Top 5 National Parks in Canada

The national parks system in Canada was created in order to protect the natural areas of this marvellous country. When you visit them, you will discover a completely wild geography, including mountains and plains, boreal forests and tundra, lakes and glaciers.

To visit the national parks, you need to pay a fee because they have limited access. The entrance fees vary depending on the park you want to visit. In any case, you can buy the passes at the road entrance where there are special control points for that purpose.

Each park offers various options for those visitors that decide to spend the night in them. These options range from very economical hostels to luxury hotels. If you love adventure, there is the possibility to go camping, as long as you reserve well in advance. Of course, the prices for camping also vary. In every park, there are offices that rent out everything you could need.

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You can participate in many interesting activities in these magnificent places, like walking, rafting, mountain biking and skiing, among others. You can get any equipment you need in the parks from companies that rent out sports equipment.

1- Banff National Park – Alberta

Banff National Park was founded in 1885 and is the oldest in Canada. It is located in the Rocky Mountains and occupies 6,641 square kilometres of Alpine landscape, with numerous glaciers and ice fields.

Because of its impressive beauty, Banff has become the biggest tourist destination in the province of Alberta and one of the most visited National Parks in North America.

This Park’s most surprising attractions include the turquoise blue colour of the region’s lakes. This distinctive colour arises from the mountain sediments that are carried by the glaciers mixing with the river waters. The best place to see this phenomenon is Lake Louise, situated between two imposing mountains and presenting a truly amazing scene.

When here, you must stop in the town of Banff. Banff is a picturesque place and its inhabitants are delighted to welcome visitors. One of their priorities is caring for the area’s biodiversity that, since it is situated within the park, is well controlled.

I would also like to mention the Icefields Parkway, considered to be the prettiest road in the world. This road connects Banff and Jasper National Parks and crosses the glacier ice fields.

This is undoubtedly an impressive place that is considered one of the most stunning on the planet, due to the beauty of its lakes, the diversity of its flora and its mountains decorating the magnificent landscape..

2- Jasper National Park– Alberta

Located in the province of Alberta is Jasper National Park. This park is in the northern edge of the Rocky Mountains. The park is made up of glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and mountains and is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, which were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

As this is the Rocky Mountains’ most remote and largest park, many of its areas are inaccessible, meaning that wild animals like the caribou, that are considered to be endangered, can be found there.

In the town that is inside the park and has the same name, various trips are organised. For those attracted by the park’s beauty and who decide to visit, there are endless activities that will make your stay very interesting. For example, you can do jeep trips on the Athabasca Glacier, there are various walking routes like, “the Five Lakes Trail” and you can also visit the Miette Hot Springs.

Another unique feature of Jasper National Park are its totally starry nights. This is possible due to the almost complete lack of light pollution, and in 2011, the park became a Dark Sky Reserve.

The amazing sunsets that can be seen from its lakes, the wild vegetation and its surprising fauna, make this National Park a compulsory visit for all nature lovers and for anyone who want to disconnect from the hustle bustle of the city.

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3- Yoho National Park- British Colmbia

This magnificent natural scene is found in the province of British Colombia and lies on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains. This park is also part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, which were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.

One of the wonders of this park is the Takakkaw Falls, considered to be among the highest in Canada. They have a sheer drop of 250 metres and are fed by the meltwater of the Daly glacier. In the summer months, its waters are voluminous, attracting many tourists to the park. When winter arrives and the water changes to ice, it is like an impressive monument that must be visited by all those who want to appreciate the virtues of nature.

Another jewel of this magnificent place is the “Emerald Lake”. Its name comes from the intense emerald colour of its waters, making it one of the most attractive places for visitors. During the summer season, many tourists take the opportunity to explore the lake by canoe or kayak. Activities like walking, are also organised in the park, with the “Yoho Pass” being one of the most popular.

While you are there, you must include a visit to the town located in the park. The town is called Field and, for many, it is a magical place, because all its buildings are made of wood, it has few streets and the contrast between the town and the surrounding scenery is really charming.

There is no doubt that every corner of this magnificent National Park deserves the admiration of everyone who visits.

4- Waterton Lakes National Park – Alberta

This park was founded in 1895 and is located in the province of Alberta. Its location close to the border with Montana in the United States, means that this marvellous place has an enviable climate. Since 1979 it has been a biosphere reserve and later, in 1995, it was declared a World Heritage Site as part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

Although this park is considered to be the smallest National Park in the province of Alberta, in terms of beauty, it is one of the most admired. In this park, visitors can see grizzly bears, falcons, bison and kestrels.

Among the places that makes this park unforgettable, are its many lakes, with one of the most noteworthy being “Crypt Lake”. Getting to this lake is great fun because you need to go through tunnels and pathways, before being rewarded with unique views of beauty.

Many of those who visit this park do not miss a stop to Red Rock Canyon. Located within the park, the contrast of the red tone of the ground with the colours of the forest and the sky is greatly admired by tourists.

The unique beauty of this beautiful park ensures that if you visit, you will have one of the best experiences of your lives.

5- Kootenay National Park- British Columbia

The Kootenay National Park was founded in 1920 and has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. As part of the group of four adjoining mountain parks in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, this park presents an unbeatable show of natural beauty.

In this park, visitors can appreciate many places blessed by nature. It is worth mentioning Olive Lake, whose name comes from the olive-colour of its water, the Marble Canyon, that attracts visitors with its turquoise-coloured water and impressive walls and also the many thermal pools, inviting you to relax.

This park is full of exuberant scenery and has an ecosystem diversity that can be enjoyed all year around. Although most tourists prefer to visit in the summer season, the area is also popular in the winter by those who love to ski.

Since this park is such a fantastic place, it is one of the most admired in Canada. Its natural landscapes, the contrast of the colours we can observe and the diversity of its fauna, make us want to witness one of nature’s greatest works of art.

These magnificent National Parks are considered to be the most beautiful in the world. You enjoy incredible holidays here, completely disconnecting from the outside world and beginning a journey from which you will return with the impression that you have had one of the best experiences in your life.

See also: What to expect at the border control when travelling to Canada with your eTA