Mountain Biking

In summer the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort near Golden opens up its tailor-made trail system with a wealth of testing singletracks and downhills.

Wildlife Watching

Vermilion Lakes Tranquil lakes within easy reach of Banff Town where you can often spot beavers and grazing elk.

Bow Valley Pkwy Running parallel to the Trans-Canada Hwy, this old forest road is an ideal place to see wildlife from your car.

Lake Louise Gondola Look out for grizzly bears foraging on surrounding avalanche slopes as you glide upwards.

Many Glacier One of the best places in Glacier to see bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and moose.

Maligne Lake Rd Another good route to cruise with your car keeping your eyes peeled for elusive woodland caribou.

Icefields Pkwy Lots of traffic doesn't deter the full gamut of Rocky Mountain wildlife from frequenting the roadside.

Logan Pass A favorite high-altitude hangout for bighorn sheep, mountain goats and hoary marmots.

Lookouts & Views

Sulphur Mountain Quite possibly the most famous view in Banff National Park.

Glacier Skywalk This new vertiginous glass-floored lookout juts out from the Icefield Pkwy.

Fairview Build leg strength climbing to one of the best (and highest) viewpoints of Lake Louise.

Whistlers Mountain Hike or catch a cable car up to Jasper’s best-loved viewpoint amid a backdrop of high alpine tundra.

Parker Ridge Gaze across the Saskatchewan Glacier from this windy ridge halfway along the Icefields Pkwy.

Going-to-the-Sun Rd This amazing roller-coaster road boasts 85km (53 miles) of nonstop views.

Glaciers

Athabasca Glacier This grand glacier is but a fragment of the enormous Columbia Icefield, North America’s largest area of ice outside the polar regions.

Grinnell Glacier See Glacier’s most accessible ice river from atop the Continental Divide, or down below from Many Glacier.

Saskatchewan Glacier Another spur tongue from the Columbia Icefield; this one is best seen from Parker Ridge.

Stanley Glacier Hike through burned forest to this classic ‘hanging valley’ glacier in Kootenay National Park.

Jackson Glacier One of 25 fast-disappearing icefields in Glacier National Park. Don’t miss the lookout on Going-to-the-Sun Rd.

Adventure Activities

Skiing and snowboarding Tackle heart-stopping slaloms and off-piste thrills in Banff’s Big Three resorts, or head to Jasper for quieter runs.

White-water rafting The class IV rapids of the Kicking Horse River are some the wildest in Canada; prepare to get very wet.

Caving Explore a subterranean world of stalactites and underground pools in the Rat’s Nest Cave near Canmore.

Mountain biking Jasper National Park has, arguably, the best and most varied off-road biking network in Canada.

Via Ferratas Try out these new fixed-protection climbing routes at the top of Banff's Mt Norquay.

Lakes & Waterfalls

Lake Louise Without doubt one of the most iconic vistas in Canada, despite the omnipresent crowds.

Johnston Canyon See three waterfalls in a single canyon on cleverly adapted boardwalks crammed with day-trippers.

Lake McDonald Take a trip or paddle a canoe across the waters of Glacier’s stateliest lake.

Lake Minnewanka Catch a cruise across the largest lake in Banff National Park.

Maligne Lake Jasper’s most famous lake is the ideal place to launch a backcountry kayaking trip.

Takakkaw Falls This enormous waterfall in Yoho National Park drops 384m (1259ft) to the valley floor.

Waterton Lake Cross the 49th parallel on a boat cruise with the opportunity to hike back into Canada afterwards.

Backcountry Hikes

Healy Pass Multi-terrain hike through forest and meadows to a pass with expansive views across Alberta and British Columbia.

Highline Trail A sometimes vertiginous, always spectacular, trail that traverses Glacier's unique geological formations.

Cory Pass Loop A knuckle-whitening adventure-hike a stone's throw from the urban comfort of Banff Town.

Lake Agnes & the Beehives Moderate trek to a wonderful backcountry teahouse perched above the scenic splendor of Lake Louise.

Skyline Trail Rated by many as one of the best multi-day hikes in Canada, with fantastic Jasper views and a pleasant chalet for overnighting.

Carthew-Alderson Trail One of the finest above-the-treeline hikes in North America through an ethereal world of lakes, passes and peaks.

Hot Springs

Cave & Basin National Historic Site The first springs to be discovered in the Rockies are now inaccessible to bathers to protect the critically endangered Banff Springs snail.

Banff Upper Hot Springs The national park’s oldest geothermal spa is still its most popular. Come early in the morning or late at night to dodge the crowds.

Radium Hot Springs Twin pools to indulge in, both with wonderful mountain views on every side – and the water is odorless!

Miette Hot Springs Jasper’s natural springs offer a much quieter alternative to Banff; they are also the region's hottest.

Quiet Spots

Tonquin Valley No road access means guaranteed tranquillity in this remote Jasper valley.

Sunshine Meadows The high-altitude trails of these mountain meadows feel empty even on the busiest summer days.

Consolation Lakes These twin tarns are less than an hour’s walk from Moraine Lake, but feel a world away from the tourist bustle.

Two Medicine Valley No hotels, no restaurants, but plenty of wildlife and practically zero crowds.

Kananaskis Country Relatively few people explore the provincial parks that make up K-Country, so you’ll probably just be sharing the trails with the locals.

History & Heritage

Banff Park Museum A wild menagerie of stuffed beasts and animal heads adorn the walls of Banff’s oldest museum.

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Mountain art takes centre stage at this excellent museum in Banff.

Native American Speaks Regularly held at the St Mary Visitor Center in Glacier.

Spiral Tunnels Train enthusiasts will find plenty to pique their interest in Yoho’s ingenious railway route across the Rockies.

Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum This Banff museum also has some intriguing examples of First Nations costume, art and craftwork.

Many Glacier Hotel Classic example of Glacier's woody 'parkitecture' building style dating from 1915.

Prince of Wales Hotel This gabled Swiss-style architectural beauty set on a promontory overlooking Upper Waterton Lake evokes the Empire spirit.

Off-the-grid Accommodation

Skoki Lodge Ski lodge dating from 1930s near Lake Louise that offers afternoon tea, great food and comfortable but rustic rooms.

Sperry Chalet A historic Glacier landmark built in 1913 with no lights, heat, water or road-access – but memorable dinners.

Assiniboine Lodge Cozy backcountry lodge offering helicoptor transfers, warm showers and a sauna!

Granite Park Chalet Historic cook-your-own-meals lodge on Glacier's spectacular Highline Trail, built by Great Northern Railway in 1914.

Shovel Pass Lodge Jasper's oldest backcountry lodge sits halfway along its finest trail – the Skyline.

Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge Ski-in, hike-in or ride a horse: this rustic heaven next to Amethyst Lake is 24km from the nearest road.

Winter Activites

Downhill Skiing Three ski areas in Banff and one in Jasper offer nearly 10,000 acres of dry white powder for ski enthusiasts.

Ice-climbing The raging torrent of Maligne Canyon transforms into an eerie ice domain when the temperature dips below zero.

Skating Summer boating lakes become winter skating rinks with a good selection in Jasper, including Pyramid Lake.

Cross-country skiing Canmore's Nordic Centre hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics and its cross-country ski facilities remain top-notch.

Snowshoeing Guided snowshoe walks around Apgar Village are one of a few winter options available in low-key Glacier National Park.

Dog-sledding Travel in the manner of Canada's early explorers pulled by a team of huskies in Canmore.