The Canadian Rockies, located in the western province of Alberta, are a part of the Rocky Mountains that stretch from British Columbia to Alberta. The area is known for its stunning mountain landscapes, abundant wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities. The Canadian Rockies is home to several national parks including Banff, Lake Louise, and Canmore.
The Canadian Rockies are known for their unique geology, which includes ancient seabeds and sedimentary rock layers that have been pushed up and shaped by tectonic activity. The area also has a diverse array of flora and fauna, including elk, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears.
Table of Contents
An Introduction (Brief) of the Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies offer visitors a wide range of activities and attractions, including hiking and camping, skiing and snowboarding, and wildlife viewing. The parks also offer scenic drives, such as the famous Icefields Parkway, which connects Banff to Jasper National Park. The natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies, including its glaciers, lakes, and forests, is truly breathtaking and a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts.
Banff National Park, established in 1885, is Canada’s first national park and the world’s third national park. The park is known for its natural hot springs, including the famous Cave and Basin hot springs, which were discovered in 1883. The park was established to protect the hot springs and the surrounding mountain landscapes. The park has grown to encompass over 6,600 square kilometers of rugged terrain, including glaciers, lakes, and forests.
Lake Louise, located within Banff National Park, is a glacial lake known for its stunning turquoise waters and the Victoria Glacier in the background. The lake and its surroundings have been a popular tourist destination since the late 1800s. The Chateau Lake Louise, a luxury hotel located on the lake, was built in 1890 and continues to be a popular destination for visitors.
Canmore, located just outside of Banff National Park, is a charming mountain town that has grown from a small mining town to a popular tourist destination. The town offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Canmore also has a lively arts and culture scene, with several art galleries, restaurants, and shops.
If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery and unforgettable experiences, look no further than the Canadian Rockies. This amazing region offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in a relaxing vacation or an action-packed getaway. From hiking and skiing to exploring glaciers and wildlife, the Canadian Rockies have it all.
Here is everything you need to know about Visiting Banff National Park and the Canadian Rockies.
Did you know?
- Highest peak. Mt. Robson (12,972 ft., 3,954 m)
- Five national parks are located within the Canadian Rockies, four of which interlock and make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage site. (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks)
- The Canadian Rockies have over 1,000 glaciers.
Explore the Parks & Trails in the Candian Rockies
Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a romantic getaway, there’s no better place to enjoy nature than in one of Canada’s national parks. With so much to see and do, you’ll never run out of things to do in these stunning natural spaces.
Eat Like a Local
There’s nothing more authentic than eating at home with friends and family. However, when you travel, you might find yourself craving local cuisine. Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants serving up delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients.
- A Foodie’s Guide to a Delicious Breakfast in Banff National ParkSo whether you’re gearing up for a hike or just want to start your day off right, Banff’s breakfast spots are sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you ready to take on whatever the mountains have in store.
- Banff Places To Eat – The Ultimate List of Restaurants In Banff, AlbertaLooking for the best Banff places to eat? You’ll find everything from casual cafes to upscale eateries serving up local and international cuisine.
- Summer in Banff – Where to have CoffeeI really can’t tell if it is because it seems like it has been the…
- Best Themed Bar in BanffThe decorations are so over the top that you can’t help but feel like you are indeed in the craziness of a Mexican bar but with less moustaches and kidnap threats! Best bar in Banff award goes to the Magpie and Stump located on Caribou Street.
- A French-inspired bakery in the Canadian RockiesLe Fournil’s goal is to provide small moments of pleasure in the form of edible…
- JK Bakery Cafe in Banff & Canmore, AlbertaJK Bakery has been providing unique and custom quality products to some of the best restaurants and hotels in the Canadian Rocky Mountains since we first began in 1994.
- Dining Specials in Banff – Tommy’s Neighbourhood PubTommy’s Neighbourhood Pub – 120 Banff Avenue, Alberta Ahh good old consistent, cheap, laid back…
- Dining in The Fairmont Banff SpringsLearn more about your dining options at The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel- whether you’re a guest or not!
- Dining in Banff: Family RestaurantsRead here about where you can take the kids to eat in Banff.
- Dining in Banff: Quick EatsRead here about where to go for a quick bite in Banff.
Things to Do in the Canadian Rockies
Whatever the season, there are a host of activities to enjoy during your visit to in the Canadian Rockies. Among the most popular are Horseback Riding, Whitewater and Family Rafting trips, Zipline and ATV adventures, Hiking and Mountaineering along with some great options for road and mountain biking. In the winter, Downhill and Cross County skiing, Sled Dog tours, Snowmobile tours and Horse-drawn Sleighrides are the favourites.
There are so many things to see in the Canadian Rockies, it’s virtually impossible to list them all. But, you’ll want to take in as many of the turquoise glacial lakes, scenic viewpoints, spectacular drives and rejuvenating hikes as time will allow during your visit.
If you’re planning a trip to Banff National Park, check out our ultimate guide to things to do in Banff National Park. We’ve got some fun activities for everyone!
- 50 INCREDIBLE Things to Do in Banff in Winter (March 2023)Banff in winter is a magical time. The snow-covered peaks of the Canadian Rockies provide a stunning backdrop for a wide range of winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding to ice skating and ice climbing. So bundle up, grab a hot chocolate, and get ready to experience the magic of Banff in the winter.
- Heli-Skiing in Canada: The 9 Best High-Flying AdventureIn this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of heli-skiing in Canada, as well as the nine best heli-skiing destinations in the Canadian Rockies. We’ll also provide details on the top heli-skiing companies in the region.
- Power Up Your Adventure: E-bikes in BanffOne of the best ways to experience the park’s beauty is by e-biking. We’ll take a look at where you can rent e-bikes in Banff National Park, how much they cost, and some of the best routes to explore.
- Canoeing Lake Moraine – Discover the Canadian WildernessCanoeing Lake Moraine in Banff National Park is an experience like no other, surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of the Canadian Rockies.
- Biking in Banff National Park: The 8 Best Mountain Biking Trails in CanmorePart of the allure of vacationing in the Canadian Rockies is the wide variety of…
- The Best Places for Snowshoeing in Banff National Park and Lake LouiseSnowshoeing in Banff and Lake Louise is a favourite pastime of both locals and tourists…
- Vermilion Lakes – Everything You Need to Know Before VisitingVermilion Lakes, located immediately west of Banff, are three stunning lakes surrounded by the beauty…
- 11 Guided Tours in the Canadian Rockies You Don’t Want to Miss!Taking advantage of the variety of guided tours in the Canadian Rockies are a great way to make the most of your time!
- Banff Sightseeing Tours: Experience the Best of Banff National ParkAre you looking for something fun to do in Banff this summer? Why not take a sightseeing tour? There are many tour companies that offer summer sightseeing tours in Banff.
- Up, Up, and Away! A Ride on the Banff GondolaThe Banff Gondola is the perfect way to see the Canadian Rockies from a whole…
Where to Stay in the Canadian Rockies
There are a host of accommodation options, from large to small, from nationally recognized “chain” hotels to intimately managed, cozy and comfortable “Mom and Pop” properties. Inside of Banff National Park, Banff and Lake Louise are the most popular places to stay. Jasper is the largest town and offers the most options in Jasper National Park. Many choose to stay outside the National Parks with the most popular choices being Canmore, Alberta, and Golden or Radium in British Columbia.
There are so many places to stay in Banff National Park, but we’ve narrowed down the options to make your decision easier. You can choose between hotels, cabins, hostels, bed & breakfasts, and more.
- The 21 Best Cabin Rentals in Banff, AlbertaThere are many different types of cabins available for rent in Banff National Park, so finding one that’s perfect for you and your group should be no problem. Here are 23 of our favorite cabin rentals in Banff:
- Banff Springs Hotel, Canada’s Most Famous ResortThe Banff Springs Hotels offers visitors an authentic Canadian Rockies experience with its beautiful scenery, cozy accommodations, and delicious food. It also offers a variety of activities for guests to enjoy, such as hiking, horseback riding, golf, fishing, and skiing.
- Johnston Canyon Lodge & BungalowsThere is no better way to experience the Canadian Rockies than to stay at Johnston Canyon Lodge & Bungalows
- Banff Park Lodge Resort Hotel and Conference CentreQuality accommodations in the heart of Banff Conveniently located in the Town of Banff, just…
- Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain LodgeWhere Backcountry Beauty & Luxury Meet Get swept away from the busyness of your everyday…
- Rimrock Resort HotelIt is our absolute pleasure to welcome you to the Rimrock Resort Hotel. Thank you…
- Juniper Hotel – BanffThe Juniper was built more than 60 years ago. It’s a blink in the life of this vista, but our retreat is one of Banff’s most celebrated as we know it today. From this vintage modernist homebase only minutes from downtown, spirit-seeking adventurers and travellers land with us to find fresh air and fresh perspective.
- Basecamp Resort – Canmore, AlbertaOur Basecamp Properties offer modern hotel experiences for adventure travelers in the heart of Canadian Mountain Communities.
- Paradise Lodge & BungalowsRelax and rejuvenate near the shores of world-famous Lake Louise in Banff National Park, nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
- The Mountaineer LodgeThe Mountaineer Lodge, open year round, is one of the best and most affordable places to stay in the Lake Louise area of Canada’s Rocky Mountains.
Find the best deals with our exclusive discounts.
We’re offering special discounts on accommodations throughout the park. If you book now, you can save up to $50 off your room rate!
Getting to the Canadian Rockies is very easy from nearly anywhere in the world. International airports to the east of the Canadian Rockies are found in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta.
Banff Airporter provided a shuttle service from Calgary International Airport to Banff National Park.
Flying into Vancouver, British Columbia would leave approximately a 10 hour drive to get here.
Driving north from the United States bordering states of Montana, Idaho and Washington would leave anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to reach Banff National Park in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, depending on your travel route.
When to Visit the Canadian Rockies
Depending on the activities you wish to partake in, there are optimal times of year to visit the Canadian Rockies. The summer months of June to August boast some of the best hiking and sightseeing weather, although nights can be cool around higher elevations. In autumn (September-October) you’ll find stunning fall colors, perfect for photographers and outdoor admirers alike. Winter is a great time for skiers and snow sport enthusiasts; the snow season runs from December through March. April may have some lingering snow but temperatures begin to rise, making it ideal for wildlife watching or simply enjoying a peaceful getaway.
What to Bring on a Trip
When exploring the Canadian Rockies, packing the right gear will make your trip more enjoyable. Make sure you bring layers of warm clothing to help you adjust with any drastic changes in temperature, as well as suitable walking shoes for hikes and outdoor activities. Additionally, waterproof bags and cases are essential for keeping your items dry in inclement weather conditions. Consider bringing a first aid kit in case of any unexpected injuries or illnesses on the trip. With these necessities packed and ready to go, your trip exploring Canada’s amazing Rocky Mountain region will be a success!
Summary and Quick Tips
Traveling in the Canadian Rockies can be expensive, so use these tips to minimize your expenses and make the most of your budget. Consider carpooling with friends or family to save on fuel costs when traveling long distances. Research local camping sites and lodges to look for discounts online or through travel apps like Airbnb. Look for everyday deals such as discounts on lift tickets and group activities if you’re skiing or snowboarding. Don’t forget that you can often find free activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and more!