EXTRAordinary Alberta

Select and Discover Your Region.

Alberta Map
Jasper Region Peace River Region Banff Region Cowboy Trail - Crowsnest Cypress - Grassland Wildrose Region Badlands - Buffalo Trail Yellowhead - Edson Lakeland - Cold Lake Athabasca River Region

Jasper Region

Known also as the Alberta Northern Rockies, this region includes Jasper National Park, and the two large protected areas of Willmore Wilderness Park and Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park. There are numerous wilderness and Provincial Parks surrounding Jasper itself. The region is rugged, wild and expansive - perfect for those seeking a more genuine Rocky Mountain wilderness experience!

The Town of Hinton, on the Yellowhead Highway is about 2.5 hours west of Edmonton. It goes by the descriptive title “Gateway to the Rockies”, and serves as the travel hub to the region’s many parks. Jasper Park is the other “Crown Jewel” of Alberta (along with Banff), and is the largest of the Rocky Mountain Parks. Jasper features many popular sites, including the Columbia Ice Fields, that features the “Glacier Walk”, and the “Jasper Sky Train”, which is the longest and highest aerial tramway in Canada. The beautiful Maligne Valley and the Miette Hot Springs can be accessed by a one hour drive from Jasper or a 45 minute drive from Hinton.

Jasper Park has everything one could expect in a mountain setting, including horseback riding, biking, kayaking, fishing, canoeing, hiking and Alberta’s best whitewater rafting. For the more adventurous, Jasper also offers mountain climbing, cliff rappelling, heliskiing and backcountry camping. The park has numerous camping and recreational areas you can access off of the highways or stay at one of the many hotels in town, but book well in advance!

Jasper’s Icefields Parkway is considered the best drive in Canada! It starts at the Town of Jasper and goes south to Lake Louise - this 2.5 – 3 hour drive runs parallel to the Great Continental Divide. There is a long list of EXTRAordinary things to see and do along this drive!

Nearby the Town of Jasper is an alpine ski resort called Marmot Basin, known for it’s exceptional skiing and snowboarding. Within the town are numerous great hotels, shops and restaurants.

The Town of Hinton has hotels, restaurants and great attractions which include the Beaver Boardwalk, and the nearby Rock Lake, William A Switzer, and Sundance Valley Provincial Parks.

Another “very excellent drive” takes you north from Hinton on Highway 40, towards Grande Cache and the Wilmore and Kakwa Wildlands, or south to the Whitehorse Wildlands. The truth is, a week exploring the Jasper Region should be on every person’s bucket list!

Peace River Region

The Peace River Region is also proudly referred to as Peace River Country, a beautiful, rugged and expansive region of Alberta’s northwest. It includes the majestic Peace River, Alberta’s largest river that flows out of the British Columbia Rockies. It continues on through the region and across the far north of Alberta, through Wood Buffalo National Park and eventually heads north into the Great Slave Lake. Here it merges with the Mackenzie River and then finally flows into the Artic Ocean. 

It was because of this vast river system, that this region of Alberta was amongst the first to be explored and the first to be settled. It was here that the first “European" community in Alberta, Fort Vermilion was settled  in 1788.

Most of this northern region is made up of woodlands, rivers, valleys and lakes, but there is also an area in this region known for it’s vast open plains - the Grande Prairie. The City of Grande Prairie is one of Canada’s fastest growing and most energetic new cities… a modern day boomtown!

Underpinning the local economy is agriculture, lumber, pulp and paper mills, oil and gas, and more recently, tourism.  Nature lovers, campers and boaters, sportsmen (hunting and fishing) and historical nerds will delight in all the area has to offer. 

Banff Region

This region includes the renowned Banff National Park, (Canada’s first National Park, founded in 1885 after the discovery of natural hot springs) Kananaskis Country and the town of Canmore. Beyond the town there are many beautiful hiking and biking trails, gorgeous lakes, waterfalls and countless mountain viewing locations. Bring your camera to capture the abundant wildlife!

Banff National Park has three world class ski resorts: Sunshine Village, Mount Norquay and Lake Louise. These resorts offer exceptional skiing in the winter, and summertime activities that include sightseeing, heli-flights, heli-hiking tours, caving expeditions, mountain biking, and fishing excursions.

Rated a “Top Ten Most Beautiful Lake in the World”, Lake Louise is a must see for it’s turquoise green waters. See soaring mountain peaks, high alpine meadows and get a chance to see grizzly bears on the spectacular Lake Louise Gondola. A three hour drive from Lake Louise is Jasper National Park (Alberta’s other "golden-gem" park). For incredible glacier viewing, visit Columbia Icefields.

Kananaskis Country, just south of Canmore and Banff, is a recreational area where you can discover Nakiska Ski Resort, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes.

During the "summer months’" (June – Dec) there are two EXTRAordinary Mountain Drives that start from Peter Lougheed Park; take the scenic mountain Hwy #742 past Spray Lakes, into Canmore or continue down Hwy #40 over the Highwood Pass to the town of Longview and then on to the Cowboy Trail.

Cowboy Trail - Crowsnest

Also referred to as the Foothills Region, this portion of southwest Alberta is within view of the Rocky Mountains and its foothills. The Cowboy Trail (Highway # 22) is truly one of the most beautiful drives in Canada. The Trail starts approximately 20 minutes west of Calgary on Highway #22.

Cowboy Trail winds through ranching country, to the Crowsnest Trail (Highway #3). Marvel at the panoramic views of the Porcupine, Whaleback and Longview Hills. You will drive through foothills, grasslands, aspen woodlands and a mountain Douglas Fir forest, all while enjoying a spectacular view of the Rockies.

The Region includes Alberta’s newest Provincial Park & Wildlands, Castle Park and Waterton Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (another UNESCO World Heritage Site), Frank Slide, BAR U Ranch and Fort MacLeod are places you should visit too.

Lethbridge is the largest City in the region, historically a mining and fur-trading town, but today the ‘Irrigation Capital of Canada. It is also site of the last ‘Indian Battle’ in North America, between the Cree and Blackfoot Nations. At that site, located adjacent to ‘Indian Battle Park’ is a replica of the historic Fort Whoop Up, a whisky trading post.

Other Cities in the region include Okotoks and High River as well as the historic towns of Crowsnest, Cardston and Fort MacLeod.

Other great places to visit in the region include Little Bow Provincial Park and Writing on Stone Provincial Par.

Cypress - Grassland

This Region is in Southeast Alberta and includes EXTRAordinary Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park, a 350 square kilometer oasis of high altitude, tree covered hills, filled with abundant wildlife.

The largest of communities in the Region is the City of Medicine Hat, the ‘Sunniest City’ in Canada and home of the world’s ‘tallest teepee’. Just 30 minutes southeast of Medicine Hat, is the resort town of Elkwater, located within the Cypress Hills and very popular for its outdoor activities including hiking, boating, swimming, cycling, fishing and camping. Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing.

From Medicine Hat, you can take the Crowsnest Trail west to Lethbridge through to the Crowsnest Pass, or, take the Buffalo Trail north to Central Alberta’s Lake Country. The Trans-Canada highway will take you from Medicine Hat to Calgary and on to Banff. Pronghorn antelope, wild horses (if you are lucky) and mule deer can be see along the wide-open grasslands on the TransCanada.

About one-hour northwest of Medicine Hat is a ‘hidden gem’, the City of Brooks.

About 30 mminutes northeast of Brooks is Dinosaur Provincial Park, located in the beautiful Red Deer River Valley and location of some of the world’s richest dinosaur bone grounds. The Park includes a learning centre, museum, tours, trail and campgrounds. Lots to explore!
Just, twenty minutes south of Brooks is Kinbrook Island Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Newell. This Park is another oasis and a perfect place to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, sailing, fishing and ‘soaking up the rays’. Lake Newell is one of dozens of large lakes created to store water for irrigation.

Also, near Brooks are the Brooks Aqueducts where you can learn about the irrigation and agricultural history of arid southern Alberta.

Your Alberta Tourism Team

PS - Alberta’s largest Northern Pike have been caught at Lake Newell with great opportunities to catch fish, even off shore.

Wildrose Region

Also known as Mountain View, Wildrose Region includes all point west of Highway 21 between Calgary and Edmonton with the Rocky Mountains serving as the western boundary of the Region. The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), or Hwy #2 is the primary highway that links Calgary & Edmonton with the City of Red Deer ‘perfectly’ located half way between the two big Cities.

Located along this corridor are three larger lakes, Pigeon Lake, Gull Lake and Sylvan Lake, each about 20 minutes west of the QEW and each with their own Provincial Park, campgrounds and beaches.

Sylvan Lake is Alberta’s truest Lake Resort Town, 20 minutes west of Red Deer. Swimming, water skiing, sailing, canoeing, boating and fishing are all hugely popular on these three larger lakes, but don’t overlook the regions many smaller lakes!

Red Deer, the third largest City in Alberta, has a great deal to see and do including the largest indoor rodeo event in Canada, the Canadian Finals Rodeo, held each November. The smaller cities of Camrose, Wetaskiwin and historic Lacombe, are located east of the QEW, and are fun stops for the family to also include excellent golf courses, historic sites, places to eat and great hotels.

Another of Alberta’s best drives is the Cowboy Trail North (Hwy 22), starting on the south at the beautiful City of Cochrane (15 minutes northwest of Calgary) and taking you north through the towns of Sundre, Caroline and historic Rocky Mountain House, before continuing to the beautiful City of Drayton Valley. The drive will take you through open, hilly ranch country, with sensational mountain views and then on into forested foothills.

Your Alberta Tourism Team

Badlands - Buffalo Trail

A blend of grasslands and parklands located ‘points east’ of Highway #21, this region is located between Calgary and Edmonton, and extends to the Alberta Saskatchewan border. To the east are Wainwright, Consort and Acai Valley, and to the west are the towns of Stettler, Three Hills and Drumheller.

Alberta’s' most important historical sites, including the Royal Tyrrell Museum and Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are here. The Royal Tyrrell Museum, in the City of Drumheller, is a 90-minute drive from Calgary.

Near Drumheller you will find great areas to explore including the ‘hoodoos’, an old coal mine tour and the historic town of Wayne - a hidden gem. See the Town of Rosebud, home of the Rosebud Theatre, and enjoy a scenic drive through the picturesque Red Deer River Valley.

About one-hour further east from Drumheller is world renown Dinosaur Provincial Park, site of one of the world’s richest deposits of Dinosaur bones, with a great deal to see and do.

Along the eastern side of this region is the Buffalo Trail Highway (#41), connecting Medicine Hat (Cypress) in the south, with Vermillion (Lakeland) in the North. It is here that the Blackfoot and Cree people once fought for control of the land and the massive herds of prized buffalo that once roamed freely.

Your Alberta Tourism Team

PS Discover the Badlands in Alberta - perfect for adventure! There is an EXTRAordinary Badlands Experience waiting for you and your family. To help you plan your trip, seek out Dinosaur Trips Tips.

Yellowhead - Edson

Is the area west of Edmonton to include places about 100 kilometre north or south of the main Yellowhead Highway to Jasper National Park.

Detail description on this Region is ‘Coming Soon’

Lakeland - Cold Lake

Is the area East of Edmonton to include places about 100 kilometres north or south of the main Yellowhead Highway to the City of Lloydminster.

Detail description on this region is ‘Coming Soon’

Athabasca River Region

This vast region of northeastern Alberta, through which the Athabasca River flows, is home to some of Alberta's largest Provincial Parks and Wood Buffalo National Park.   Some of Alberta's first euro-communities were established here by fur traders including Lac Le Biche & Fort MacMurray.

The region is home to the world’s ‘third largest reserve’ of recoverable oil, specifically the Athabasca oil sands.  European explorers first noticed these oil sands way back in 1778, as found along the banks of the Athabasca River.  The First Nations people of the region (the Cree) used the oil found in these sands to waterproof their canoes.  

Fort McMurray is the region’s largest City with a population of nearly 80,000   Million of barrels of oil are produced daily here and done so with a commitment to constant improvement of technology for cleaner and environmentally responsible energy recovery.

While the underpinning of the economy is oil and gas, tourism is bustling with the best of fishing, hiking, canoeing, cycling, boating and camping.   The youthful people of the region love being active and love nature, as evidenced in the lands dedicated towards Provincial-Wildland Parks.

These include  Hubert Lake Wildlands Provincial ParkLe Biche River Wildland Provincial Park, Grand Rapids Wildland Provincial Park,  Richardson River Dunes Wildland Provincial Park, and others. 

MacDonald Island Park is the biggest of the City of Fort McMurray’s urban parks and also includes world class, year-round leisure and entertainment centres.