The province of Alberta in Canada is a world-renowned travel destination. It has a lot to offer to its visitors: the magnificence of the Canadian Rockies, the vastness of its wilderness and prairie, as well as beautiful winters. Here are some of the things you should experience and see when you explore Alberta.
There are a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada and five of them can be found in Alberta.
Banff National Park is one of the two Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks that was designated as a World Heritage Site. Being the first National Park in Canada, it started the National Park System. It is also one of the largest parks in Canada. Aside from the dominating and breathtaking views of the Rockies and Lake Louise at its center, the park offers nature trails that feature wildlife, waterfalls, rivers and more. There are two gondolas you can take to make the most of your visit: the Banff Gondola and Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola. There are also museums you can come to and learn about Canada's history and wildlife. The other Canadian Rocky Mountain Park designated a World Heritage Site is Jasper National Park, which offers a more laid-back mountain experience. The area is comprised of delicately protected ecosystems that are worth seeing. Sunwapta Falls, one of the many waterfalls in Jasper, trails leading to the beautiful peak of Mt. Edith Cavell, the only sand dunes in the Canadian Rockies in Jasper Lake, the glaciers of Athabasca; these are all to be experienced first-hand. Spectacular sceneries of mountain ranges, deep rock canyons, lush forest and ancient glaciers await visitors.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Alberta is Waterton Lakes National Park, the Canadian part of the world's first International Peace Park Waterton Glacier International Peace Park. The other part is Glacier National Park in Montana, United States. The park is known for its distinctive climate, which gives way to its abundant plants and wildlife and its interesting topography of prairie and mountains. Hiking and paddling are tourists' favorite activities. You can also take pleasure in seeing the Red Rock Canyon, which features a scarlet canyon and river bed, and the Buffalo Paddock where you can observe buffalo herd in their natural environment.
The Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a cultural and archeological site. Another UNESCO site in Alberta, the Porcupines Hills, are a landscape that shows hunting techniques of Aboriginal people almost 6000 years ago. The bison bones buried below the cliff illustrate the way of life of these people and their practice of traditional hunting. This is one of the most extensive and well-preserved hunting sites in North America.
Near Brooks, Alberta, is another world heritage site. Dinosaur Provincial Park offers extraordinary explorations to its visitors. With its landscape of abundant fossils and bone beds dating back 75 million years, the view is stunning and amazing. It's like visiting earth in a different era. There are tours, exhibits and even authentic dinosaur digs everyone can participate in.
The Wood Buffalo National Park is the last of the five World Heritage Sites. It encompasses a vast wilderness area that is home to threatened species such as the world's largest herd of wood bison, thus the name, and the whooping crane. A total of 227 species of birds inhabit the area, among them the great grey owl, snowy owl, boreal chickadee and many more. There are also numerous mammal species that are said to be living in this ecosystem which include black bear, grey wolf, lynx and even the Arctic fox. The park also features the largest inland delta in the world, the Peace-Athabasca Delta, where three rivers converge: the Peace, Athabasca and Slave rivers.
Edmonton, Alberta's capital city, is famous for the beautiful North Saskatchewan River Valley. It is an expanse of urban parkland with golf courses, parks and trails for walking, cycling and even skiing. Fort Edmonton Park is Canada's largest living history museum. With its costumed historical interpreters, you can experience life centuries ago. The Elk Island National Park of Canada is another interesting site to visit. With its collection of over 40 species of mammals and over 250 species of birds, it is a must-visit. With its four glass pyramids rising out of the river, it is impossible to miss Muttart Conservatory while having your stroll around North Saskatchewan River Valley. The botanical garden houses different species of plants that are maintained in distinct climate zones through these pyramids: the Tropical pyramid that features plants from tropical rainforests, the Arid Pyramid that showcases plants from hot and cold dry areas, the Temperate Pyramid that changes color with the four seasons and the Feature Pyramid that exhibits themed displays.
One of the most wellknown festivals in Canada takes place in Calgary, Alberta, the Calgary Stampede. It is celebrated every July to pay homage to the ranching culture of the city.