From Prairies to Rock­ies…

Best for: Land­scapes, prairie coun­try, palaeon­tol­ogy, ur­ban cul­ture, na­tional parks, wildlife and glaciers

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Canada / Trip Planner -

ROUTE: Ed­mon­ton • Calgary • Leth­bridge • Water­ton Lakes NP • Banff NP • Jasper NP

WHY GO? This trip takes in end­less golden wheat­fields, the bad­lands of south­ern Al­berta and some of the finest parts of the eastern Rock­ies. Both Al­berta’s prin­ci­pal cities are worth sev­eral days’ stay and have good cy­cle net­works, as well as fine open-air mu­se­ums about early prairie set­tle­ments, such as Fort Ed­mon­ton Park and Fort Calgary.

This is a land of wild su­perla­tives. The Bad­lands area to the east of Calgary has yielded some in­cred­i­ble dinosaur fos­sils, cel­e­brated in the vast Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum at Drumheller. And to the south, Leth­bridge also has a claim to fame: the 1.6km rail­way tres­tle over Old­man River is one of the long­est, and most strik­ing, bridges on the planet and well worth see­ing.

Spring wild­flow­ers in June are a fea­ture of tran­quil Water­ton Lakes NP, where the Rock­ies rise out of the prairies. And to its north, none of the old Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way ho­tels can ri­val Château Lake Louise for its ma­jes­tic wa­ter­side lo­ca­tion.

Back on the road, the Ice­fields Park­way is among Canada’s most scenic routes, with stops to ad­mire the turquoise wa­ter of Peyto Lake and spy Athabasca Glacier. Fine views also ac­com­pany the Jasper Sky­tram, whose up­per sta­tion gives ac­cess to the 1.7km path sum­mit­ting Whistlers Moun­tain (2,463m).

On the hoof The thrilling Calgary Stam­pede; ( below) Ice­fields Park­way is a wild drive through Banff and Jasper NP

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