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Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

Travel Guide North America Canada Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

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Introduction

Berg lake

Berg lake

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Stretching more than 4,800 kilometres from northernmost British Columbia, in Canada, to New Mexico, in the United States, the Rocky Mountains are a broad mountain range and placed on the Unesco World Heritage List. In Canada, the Rockies span most of British Columbia and into Alberta, and include some amazing sights and activites. For skiiers, Fernie in British Columbia or Lake Louise and Sunshine Village in Alberta are draws for their powder snow and big verticals. Nature lovers will want to check out national parks like Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kootenay National Park or Yoho National Park.

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Geography

Apart from the national park, the Hamber Provincial Park, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park are also part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.

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Sights and Activities

Sights

Mountains, glaciers, wildlife, you name it, and the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks have them. The mountains are, well, pretty obvious, since it is one of the world's largest mountain ranges. To get up close and personal with the glaciers is a bit tougher, but still easily within reach. There are designated hikes at Yoho National Park (on the British Columbian side of the British Columbia/Alberta border, across from Banff) that take you right into the glacier, all in a 5-6 hour (return) hike.

Wildlife is obviously a big draw. Deer and elk are common, as are birds of prey such as eagles. Bears (grizzly and black) are, of course, around, but you aren't likely to see them - and that might suit most people just fine.

Activities

During the summer, hiking and camping dominate the list of activities. All the national parks have camp sights, and some (if you're really lucky) even have running water for showers. The Rocky Mountain National Parks all have excellent, well-maintained, hiking trails. They all have extensive guides showing exactly what trails you can go on, how long and how challenging they are, and what to look for along the way. If you are a hiker, the Rocky Mountain National Parks should be a must on your list of places to hike.

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Cost

Entry to the Canadian Rockies National Parks is pretty steep - about $10 per person per day ($20 for families or groups - up to seven people in one vehicle). However, you can get an annual pass (good for the month you buy it, the next month and a full year after that) for just under $70 ($140 for family or group). The annual pass is good for all National Parks across Canada, so if you are spending really any time at all in National Parks, it is a worthwhile investment.

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Getting There

By Car

By car is definately the preferred method to explore the Rocky Mountains. Major, easily drivable roads go to all the major centres and campsites.

By Bus

Major areas of the Parks are accessible by bus. The towns of Banff, Jasper and Field all have bus stops. However, finding campsites from the bus stops usually takes some walking.

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Eat

Since you'll probably be camping, the short answer is: bring your own food!

That being said, most of the national parks have small (often touristy) towns inside them, or just one the edge. Yoho has tiny Field, Banff and Jasper have touristy towns named after them and Kootenay has charming Radium just outside its boarders (but right next to the campsite).

But if you're camping, you want to rough it anyway right? And that means cooking your food over an open fire. Luckily, unlike most Provincial parks, the National Parks allow fires, most of the time (they may ban them if the fire danger gets too much). Unluckily, you have to pay extra for a fire. Once you've got your roaring fire going, break out the hot dogs and marshmallows (well, what do you eat while camping?) and get ready for a meal that all the more satisfying for being cooked over a campfire.

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Drink

There are resort towns through the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, such as Banff and Jasper. It is possible to find places to have a drink. If camping, you can also get drinks in any of the towns, and bring them to your campsite.

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Sleep

Like with eating, your most likely to be camping, so bring a tent! Of course, in the cities inside or bordering on the parks, you'll find a selection of (overpriced) hotels, motels and hostels. If you really want the true experience though, bring a tent. You won't be disappointed.

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This is version 12. Last edited at 9:55 on Mar 29, 12 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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