No matter how many superlatives you use to describe them, nothing can exaggerate the scenic splendour of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This ribbon of alpine wonder stretches from the US/Canadian border to the most northerly reaches of the Yukon, leaving a trail of snow-capped peaks, emerald lakes and forested plains in their wake.
Covering almost 1,000 miles, the Canadian Rockies run like an immense spine through the centre of the Alberta province, providing a sensational backdrop that barely falters in its wild natural beauty. This unbridled beauty reaches its peak in five designated national parks - Banff, Jasper, Mount Robson, Yoho & Kootenay and Waterton Lakes - each of which is an undoubted highlight of any Canadian touring break.
If you’ve long dreamt of exploring the magnificent Canadian Rockies, but have been put off by the enormity of selecting the perfect itinerary, why not take a look at the range of luxury escorted tours in Canada from Scenic? Covering all of the major highlights, our Rocky Mountains touring holidays present the perfect way to sample the majestic scenery of this monumental wonder.
For insight into what you can expect from a luxury escorted tour in the Rocky Mountains, here we explore some of the region’s most impressive scenic highlights, and offer some tips on how to make the most of your trip.
Rocky Mountains Travel Highlights
Rather than beginning our tour of the Rocky Mountains in the region’s rugged uplands, we’re easing our way in with a visit to the Butchart Gardens — arguably the prettiest floral display garden in the world. Located in Brentwood Bay, at the foothills of the Rockies, these meticulously preserved gardens have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada on account of their historic significance and supreme beauty. The gardens were commissioned by Robert and Jennie Butchart at the turn of the 20th century, and have been dazzling visitors ever since with their collection of exotic flora and exquisite landscaped grounds.
During your visit to the gardens, don’t forget to rub the nose of Tacca, a Florentine bronze boar, which is said to bring good luck.
Skiing, snowboarding and other alpine sports may be par for the course in the mountainous town of Whistler, but it’s by no means a one-trick destination. Enclosed almost entirely by a continuous range of snow-capped peaks, Whistler may well be one of the most photogenic towns on the North American continent, with a superb panorama to capture in every direction. One of the highlights of the town is the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which connects Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain — offering breath-taking views as it crosses the valley. As a Scenic tour guest, you’ll also be given the opportunity to take part in an unforgettable black bear presentation with leading researcher, Michael Allen — helping you to better understand this native Canadian.
Jasper National Park
Arguably the most beautiful and serene of all Canada’s national parks, Jasper is a vast wilderness of ragged mountains, ancient glaciers, natural hot springs and powerful waterfalls. In 1984, the entire park was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status, protecting all of its natural wonders for future generations to enjoy.
Given its vast scale (Jasper extends for over 4,200 square miles), it can be a challenge knowing what to see and where to go in this majestic national park. Some of the must-see natural highlights of the park include Mount Edith Cavell, Pyramid Lake, Maligne Lake and the Tonquin Valley, as well as Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield. Alongside awe-inspiring scenery, Jasper is also home to a raft of fascinating indigenous wildlife, including elk, bears and caribou — so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
The beauty of the Canadian Rockies is such that, even whilst in transit, spectacular panoramic views can be enjoyed beyond the glass. During an escorted tour of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll be transported between the Jasper and Banff national parks via Canada’s most beautiful and famous highway, the Icefields Parkway.
Stretching for 144 miles, the Icefields Parkway cuts a path direct through the heart of the mountains, offering exceptional views beyond every sweeping bend. The road spans two national parks, and weaves its way past pristine glacial lakes and towering, snow-capped peaks. If you’re accustomed to falling asleep whilst travelling, you might want to enjoy a coffee or two to ensure you don’t miss a moment of this incredible carriageway.
First discovered by pioneer Tom Wilson in 1882, Lake Louise has retained its status as one of Canada’s most spectacular sights for over a century. With its backdrop of steep, angular peaks, this scenic town lies on the banks of a lake of the same name, and is incredibly popular with alpine sport enthusiasts.
Offering small town charm in the midst of the impressive Banff National Park, Lake Louise proves the perfect stop off during a longer tour. One of the highlights of the town is the Banff Gondola, which carries you to the summit of Sulphur Mountain — offering exceptional 360° views during the ascent.
Canadian Rockies Travel Tips
To help you get more from your trip to the Canadian Rockies, here are some essential tips and advice for those travelling to the Rocky Mountains on a Scenic Escorted Tour.
- Don’t worry about the roads in winter: Given Canada’s harsh winters, it would be easy to assume the Rocky Mountains would be impassable during the winter months. However, thanks to the fantastic infrastructure, the roads of the Canadian Rockies are some of the safest of any alpine destination — so you can enjoy a luxury tour here at any time of year.
- Pack for the weather: The weather can change incredibly quickly in the Rocky Mountains, so make sure you pack plenty of warm clothing, as well as some waterproofs. Our advice is to dress in layers, so that you can strip off a garment when the sun makes an appearance. We’d also recommend synthetic fabrics, as these dry quickly and offer good breathability.
- Remember the GST tax: When paying for goods and services in Canada, remember that the price doesn’t include the GST tax. This is added at the cash register, and equates to 5% of the total price. Just something to bear in mind during your travels across the country.
If a trip to Canada’s Rocky Mountains sounds like the trip of a lifetime, take a look at our collection of luxury touring holidays in Canada. Our exclusive Canadian Rockies tour itineraries give you the opportunity to savour all of the scenic highlights of this incredible region, whilst enjoying all the luxuries and comforts you’d expect from Scenic.
For more information, click here to visit our escorted tours page, or call our team today on 0808 163 8098.