Besides a lengthy roster of heart-thudding outdoor adventures, Alberta is a land of natural wonders - precisely why the United Nations crowned Alberta with five of Canada's designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While these jewels may sparkle today, they're not what first put Alberta on anyone's map.
In this century, entrepreneurs and oil barons rush to Alberta, but yesterday, it was cowboys, and back in 1883, it was railway workers who were leaving their tracks on this rugged landscape. Today in Alberta you will still find these eclectic footprints - preserved in our history, culture, food and spirit. Discover Alberta, where old-fashioned Western grit is spiced with the cultures and customs of dozens of significant ancestries. Evident in the sophisticated melange of restaurants, you can taste this diversity on menus which are as varied as the many faces of our mountain peaks. Chinese, East Indian, Thai, Italian, French - and a full slate of other popular foods now grace as many plates as the world-famous Alberta beef.
Strict conservation is why today many of Alberta's five national and 67 provincial parks still contain healthy populations of big horn sheep, mountains goats, elk, bears, wolves, bison and even woodland caribou. Couple conservation with numerous ecosystems and you are left with a loaded catalogue of natural wonders: 300 species of birds, 90 species of mammals, 50 species of fish and 1,700 species of flowering plants.
But the first thing you'll notice when you fly into either Calgary or Edmonton is the spine of jagged peaks that griddle the western edge of Alberta. Topping 11,000 ft (3,360 m) the Rocky Mountains have inspired awe with their snow mantled majesty, since their formation 70 million years ago.
Whether you're in Banff National Park or its neighbours, Jasper and Waterton, you'll discover this province's alpine towns offer a myriad of ways to explore their vast reaches: tram rides, hikes, raft trips, golf courses, bike paths, bus tours, helicopter flights, voyageur canoe trips, a snow coach tour up glaciers, even a luxury train loop on refurbished vintage cars.
Not long after the Rockies were formed- just a blip of five million years- the world's biggest tenants left their gargantuan tracks strewn all over a lonely, lunar landscape called the Badlands. Today you can join an archaeological dig or tour the world's largest collection of dinosaurs in the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.
That's when you'll discover that everything is more than it seems on the surface in Alberta. That's why people come here... for the wilder ride, the bolder thrill- where you can take adventure past the limits.
ATTRACTIONS IN EACH REGION
ACCOMMODATIONS IN EACH REGION
Grand Western Canada Vacation
Best of Canada's West
Canada's Rockies - 7 Days
The Canadian Rockies - 12 Days
Western Canada & Rocky Mountaineer
Canadian Train Odyssey
Canadian Rockies and Glacier Park - 9 Days