Alberta is one of the most picturesque provinces in Canada. With sky towering mountains, rolling hills and the open wilderness, there’s a picturesque view at almost every corner you look. You can visit Alberta at any time of the year and still enjoy the stunning views and endless activities this province has to offer. After writing about visiting British Columbia a few years ago, I’ve decided to write a guide on one of my favourite Canadian provinces. If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Alberta, you’ve come to the right place!
WHEN TO VISIT
The weather in Alberta can be unpredictable and extreme depending on when you visit. Snow can come as early as October, and temperatures can dip as low as -40 in the peak of winter! Although it can be cold and icy, the winter is worth seeing. It offers beautiful views of the snow dusted mountains and plenty of activities like snowboarding and skiing. Just keep in mind that the lakes may be frozen over wen you visit.
The summer is the peak season for Alberta. June to August are the best months to visit if you’re looking to see the beauty of the lakes and explore the trails. Most of the lakes will be open by mid June until early fall, weather permitting. Although it is the peak time for the lakes, it is also the peak season for visitors and it will be very busy! Make sure to plan ahead, and head to the lakes as early as possible to avoid the rush.
Banff is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Alberta (and for good reason). It’s definitely a place to put on your bucket list of places to see. This small resort town is nestled into the Rockies and offers many unique cafes and souvenir shops to visit. The small resort town is lined with boutiques, restaurants and luxurious hotels that lead up to the iconic peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade.
WHERE TO STAY
There are many chateau styled hotels to stay at, depending on the level of luxury you’re looking for. Since you’re on a budget, Airbnb is my favourite go-to while traveling when I’m not camping. If you’re looking to save even more, you can check out a few of the local Hostels near Banff. the Samesun Banff, the Banff International Hostel, and the Banff Hi-Hostel are all great options for staying right in town. These hostels book up fast, so make sure that you book ahead when planning your stay.
TWO JACK LAKESIDE CAMPGROUND
If you’re planning on camping, or find your preferred accommodations are all booked up, Two Jack Lakeside Campground is the perfect campground to camp in. Only 12 km away from the town of Banff, the campground itself is spacious with beautiful towering trees surrounding each campsite and facilities at your reach. When we drove through the campsite we realized there is an amazing view of the mountainside and lake right in the campsite itself. This is by far the most stunning, spacious and overall favourite camp ground I have camped at.
Lake Louise is most famously known for its stunning turquoise water and mountain backdrop. You can rent a canoe and glide across the beautiful lake while taking in the picturesque mountains and wildlife surrounding you. The prices for renting a canoe can range from $85- $135, from half an to an hour. We found that an hour was the perfect amount of time for us to paddle towards the mountains, take our photos and head back without any rush. Lake Louise can be very busy during the summer months and parking can be extremely difficult to find, so be sure to arrive early.
Moraine Lake is a breathtaking and tranquil Lake located in Banff National Park. Although only nearly half the size of Lake Louise, the gorgeous views and scenic trails make it an absolute must see. You can enjoy the scenic walking trails around the lake or rent a canoe along the turquoise waters. If you’re looking for more of an adventure, there are many hiking trails of varying difficulty to choose from. The Eiffel Lake Trail is a steep uphill climb, but the view of the mountains and lake at the top makes it worth the hike!
Located 40 km north of Lake Louise, this pristine lake is famous for its breathtaking colour, and rightfully so. The hike up to the view itself is short and relatively easy, providing one of the best views of the province. This is absolutely worth putting on your list of views to see when traveling through Alberta.
If you’re visiting Alberta in the summer, be sure to visit the Calgary Stampede! It’s a must-see if you’re visiting Calgary in the summer time, with the Stampede happening from July 3-12 this year. With a live rodeo, carnival style food, endless entertainment shows and country-styled fun, the Calgary Stampede is one of the most unique experiences you can have in Alberta. For more information on the Stampede, check out their Visitor’s Guide.