Alberta: Travelzoo Tips
Alberta is the largest of Canada's three prairie provinces and home to some of the must beautiful stretches of scenery in Canada. Home to Banff, Canada's first national park and Jasper, once described by our resident deal expert as a "world of superlatives", the provinces two main cities Calgary and Edmonton are major airports with their own collection of must-see attractions and destinations.
We asked our members for their own recommendations on things to do and see in Alberta, for those ready to hit the road, here are the Travelzoo member tips.
Explore Kananaskis Country
"At the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies, an hour west of Calgary, is Kananaskis Country, which includes dozens of provincial parks and recreational areas. The lack of crowds compared to Banff is one of the biggest reasons to go. Highwood Pass rewards the adventurous with one of the most scenic drives in Canada, climbing to 2,206 metres (the highest paved road in the country). Keep your eyes peeled for bears and bighorn sheep. Stretch your legs with a hike to Rawson Lake, a pristine lake surrounded by alpine meadows and mountain peaks. Browse the galleries and take in the scene at an outdoor cafe in Bragg Creek. For creature comforts, book a stay at Kananaskis Mountain Lodge and a tee time at Kananaskis Country Golf Course." — Dean, Travelzoo Member
Take the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper
"Ranked as one of the most scenic drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway takes you from Banff to Jasper in approximately three hours. You’ll want to double that to take full advantage of the beauty, as there are many viewpoint pullouts near the highway. A must-see along the Parkway is the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies and the largest south of the Arctic Circle. The foot of the glacier is only a few minutes' walk from the road where you can witness the frozen river running down the mountains. What many don't know is that beneath these sheets of ice lies the area's largest secret. The icefield is also home to Canada's longest cave system, Castleguard Cave, spanning 23 kilometres." — Amanda, Travelzoo Member
Experience the Turquoise Lakes of Jasper
"Just a few kilometres south of Jasper is the spectacular Valley of the Five Lakes Trail. This moderately paced stroll meanders past five turquoise mountain lakes and includes great views of the Canadian Rockies throughout. In addition to the spectacular scenery, this is a great place to bird-watch and catch glimpses of the occasional elk or beaver. It’s also far less trafficked than the better-known nearby Maligne Canyon trail. Cap off this great mountain hike with a quick drive up toward the Marmot Basin ski area, where you can often see black bears foraging alongside the road." — Dana, Travelzoo Member
Get up Close and Personal with Predatory Birds in Coaldale, Alberta
"Alberta Birds of Prey Centre takes in predatory birds that have been injured and restores them back to health; many are reintroduced to the wild once healed. Visitors see these magnificent birds up close and learn about them. Most are not in cages but are tethered in the open. In some cases, with special permission, employees will allow you to hold a bird, such as a falcon, hawk or owl. There are daily flight demonstrations with various birds, including eagles. One of our favourite activities is to walk to the pond where a gaggle of geese are waiting for you to feed them. Kids of all ages laugh and enjoy the experience!" — Angela, Travelzoo Member
Swimming (or even bodysurfing) in Milk River at the Writing on Stone Provincial Park in Alberta
“It was a blast and totally unexpected. Southern Alberta has some stunning views, from the mountains to the south and hoodoos in the Milk River area, not to mention dinosaur bones and the deserted RCMP outpost at Fort Walsh. There’s lots of great camping and hiking.” — Sharon, Travelzoo Member
Take an Ice Walk in Jasper National Park
"You will never understand just how beautiful it is being down in the canyon in the winter. Then, go back in the summer and see the water rushing by. Amazing." — Mary Anne, Travelzoo Member
Canoe in Lake Louise, Alberta
"From coast to coast, Canada is jam-packed with natural beauty -- but Lake Louise in Alberta is one of the most picturesque spots in the entire country. Visit in the spring and summer months and the shimmering turquoise waters will take your breath away. You’ll definitely want to go for an unforgettable canoe ride. Visit in the winter and it’s pure magic, a real winter wonderland. Stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise right on the shores of the lake for an experience that just oozes romance." — Natalie, Travelzoo Member
Come See the UFO Landing Pad in St. Paul, Alberta
"It’s the only UFO landing pad in North America. There's a group of alien trackers in St. Paul who can show evidence of strange occurrences. St. Paul's motto is "A People Kind of Place," and they live up to it. Everyone is friendly, welcoming and totally accommodating to visitors -- even the alien kind!" — Corrine, Travelzoo Member
Tour Elk Island National Park, Alberta
"It's home to large herds of both plains and woodlands bison, elk herds, great lakes for paddling and wonderful camping and picnic grounds." — Barbara, Travelzoo Member
Go To Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta
"Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump just has to be seen and experienced. Reading about it caught my interest a little, but being there it is more than just interesting - it's really breathtaking. The interpretive centre is extremely informative. The walkout overlooking the kill site allows visitors to not just imagine this incredible hunt, but also presents a gorgeous view of the same landscape people would have seen thousands of years ago. The wildlife and scenery and sacred nature of the place make it a very special place that you feel lucky to visit." — Ella, Travelzoo Member
*Note, this facility remains closed at the moment. Check back for updates on its reopening.
Visit Fort Edmonton Park, Alberta
"Fort Edmonton Park illustrates the history of the fur trade, which led to the development and establishment of the Dominion of Canada. The park was founded for the Centennial, so it’s now celebrating its 50th birthday." — Debra, Travelzoo Member
Explore Okotoks Erratic (Big Rock), Alta.
"Set in the foothills of Alberta with the Rockies in the background, it’s a beautiful sight to see! Take a short stroll and enjoy it for all its natural and Aboriginal history. From there you can visit many nearby towns. Calgary is also just minutes away." — Bryan, Travelzoo Member