Alberta is a province in Western Canada. Its landscape encompasses mountains, prairies, desert badlands and vast coniferous forests. It has more than 600 lakes, and rich mineral deposits. In the west, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks have glaciers in the Columbia Icefields. The Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is a biosphere reserve that straddles the southern border with the USA.
The 232-km Icefields Parkway winds through the Rockies, connecting Banff and Jasper national parks. Banff has ski resorts at Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Renowned for wildlife, northeastern Wood Buffalo National Park harbors moose, bears, wolves and free-roaming bison. Hiking, mountain biking, camping and fishing are popular throughout the province. The Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, the state capital, traces the region’s natural history and cultural heritage. Known for its annual Stampede rodeo festival, Calgary also has a living history museum at the Heritage Park Historical Village.
When to visit
Alberta has 2 peak seasons, winter and summer. In the cold, snowy months (Nov–Mar), ski resorts around Banff and Jasper are busy. The Lake Louise Alpine Ski World Cup (Nov–Dec) is an annual fixture for race fans. Summers (Jun–Aug) are mild. Hiking, camping, fishing and mountain biking draw visitors to the national parks then. The massive Calgary Stampede (Jul) celebrates wild west culture and history with rodeos and music events.