Straddling the border of Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies are a picturesque stretch of rugged mountain landscapes and untamed wilderness. The national parks that encompass these vast mountain ranges have become popular destinations for tourists all over the globe.
From majestic lakes to cascading waterfalls, don’t miss out on trekking across these four gorgeous national parks of the Great White North.
Banff National Park
The most popular national park in the country, Banff National Park is the tourism epicenter of the Canadian Rockies. Less than a two hour drive from the vibrant city of Calgary, the town of Banff is a gorgeous mountain town to base your travels in the Canadian Rockies.
The stunning Mount Norquay overlooks Banff and is fabulous for skiers. Some of the most jaw-dropping glacial lakes around the world can be found a short drive from Banff. The mesmerizing turquoise blue waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake surrounded by lush green forests and towering mountains will take your breath away.
The legendary Icefields Parkway begins in Banff National Park and this scenic drive will take you to more unbelievable lakes and adventurous hiking trails. If you are exploring Banff with kids, make sure to visit Bow Lake and Peyto lake as two of the most spectacular sights you will find anywhere in the park.
Closer to Banff, more epic expeditions await including Johnston Canyon, the Banff Legacy Trail, and the underrated Lake Minnewanka.
Jasper National Park
The wilder Jasper National Park is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies. You can drive into the park from Banff via the Icefields Parkway.
Behold some of the most fascinating scenery such as the Columbia Icefield, Glacier Skywalk, and Athabasca Falls. Along the spellbinding drive to the alpine town of Jasper, you will pass cozy lodges, tranquil picnic areas, and amazing hiking trails.
The Icefields Parkway may end in Jasper, but the fun does not end there. The nearby Maligne Lake offers astonishing mountain and forest views. Images of Spirit Island in the middle of the lake look like an alpine fairytale. Don’t forget to check out the tranquil Medicine lake enroot to Maligne Lake.
There are tons of other wonderful activities in and around Jasper including Mount Edith Cavell, the Jasper SkyTram, and Jasper Dark Sky Preserve.
Yoho National Park
Take the Trans-Canada Highway to explore one of British Columbia’s wonders. Yoho National Park often lives in the shadows of its more famous national park brethren but has tons to offer nature lovers.
Takakkaw Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in Canada and it plunges along the cliffside. The hauntingly beautiful Emerald Lake is a fantastic location to take a kayak on the water for enthralling mountain scenery.
Yoho National Park is also home to the most alluring gem in the Canadian Rockies. Lake O’Hara is an alpine heaven that can only be reached by a bus service or 11 km hike. Visitors of Lake O’Hara will fall in love with the unspoiled beauty of the lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and radiant forests.
Kootenay National Park
Located south of Yoho in British Columbia, Kootenay National Park is much less developed compared to other national parks in the Rockies. Although the park has been ravaged by past forest fires, there are several phenomenal sights to see.
Sinclair Canyon offers a majestic entrance to the park on Hwy 93. Stare at the soaring mountain ranges of Kootenay Valley viewpoint, visit the colorful mineral spring pools of The Paint Pots, and stand along the continental divide as you explore the astonishing landscapes.
A hidden jewel of Kootenay is the rest stop along Hwy 93 near Numa Falls where you can bask in the sunlight as the Kootenay River peacefully flows downstream beside you.
Truly immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies by hiking one of the many backcountry trails deep into the wilderness.