Canadian Rockies Travel Guide
Exploring The Rocky Mountains Of Canada
Our Canadian Rockies travel guide brings you the absolute best experiences and attractions in the most iconic mountain range in Canada.
Whether you’re into scenery, photography and wildlife or a more hardcore adventure like climbing, skiing or mountaineering, the Canadian Rockies are, hands down, the ultimate playground for nature lovers. Stretching from Banff, Lake Louise and all the way up to Jasper, the Rockies encompass several essential towns to visit in Canada, like Jasper, Golden, Banff and Canmore.
While the Canadian Rockies are known largely for Lake Louise and the town of Banff, we bring you the ultimate travel and trip planning guide to the entirety of the Canadian Rockies.
Use our travel guide to the Canadian Rockies to plan your trip, discover attractions and adventures, as well as find deals and connect with the best tour companies and outfitters in the Rocky Mountains.
Putting this travel guide together for you is a ton of fun, with adventure around every corner in the Rockies. Here are our favourite things to do and places to see in Banff and beyond!
Top Activities In The Canadian Rockies
Hundreds of ridges, valleys, glacier views and panoramic peaks make the Rockies one of the best places in the entire universe for hiking. Hiking in the Rockies is absolutely jaw-dropping and there are enough trails to keep you busy for a lifetime.
There is no better way to experience the Rockies than to camp and be outside in their splendour 24 hours a day. There are a host of campgrounds available in the Rockies for backcountry, frontcountry or glamour camping.
Skiing & Snowboarding
Cold arctic air keeps the snow cold and light, making for some incredibly fun ski conditions. The Rockies are home to several world class ski resorts, as well as a lifetime supply of backcountry ski and snowboard routes.
The rocky mountains are home to a vast network of mountain bike trails and the views make the work all that much more rewarding. Base out of Canmore, Golden or Jasper for some truly world class mountain biking!
Melting glaciers pouring down steep mountain valleys means a whitewater paradise for river lovers. Try a scenic rafting trip in Banff or Jasper, or test your luck out of Golden on the Kicking Horse River!
While there are not a ton of wildlife tours in the Rockies, it doesn’t mean there isn’t much wildlife. The Rocky Mountain National Parks are home to all things wild, including bears, moose, elk, goats, and a variety of smaller animals.
Pristine glacial lakes make for some epic backdrop to canoe through. Try paddling at Lake Louise, Emerald Lake or Moraine Lake. You can always bring your own canoe, and try some of the calmer rivers in the mountains.
Wine & Beer Tasting
Nothing wets the lips after a long hike than a crisp mountain ale on a patio surrounded by mountains. Each of the towns surrounding the Rockies have several amazing craft breweries to try out. Sorry wine lovers, the climate is no good for grapes around here.
The Rockies have some of the best climbing in the country. Sport climbing routes are abundant around Canmore and Lake Louise, while alpine climbs are what the Rockies are all about.
Snowshoeing & XC Skiing
When the snow comes the hiking doesn’t stop! Strap on some xc skis or snowshoes and continue exploring this winter wonderland.
Golfers find their oasis in the Rockies too, with several great courses near Banff, Radium and Jasper. The scenery can be very distracting though!
Top Attractions & Parks In The Rockies
Here are some of the best attractions and parks in the Rockies. If you are looking for things to do in the Canadian Rockies, this is a great place to start!
Banff National Park
All Things Rocky Mountains
Banff NP is everything a good trip to the Rockies needs. Over 6600 square km of gorgeous mountains, hiking trails and some of Canada’s most iconic landscapes.
Jasper National Park
An Essential Mountain Experience
Jasper National Park is North of Banff NP and well worth the extra drive. This is home of the Icefields Parkway, one of the most infamous scenic drives in the world. Jasper NP is also where you can most easily get up close to glaciers.
Yoho National Park
You'll Just Be In Awe
Yoho means “awe” and that’s how you will feel here. The valleys are tighter, peaks closer and rivers rushing. Waterfalls thunder, and it all happens in one breathtaking valley.
Kootenay National Park
The Most Undisturbed Rockies
Kootenay National Park is just West of Banff and the railway. Since the railway never came through here, it is much less disturbed than the other parks. Forest fires raged, valleys went untraveled, oh and wildlife seems to really like it here.
Kananaskis Provincial Park
Untamed Mountain Wilderness
Kananaskis Provincial Park is an epic range of mountains on the continental divide that seem to reach for the sky. This is a great place to escape crowds and hike on wild and beautiful trails.
The Best Places To Visit In The Rockies
Some of the best towns and destinations in Canada’s Rocky Mountain region in British Columbia and Alberta. These are the must see towns on your trip to the Rockies.
Banff is the ultimate hub for adventures in the Rockies. Just two hours from Calgary Airport, this town offers iconic mountain scenery and town amenities to satisfy the most discerning travelers.
There is something more laid back about Jasper that really appeals. The valleys are wider, wildlife abundant and the trails less crowded than those near Banff. Jasper is a must see on your Canadian Rockies trip.
Canmore is just like Banff, but way less touristy and frothing. Another perfect Rockies vacation base with mountains of adventure in all directions. Canmore is more reasonable than Banff and only twenty minutes away.
Golden is a far cry from Banff and on the West side of the Rocky Mountains. All the hustle and bustle of the other towns in the Rockies is not to be found in this authentic mountain paradise. Small town charm and the perfect base between Yoho and Glacier National Parks is what Golden is all about.
Local Adventure Experts In The Rockies
Search our network of expert local adventure and travel operators in the Rockies. These are some of the best adventure outfitters and guides in the Rocky Mountains.
Current Travel Deals & Special Offers In The Rockies
Search for Canadian Rockies travel deals and special offers on tours and accommodations in the Rocky Mountains.
Canadian Bucketlist & Top Travel Experiences In The Rockies
Canadian Rockies Travel Guide
Getting To/ From The Rockies
Driving in the Canadian Rockies Region:
The Rockies are easily accessible by road from East or West. Banff is the entry point of the Rockies from the East side and Calgary, while Golden is the entry point of the Rockies from the West side, both on Trans-Canada highway 1. Further North, you can access the Rockies from Edmonton or from the West to access Jasper on Trans-Canada highway 16.
The Icefields Parkway is the connector between Banff and Jasper. The Icefields Parkway is controlled by Parks Canada and use is limited to park vistors and no commercial trucking allowed.
Be prepared for winter driving conditions from October through the end of May.
Flying To The Rockies:
The best way to access the Rockies by air is from Calgary. Flying into YYC is relatively easy from most international destinations and the shuttle time to Banff is less than two hours.
You can also access the Rockies by flying into Edmonton, though shuttle times are substantially longer and times are much more limited. We would recommend using Calgary Airport to access the Rockies.
Getting Around The Rockies Region By Bus:
The Rockies are easily accessible by airport shuttle from Banff Airporter.
Rider Express offers a daily bus service from Calgary to Vancouver and vice versa, which connects Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Golden.
Brewster offers shuttle service from Lake Louise to Calgary Airport and from Calgary Airport to Jasper, via Banff and Lake Louise.
Parks Canada offers a shuttle connection from an overflow parking lot and Banff to get to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, which help avoid the hassle of finding parking.
Canadian Rockies Travel Information- FAQ
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Rockies For Weather?
The Rockies are an amazing destination year round, though there are some times of year that are more pleasant and easier to travel in than others.
We would suggest planning your trip between the beginning of June to the end of September for the best summer weather. That being said, it can snow here any day of the year, so make sure you plan appropriately.
Winter is at its peak from mid-December to the end of March. This is the best time to go skiing and enjoy activities like xc skiing and snowshoeing.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Rockies For Crowds?
June and September are the best summer months to dodge crowds in the Rockies. As soon as summer holidays are over, most of the crowds disappear as people work more and have less desire to be outside.
April is a surprisingly good month to ski and definitely a less crowded time to be on the slopes.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Rockies For Wildlife?
Elk are along the riverbanks with their calves in the early summer months. During September the male elk can be seen as they begin rutting season, but should be avoided as they can be aggressive and dangerous.
Bears are often seen on open alpine slopes during late August and September as they feast on berries and prepare to hibernate.
End of summer always seems to be a really good time for wildlife.
What Are Some Key Items To Pack?
A bathing suit is very helpful to soak in hot tubs and go to the hot springs.
A rain jacket is a must have to avoid being caught in a burst of rain during a hike.
Having warm layers is always helpful.
Sturdy hiking shoes or boots is an essential while hiking in the Rockies.
Binoculars are a fun item to bring to search for distant wildlife on the mountain ridges.
A camera to capture those world class views!
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