Visual Adventure: National Parks of the Canadian Rockies

Genevieve Hathaway July 11, 2014 1

Towering mountains, glacier-carved valleys, sweeping coastline, high alpine lakes, roaring waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and loads of other adventure opportunities make Alberta and British Columbia – Canada’s westernmost provinces – an ideal trip for travellers looking to experience one of the last great wildernesses. This region can be summed up in three words: big, bold, and beautiful. Our journey overland with G Adventures from Calgary to the British Columbia coast, a distance of over 1,600km (994 mi), took us in the footsteps of the early explorers through parts of Canada that are still as wild and undeveloped as they were hundreds of years ago. Caribou, bison, moose, and elk still graze in the lowland meadows; eagles patrol BC’s rivers and coasts; mother bears and their cubs roam the grasslands in the spring; and ancient glaciers, though receded since the times when they carved and shaped this dramatic land, can still be explored.

On this 12-day journey by vehicle from Calgary, Alberta (also known as the “Heart of the New West”) to metropolitan Vancouver, BC, we passed through many iconic national and provincial parks including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mt Robson, Kootenay, Wells Gray, Pacific Rim, Green Lake, and MacMillan. We had opportunities to walk among giants in the towering old-growth forests, hike above slot canyons, whitewater raft the powerful Wild Horse River, fly through the trees on ziplines, canoe the remote waterways of Wells Park, spot migrating gray whales off the coast of Tofino, get off-road ATVing, hike near glaciers in Icefields Parkway, soak in mineral hot springs, and explore western Canada’s culture in its vibrant cities.

Along the way, my camera was by my side, ready to capture the memories we were making. Alberta and British Columbia are easy on both the eye and the lens; whether you’re a pro or an iPhone shutterbug, be sure to pack your camera of choice. Below are a few of the collected memories from western Canada.

Alberta

View over Peyto Lake. One of Icefields Parkway's many stunning turquoise lakes situated amongst the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies.

View over Peyto Lake. One of Icefields Parkway’s many stunning turquoise lakes situated amongst the soaring peaks of the Canadian Rockies.

Cinnamon coloured Brown Bear cub

Cinnamon-coloured brown bear cub out for a springtime stroll with mama bear and a sibling. Bears are common throughout Alberta and British Columbia.

Turquoise waters of Moraine Lake.

Turquoise waters of Moraine Lake. The minerals of high alpine lakes give the water these rich, jewel-like hues of teal, turquoise, blue, and green.

Hiking Maligne Canyon

Hiking Maligne Canyon in Alberta’s Canadian Rockies provides a lifetime of laughs and memories.

Exploring the Columbia Icefield in Icefields

Exploring the Columbia Icefield in Icefields Parkway. A chance to get up close and personal with a glacier.

British Columbia

Mt Robson

Mt Robson, at 3,954 m (12,972 ft), is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies. It stands on the border between British Columbia and Alberta.

Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park.

Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park. Yoho is a Cree expression meaning “awe and wonder.”

Canoeing in Wells Gray Provincial Park

Canoeing in Wells Gray Provincial Park provides a unique perspective on the towering mountains and peaks.

ziplining in whistler

Ziplining through the trees and between the peaks of Whistler, one of the many summer adventure sport opportunities in the area.

Sunset on Long Beach near Tofino.

Sunset on Long Beach near Tofino. Vancouver Island. After nearly two weeks of being dwarfed by massive mountains and forests of Alberta and BC, watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean seemed otherworldly.


Getting There

To thoroughly explore western Canada, drive overland through the national parks. Grab a group of friends and make a mini-epic road trip out of exploring the best of western Canada’s stunning wilderness! Let G Adventures do the driving and hop on one of our group tours today.

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