lake. Head as much as Bow Summit for a view of the wolf-shaped lake, which is so vividly blue it nearly appears unnatural! 

12 Amazing Places to Visit in Alberta Canada
Peyto Lake is a must-see in Alberta!

4. Calgary

Calgary is the most important metropolis in Alberta and it’s usually the primary port of name for guests who fly into the Worldwide Airport there. It’s recognized for the well-known Calgary Stampede, however there’s an entire lot extra to the town than cowboy tradition. Though it’s a fairly well-visited vacation spot in Alberta, there’s a lot to find in Calgary and it’s simple to have a extra “off the overwhelmed path” expertise there. 

places to visit in alberta
Calgary’s Peace Bridge

Fashionable little neighbourhoods, vibrant avenue artwork, award-winning up to date structure, artisanal breweries, superb meals, and a great deal of leafy outside areas… and that’s only for starters! Take a look at my round-up of 14 Enjoyable Issues to do in Calgary to assist fill a couple of days within the metropolis. 

Get to Alberta

Attending to Alberta from the UK is very easy! There are continuous flights from London to each Calgary (9hr 15min) and Edmonton (8hr 40min). 

As soon as there, I like to recommend renting a automotive to discover the province at your leisure. There’s a lot to see so having your individual automotive is basically helpful. For those who’re uncertain about driving overseas, Alberta is a good place to attempt it – learn all about my very own experiences right here

Prime tip: make sure you apply for and buy an official Canadian Authorities ETA earlier than you e-book your tickets. There are a great deal of websites providing numerous variations of it, however all you want is the official authorities one which prices $7.50. Anybody charging greater than this isn’t the official website! Discover out extra at

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