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Canadian RockiesTundra Travel

Unique mountain landscapes, comprising peaks, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, canyons and limestone caves as well as fossils.

Canadian Rockies

Located on the western coast of Canada, the Canadian Rockies comprise the Canadian segment of the North American Rocky Mountains range.


The Canadian Rockies have numerous high peaks and ranges, such as Mount Robson (3,954 metres) and Mount Columbia (3,747 metres), and are composed of shale and limestone (unlike their American cousins).


Mount Robson (3,954 m) is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, but not the highest in British Columbia, since there are higher mountains in the Pacific Coast Ranges and Saint Elias Range. However, Mount Robson is particularly impressive because it stands out on the continental divide towering over Yellowhead Pass, one of the lowest passes in the Canadian Rockies, and is close to the Yellowhead Highway.


Five national parks are located within the Canadian Rockies, four of which interlock and make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. These four parks are Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho. The national park not included in the World Heritage Site is Waterton, which does not interlock with the others (it lies farther south, along the international boundary).


Together, all these national parks were declared a single UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for the unique mountain landscapes found there, comprising peaks, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, canyons and limestone caves as well as fossils (e.g. the Burgess Shale, once a World Heritage Site in its own right, is now part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site).


Numerous other provincial parks are located in the Canadian Rockies.



Banff National Park.


Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park, established in 1885 in the Rocky Mountains. The park, encompasses 6,641 km² of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes.


Banff National Park is located on Alberta's western border with British Columbia. Banff is 110-180 kilometres west of Calgary, about an hour and half driving distance from Calgary. Jasper National Park is located to the north, while Yoho National Park is to the west, and Kootenay National Park is to the south. Kananaskis Country, which includes Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, Spray Valley Provincial Park, and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, is located to the south and east of Banff.


The main commercial centre of the park is the town of Banff, in the Bow River valley. Lake Louise, a small village located 54 kilometres west of the Banff townsite.


Banff National Park is the most visited Alberta tourist destination and one of the most visited national parks in North America.


Attractions in Banff include Johnston Canyon, Crowfoot Glacier and lakes Minnewanka, Louise, Moraine, Peyto, Mistaya and Bow.



Jasper National Park.


Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km². It is located in the province of Alberta, to the north of Banff National Park and west of the city of Edmonton.


The Icefields Parkway is a highway 230 km in length from Lake Louise, Alberta in Banff National Park, to Jasper, Alberta.


Wildlife in the park includes elk, caribou, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear, black bear, beaver, Rocky Mountain pika, hoary marmot, gray wolf, mountain lion, and wolverine.


Some of the park's scenic attractions include the village of Jasper; the Jasper Tramway; Maligne Canyon and lakes Pyramid, Maligne, Medicine and Patricia; Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls; Mount Edith Cavell and Angel Glacier; and the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield.



Yoho National Park.


Yoho NP is bordered by Kootenay National Park on the southern side and Banff National Park on the eastern side. Yoho covers 1,313 km² and it is the smallest of the four contiguous national parks.


The name Yoho comes from a Cree word expressing amazement.


The park's administrative and visitor centre are located in the town of Field. Attractions in Yoho include Wapta and Takkakaw falls, Emmerald Lake and the Kicking Horse Natural Bridge (which is located 3 km west of Field, accessible from the road to Emerald Lake).



Kootenay National Park.


Kootenay National Park is located in southeastern British Columbia Canada covering 1,406 km2 in the Canadian Rockies.


The park takes its name from the Kootenay River, one of the two major rivers which flow through the park, the other being the Vermillion River.


The park's main attractions include the Hot Springs, Olive Lake, Marble Canyon, Sinclair Canyon and the Paint Pots.


The hot springs offer a hot springs pool ranging from 35°C to 47°C.


The Paint Pots are a group of iron-rich cold mineral springs which bubble up through several small pools and stain the earth a dark red-orange colour. The Paint Pots were a major source of the Ochre paint pigment for a number of First Nations groups prior to the 20th century.


Because of the relatively small width of the park (10 km on each side of the highway), many of the park's attractions are situated near the road and are wheelchair accessible.




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