The Canadian Rockies are a vast mountain range that spans the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, one of the best places in Canada to live. There are numerous provincial parks, stunning scenery, and five national parks: Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, and Waterton Lakes National Park. In light of all the amazing things there are to do in the Canadian Rockies, this means you will have a great time and be very busy.
This blog post is especially for you if you’re organizing your first trip to the Canadian Rockies. It offers numerous insider hints and local recommendations along with ten things to do in the Canadian Rockies.
1. The Canadian Rockies: Wildlife watching
The best part of any trip to the Canadian Rockies is almost always the wildlife viewing. Black bears, grizzly bears, elk, moose, deer, bison, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats are frequently seen. You may sporadically see wolves, cougars, and foxes. They reside in the Canadian Rockies’ mountains and frequently stray onto hiking trails or major roads.
Can you picture watching a mother bear and her cubs playing in a meadow? One of the best things to see in the Canadian Rockies, it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The best time to see them is in the spring, in May or June.
Since these are wild animals, it is dangerous (and prohibited) to approach or feed them.
2. Drive the Icefields Parkway
Only 230 kilometers long, and naturally located in the Rockies, is one of the most beautiful drives in the entire world. It runs from Jasper in Jasper National Park to Lake Louise in Banff National Park, which is a must-see location for all Canadians. You can anticipate seeing an infinite number of glaciers, as the name implies.
Get ready for beautiful hikes that will include views of glaciers, tumbling waterfalls, and irrationally blue lakes while surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Additionally, it is a fantastic location for wildlife viewing. You can find it along the Icefields Parkway, whether you like quick road trip lookouts or longer hikes into the wilderness. Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, Waterfowl Lakes, Mistaya Canyon, Panther Falls, Columbia Icefield, Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls are among the most picturesque places to stop briefly.
3. Hike up the Sulphur Mountain
The most popular activity in the Canadian Rockies is hiking. There are literally hundreds of hikes available for different skill levels. To reach an alpine lake or a waterfall, you can hike up the mountain or up the glacier.
You will have a bird’s-eye view of Banff and the Bow Valley when you get to the top. You have three options: walk around the observation deck for 360-degree views, visit the interactive center inside the upper gondola terminal, or continue on the boardwalk for an additional km to Sanson’s Peak, an old weather station.
After the hike, you can ride the gondola down for free in the winter and for free in the summer after 7 o’clock.
4. Wild ice skating
The Canadian Rockies offer a variety of events and outdoor pursuits to try if you visit during the winter. Ice skating on a frozen lake, in my opinion, is the quintessential Canadian pastime. It would be even better to bring your friends, pucks, and sticks and watch a hockey game.
The lakes are beginning to freeze over in November. There is typically only a very small window of time when you can skate on a clear lake before they are covered in snow. However, everything has to work out in your favor. The Canadian lakes can be seen from a very different angle when they do, though.
5. The Canadian Rockies: Takakkaw Falls
In Yoho National Park is Takakkaw Falls, the second-highest waterfall in Canada. It is close by Banff National Park and very convenient to get to. The only thing you need to be aware of is that the road to Takakkaw Falls is only ever open from the middle of June to the middle of October. There is an avalanche zone where it goes.
The distance from the parking area to the falls’ base is only a short stroll. You can hike the Iceline Trail across the valley if you’re feeling particularly daring. From a higher vantage point, you can see Takakkaw Falls, the glacier that feeds the falls, and several glaciers that are very close by.
6. Take A Cruise To Spirit Island
Maligne Lake, the largest glacially fed lake in the Canadian Rockies, is tucked away in a ring of towering mountains and is located 40 minutes outside of Jasper town. Here you can find the well-known Spirit Island, which is only reachable by boat. One of the most famous and photographed sights in the world is the tiny tied island. The 30-minute Maligne Lake cruise to Spirit Island is filled with breathtaking views of the surrounding majestic lofty peaks and the pristine blue waters of the lake.
7. Kayak on Moraine Lake
The most visually stunning lake in the Canadian Rockies, Moraine Lake is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock piles, creating an almost surreal scene. It is located in the untamed Valley of the Ten Peaks. A vivid shade of turquoise that changes in intensity throughout the summer as the glaciers melt, its waters have the most amazing color. You can either sit by the lake and take in the scenery and fresh mountain air, or you can go canoeing and hiking to learn more. It is a famously breathtaking location that is sure to make an impression.
8. The Canadian Rockies: Hike at Lake O’hara
One of the most stunning places I have ever seen, Yoho National Park is home to some of the world’s most visually stunning mountain scenery. Beautiful hanging valleys, lichen-covered rocks, jewel-blue lakes, and breathtaking vistas can be found in this exclusive mountain retreat and grizzly bear sanctuary. Many claim that the Alpine Circuit is the best day hike in the Rockies.
The number of visitors that are permitted into the valley is severely constrained in order to protect the mountain flora and fauna. The area is only accessible via a bus service that is run by Parks Canada (you must prebook your ticket months in advance).
9. Things To Do In The Canadian Rockies: Explore Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park is the deepest canyon in the Rockies, reaching depths of more than 165 feet in some places. Six bridges and a network of trails were constructed to provide breathtaking views of the canyon’s walls, floor, and even waterfalls for hikers of all ages and skill levels.
Visitors can enjoy a completely different experience in the winter by donning special footwear and going on an ice walk along the canyon floor to discover ice caves, fossils, and towering frozen waterfalls that extend 100 feet above them. Visit Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen for a snack, hot beverage, or full meal if you find that you’ve worked up an appetite.
10. Embark on a River Float
Get a distinctive perspective of Jasper National Park by taking a leisurely rafting tour on the Athabasca River. Your National Park licensed guide will highlight Jasper’s natural and human history as you float down the Athabasca River, which is the same route that fur traders used many years ago.
The majority of the river is calm, despite some minor rapids, and the specially designed oar-powered rafts offer a secure and comfortable ride so tourists can unwind while guides handle all the paddling. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for wildlife along the shore; elk, deer, and eagles are frequently seen here, and occasionally coyotes, moose, wolves, and bears as well!