Canadian Rockies should be on every traveler’s bucket-list. Imagine driving through ice-capped mountains, scenic roads, wildlife and yes pure magic. The Canadian Rockies comprise the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains.The Canadian Rockies mountain system consists of the Interior Plains of Alberta and Northeastern British Columbia on the east to the Rocky Mountain Trench of BC on the west. There are some important things to know before visiting the Canadian Rockies.
This post covers the Albertan parts and parks of Banff and Jasper. (5 national parks are located within the Canadian Rockies, four of which are adjacent and make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. These four parks are Banff, Jasper,Kootenay and Yoho. The fifth national park, Waterton lies farther south, straddling the Canada–US border as the Canadian half of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. All five of these parks, combined with three British Columbia provincial parks, were declared a single UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for the unique mountain landscapes found there)
7 Things to know before visiting the Canadian Rockies
- Entry Fee: There are entry fees at both Banff and Jasper National Parks. You can purchase a day pass or an annual pass for an individual or family/group. Its payable at the gate. Do make sure to tape the gate pass on your vehicle’s windshield.
- Additional Towns – Dont stop at Banff and Jasper, explore areas nearby like Canmore (no entry fee), Kananaskis, Lake Louise, Hinton, Athabasca Falls to name a few. Must visit for Glacier fun is Columbia Icefield (Learn about Brewster Glacier Fun here)
- Some Planning Needed: The towns and resorts are packed to its fullest during summer seasons. So plan ahead, especially during summers. During winters, ski resorts are busy as well. Off season hotel rates are offered with up-to 75% off. You can access great deals for hotels from February to June.
- Local Events: Look out for local calendar events – hiking events, food fests, star gazing events, etc
- Be Camera ready always: All of my road trips to Banff/Canadian Rockies have been filled with picturesque sights. Surprisingly all pictures have turned out great, even the ones taken from moving cars. The featured image of this post was taken in Jasper Town from a moving car.
- Driving is what I would recommend to enjoy the Canadian Rockies. Renting a car during summers is fine, but for winters get an SUV or truck, with winter tyres on.
- Weather warnings – Due to high altitude, its hard to predict the weather conditions in the mountain ranges.It varies a tremendous amount – literally from one valley to the next and from one hour to the next. There is also a large variation between daytime and night time temperatures. Be mindful of the weather warnings at National Park entrances. (This includes wildfire, humidity, snow/hailstorms, etc. Please follow weather precautions as outlined by authorities)