Canadian Rockies Holidays & Accommodation

Canada, North America

canadian rockies holiday and accomodation guide

Tucked alolng the southern borders between British Columbia and Alberta, the Canadian Rocky Mountains are well-known throughout the world as rugged examples of extreme geology. Although the Rocky Mountains stretch south all the way to New Mexico in the United States, they reach their highest peaks on the border of British Columbia and Alberta in Canada.

map of canadian rockies america
Map of Canadian Rockies

Canadian Rockies Holidays Planner

For natural beauty, stunning vistas, and snowy glaciers, the Rockies are unparalleled. What makes them especially unusual in terms of mountainous areas is their accessibility to tourists. These mountains are incredibly high, at some points almost 4 kilometres, yet there is a national highway that lies right beside them, one that offers some of the most beautiful scenery to be found in the world.

The Canadian Rockies comprise of five different National Parks, the most popular being Banff and Jasper in Alberta and Yoho in British Columbia as well as Mt Robson provincial park which boasts the highest peak in all the Rockies at 3,954 metres. Most of the parks are interconnected and offer similar scenery so it's more a matter of access. The main attractions of the area are its breathtaking walking trails with the chance to sport plenty of wildlife from caribou and grizzly bears to beaver and marmots. There are numerous icefields and glaciers amongst the alpine regions and lower down within coniferous forests are numerous lakes where you can rent kayaks for a few hours or days. For the more adventurous, mountaineering and river rafting can be organized with tour groups.

The best time to visit is in either spring, when the alpine meadows blossom with wildflowers. Summer beckons the best weather but greater crowds and in winter the park receives high snowfall making access sometimes more difficult although the roads are always cleared and the parks remain open to visitors. Some of the iconic attractions not to miss are the Lake Louise, Sunshine Meadows and the Banff Gondola in Banff National Park; Colombia Icefields and Anthabasca Falls in Jasper; and Emerald Lake in Yoho.

Travelling Around The Rockies

If you want to explore this region, your options are by rental car, charter bus, or by train. Any one of these options has its own advantages and drawbacks, but each will give you a chance to view the magnificent mountain peaks, spectacular glaciers, and abundant wildlife of the area.

If you were considering renting a car and driving through the Rockies in British Columbia, you would have to be prepared for some challenging driving. The roads climb an altitude of over 1300 metres, and wind around mountain peaks and passes. As you're driving, you may not be able to devote the attention you would otherwise give to the scenery. The advantage, of course, is that there are numerous rest areas at scenic spots along the highway where you can park your vehicle and step out and snap some photos or hike down some trails.

Riding a charter bus through the Rockies is another option, and allows you to gaze at all the mountains and flora and fauna without the interruption of driving. The only disadvantage is that the stops are all pre-arranged and you cannot spontaneously stop at some promising vista and dander down a path that seems interesting simply because you want to. There is a bus load of other people to consider as well.

Finally, there is the train. You can go to the viewing car and enjoy a 360 degree view of the mountains as you pass through them, and on the railway you see a less busy portion of the Rockies than you would otherwise see. If you're tired of sitting, you can simply get up and walk around, or go to the dining car if you're hungry. It's a wonderful way to travel, but it's not very interactive. There are a few prearranged stops, but the duration is limited, and the schedule is very rigid.

Canadian Rockies Accommodation Guide
Camping in the Rocky Mountains might get quite cool at night during the summer, but there is always the bright warmth of a campfire and the toasting of marshmallows. For those of us not inclined towards camping, there are numerous hotels along the highway that are available to be booked. In Golden, BC, the Cedar House Restaurant and Chalets enjoy great views in the midst of the Rockies, and represent an intimate place to stay in the midst of the mountains. In Alberta, Banff Town has a range of boutique accommodation, homely restaurants and some interesting historical sites and museums