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Explore Parks, Lakes And Rivers In Alberta, Canada

Many visitors travel to Alberta, Canada just for its national parks and endless outdoor recreation options. The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in Canada. Stretching from Lake Louise to Jasper, the highway winds past lakes, mountains and waterfalls. Visitors enjoy day hiking trails and lookouts with views of glaciers. While you’re in Banff, take a ride on the Banff Gondola and enjoy unforgettable views of the Canadian Rockies from the top of Sulphur Mountain. The eight-minute gondola ride lifts passengers to an elevation of 7,483 ft.

Banff National Park is a hiker’s paradise. Boasting majestic mountains, glacier-fed lakes, caves, and wildlife, it’s unbeatable for a day trip. Although many of the park’s trails lead to magnificent views, the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail is a must. Moderate in difficulty, the trail leads to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House and offers incredible views of Lake Louise and the Lower Victoria Glacier.

 The Johnson Canyon and Ink Pots area of Banff National Park is best explored in summer. Hike past Johnston Creek through the forest and take a break at Lower Falls. It’s fun to view the waterfall from the tunnel as you cool off from the water spray. Follow the trail to Upper Falls and take photos from the viewing platform near the top of the falls. Just a short hike further (1.8 miles) you’ll see seven cold mineral springs known as the Ink Pots.


Bow Valley Parkway runs from Lake Louise to Banff and offers incredible scenic views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Stop along the way to spot wildlife, enjoy a hike, or take advantage of plentiful photo opportunities.

The Jasper Tramway is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Jasper National Park.  Located southwest of downtown Jasper, it is Canada’s longest and highest guided aerial tramway. As you ascend to 7,472 feet, you’ll enjoy views of six mountain ranges and the Athabasca River. A tour guide narrates the seven-minute journey.

No visit to Jasper National Park would be complete without the exciting Ice Walk. An experienced guide will take you onto the Columbia Icefield, the largest section of ice in the Rocky Mountains. Half-day and full-day tours are also offered for the Athabasca Glacier. Maligne Lake is another popular Jasper attraction. Take a 90-minute boat tour to Spirit Island, rent canoes and kayaks, or explore the area on hiking trails. Athabasca Falls is an impressive 80 ft. high and 60 ft. wide. Hike to the viewing platform to watch the force of the water pouring into the gorge below. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy views of the surrounding area.

Mount Edith Cavell is one of the prominent mountains in Jasper National Park. It is famous for the Angel Glacier attached to its north face. Hike to Cavell Meadows for incredible views of the glacier and mountain peak. The mountain offers rock climbers access from the west ridge, east ridge and north face routes. 

While there is much to see and do at Canada’s national parks, many visitors enjoy mingling with locals for outdoor recreation at regional parks, lakes and rivers scattered throughout the province.

Echo Dale Regional Park in Medicine Hat is situated along the shores of the Saskatchewan River. Enjoy swimming and boating at Echo Dale Swim Lake, hike along scenic park trails, or let the kids have fun at the playground and historic farm.

Discovery Canyon in Red Deer is conveniently located next to the RiverBend Golf and Recreation Area. Go swimming or floating at the natural river-fed water park, have a family picnic, or bask on the sandy beach.

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, southeast of Medicine Hat, borders Alberta and Saskatchewan. It boasts the highest point in Saskatchewan at the Cypress Hill Plateau. Try fishing at Elkwater Lake, Spruce Coulee Reservoir or Ressor Lake.

Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area is west of Rocky Mountain House in northern Alberta. Located near Abraham Lake and Nordegg Lake, just off David Thompson Highway, the recreation area is popular for Crescent Falls. A hiking trail from the highway leads to the two-tiered falls. After your visit to the waterfall, go horseback riding, hiking or fishing.

Canada Olympic Park in Calgary was home to the 1988 Winter Olympics. Operated by WinSport Canada, the park offers downhill and cross-country skiing along with snowboarding in winter. Summer visitors enjoy mountain biking and zip-lining.

Camrose Railway Station & Park was previously the Canadian Northern Railway Depot. Located southeast of Edmonton, it offers a railway museum with exhibits, interactive programs for children and full-size trains.

Bud Miller All Seasons Park is located in northern Alberta at Lloydminster. The year-round leisure park features fishing and paddle boating on a man-made lake. Hike or bike around the lake, stroll through the gardens, or enjoy mini-golf, swimming, and a water slide. In winter the lake is a fun spot for ice-skating, ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

Brazeau Reservoir, near Rocky Mountain House, is a popular destination for fishing, boating and wildlife viewing. Fish for trout in the well-stocked pond, explore the surrounding Brazeau Canals by boat, or go snowmobiling in winter.

Medicine Hat offers easy access to the South Saskatchewan River. It’s a fun spot for rafting, canoeing, boating, kayaking or fishing. 

Peyto Lake is located north of Banff in the valley adjacent to Waputik Range. Surrounded by Peyto Peak and Caldron Peak, the lake is glacier-fed and known for its intense turquoise color. Hike to Bow Summit for picturesque views from the wooden platform.

Battle River is a short drive east of Red Deer. Known for its excellent fishing and scenic views, it’s a prime spot for catching goldeye, northern pick, burbot and walleye.

Whatever you choose to do while you’re in Alberta, it’s a sure bet you won’t be able to see everything. Just keep a bucket list and see how many additional activities you can add on your next trip.

Popular Adventures

Sage Brush Trail Rides

A unique adventure in Alberta, the Sage Brush Trail Rides offer a wonderful opportunity to explore the beautiful southern Alberta landscape in the Medicine Hat area. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the picturesque countryside while on your horseback journey. Whether you choose the Cypress Hills Trail Ride, the Writing on Stone Trail Ride or the Lindburgh Iron Horse Trail Ride, you'll have a great time.

Sage Brush Trail Rides also offers sleigh rides during the winter season and horse drawn carriage rides in the summertime. Relax, as you canter along during the guided trail ride and enjoy your time outdoors. There are many ways to enjoy a visit to Medicine Hat – check out the Sage Brush Trail Rides for one of the most impressive and unique experiences.

Badger Reservoir

Located in southern Alberta, Badger Reservoir is known for housing some of Alberta’s largest pike and whitefish. The reservoir features a boat launch, so boaters can cast out from anywhere on the water. Plan your next visit to Alberta and head south – you'll want to keep your tackle box fully loaded. 

The reservoir can be found minutes from urban hubs like Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. Don’t miss the annual Ice Fishing Derby and fishing tournament held at Badger Reservoir for over 20 years. Whether you're a fan of casting out and landing the day's limit, or if you prefer nature walks and bird watching – Badger Reservoir is the place to be.