Alberta is one breathtakingly beautiful province. Seriously though, it's quite the looker--do people say looker anymore? Clearly, I do. It’s home to a long list of provincial parks that deserve to be explored and admired. Whether you’re into hiking, camping, photography, etc., there will be moments that are bound to make you put down your phone (rare, I know) and just stare in absolute wonderment (or immediately take out your phone for photos).
Plus, I think it’s time you finally started having adventures that warrant all the ‘wanderlust’ and ‘explore’ hashtags you’ve been using. So to narrow down the overwhelming number of options for you, I’ve made a shorter list! Here are the 13 stunning Alberta provincial parks (and national parks) you must take a road trip to at least once.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Located on the west shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake, this gorgeous camping area can only be reached by paddling or hiking (approx. 3 km). If you’re up to the challenge, there’s a day-long hike to Fossil Falls that will definitely ensure you reach peak fitspo goals.
Waterton Lakes National Park
As you're taking in the beautiful scenery, keep a lookout for some wildlife ?.
Jasper National Park
Consisting largely of undisturbed alpine wilderness, you'll really feel at "one" with nature. There are some great hiking trails during the summer, and you can ski Marmot Basin in the winter.
Banff National Park
Probably the most well-known park in Alberta. Its stunning landscapes can be explored through well-maintained trails. You should spend some time in the charming alpine towns of Banff or Lake Louise, and make sure to grab a hot cup of cocoa while you're there (it'll just add to the experience, well-- it did for me, anyway).
Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park
Here you'll find the largest collection of rock art in North America (it's truly a sight to behold). Learn about Canada's history by booking a guided tour with a First Nations interpreter.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
The Canadian Badlands are a must see! The unique landscape will impress everyone (not just the Ross Gellers of the world).
Elk Island National Park
Drive through this park and keep your eyes peeled for bison, elk, and much more. It's a great getaway close to the city of Edmonton and it's an absolute treat for any and all wildlife enthusiasts.
Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
This is one of Alberta's finest summer destinations. With the white sandy beaches and calming waters, you'll be sure to feel like you're vacationing in paradise. Campgrounds and resorts are by the shore, so you never have to stray too far from the water.
William A. Switzer Provincial Park
Whether it's cross-country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, etc., this park will bring out the adventurous spirit in you.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
Sharing borders with Alberta and Saskatchewan, this beautiful park is the highest point east of the Rockies. Bring your ice skates in the winter, and enjoy the hand-flooded icy pathways. Unfortunately, I can't guarantee you won't slip and fall--that's entirely dependent on your own skating skills.
Lakeland Provincial Park
If you love the water, this is the perfect destination for you. You can swim, paddle, canoe, and fish in a beautiful and tranquil setting.
Wood Buffalo National Park
This is the world's largest dark-sky preserve (i.e. no artificial light pollution). It's one of the most amazing locations in Alberta for star gazing and enjoying the Northern Lights.
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park
This is a cross-country skiers dream come true! And in the summer, you can switch out your skis for a mountain bike, to take advantage of the mountainous terrain. Regardless of the season, you'll definitely find a ton of ways to enjoy yourself at Canmore. Also, be sure to check out the town of Canmore because there are a bunch of lovely coffee shops and restaurants to try.