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Plan a trip to Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper
Plan a trip to Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper
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Plan a trip to Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper

Get the most out of your vacation to Western Canada and the beautiful Canadian Rockies

6 common myths about the Rocky Mountains debunked →

The spectacular Canadian Rockies region, spanning British Columbia and Alberta, is home to many iconic, all-season destinations attracting international visitors and Canadian travellers alike. They come to experience snow-capped mountains, glacier-fed lakes, lush forests, exhilarating outdoor activities, relaxing spas and fantastic food.

Explore these insider tips and recommendations to plan your next adventure to Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper.

Hover over the map to explore different parks

What’s collectively known as the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks is a World Heritage site encompassing seven parks – four national and three provincial – each with their own distinctive landscapes and special features. Understanding what each park offers at different times of the year will ensure you make the most out of every stop. In Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper (the star destinations within Banff and Jasper National Parks), visitor numbers swell during the summer when the glaciers melt into jewel-like, turquoise blue lakes. But summer is not the only time to visit the Rockies - the spring and fall are stunning seasons with their own unique charms.

Tap on the map to explore different parks

While hiking is popular in Banff, those who don’t want to trek around a mountain or lake can take the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain for stunning, bird’s-eye vistas of the Bow Valley. From here, it’s easy to spot Banff’s downtown, where you can later enjoy the local spas, great restaurants, galleries and shopping.

At Lake Louise, a 40-minute drive from Banff, relax in luxury at the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and take a leisurely stroll or hike around the photo-friendly and idyllic lake.

Meanwhile, 288 km north-west of Banff lies Jasper, located within Jasper National Park, a designated Dark Sky Preserve. With limited light pollution, the park’s more than 11,000 square kilometres are ideal for stargazing.

Discover a new side of Jasper →

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Make time for food, culture and relaxation

Enjoying the great outdoors is a must-do, but don’t forget to set aside time for the region’s culinary and cultural offerings. From casual spots and brewpubs, to high-end restaurants serving local meats and produce, to a distillery featuring spirits made with glacial water, all foodies can be sure they’ll find a fit.

For a taste of Western Canadian art, culture and heritage in Banff, visit the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, the Banff Indian Trading Post for souvenirs made by Indigenous Peoples, or take in an event at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Relax at Banff Upper Hot Springs (pictured) or Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park, the hottest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies.

Find rest and relaxation in the Rockies →

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How to get the best out of your trip

You’ve got to pack well for a getaway to the Rockies. Bring layers and prepare for all types of weather because temperatures and conditions can vary as you travel through the region. Wildlife enthusiasts should invest in a pair of binoculars for memorable close-ups of bald eagles and ospreys, as well as elk and, maybe even bears! (From a safe distance, of course.) A camera is a must for capturing the breathtaking scenery and sharing it with family and friends. Don’t forget a monopod (a.k.a. a selfie stick) to help keep shots steady and to include yourself in the photo. And finally, bring a daypack to carry everything.

How to see it all

If you’re planning to visit Western Canada and want to see it all, there’s a great option: a luxury rail journey onboard Rocky Mountaineer. This Canadian train travels on three unique routes between Vancouver and Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise, allowing you to experience the unparalleled scenery of British Columbia and the Rockies without having to worry about navigating mountain roads. Or combine rail and road trip, and customize your journey to include a self-drive option, a motorcoach tour or day trip.

Imagine being in a glass-dome coach, surrounded by forest, rivers, lakes and mountains, or breathing in fresh mountain air from an outdoor viewing platform. Add exceptional service, delicious meals and bottomless beverages, and onboard Hosts providing engaging commentary, and you have the makings of a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's Globe Content Studio.
The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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