And when visitors aren't gawping at the sheer majesty of the views, there are a whole heap of ways to explore the mountains, glaciers, ice blue lakes and hot springs of the region. In winter this is prime powder skiing territory with Banff one of the highlights thanks to three ski areas - namely Sunshine Village, Mount Norquay and Lake Louise - some good value places to stay and bars and restaurants galore. Just 45 minutes away from the town itself is Lake Louise, with excellent skiing for intermediates particularly and dominated by glaciers and Mount Assiniboine. Finally, Jasper is the place to stay for access to the Marmot Basin ski region with yet more good value accommodation. The reason for these competitive rates in winter? Because summer is when these places really hot up and the hordes descend to enjoy trekking, mountain biking, riding, kayaking, white-water rafting, fly-fishing and wildlife watching for bears, caribou and elks surrounded by scenery even more awe-inspiring than when covered in snow.
The towns themselves (and Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise particularly) switch seamlessly from ski resorts to fun summer sports centres and there's a fairly well-worn route (for a reason - it's amazing) connecting them across the border in British Columbia with Kamloops - the gateway to Vancouver and the Pacific Coast. We can arrange self-drive trips through the Canadian Rockies or the famous overnight Rocky Mountaineer train that connects Vancouver with Banff/Lake Louise or Jasper.
|The Canadian Rockies|