Planning Your Visit

Experiences to Discover in Western Canada

Interested in:

Quest for uniqueness

Seek the extraordinary in the national parks and national historic sites of Alberta and British Columbia. Challenge yourself with wilderness treks. Stimulate your senses with never-seen-before creatures and life forms cemented in time. Immerse yourself in a lifestyle and culture unlike your own. Take the plunge and try something new.

Walking trail at Cave and Basin National Historic Site © Parks Canada

Home is Where the Warmth Is

Orchids. Tropical fish. Slithering garter snakes. Endangered snails. In Banff? The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is host to a variety of plants and critters that thrive in the special environment created by thermal spring waters. Take time to look at this fragile, diverse ecosystem and meet these interesting locals at the birthplace of Canada's National Park system.
Other activities at Cave and Basin National Historic Site


Visitors gather at Bar U National Historic Site © Parks Canada

Wranglin', Ropin' & Reminiscin'!

Sample some tasty bannock and cowboy coffee at Roundup Camp at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. Sit yourself down around a blazing campfire and take in some historic tales of high adventure on the range. You'll be carried back to a simpler time when entertainment was based on storytelling, cowboy poetry and music.
Other activities at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site


Visit a Fossil Bed at Agnostoid-Burgess Shale site © Parks Canada

Visit a Fossil Bed!

Take a guided hike to the world-famous Burgess Shale fossil beds in Yoho National Park. Touch the most important fossils on the planet. Enjoy awe-inspiring views and see the origins of complex life on earth. Learn of the chance discovery of these fossils at the new display in the Field Visitor Centre.
Other activities at Yoho National Park


Visitors observe bison © Parks Canada

Seasonal Sightings

Sample the four seasons in Elk Island. Spring offers new adventures for orange coloured bison calves. The constant roaring of bull bison in mating rituals marks late summer. In autumn, spot deer as leaves turn colour and fall from trees. In winter's darkness, wary elk and rnoose spend more daylight hours foraging for food.
Other activities at Elk Island National Park


The Mountains Meet the Prairies © Cyndi Smith / Parks Canada

The Mountains Meet the Prairies

Experience the unique landscape of Waterton Lakes National Park. View wildlife on the open slopes of fescue prairie that sweeps up into the alpine reaches of the Blakiston Valley. Watch animals such as mule and white-tailed deer, elk and black bears from the safety of your vehicle at the pull-offs along the parkway.
Other activities at Waterton Lakes National Park


Simply breathtaking

Explore corners of paradise in British Columbia's and Alberta's national parks. The extraordinary beauty of these places will leave you breathless. Climb the tallest mountain, picnic in a floral meadow or ski through a dense forest. Whatever your experience may be, feel inspired by these exceptional landscapes and natural treasures. You'll be making memories for a lifetime.


A couple hikes in Banff National Park © Parks Canada / P. Zizka

Peak Experiences

Travel amongst impressive glaciers, famous lakes, ancient mountains, lush forests and the headwaters of great rivers. Visitors from around the world come to Banff National Park to explore over 190 kilometres of mountain trails for beginners and experienced hikers. From short interpretative walks within quaint mountain communities, to easy hikes leading to spectacular vistas and a myriad of unique overnight backcountry experiences, Canada's first national park offers something for everyone.
Other activities at Banff National Park


Two visitors stand in awe of the inland cedar forest. © Rob Buchanan

Land of the Giants

Gather your family and circle a trunk of the ancient trees in the world's only inland cedar rainforest. Alongside the valley trails, skunk cabbage plants tower over children. Drive the Meadows in the Sky Parkway and stand on a mountain summit. The subalpine meadows explode into colour every August as the wildflower season reaches its apex in Mount Revelstoke.
Other activities at Mount Revelstoke National Park


A young couple camping. © Josh McCullough / Parks Canada

Sounds of Silence

Looking to escape? Then the temperate rainforest of Green Point Campground in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is ideal. Camp above the golden sands of Long Beach. Relax by your campfire surrounded by dense undergrowth of sword ferns, ancient trees, hanging lichens and thick moss. Listen to the occasional call of a raven or a bald eagle and the distant surf.
Other activities at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve


A woman sits alongside the hotspring pool. © Brenda Falvey

Take the Waters

Luxuriate in the comfort of warm, soothing water at Parks Canada's Hot Springs. Take in the breathtaking Canadian Rockies viewed from mineral-rich waters that bubble up from deep beneath. Heal your soul. Relax and allow the tension to melt away at one of three locations. Enhance your visit with a spa treatment or soak in some history by renting a 1920s bathing costume!
Other activities at Parks Canada's Hot Springs, AB and BC


A couple snaps a picture of the turquoise waters of a creek © Parks Canada / K. Smith

Refreshing Dips

Stroll the 1.6 km loop trail along the edge of the beautiful Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park. Listen to the icy torrent of the turquoise waters of Tokumm Creek. Feel the cool spray of a waterfall. Smell fragrant wildflowers, grasses and other plants. Marvel at the water dipper, a bird that "flies underwater" and absorb the beauty that surrounds you.
Other activities at Kootenay National Park


Live what is real

Get on the path to personal discovery by becoming directly involved with nature, history and culture in British Columbia's and Alberta's national parks and national historic sites. Opportunities abound to converse with locals, try something' different or go off the beaten track and make new discoveries. You'll find each experience rewarding.


A couple hikes in Jasper National Park © Parks Canada

Hit the Trails!

With a well-connected system of nearly 1000km of hiking trails, Jasper is the perfect place to avoid crowds and reconnect with the natural world. An easy trail system surrounds the town of Jasper - perfect for a stroll or bike ride after dinner. If you're looking for a different sort of adventure, many of our trails offer biking, Nordic skiing, hiking and horseback riding.
Other activities at Jasper National Park


Preparing Salmon Filets for Drying & Smoking © D. Houston / Parks Canada

Aboriginal culture - past and present

Life at the Fort St. James National Historic Site trading post on the shores of beautiful Stuart Lake moved to the rhythm of the seasons in 1896. Feel this rhythm as you try traditional hide tanning and traditional food preparation with Aboriginal people and interpreters in period costume. Learn about the Carrier culture then and now through demonstrations, stories, artefacts and exhibits.
Other activities at St. James National Historic Site


Stories of Ice Age © Parks Canada

Stories of Ice Age

Hear stories from over 13,000 years of the Haida connection to the land and sea. Talk to the Haida Gwaii Watchmen at ancient Haida village sites and learn about their past and present lives. Explore SGang Gwaay UNESCO World Heritage Site where carved land and sea creatures on majestic century-old poles preside over the village. Discover what has intrigued artists, explorers and travellers for hundreds of years.
Other activities at Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site


Visitors at Fort Langley National Historic Site © Boland / Parks Canada

Meet Compelling Characters

Let costumed interpreters introduce you to the lives and loves of the people who lived at Fort Langley. Meet First Nations women and Hudson's Bay Company workers from places like Quebec, Scotland and Hawaii. See their homes and how they worked. Enjoy guided walks or step into their world through interactive games and activities.
Other activities at Fort Langley National Historic Site


Firepower demonstration © Garry Woodward

Firepower

On summer weekends, the century-old walls of Fort Rodd Hill echo to the sounds of the site's thrilling "Firepower" demonstration. After an initial rifle shot to alert visitors that "it's show time," costumed interpreters present various historic weapons and fire a series of blank rounds. The arsenal includes rifles, a pistol and, as the grand finale, a BREN light machine gun that fires bursts at nine rounds a second. After the show, as the pungent smell of gunpowder slowly wafts away, visitors can ask questions, and maybe even take away a still-warm casing as a souvenir!
Other activities at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site