The most spectacular scenery in the world can be seen and experienced in Alberta, Canada, a treasured vacation hotspot for many tourists. Local outdoor enthusiasts and visitors from other provinces across Canada also enjoy the many activities available to everyone who experiences this great province.
Kananaskis Village has stunning views from the lookouts revealing the beautiful serene mountains of Kananaskis Country below. Visitors will never tire of visiting Kananaskis Village during the summer and fall seasons. The Alberta Provincial Highway 40 is the south-north highway also called Kananaskis Trail. This is the highway visitors take to access Kananaskis Village. The Kananaskis Golf Course, popular to local and visiting golfers, is closed for the remainder of the 2013 golf season due to damage sustained during the June 2013 flood. The Kananaskis Golf Course is located below Kananaskis Village. The devastating effects of the flood can be seen in this video
and these photos
. Kananaskis Village was unharmed because it is higher up away from the river although there was a boiled water advisory during and after the Alberta flood.
The Columbia Icefield
is a fascinating place to see for locals, national and international visitors. Located astride the Continental Divide of North America, the Icefield lies partially in the northwestern tip of Banff National Park and the southern end of Jasper National Park. The Athabasca River and North Saskatchewan River as well as the tributary headwaters of the Columbia River originate in the Columbia Icefield. Since the Icefield is part of the Continental Divide, waters flow into the Arctic Ocean, east to Hudson Bay, then to the North Atlantic Ocean, south and west to the Pacific Ocean. The Icefield feeds these eight major glaciers: Athabasca Glacier; Castleguard Glacier; Columbia Glacier; Dome Glacier; Stutfield Glacier; and Saskatchewan Glacier. Some of the highest mountains in the Canadian Rockies are located within its perimeter. Sadly, the Athabasca Glacier has receded immensely since 1844. During the summer months, tours are available all day in comfortable snowcoaches but the area is closed during the winter months.
Moraine Lake is located in Banff National Park just 14 kilometres outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks and has an elevation of approximately 6, 183 feet (1,885 m). Since glaciers feed the lake, it does not crest until mid to late June. In fact, when I visited last June, there was still a considerable amount of thick ice on the lake. The best time to visit Moraine Lake is in July and August. Moraine Lake is known for its spectacular turquoise color that is due to the light refracting off the glacier flour. There are many fantastic hiking trails in the area surrounding Moraine Lake but before you leave on a hike find out of there are any restrictions on the trail due to grizzly bear activity. Check out the Moraine Lake hiking trails on the Parks Canada website
. Also, the Moraine Lake Lodge has a page on Rocky Mountain Activities
The Alberta Provincial Highway 40 is one of the most picturesque roads traveled in Alberta. This highway cuts through the beautiful Kananaskis region with magnificent mountain views. Located 1 hour west of Calgary and on the eastern side of the Continental Divide, it’s about 2/3 the size of Banff National Park. Kananaskis Country is especially beautiful in the fall when leaves have changed. Be aware of bears, elk, moose, mountain goats, mountain sheep, and coyotes that are often seen traveling along the roadside. Be very cautious especially if you see a bear. Wildlife can be unpredictable. Parks Canada has informative instructions
on what to do if there is a bear encounter while hiking.
Waterton Lakes National Park is one of Canada’s beautiful national parks located in the southwest corner of Alberta, Canada bordering on the Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. Waterton was Canada’s fourth national park and opened in 1895. It was named after Waterton Lake that in turn was named after the Victorian naturalist and conservationist Charles Waterton. This national park contains 195 square miles of rugged mountains and wilderness. A highly protected area, Waterton Lakes National Park is operated by Parks Canada. Although it is open all year round, the best months to visit and enjoy some of the best hikes in Alberta is during the months of July and August. If you’re adventurous like I was this year, do the Bear’s Hump hike because you won’t regret it when you get to the top. The view is amazing. The above photo was taken at the top of Bear’s Hump Hike. However, it is one of the toughest hikes I have ever done since it gets really steep from the third viewpoint to the top. Check out my Photo Essay: Waterton Lakes National Park
for a more detailed write up.
The Spray Lakes are a number of lakes that formed along the Spray River, a tributary of the Bow River. Since the damming of the river, the lakes were united in the Spray Lakes Reservoir that lies between the Goat Range and the Three Sisters Mountain ridge at an elevation of 1,720 meters or 5, 640 ft. The Spray Lakes road that gives access to this waterway is somewhat of a bumpy ride and the road is really narrow in spots but there were reports last year that improvements will be made to the road. Spray Lakes is right above Canmore, Alberta and the access road starts in Canmore. This is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Alberta. Visitors must watch for mountain sheep that frequent the area and are often seen crossing this access road so you may have to stop your vehicle until they pass. Bring your camera since the view of Canmore as you go up this road is striking. Spray Valley Provincial Park is located along the Spray River and it’s part of the Kananaskis Country park system. The Spray Valley borders the Banff National Park to the west. The Spray Valley Provincial Park is under the jurisdiction of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation so check out the website
for more information on numerous activities that are offered in this area for campers and day hikers.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is located 100 kilometres southeast of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada or 44 kilometres east of the small town of Milk River. Writing-on-Stone is one of the largest protected prairie parks in Alberta. It is a nature preserve and it’s protected due to the large number of ancient aboriginal rock carvings and paintings that are 3,000 to 5,000 years old. Since this land is sacred to the Blackfoot tribe, Writing-on-Stone is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s also referred to as the Áísínai’pi National Historic Site of Canada. Check out my recent Photo Essay: Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, Alberta
where I describe what I learned on the Writing-on-Stone tour and share the photos taken on the tour. Writing-on-Stone has 930 hectares of backcountry that I plan on exploring next year. It’s a spiritual place to the Blackfoot and I felt its powerful energy during my visit.
There are many places to explore in Alberta and if you’re a naturalist, camper, RVer, day hiker, or cyclist, exploring the beauty of Alberta is a one of a kind experience. It’s worth taking the time to discover Alberta and the natural wonders that exist in this province. Bring your camera to capture all of the great memories you will experience during your visit. The seven photographs shared in this Photo Essay are only a small sampling of this magnificent wonderland.