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Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Welcome to Alberta

Alberta is home to Calgary and Edmonton, two of Canada’s largest cities, but these two towns constitute only a small part of the province’s appeal. For many, the Canadian Rockies, which run along the province’s southwestern border, are the stars of the show. Banff and Jasper National Parks, in particular, are renowned for the epic beauty of their snow-capped mountains and turquoise lakes.

Grey owl close up

Provincial Bird: Great Horned Owl. Getty Images

A Tale of Two Towns

Notable as North America’s northernmost city with a population exceeding one million, Edmonton offers up a quirky yet rugged Canadian spirit in spades. Start with West Edmonton Mall. Spanning the equivalent of 48 city blocks, this behemoth of an indoor shopping center offers endless retail stores, restaurants and attractions, all protected from the fierce winter winds. There’s even an indoor water park for folks who want a thrill.

Iconic National Parks

Imagine a land where craggy peaks touch crystal blue skies and glacial lakes the color of turquoise entice kayakers and anglers. Banff National Park is an iconic spot, nestled in the Canadian Rockies. Over three million people come to explore this 1.6-million-acre park annually. Jasper National Park, located more than 100 miles to the north along Alberta Highway 93, is more remote but no less beautiful. This pair of iconic recreational playgrounds are laced with hiking and biking trails. Famous waterways and spectacular rock climbing keep the fun going.

Enjoy the Drive

A drive on the 143-mile Icelands Parkway lets you experience Alberta’s beauty through the windows of your car. Connecting Lake Louise and Jasper National Park, this famed roadway takes you past waterfalls, glaciers and limestone cliffs. Watch for black bears, elk and moose. The lucky few might catch sight of caribou, wolves and grizzlies. Stop at one or both parks to explore unforgettable hiking and biking trails.

Close up of large bear

Getty Images