The 13 best places to visit in Alberta

 

Constructed in the early 2000's, to the north east of Calgary in the Badlands town of Drumheller is a huge model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, known as the World's Largest Dinosaur. It measures 26 metres (86 ft) high and 46 metres (151 ft) long making it over four times the size of a real T-Rex. Visitors can take the stairs through the body to the viewing platform in the mouth.

 

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13. World's Largest Dinosaur

 

In the far north east of Alberta, crossing the border into the Northwest Territories is the 44,807 square kilometre (17,300 square mile) Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest national park in Canada and the second largest in the world. Encompassing a vast area of forest, grasslands and the Caribou Mountains, the park was established to protect the world's largest herd of free roaming wood bison. The largest dark sky preserve in the world, one of the best locations to witness the northern lights, Wood Buffalo National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12. Wood Buffalo National Park

 

In the centre of Alberta, north of the city of Calgary is the second most populated city and capital of Alberta Province, the city of Edmonton. With its sprawling skyline of mini skyscrapers dotted among the greenery, the cities river valley constitutes the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America. Made up of various neighbourhood parks, the cities greenery covers 111 square kilometres (43 square miles), with 11 lakes and 14 ravines. With several large and well known festivals hosted every year, Edmonton has become known as Canada's Festival City.

11. Edmonton

 

Opened in 2014, just off the Icefields Parkway at the southern end of Jasper National Park is the Glacier Skywalk, a U-shaped glass floor observation platform hanging high above the the Sunwapta Valley. Visitors make their way along a cliff edge walkway known as the Discovery Trail, before reaching the glass floor Glacier Skywalk, 280 metres (918 ft) above the ground below. From it is a fantastic view of the snow peaked Rocky Mountains and the large forest rolling its way along the Sunwapta Valley.

10. Glacier Skywalk

 

West of Calgary, south of Banff National Park on the Trans Canada Highway is the town of Canmore, situated inside Bow Valley within the Rocky Mountains. Relatively small in size, the town sits within a wildlife corridor, meaning it has reached its building allowance, leaving huge areas of space free for animals such as bears, cougar, wolves and elk to move between habitats in order to find food and breed. Completely surrounded by high peaks, Canmore is a true mountain town of cute low level houses and quaint shops. Its location within the mountains means it is an excellent starting point for many trails.

9. Canmore

 

Between Jasper National Park and Banff National Park, just off the David Thompson Highway is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Alberta, Crescent Falls. Originally named Bighorn Falls after the Bighorn River its located on, the two tiered waterfall drops 25 metres (82 ft) in beautiful natural surroundings. To get there visitors are required to hike the relatively short 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) from the highway.

8. Crescent Falls

 

South of the city of Edmonton, between the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and the Canadian Prairies is the city of Calgary, Alberta's largest city, and Canada's third largest municipality. From its small cowboy roots Calgary has grown into a modern city of huge shopping malls, vibrant nightlife and high skyscrapers. One of the best times to visit is in early July during the Calgary Stampede, drawing rodeo fans and participants from across North America. The best all year round attraction is the view from the Calgary Tower, standing 190 metres (626 ft) it offers a fantastic panorama of downtown Calgary and the landscape beyond.

7. Calgary

 

Directly west of the city of Calgary, entirely within Banff National Park lies the town of Banff, a resort town that has become one of the countries most popular tourist destinations. Surrounded by the steep peaks of the Rocky Mountains, its location has made it the gateway to some of the regions most beautiful landmarks. Apart from the significant opportunity for hiking and biking to the numerous lakes and mountains, one of the most popular attractions is the Banff Gondola. It takes visitors 2,281 metres (7,484 ft) above sea level to the top of Sulphur Mountain. At the summit is the Banff Upper Hot Springs, a natural hot spring pool from which you can sit and look out across the valley to isolated peak of Mount Rundle.

6. Banff

 

South west of the city of Calgary is the 304 square kilometre (117 square mile) Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, one of the largest in Alberta. Set within the Rocky Mountains, the landscape is predominantly high craggy peaks, large alpine forest and beautiful mountain lakes. One of the parks highlights is known as the Northover Ridge, a 36 kilometre (22 mile) hiking loop. The trail straddles the Continental Divide between British Columbia and Alberta, considered very challenging it takes the average hiker around three days.

Pictured is the Upper Kananaskis Lake.

5. Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

 

In the extreme south west of Alberta, straddling the border between British Columbia in the west and the American State of Montana in the south is the 505 square kilometre (195 square mile) Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada's fourth oldest national park. Set within the Rocky Mountains, the terrain is made up of high rugged peaks and vast wilderness. Well known among hikers, one of the parks highlights is the Crypt Lake Trail, regarded to be one of the countries premier hiking trails. Passing through forests and open valleys, the trail leads to the impressive 150 metre (490 ft) Crypt Falls, fed by the Crypt Lake in the hanging valley. Challenging in places, the whole trail is around 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) with a small elevation gain. Due to the regions significant scenic value, abundance of animal and plant life, the park is part of the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Waterton Lakes National Park

 

Located in the Canadian Rockies, partly within the northwestern tip of Banff National Park and partly in the southern end of Jasper National Park, straddling the Continental Divide along the border of British Columbia and Alberta is the enormous Columbia Icefield, the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains. Vast in size, it covers an area of some 325 square kilometres (125 square miles) and in places stands 365 metres (1,198 ft) thick.

The most accessible of the six principle arms of the ice field is the Athabasca Glacier, within easy reach of the Icefields Parkway. Because of its easy accessibility it has become the most visited glacier in North America.

Pictured is the Athabasca Glacier.

3. Columbia Icefield

 

In the west of Alberta, straddling the border with British Colombia along the Continental Divide is the 10,878 square kilometre (4,200 square mile) Jasper National Park, the largest protected area in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Easily accessible from the Icefields Parkway that runs through the heart of the park, the landscape is one of high mountains, large glaciers, waterfalls, pristine lakes, sub-alpine forests, canyons, hot springs and vast wilderness. Some of the most scenic spots and highlights include Mount Edith Cavell, the immense Columbia Icefield, Pyramid Lake, Pyramid Mountain, Maligne Lake, Medicine Lake, Tonquin Valley and Fryatt Valley. With so much to see over such a vast area its difficult to choose the perfect hiking trail. The entire Jasper National Park, as part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Jasper National Park

 

West of the city of Calgary, straddling the border of British Columbia's Yoho and Kootenay National Parks across the Continental Divide is the 6,641 square kilometre (2,564 square mile) Banff National Park, the oldest national park in Canada and the most visited in North America. Entirely within the high Rocky Mountains, the terrain is one of high snowy peaks, numerous glaciers and ice fields, pristine lakes, dense forests, deep valleys, canyons and picturesque wilderness. Though its popularity has made it more crowded than other nearby parks in recent years, it's popular for a very good reason, and that reason is probably its high concentration of picture perfect lakes. Highlights include the deep blue Moraine Lake in the Valley Of Ten Peaks, Bow Lake, Lake Minnewanka, the incredibly beautiful Peyto Lake and the infamous Lake Louise, the single most famous lake of the Canadian Rockies. Banff National Park, as part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Banff National Park

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