ALBERTA, CANADA

Nature's Bad-Ass

A landscape encompassed by vast mountains, magical prairies, badass desert badlands and vast coniferous forests, Alberta is rich with many of nature’s best. Bounded by British Columbia to the west and Saksatchewan to the east, Alberta is a landlocked province that is blessed with humid continental climate that helps keep the flora and fauna thrive to form plenty of the world’s best national parks.

For starters, head west to Jasper and Banff to see two of the world’s oldest well-trammeled and easily accessible national parks! And from then on, travellers are bound to see what Alberta has in stock for their refreshing pleasures.

Jasper National Park

Whereas Jasper National Park (which spans 4,2k sq miles), hikers can enjoy glacier-studded ice fields like Athabasca Glacier (but more on that later). Trot through Wilcox Pass, Maligne Canyon, and maybe make a side trip to Yoho National Park to see their very own tall Takakkaw Falls! It’ll be hard to not the glittering turquoise and emerald-green lakes mesmerize you to spend day after day camping out there...

Camping and hiking in the mountains can be such an experience. Living among little creatures of the woods like golden-mantled ground squirrels and magpies, and seeing tiger lilies, buttercups and other wildflowers bloom in all its glory, Alberta offers several parks to choose from, like the Banff National Park or the Jasper National Park. Banff National Park (which spans 5k sq miles) have one of the world’s most memorable hikes, including attractions such as the scenic vistas offered at Lake Louise, Lake Moraine, with mountain-top teahouses usually situated to welcome your strenuous climbs.

Banff National Park
Athabasca Falls

Now, about that ice… The Athabasca is perhaps the most-visited glacier on the North American Continent. Hikers can walk to the top of the glacier, drink pure glacier water, and touch the pristine blue crystals! They say walking on the Athabasca glacier can be such a marvelous experience; one that none will ever forget. 

Columbia Icefield

Hikers can take in such a spectacular vantage view from Wilcox Pass, driving through as you see the glacier-capped valleys of the never-ending Columbia Icefields from your rear-view mirror… For those seeking the adrenaline-high, ice walks are offered with actual hiking with a guide whose main job is to ensure hikers don’t fall through any deep crevasses.

Art Gallery of Alberta

Appearing like a gigantic space helmet made of glass and metal, the futuristic structure that forms the Art Gallery of Alberta has become a modern signature building in counter of the boxy skyscrapers of Edmonton. Comprising 6000 pieces of historical as well as contemporary art, the art gallery that has been opened since year 2010 is well facilitated with decent temporary shows that are scheduled day-in and day-out. 

Although it may not beat the arty rivals of those exhibited in Toronto or Vancouver, it is still an architectural masterpiece where Los Angeles-based architect Randall Stout has put a modern spin on Alberta’s oldest cultural institutions – so beautiful that weddings are held there from time to time.

Yes the Banff and Jasper National Parks have been awe-inspiring, with its jagged soaring peaks and stunning drives on internationally renowned highways leading to heaps of trendy towns, but the Waterton Lakes National Park is another spectacular area loved by locals from Calgary, offering yet another twist on eye-popping beauty that is both intimate and charming at the same time… Camp out at Cameron Lake, where campers can rent boats after completing their picnics to explore the beautiful lake backed by sheer-sided slopes of Mt Custer. 

Waterton Lakes National Park
Fairmont Banff Springs,.

It may be the snow-covered pine trees, the ice-capped jagged formations or pure waters… But there is just something magical about Alberta’s very own retreat in the majestic Rocky Mountains. Timeless in its design, the Fairmont Banff Springs is stunningly elegant, styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle standing in the crisp mountain air, backed by sweeping with breathtaking views. Feel cozy by wrapping yourself in white plush robes and then enjoy a day of hiking, ice skating, or skiing, and sooth any sore muscles in the mineral bath at Willow Stream Spa for a perfect end to such any enchanting adventure!

Black Pig Bistro,Calgary

Alison Bieber and John Michael MacNeil are serving up Iberian pleasures at their pork-centric restaurant, creating such a great buzz at this little space on Bridgeland that is decorated with cute black and white décor. Inspired by Alison’s culinary trips to Spain, the Black Pig Bistro features a leg of Iberico ham that is considered to be the best ham of Spain, which was derived from black pigs native to the south of the country that are fed a special diet comprising of olives and acorns! Flavorful, rich, and currently a local dining scene favorite, nobody can do pork better than Black Pig Bistro in Calgary.

The Lake House,Calgary

When Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts went seeking for a new home, the former Inn on Lake Bonavista needed a new tenant. So, after a few renovations, The Lake House was born situated upon the shores of Lake Bonavista, offering fresh views on their lake dining! The windows of the restaurant open onto the water, with elk-antler chendeliers dangling overhead, complete with a large stone fireplace that instantly warms all travelers passing by... With interiors that exude a cozy and intimate ambiance, prepare to be served one of the best house-cured meats, slow-roasted wild boars or bison briskets perfectly grilled to the T. And of course, served in such classy Canadian Rocky Mountain Resort style.

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