Travelling to Banff & The Rocky Mountains, Alberta
Towering over the plains of Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rocky Mountains are a network of national and provincial parks that have been collectively declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and with good reason. Mighty, rugged, and exquisite year-round, the Rockies are an all-ages four-seasons playground and a highly coveted cottage country rental destination.
The Rocky Mountains ski season is world-famous: skiing and snowboarding at Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and family-friendly Mount Norquay are not to be missed. Tours and glacier adventures are also offered along the Columbia Icefield—the continent’s largest fresh water ice mass. Come summer, climbing, fishing, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, paddling, and rafting, in addition to Aboriginal culture walks along the Mahikan Trail, are favourite outdoor experiences. Regardless of the season, wildlife watching opportunities abound, and the Cave and Basin Hot Springs - naturally occurring, warm mineral springs found inside a cave, and outside in an emerald-coloured basin - are enjoyed by tourists and residents alike. It is possible, and popular, to take an aerial tour of the Rockies, or a domed rail car through the mountain passes.
A 90-minute drive west of Calgary, and a four-hour drive west of Edmonton, lies Banff National Park, one of the Rockies’ most renowned. Spanning 6,641 square kilometers of mountains, valleys, forests, meadows, and rivers, Banff was established as Canada’s first national park, and the world’s third, in 1885.
Within the park - sitting pretty at 1,383 meters - is Banff, Canada’s highest town. Here, art and other souvenirs can be sourced at local boutiques and galleries, and regional fare - including organic and sustainably-sourced Albertan beef and bison, fine cheeses, and wines - can be sampled at many restaurants and the annual Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival. Home to châteauesque hotels, mountain lodges, cabins, and ski chalet rentals, as well as a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts, artists, and restaurateurs, Banff is the perfect place to feast on alpine air.