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Top Ten Places to See in Alberta, According to Country_Wife

23 Oct 2007  I'm interested in Canadian history, and in natural history (wildlife, plant life, geology and land forms). I've been to almost every single Alberta provincial park and historic site.
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Yes, of course you *must* see the mountains. But if you're returning, you might like to broaden your Alberta experience.

  • Category: Best of
  • 1. Banff National Park

    Canada's first national park, Banff offers great skiing in winter, wonderful hikes in summer, and postcard views year-round. The town of Banff is the major service centre for this area, with many restaurants, lots of shopping, and a number of fine museums to suit a wide variety of interests.

  • 2. Jasper National Park

    In the Rocky Mountains north of Banff, Jasper National Park is a little wilder, and the town of Jasper is smaller and more intimate than the town of Banff.

  • 3. Waterton Lakes National Park

    The moutains rise abruptly from the flat prairies as you approach Waterton Lakes National Park. The town of Waterton Park is smaller still than Jasper, and the park is smaller too. But there are lots of great hikes, both short and long, and wonderful sights to see. This park adjoins Glacier National Park in the United States (not to be confused with Canada's own Glacier National Park); together, they are Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the world's oldest peace park but now just one of many peace parks worldwide.

  • 4. Kananaskis Country

    Part provincial park, part recreation area, and part forestry, Kanananaskis country completes our quartet of mountain parks. Primarily a day use area for Calgarians and other Albertans, there are only a few hotels in K-Country, but a wider range of activities is permitted here than in the national parks; hunting, skiing, golfing, horseback riding, dogsledding, and even off-road vehicle use (ATVs, snowmobiles) are permitted, although some uses are restricted to particular areas within K-Country. Some visitors feel that the mountain scenery is not as fine as in the national parks, but many Calgarians have grown up spending equal time hiking in
    Banff and K-Country, and love them both.

  • 5. Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology

    Called the world's best dinosaur museum by the late Stephen Jay Gould, this museum in the town of Drumheller focuses on the history of life on earth, as recorded in the fossil record. In addition to the dinosaur skeletons and life-size dinosaur models on display, there are many hands-on activities for all ages. The paleo-conservatory showcases plants which were present in the age of the dinosaurs. The Burgess Shale exhibit has specimens of this unique pre-Cambrian fauna, while a large "undersea" diorama shows what life would have been like in a pre-Cambrian ocean. Midlands Provincial Park near the museum has an interpretive walking trail through the unique hoodoo landscape.

  • 6. Dinosaur Provincial Park

    Located about 25 minutes' drive from the town of Brooks, Alberta, Dinosaur Provincial Park has been the site of dinosaur excavations for over a century. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bizarre hoodoo landforms and desert ecosystem (including pincushion cactuses) add to the appeal. The visitor information centre also serves as the field station for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
    Be sure to book a guided tour well in advance if you are interested in seeing fossils being excavated.
    Route from Calgary to Dinosaur Prov Park on Googlemaps: http://tinyurl.com/4tbjgq