I cannot believe I entered my 30s before ever witnessing the majestic beauty of Alberta, British Columbia, and the Canadian Rockies. I can tell you one thing off-bat. I have been totally missing out on life!
And if you’re planning a trip or even just thinking about planning a Canada road trip to visit national park superstars like Banff National Park, Glacier National Park (of Canada), and Jasper National Park, you’re in a good mindset — I approve!
The natural wonders contained within the province of Alberta are jaw-dropping and something that every nature lover needs to witness with their own eyeballs!
The Banff/Jasper area has easily become one of my top favorite destinations for a road trip, offering breathtaking natural beauty and endless outdoor activities.
You can expect a little something of everything! We’re talking hot springs, snow-capped peaks, lush green meadows, glacial-fed waterfalls, and the bluest lakes you’ll ever see in your life.
But you don’t have to take my word for it — I’ll let the beauty of this area speak for itself! Here are some photos from my previous trips that I hope inspire you to visit for yourself one of these days.
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BANFF NATIONAL PARK
Located in the Alberta province, Banff is known for its stunning mountain scenery and abundance of outdoor activities. Take some time to explore the park, either by hiking one of the many trails, or by taking a scenic drive through the park. Or both!
Most of you probably know Banff NP from photos of Lake Louise or Lake Moraine. The first two photos below are of Lake Moraine, taken on a rather smokey day (due to wildfires that were happening during our trip!).
Lake Louise = the brighter, more turquoise lake with the Fairmont hotel situated smack dab in front of it.
Here are some photos of Canmore, the cute little mountain town that we stayed in–
Where To Stay in Banff:
- Canalta Lodge – free breakfast for guests
- Peaks Hotel and Suites – a really cute hotel in Banff town decorated with cozy/rustic vibes
- Fairmont Château Lake Louise – the ultimate splurge ($$$$), but soooo perfectly located
Feeling inspired to visit Banff? Here are some posts that can help you plan that trip of yours:
- 21 Essential Travel Tips For Banff National Park
- The Perfect 7-Day Banff And Jasper National Park Itinerary
- 9 Beautiful Lakes in Banff National Park To Add To Your Itinerary
- 40 Best Things To Do In Jasper and Banff National Parks
YOHO NATIONAL PARK
My first exposure to this national park was through a longer, 6-day road trip of the Canadian Rockies.
Our main objectives during this week-long road trip were to see Banff and Jasper National Parks, but due to an unforeseen wildfire within Jasper NP, we had to change our plans and find other things to do near Banff to avoid breathing in the smoky air near Jasper.
This is how I inadvertently stumbled across Yoho National Park and accidentally discovered all the beauty that lies within this park! After spending way more time at Yoho NP than I ever intended to, I completely fell in love with this park.
Let me tell you, people are sleeping on this national park! In my opinion, it totally deserves just as much love as Banff and Jasper do!
My favorite experience: canoeing on Emerald Lake!
Pro Tip: If you want that peaceful canoeing experience, skip Lake Louise and Lake Moraine and do it HERE. There will be way less people and it’ll be significantly cheaper too!
If you visit Yoho NP, don’t miss a meal at Truggle Pigs in Field, BC. The food is SO good, and you’ll feel as if you’ve just transported yourself to a remote mountain village in France!
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK (OF CANADA)
I’d have to say … despite seeing ALL the wonderful blue lakes and the amazing greenery at the previous national parks, Glacier NP of Canada wowed me the most.
Don’t get me wrong — Banff National Park is great. But it was so crowded.
I think the fact that Glacier National Park of Canada was so much less crowded compared to places like Lake Louise and Lake Moraine was what did it for me.
The peacefulness, the loads of mushrooms along the trail that we hiked, and the majestic forest vibes all came together to steal my heart!
I have yet to go to Glacier National Park in the USA.. but the one in Canada is tough to beat!
JASPER NATIONAL PARK
Unfortunately due to wildfires, we were unable to enter the heart of Jasper National Park during our visit. We did get north enough to see Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefield area though!
This glacier area is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Jasper. And since it’s closer to Jasper than it is to Banff, I’m adding it to this section!
This is an ideal place to stop if you are driving between the 2 parks. You can visit Canada’s highest Starbucks here!
Where Are Banff, Yoho, Glacier, and Jasper National Parks?
Banff National Park and Jasper National Park are located in the province of Alberta in Canada.
Banff National Park is located in the southern part of the province, approximately 120 km west of Calgary (1.5-hour drive).
Jasper National Park is located in the northern part of the province, approximately 280 km northwest of Calgary (3 hr 15 min drive) and 370 km west of Edmonton (3 hr 50 min drive).
Both parks are part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and are known for their jaw-droppingly green / natural beauty, mountains, forests, glaciers, and alpine lakes.
Not to be confused with The Rockies in the USA, the Canadian Rockies are a mountain range stretching from the province of British Columbia to the province of Alberta.
Yoho National Park and Glacier National Park of Canada are in the Rocky Mountains, in eastern British Columbia.
Despite them being in different provinces (which makes them sound far apart), they’re all actually quite close together and can be visited on the same multi-day Canadian Rockies road trip.
This area is a total haven for outdoor lovers of all kinds! Visitors can explore the parks on foot, by bike, or by car. No matter the method of getting around, taking in the breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys is effortless — the beauty literally surrounds you at all times!
The Canadian Rockies are also home to several charming mountain towns, such as Banff, Canmore, Golden, and Jasper, which offer a range of accommodations, restaurants, and shops for visitors to enjoy.
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