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30 Surreal Places In Alberta That You Won't Believe Really Exist

Breathtaking hikes, remarkable historical sites, iconic sights.
30 Surreal Places In Alberta That You Won't Believe Really Exist

We've rounded up a list of must-see places around Alberta that are simply surreal. These beauties include hiking trails, pristine lakes, waterfalls, historical sites, wildflowers, over-night stays, and Albertan icons that people travel from around the world to witness.

Alberta is beautiful. From the rolling foothills and vast prairies to the globally loved Rocky Mountains, there are some serious sights to be seen. There are countless locations in this province that will simply take your breath away. If you want to get out and witness the surrealness Alberta has to offer but you're not sure where to begin, we're here for you.

We've put together a list of surreal places in Alberta that you truly won't believe are real. Get ready to pick your jaw up off the floor, it's time to explore! Here are 30 surreal places you need to see in Alberta.

Bow Summit

Address: Hwy 93 North, Improvement District No. 9, AB

Why You Need To Go: Stand atop the Bow Summit lookout and gaze upon peaks, valleys, glaciers, and vibrantly blue water. This lovely hike is a must-do.

Larch Valley

Address: Improvement District No. 9, AB

Why You Need To Go: Named after the groves of larch trees you'll be surrounded by, this beautiful spot is perfect for fall. Located near Lake Louise in Banff National Park, even the drive is stunning.

Sunwapta Falls

Address: Improvement District No. 12, AB

Why You Need To Go: This pair of breathtaking waterfalls flow from the Sunwapta River, just off Icefields Parkway. The falls drop almost 20-meters, misting you with glacier water.

Valley of the Ten Peaks

Address: Improvement District No. 9, AB

Why You Need To Go: Located in Banff National Park, this stunning valley is surrounded by ten remarkable peaks and a view of the iconic Moraine Lake. Wildflowers in the summer, pillows of snow in the winter. You need to check it out.

Mount Assiniboine

Address: East Kootenay G, BC V0A 1E0

Why You Need To Go: This enchanting spot sits atop the Alberta and B.C. border. You can either hike or helicopter up to Assiniboine Lodge, North America's first backcountry ski lodge. You can camp, stay in a hut, or stay in the lodge.

Maligne Lake

Address: Improvement District No. 12, AB

Why You Need To Go: This famous lake is located in Jasper National Park. Surrounded by peaks, glaciers, and Spirit Island, it's truly something special. Canoe on top of pristine azure water in the misty alpine air or hop on for the boat cruise.

Johnston Canyon

Address: Bow Valley Pkwy, Improvement District No. 9, AB

Why You Need To Go: An awe-inspiring hiking trail in Banff National Park filled with natural wonder including waterfalls, ridges, the iconic “inkpot” spring pools, and views you won’t believe.

The Banff Springs Hotel

Address: 405 Spray Ave., Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: Everyone needs to visit the world-famous Banff Springs Hotel. Walk through the historical enchanting hallways and ballrooms, stop for brunch, visit the spa, or stay the night.

Canola Fields

Address: Trans Canada Hwy., Lethbridge, AB

Why You Need To Go: As you drive east along the Trans Canada Highway in Alberta, you'll come across vast canola fields of vibrant yellow. Truly a sight to behold, you might as well take a stroll through.

Sunshine Meadows

Address: 1 Sunshine Access Rd., Banff, AB

Why You Need To Go: Famous for wildflowers and golden larches, this place is a nature lover's dream. Located in Banff Sunshine Village Ski Resort, this hot-spot is perfect for all levels of day hikes.

Grassi Lakes

Address: 10511-10517 Smith Dorrien Spray TrailKananaskis, AB

Why You Need To Go: This short-but-sweet Canmore hike deserves a spot on your bucket list. A quick hike and you'll emerge in front of vibrant blue-green waters with rugged rockfaces all around you.

Willmore Wilderness Park

Address: Improvement District No. 25, AB

Why You Need To Go: Enjoy 4600 square meters of wilderness close to Jasper National Park. This is truly wild terrain without any roads, bridges, or buildings. Just you and the Albertan wild.

Bankhead Ghost Town

Address: Bankhead, AB

Why You Need To Go: What was formerly a bustling mining town is now an eerie but beautiful abandoned ghost town in Banff National Park. See old coal mining carts, crumbling buildings and more surrounded by the Rockies.

University of Alberta Botanic Garden

Address: 51227 AB-60, Spruce Grove, AB

Why You Need To Go: You need to check out Alberta’s largest botanical garden. Flowers, bridges, ponds, and fountains. Established in 1959, this gorgeous garden is simply breathtaking.

Rosedale Suspension Bridge

Address: 3061 AB-10, Drumheller, AB

Why You Need To Go: Located in Alberta's monumental badlands, this bridge is 117-meters long and takes you across the Red Deer River. Built originally for the coal miners of Star Mine, it’s historical and beautiful all at once.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Address: Fort MacLeod, AB

Why You Need To Go: This iconic heritage site in Alberta is located in the foothills of the Rockies. You will find the skeletons of countless buffalo from the Alberta indigenous custom of running buffalo. Also, it’s located in the beautiful rolling foothills.

Writing On Stone Provincial Park

Address: NW 36 TW1 Range 13, Milk River, AB

Why You Need To Go: Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park is both a nature preserve and a protection site of a large number of Indigenous rock carvings and paintings. This World Heritage Site is also home to a diverse variety of wild animals. This park was recently named one of the most valuable sites in the world.

Medicine Lake

Address: Improvement District No. 12, AB

Why You Need To Go: Part of the Maligne Valley watershed, this lovely location is known for it’s disappearing water. In the summer, it looks like a normal alpine lake, but in the fall and winter, the water disappears.

Big Rock Glacial Erratic

Address: AB-7, Foothills No. 31, AB

Why You Need To Go: Here you will find a massive, 16500-tonne boulder rising up from the flat Albertan Prairies. The unusual rock formation is the world’s largest glacial erratic.

Horsethief Canyon

Address: Starland County, AB

Why You Need To Go: This is Alberta's version of the Grand Canyon. This magnificent place is located on the east bank of Red Deer River. Perfect for hikes, picnics, and beautiful photos.

Upper Kananaskis Lake

Address: Kananaskis, AB

Why You Need To Go: This natural lake-turned-reservoir is located in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and is truly a sight to behold. A 15.3 k.m. loop is open from March to October each year.

Lake Minnewanka

Address: Improvement District No. 9, AB

Why You Need To Go: Take a boat cruise around this beautiful glacial lake located in Banff National Park. Sitting at 21 km long and 142-meters deep, this is the second-longest lake in the Canadian Rockies.

Abraham Lake

Address: Clearwater County, AB

Why You Need To Go: Abraham Lake is Alberta’s largest reservoir. Know for its stunning air pockets in winter, everyone needs to take a skate here. It’s unbelievable.

Elk Island National Park

Address: 54401 Range Rd 203, Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Why You Need To Go: Just a short drive east of Edmonton, this vast natural part boast beautiful starlit skies, wild bison, stunning terrain, and a whole lot of natural beauty.

Giant Steps Waterfall

Address: Improvement District No. 9, AB

Why You Need To Go: A 20.6 km hike near Lake Louise will lead you to this unique waterfall flowing down what is called the Giant Steps. Surrounded by monumental mountains and lush alpine forest, the energy is incredible.

Karst Spring

Address: Kananaskis, AB

Why You Need To Go: You'll find a beautiful waterfall emerging straight out of a limestone cliff right near Mount Shark. This stunning natural spring is in a lovely wooded forest bringing that true Rocky Mountain feel. It's like a coastal rainforest right in Alberta.

Crypt Lake Trail

Address: Improvement District No. 4, AB

Why You Need To Go: This is the of the most popular hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park. The remarkable hike begins with a boat ride, brings you through dense forest and mountain passes, and you’ll come across a few dreamy waterfalls in the process.

Highwood Pass

Address: Kananaskis, AB

Why You Need To Go: Hiking Highwood Pass is something everyone must do at least once. The gorgeous pass takes you through countless stunning peaks and valleys with awe-inspiring views the entire time.

Beauty Creek

Address: AB-93, Jasper, AB

Why You Need To Go: This Jasper hike along the outstanding Beauty Creek is something ever wilderness lover needs to experience. In a short distance, you'll come across eight beautiful waterfalls.

Grotto Canyon

Address: Bighorn No. 8, Alberta

Why You Need To Go: A short but gorgeous 4 k.m. hike in the Bow Valley leads you up a mountain, through a jagged canyon, and by waterfalls and lookout points. Whether you look forward into the canyon or backward at the Valley, the view will take your breath away.

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