10 Incredible Road Trip Destinations in Alberta
When the weather finally gets nice in Alberta, there is nothing more freeing than the open road. Many of us pull out the old camping gear and load up the car with just the necessities we need to leave town—they entirety of Canada becomes our backyard.
What better way to celebrate the beauty of our country than to plan out a couple of awe inspiring views? Or interactive destinations? Or opportunities to learn a little more about our province’s human and natural history?
Maybe you’ve heard of the hoodoos in Drumheller and want to see them for yourself…
Look but don’t touch!
There’s a handful of them protected by a metal barrier that prevents tourists from touching or climbing them.
Drumheller is a beautiful desert destination, easily accessed in southern Alberta. Not to mention all the ghost towns to explore in the area…
Writing on Stone
Alberta has a protected provincial park called Writing On Stone. This place looks like another planet. The trails that run through thousands of the natural sandstone bedrock formations have ton of plaques to teach you about the natural flora and fauna, and the people who used to live there.
All along these trails there are ancient carvings or petroglyphs from southern alberta indigenous peoples. The site is known as Áísínai’pi in Blackfoot, which translates to “it is written”.
The Royal Tyrell Museum
Do you like prehistoric animals like dinosaurs and megafauna? Are you a fan of paleontology? If you said yes to either of these, then the Royal Tyrell Museum is the place for you.
This drumheller museum is a jewel of southern Alberta. It has some of the craziest displays of reconstructed fossilized remains you’ll ever see.
They are open from 9:00am-9:00pm every day of the week… you can be sure you’ll have ample time to learn about dinos, mass extinction, and other forms of prehistoric life.
All of the Royal Tyrell’s exhibits are at the forefront of explaining and enhancing our understanding the evolution of life on Earth.
The Miette Hotsprings
If driving around on the open road is taking its toll and you are starting to feel a little tight and uncomfortable, take a dip in the Miette.
Though it’s commercially formed, it’s naturally fed from the mountains and sports a beautiful panoramic view.
The water pours in at a whopping 50ºC, but is cooled to a comfy 40ºC and is full of minerals like calcium, sulphate, bicarbonate, sodium, and magnesium.
The best part? It’s located in Jasper Park so your commute with take you through the scenic Fiddle Valley drive.
A major disaster happened at the turn of the century: Turtle Mountain dropped 110 million tonnes of limestone onto a town of around 600 people, ending the lives of an estimated 90 people—most of whom were still asleep in bed.
Now it’s a protected site with a baffling view of what used to be the coal mining town of Frank, AB. With a few viewpoints and an extensive interpretive centre, this is a must see on the tour of Alberta.
Learn about the stories of survivors and company administrators during and after the event. And don’t forget to check out the old coal and coke processing facilities around the bend!
Waterton Lakes National Park
The town itself is quaint and quiet even in the summer, but don’t let that fool you. The scenery is impeccable and there is lots to do for the sightseeing wanderer.
It has plenty of trails and backcountry to hike… It even has a cruise line that takes you across the border into Montana (no passport required.) Waterton is located on the southernmost part of Alberta and the park itself is shared with the United States of America’s Glacier National park.
The mountains and lake basin were carved out by glaciers millions of years ago and wildlife has been bustling there ever since.
Waterton Lakes National Park has great campsites and loads of hotels, including the historic Prince Of Wales Hotel, named for King Edwards VIII. Prince Of Wales overlooks the lakes and town with an almost surreal sensation.
Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
Located just outside of Cochrane, Alberta—between Calgary and Canmore—is one of Canada’s largest rescues for wolfdogs. The rise of popularity and lack of resources to care for these animals inspired Georgina De Caigny and Andi Scheibenstock to established a specialized compound.
The compound is staffed with experienced personnel who care for the animals and provide proper education about adoption and necessities—this education is well needed for new owners of the sweet and sometimes rambunctious wolfdogs.
You can book a tour of the compound where you are introduced to the pack. They start you off with the higher percent wolfdog species, which are generally more reserved. You get a handful of treats and a chair to sit in while the animals may choose to approach you or not.
Later you are introduced to dogs with a lower percent of wolfdog genes. These dogs like to have a little more fun and aren’t as reserved as the others.
If you get the chance to hear the pack sound off, you will experience pure magic! The howls fill your mind soul and body with a sense of danger and comfort all at once. A definite highly interactive must-do for Alberta tours.
Athabasca Falls is located in Jasper park on the upper Athabasca River, about 30km south of the township of Jasper. A beautiful coniferous forest surrounds the mountainous backdrop—the high volume waterfall just begs for you to capture that perfect road trip selfie.
White Water Rafting in Grande Cache/Revelstoke
If you are hunting for an outdoor thrill, we suggest you seek out the Wild Blue Yonder rafting tours. Their head office is located in Grande Cache and they provide all levels of rafting tours on multiple Alberta rivers.
Wanna keep it calm and scenic on the Smoky River? How about a nice intermediate tour with stunning canyon views down the Sulphur River? Care to hype it up with the most technical river in Alberta, Sheep Creek?
Founded in 1998, the staff and volunteers at WBY are all qualified in the highest ranking safety training and can host events to as many as 250 people!
Torrington’s Gopher Museum
If you are looking for something a little cute, a little weird, and a little macabre, The Torrington Gopher Museum is a must see. Here you can view dioramas of stuffed gophers performing human tasks and activities.
Weird, you say? You got it, but that’s show business baby!
Hours of operation are from 10am-5pm daily and the prices are phenomenally low. The quirky little setup is a great stop for weary drivers and anyone looking to stretch their legs…
…or a dream stop for those into anthropomorphic taxidermy.
Banff National Park
The first of its kind in Canada, Banff national park was founded in 1885 and spans 6641km².
Think about what Mother Nature could hide in there!
Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, Lake Louise, Cory Pass/Mt. Edith circuit, Lake Agnes Teahouse/Big Beehive hike, Cascade amphitheatre hike, Plain of Six Glaciers Trail—mountains, hiking, glaciers, historic teahouses: check, check, check and cheque please!
Banff is full of history and majestic sightseeing—to miss it would be a crime!
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to driving around in Alberta. There is an infinite amount of secret nooks and special places to create lasting memories in.