Virtual Guidebook: A Walk Through the Canadian Rockies

Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. The mountain glacial Bow Lake with green water. The lake is surrounded by pine trees. | kavram

The North American Rocky mountains by begin as far south as mid-New Mexico, but their northernmost point is a full 3,000 miles away, nestled inside an ecosystem that looks absolutely nothing like its southern counterpart. This should serve as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with that great collection of mountains … a family of geological formations that is actually not one, but one hundred different ranges.

The Canadian Rockies hold a splendor that cannot be found further south. While many of the trees, wildflowers, and rock formations might be similar to those found in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, there is nothing quite like the scenic beauty of Alberta and British Columbia.

Chilled & curious mountain goat, Banff | StrongMo

In honor of this vast wild north, we’ve put together a brief tour of the Canadian Rockies, touching on some of the best places to see the sights, take in the air, and experience the destinations and landscapes that are responsible for just about every Rocky Mountain postcard you’ve ever seen.

Aylmer Pass – Banff National Park

The Aylmer Pass Trail is a 17.6 mile journey through the most scenic parts of Banff National Park. Naturalists, birdwatchers, and backpackers appreciate the trail for its incredible access to sights and sounds. The most amazing part is when the you come over the top of the pass and the Canadian Rockies seem to open up before you, offering you one of the most majestic views you have ever seen. It is not the easiest hike in the park, however, and requires a good set of legs to make the trip in a single day.

Lake Minnewanka From Aylmer Pass Campsite | StrongMo

Tent Ridge – Alberta

Close to Canmore, Alberta like a well-trafficked loop that is a little bit difficult, but also happens to be one of the finest places to look at wildflowers in the entire country. Snow and ice can make the path more difficult, even in the summer months, but in good weather the whole loop can be knocked out in about 5 hours … one of the best “bang-for-your-buck” walks in the Canadian Rockies.

Tent Ridge in Canmore Alberta | Bdrich

Lake O’Hara Circuit – Yoho National Park

To the northwest of Banff lies Yoho National Park. One of the most popular hikes in the area is the Lake O’Hara Circuit, a 6.6 mile adventure through moderately-rated mountain terrain. One of the biggest attractions to the Lake O’Hara Circuit is that it is less heavily trafficked than some of the other hikes in the area. Part of this is because you have to have a reservation and catch a shuttle to the trailhead, so be sure to think ahead if you’re planning a trip to Yoho National Park.

Yoho National Park | Bjoern Alberts

Floe Lake – Kootenay National Park

Kootenay National Park encompasses a very diverse set of geological features and ecosystems, ranging from wide frozen rivers to hidden hot springs. The Flow Lake Track is a moderately difficult there-and-back trail that will lead adventurers through a series of steeps and switchbacks until they arrive finally at the shores of Flow Lake, a stunning body of water that is nothing short of mesmerizing. But the most common thing said about the Flow Lake Track is how good the wild berries taste on the way up.

Heritage Landmark Log Cabin on a Green Alpine Meadow near Floe Lake on a great Summertime Hiking Trail in Kootenay National Park Canadian Rockies | Autumn Sky Photography

Hiking in the Canadian Rockies

The four destinations on our list are but a small sampling of the hundreds of amazing hikes that are possible in this part of the world. Did we skip over your favorite walking destination in the Canadian Rockies? Be sure to tell us in the comments below.

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