12 of Alberta's most beautiful outdoor locations

Mar 22 2023, 5:32 pm

Alberta has some of the best spots in the world to explore “the great outdoors” but some stand above the rest (literally).

We have mountains, lakes, hiking trails, and forests to spare, there really is something for everyone who loves to explore.

Whether you have been outdoorsy your whole life, or the pandemic forced you outside and now you can’t get enough there is always something new to see.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from Albertaparks.ca and AdventureSmart.

Lake Louise

alberta

Lake Louise (Shutterstock)

This is a spot that people all over the world have on their must-see bucket lists. Perfectly nestled into the Rocky Mountains with perfect glacier water, it truly is a sight to behold.

With its signature turquoise water, there is no mistaking this as a one-of-a-kind beauty. You can see this during any season and get a different, breathtaking experience each time.

Larch Valley

Larch Valley (Shutterstock)

This gem of Alberta’s outdoor experience does most of its showing off during the fall season.

But it is certainly worth the wait.

The best time to experience the colours is in September, though that also means there will be a few other travellers to share the popular trail with.

Make sure you call ahead to make sure there is space in the overflow lots by Moraine Lake. Thereā€™s a free shuttle that takes you to the trailhead from there, but the lines might be long at that time of year.

A small sacrifice to make for a breathtaking day trip.

Horseshoe Lake

alberta

Horseshoe Lake (Shutterstock)

If your view on floating down the Bow is “been there, done that,” then this is the spot for you.

Horseshoe Lake is a stunning hidden gem in Jasper providing Albertans and is the perfect spot to cool off during our hot summers.

Or if you are looking for more than a cool down you can do some cliff jumping. Just please be careful.

Quarry Lake Park

Quarry Lake Park (Shutterstock)

The backdrop for many weddings, Quarry Lake Park is always stunning.

Perhaps no park shows off all that Alberta’s outdoors have to offer in one trip better than Quarry Park.

The lake is amazing ā€” it sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains and it is surrounded by a stunning green space giving you a great three-for-one scenery deal.

Moraine Lake

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Moraine Lake (Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock)

If social media likes are what you are after, this gorgeous lake will guarantee you as many likes as you can handle.

Moraine Lake is another lake that benefits from glacier melt. The summer months are when this gem is in all of its glory.

Castle Falls

Castle Falls (Shutterstock)

It doesn’t take much to see why these falls get their royal name.

The perfect place for a day in the water, Castle Falls is tucked away enough that you shouldn’t be bothered by a crowded swimming hole. You’ll feel like you have found the best secret in the province.

Lake Minnewanka

alberta

Lake Minnewanka (Shutterstock)

Lake Minnewanka might be the most underrated outdoor spot in all of Alberta.

Outdoor enthusiasts can go canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and even ice diving in and around its expansive waters. All while taking in natural beauty as far as the eye can see.

Athabasca Falls

waterfalls

Athabasca Falls (Shutterstock)

The Colombia Icefields provide the water for this beauty.Ā Athabasca Falls gets its name from the Cree word meaning ā€œgrass or reeds here and there.ā€ It is the perfect spot for the more adventurous in your group.

Waterton Lakes

Waterton Lakes National Park (Shutterstock)

Waterton Lakes National Park has so much for every outdoor adventurer in Alberta.

Nearly 60 hiking trails make this a popular destination, so try to avoid peak times like summer weekends. But if you can’t get around the crowded times, there is plenty of beauty to share.

Waterton Lakes National Park was named in honour of Squire Charles Waterton, a British Naturalist, and was the fourth national park in Canada, established in 1895.

Tunnel Mountain (Banff)

alberta

Tunnel Mountain (Shutterstock)

A hike of just 2.3 km gets you some of the best views in the world. It is a must if you are visiting the town of Banff.

The amazing views and relative ease of the hike. make this a great spot if you are spending a few days in the town and want to get some great pics in.

Jasper

alberta

Jasper National Park (Stas Moroz/Shutterstock)

Since 2011, Jasper National Park has been designated as a Dark Sky Preserve, ensuring that the night sky as seen from the area is nothing but shining stars, a glowing moon, and clear constellations.

Every October, the Town of Jasper hosts the annualĀ Jasper Dark Sky Festival to celebrate its designation, and to come together in appreciation of the stunning night sky.

Even after October is over, the nighttime views from the preserve are nothing short of remarkable, attracting visitors the world over to get a glimpse of their northern sights (and lights!).

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake (Shutterstock)

Located just a short way away from Alberta’s Icefields Parkways, Peyto Lake offers stunning lookout points.

The lake water turns a light blue during the summer and acts as the ideal backdrop for any adventure photographer.

There are plenty of hikes around the area for that perfect vantage point but if you just want a lazy day on the water, the views will be just as good.

DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

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