Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Get Off the Crushed Path in Canada

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Places to Visit in Alberta

Right here’s a round-up of probably the most wonderful locations to go to in Alberta – that will help you plan your Canada journey wishlist. 

Twenty minutes in and I used to be nonetheless juddering down a dust observe in the course of nowhere, my tyres spraying gravel as I crawled as cautiously as I may over one other hill. Coronary heart in mouth, each muscle poised able to leap onto the brake. However as I crested the ridge and one other fantastic panorama unfold earlier than me, pleasure changed the anxiousness and I fell – for maybe the hundredth time that week – in love with Alberta yet again. 

Alberta appears like journey personified! The province has every part you possibly can need from a visit to Canada. The Rockies – snow-capped and at all times splendid – stretching prairies,  dramatic Badlands… the geographic range of the province is simply staggering. 

Over three visits to the Princess Province, I’ve explored many unimaginable Alberta locations. There are the plain – the well-known nationwide parks and cosmopolitan Calgary – however what I like about this province goes far past the mainstream. It’s the range, the richness of the differing landscapes.

Getting off the crushed path is straightforward in a province with a lot to supply – and a lot area! So in addition to the extra common “prime 5”, I’ve rounded up an entire bunch of less-visited spots and hidden gems so that you can add to your Canada journey wish-list. 

This information to the very best locations to go to in Alberta was sponsored by Discover Canada as a part of their #ForGlowingHearts marketing campaign. However, as at all times, all phrases and opinions are my very own. 

“Off the Crushed Path” Alberta Locations


Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, however it’s all too typically ignored by vacationers. Which is a disgrace, as a result of town is admittedly enjoyable – and it’s the right place to whereas away a few days earlier than hitting the nationwide parks! 

Edmonton Alberta Canada green tram with street art in background

I spent practically an entire week there a few years in the past and had a blast. Edmonton is a very cool, up to date metropolis with hundreds to maintain guests busy. Quirky neighbourhoods, segway excursions alongside the river, an superior meals scene… even a rollercoaster inside a shopping center! There’s a lot to see and do, so take a look at my information to Edmonton to search out out extra. 

Elk Island Nationwide Park

Banff and Jasper aren’t the one nationwide parks in Alberta. Simply exterior of Edmonton you’ll discover Elk Island Nationwide Park, a  194km² space of prairies, meadows, aspen forests, and lakes. It’s a lot much less visited than the extra well-known parks, however affords the right little countryside escape. Tenting or glamping in such a serene setting is an effective way to discover a really completely different facet of Alberta. 

Elk Island National Park Off the beaten path Alberta Destinations

Regardless of the identify, the park isn’t truly an island in any respect. There are additionally far fewer elk than there are bison. In actual fact, the park has been engaged on some actually essential conservation efforts, that are important because the species was virtually pushed to extinction by European settlers within the late 1800s. Be it bison, elk – and even wolves – you’re certain to see loads of wildlife on a visit to Elk Island. 

Head Smashed in Buffalo Soar

Talking of bison, there’s no higher place to find out about Canada’s lengthy and sophisticated historical past with these magnificent creatures than Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Soar

head smashed in buffalo jump alberta canada

Earlier than the Europeans got here and virtually wiped them out, North America was residence to some 30 million bison (aka buffalo). For the indigenous Blackfoot individuals, these bison herds had been important to on a regular basis life and survival. In Alberta there have been a number of “Buffalo Jumps”, clifftop websites the place the Blackfoot as soon as held huge mass hunts.

They’d rile the buffalo up right into a stampede and run the entire herd off the sting of a cliff, earlier than harvesting each a part of the creature. The annual Jumps would see the tribe by the tough winter, and regardless of their magnitude, they didn’t have any impact on the species numbers. 

The Interpretive Centre affords the prospect to be taught extra in regards to the hunts, the historical past of the buffalo in Canada, and the tradition of the Blackfoot individuals. It’s a very fascinating web site and a must-see vacation spot in Alberta. 

RELATED POST: Discovering the Blackfoot Tradition at Head Smashed in Buffalo Soar

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

If you wish to be taught extra in regards to the Blackfoot individuals, head to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. Missed by the brooding Sweetgrass Mountains in neighbouring Montana, the park takes its identify from the petroglyphs that litter the large valley. 

Literal writing – and drawing – on stone will be discovered everywhere in the valley, left behind by the Blackfoot individuals over hundreds of years. 

Dinosaur Provincial Park

Delving even additional again into Canada’s historical past now, Dinosaur Provincial Park is probably one of many lesser-known locations to go to in Alberta. The park is within the coronary heart of the Badlands, a powerful panorama of winding rocky gullies, twisted hoodoos, and layered sandstone rock.

off the beaten path alberta destinations

That is Dinosaur Nation: Alberta’s Badlands had been as soon as residence to about 35 species of dinosaurs, and the 73 km² provincial park is without doubt one of the richest fossil websites on the earth. Guests can take a guided hike or bus tour to discover the dramatic panorama, recognizing fossils and dinosaur bones on the bottom. 


In one other a part of the Badlands, the small city of Drumheller is residence to the world’s largest dinosaur. A 26m excessive mannequin of a t-rex towers over the customer centre carpark, giving guests a singular welcome. 

12 Amazing Places to Visit in Alberta Canada
Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology.

Simply exterior city is the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology. Even in the event you solely have a passing curiosity in dinosaurs, the gathering of fossils right here is wonderful. And with climbing trails setting off from the museum’s doorstep, you may get out into the spectacular surroundings simply. 

FIND OUT MORE: Watch my Alberta Badlands Highway Journey video to search out out extra about these unimaginable dino-themed Alberta locations. 

Fort Whoop-Up

Simply exterior town of Lethbridge, Fort Whoop-Up is a carefully-reconstructed reproduction of a Nineteenth-century buying and selling fort. Formally a fur buying and selling publish, the fort was additionally a part of the unlawful whisky commerce. This can be a brilliantly hands-on have a look at Alberta’s newer historical past, showcasing what frontier life was like for early settlers. 

Off the beaten path in Alberta Canada
Inside of Fort Whoop-Up

Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park

Final however not least on this record of off the crushed path locations to go to in Alberta is Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park. This was most likely my private favorite discovery within the province. Tucked away in a quiet nook of southwestern Alberta, proper on the border with the USA, Waterton Lakes appears like Banff and Jasper’s lovely child sister. 

Places to visit in Alberta
Higher Waterton Lake

Though so much smaller than its extra well-known cousins, the park additionally feels extra secluded. Solely locals appear to find out about it, and Waterton may be very a lot “off the crushed path” when in comparison with the better-known nationwide parks. However the Rockies are the identical, the gorgeous landscapes are the identical, and the vividly blue glacial lakes are the identical, too. 

The dearth of crowds additionally means there’s extra likelihood of recognizing wildlife. Deer simply wander by the city streets, and I needed to brake for a wolf crossing the highway as I used to be driving in! On a ship tour of Higher Waterton Lake we noticed a mom and child moose. I even noticed a black bear as I used to be climbing the Bertha Lake path! 

This small, cosy nationwide park is ideal for household holidays to Canada – particularly in case your youngsters are wildlife followers!

Waterton Lakes Alberta
Get views like this all to your self in Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park

High 4 Locations to Go to in Alberta

1. Banff Nationwide Park

Banff is without doubt one of the two most well-known Nationwide Parks in Alberta. That is the place a LOT of holiday makers to the province are headed – and it’s simple to see why. Glittering glacial lakes, dense evergreen forests, snowcapped mountains… Banff appears like mom nature at her absolute best. 

Banff National Park Alberta Canada
Emerald Lake

The park covers 6,641 km² alongside the jap slopes of the well-known Rocky Mountains. In winter, vacationers flock to the mountain resorts for snowboarding and snowboarding within the Rockies, whereas summertime tempts with sunny climate and spectacular climate.

However throughout spring and autumn, there’s nonetheless a lot to draw guests, and that is additionally a extra “off the crushed path” time to go to as you’ll share the park with far fewer vacationers. In each shoulder seasons, you’ll be able to get pleasure from wealthy wildlife, epic climbing trails, and mind-blowingly fairly spots. These are among the greatest instances of 12 months to go to hotspots like Lake Louise!

2. Jasper Nationwide Park

One other of the most well-liked locations to go to in Alberta is Jasper Nationwide Park. At 11,000 km², it’s the biggest Nationwide Park within the Rockies, and covers some really gorgeous sights. Assume dramatic canyons, thundering waterfalls, and epic glaciers. 

Best Places to Visit in Alberta
Spirit Island in Jasper Nationwide Park

Like Banff, Jasper is especially common throughout summer season and the winter ski season. However all 12 months spherical there are such a lot of wonderful adventures to have. Once more, spring and autumn are usually a lot quieter and supply a lot in the way in which of journey. From glacier climbing, to canoeing and kayaking on the gorgeous lakes, to climbing and canyoning. It doesn’t matter what your limits, journey and unimaginable surroundings await in Jasper Nationwide Park. 

3. Icefields Parkway

Connecting the city of Jasper with Banff’s Lake Louise, Freeway 93 North is healthier often known as the Icefields Parkway. That is simply one of the scenic driving routes on the earth, and virtually undoubtedly probably the most spectacular highway I’ve ever seen!

small group tours with Trek America
Mountaineering the Athabasca Glacier

The highway passes the Columbia Icefield, the place you’ll be able to cease to view the Athabasca Glacier. The Glacier Sky Stroll affords unbeatable views of the icefield from on excessive, however you may as well stand up shut and private with a hike on the glacier itself. It’s a reasonably robust hike so that you want a information and correct gear. 

One other unmissable cease alongside the Icefields Parkway is the viewing level above Peyto Lake. Head as much as Bow Summit for a view of the wolf-shaped lake, which is so vividly blue it virtually seems unnatural! 

12 Amazing Places to Visit in Alberta Canada
Peyto Lake is a must-see in Alberta!

4. Calgary

Calgary is the biggest metropolis in Alberta and it’s typically the primary port of name for guests who fly into the Worldwide Airport there. It’s identified for the well-known Calgary Stampede, however there’s an entire lot extra to town than cowboy tradition. Though it’s a fairly well-visited vacation spot in Alberta, there’s a lot to find in Calgary and it’s simple to have a extra “off the crushed path” expertise there. 

places to visit in alberta
Calgary’s Peace Bridge

Fashionable little neighbourhoods, vibrant avenue artwork, award-winning up to date structure, artisanal breweries, wonderful meals, and a great deal of leafy out of doors areas… and that’s only for starters! Try my round-up of 14 Enjoyable Issues to do in Calgary to assist fill just a few days within the metropolis. 

The right way to Get to Alberta

Attending to Alberta from the UK is really easy! There are continuous flights from London to each Calgary (9hr 15min) and Edmonton (8hr 40min). 

As soon as there, I like to recommend renting a automotive to discover the province at your leisure. There’s a lot to see so having your individual automotive is admittedly useful. If you happen to’re not sure about driving overseas, Alberta is a superb place to attempt it – learn all about my very own experiences right here

High tip: you should definitely apply for and buy an official Canadian Authorities ETA earlier than you guide your tickets. There are a great deal of websites providing varied variations of it, however all you want is the official authorities one which prices $7.50. Anybody charging greater than this isn’t the official web site! Discover out extra at

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