Tourism

National Parks

What to know before visiting:

  • “Leave No Trace” is a national program that promotes responsible outdoor recreation. Our national parks are places of incredible natural beauty, and we ask that you do your part to preserve and protect this quality of our great outdoors. Stay on maintained trails, pick up all your garbage and food, do not alter campsites or natural features, and keep fires small and totally contained within designated fire pits. Never feed or approach wildlife.
  • Brush up on bear safety if you’re planning on doing any hiking or camping.
  • Most National parks will require you to have an annual “park pass” to enter or will charge a lower daily entrance fee when you arrive at the gate.

Waterton Lakes National Park (Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours by car)

Waterton Lakes National Park is a must-see destination located conveniently nearby Lethbridge. It forms a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park together with Glacier National Park in the United States. There are plenty of activities you can take part of, including (but far from limited to) visiting the Waterton town site for shopping and dining, taking pictures at the Historic Prince of Wales Hotel, checking out the colourful Red Rock Canyon, taking the boat tour down the Upper Wateron lake and across the International Boundary, enjoying one of the many picturesque hikes, or camping, wildlife spotting, and horseback riding. We encourage you to take advantage of the close proximity and visit Waterton.

Banff National Park (Estimated travel time: 3.5 hours by car)

The oldest of Canada’s national parks and the most visited tourist destination in all of Alberta, Banff National Park is home to many iconic sightseeing destinations. The park offers hiking, cycling, camping, skiing, hot springs, sightseeing gondolas, shopping, arts and culture, sports and recreation facilities, and much more. Highlights include Lake Louise village (a popular spot for skiing), the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the Banff townsite, and the Icefields Parkway scenic highway.

Kootenay National Park (Estimated travel time: 4 hours by car)

Enjoy scenic drives, hiking along one of the many picturesque trails, or soaking in a hot spring. Kootenay National Park, in British Columbia, offers many opportunities to explore, relax, and experience the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

Yoho National Park (Estimated travel time: 4.5 hours by car)

Yoho National Park is adjacent to Banff and Kootenay national parks and forms part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Highlights include Emerald Lake, Lake O’Hara, Wapta Falls, and the Burgess Shale Fossil deposit.

Jasper National Park (Estimated travel time: 6 hours by car)

More than 11,000 square kilometres in size, Jasper is the largest of the Rocky Mountain national parks. There is much to do and see in Jasper, including hiking, cycling, camping, stargazing, and wildlife spotting. Highlights include Maligne Canyon and Lake, Jasper Townsite, and Athabasca Falls. Jasper National Park is a Dark Sky Preserve and in October they celebrate the Annual Jasper Dark Sky Festival.

Other Parks and Historic Sites

Writing-on-Stone

Located approximately 100 kilometers from Lethbridge, Writing-on-Stone provincial park is an important historic site and nature preserve in Alberta that features hoodoos and a large number of aboriginal rock carvings and paintings. The park offers camping, hiking, and inteprative programs.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located west of Fort Macleod, Alberta. This site offers exhibits and programming which illustrate the historical and cultural importance of the Buffalo Jump to the Blackfoot Plains People.

Calgary (Estimated travel time: 2 hours by car)

In the largest of Alberta’s cities, you will find plenty to do in terms of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Some highlights include the Calgary Tower, the Central Library and the East Village, the Calgary Zoo, the Glenbow museum, and of course, if you’re planning your visit in the summer—the Calgary Stampede!

Drumheller (Estimated travel time: 3 hours by car)

The town of Drumheller is particularly notable for its bizarre and beautiful natural features such as hoodoos and canyons, and the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology. Other points of interest include the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site and the Rosedale suspension bridge.

Edmonton (Estimated travel time: 5.5 hours by car)

Edmonton is Alberta’s capital city. Highlights include West Edmonton Mall (including Galaxyland amusement park and World Waterpark), the Edmonton Valley Zoo, Fort Edmonton Park, and the Alberta Legislature building.

Vancouver (Estimated travel time: 13.5 hours by car; 1.5 hours by plane from Calgary)

Located on the pacific coast and the largest city in the province of British Columbia, Vancouver is a popular destination for tourists, both domestic and international. You can visit one of Vancouver’s beaches, go on a whale-watching tour, check out the Vancouver Aquarium and Stanley Park, hike, ski or zipline Grouse Mountain, and much more.

Summer

Camping

Camping is a popular summer activity. In Alberta we have a wealth of stunning National and Provincial Parks which make for prime camping destinations. There’s more than one way to enjoy camping: you can purchase or rent tents and equipment, rent an RV, or book a cabin. Camping is a great way to relax, get outdoors, and explore nature.

Hiking

There are many picturesque hiking trails in Alberta to choose from, and even some easy, beginner hikes can take you to incredible locations hidden away in the great Canadian wilderness. Make sure to bring a camera!  When hiking in bear country, make sure you are informed and prepared!

Kayaking, Canoeing, and Rafting

Alberta is home to many pristine lakes which are ideal for kayaking and canoeing on a warm, sunny afternoon. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try white-water rafting.

Winter

Skiing

Alberta has no shortage of options for downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as cross-country skiing. There are many ski resorts located right in the Rocky Mountains which are famous for their fresh powder and beautiful slopes. Many trails open up in the winter months for cross-country skiing. It is possible to rent skiing or snowboarding equipment.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a popular sport in Alberta for those who love hiking, even in the winter. If you don’t own snowshoes, there are many places that will rent them to you.