Alberta’s Rocky Mountains are a cozy, relaxing getaway all year-round
What could be a better wellness destination than the residence of more winter Olympic athletes than anywhere else in Canada? Canmore and the surrounding Banff National Park are set to become prominent wellness destinations in 2019. The Kananaskis Nordic Spa will be fully open in 2019, the first of its kind in the Canadian Rockies. You’ll be able to scrub down at salt-exfoliation cabins and then take a dip in the hot, medium and cold plunge pools. The pools, cozy hammocks and campfires also come with close-up views of the Rocky Mountains — you can sit in the hot pools while gazing at the snow-clad mountain peaks and stars in the open sky.
Nobody comes to the area without visiting the national park, so continue the wellness adventure with forest bathing, hikes among lush pine trees and peaks and canoe outings in calm lakes. No visit to Banff National Park is complete without a trip to the majestic Lake Louise. Its turquoise water is so unreal that a few years ago the tourism board pranked visitors into thinking they were painting the bottom of the lake to make it so beautiful.
Located on its shore is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which began as a log cabin and was a getaway for those looking to escape into the mountains. You can still head there to gaze at the lake or go on a canoe ride. In the summer, a hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House is a popular way to spend a day; in the winter, cozy up with hot chocolate on a sleigh ride or marvel at the ice sculptures around the lake.
An animal-friendly feature
When you’re driving on the Trans-Canada Highway you’ll notice there are overpasses connecting the two sides of the forest that the highway cuts through. These are wildlife animal crossings meant to aid animal migration and to prevent collisions with vehicles.
The must-try drink
Alberta has a celebrated craft beer scene. Pick your pour from the Alberta Beer Awards winners for something to choose from across the province.
The best drive in the area
The winding six-hour drive from Jasper to Calgary is a beauty, especially in the autumn. Jasper is a mountain town with an old-world charm and stops on the way include the Columbia Icefields, where you can take a tour of a glacier in a giant Ice Explorer, and the Glacier Skywalk, a cliff-edge walkway with an observation floor made of glass.