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Great Outdoors, Life

15 of the most beautiful places to visit in Alberta this summer (PHOTOS)

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Sahil Morar May 23, 2019 4:05 pm 3,424

We all have a lifelong bucket list… go bungee jumping, see the Eiffel tower, skydive out of a plane — but why not look a little closer to home for beauty, thrills, and some seriously unforgettable experiences?

We’ve put together a one-summer bucket-list of some of the most beautiful to visit in Alberta. From paddle boating on Lake Louise to romantic picnics at Castle Falls, this list has everything you need to have the best summer ever!

So, the real question becomes: How many can you check off the list?

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. Always remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife. Parks Canada visitor guidelines are available here. 

Horseshoe Lake

 

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Horseshoe Lake is a gorgeous hidden gem located in Jasper National Park, providing Albertans and visitors alike the perfect spot to cool off after a quick hike. Horseshoe Lake features, unsurprisingly, a lake shaped like a horseshoe.

The waters are cold — you’re in the Rocky Mountains, after all — but make for a perfect place to cool off, or just float around on.

Quarry Lake Park

 

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Quarry Lake Park, located near Canmore, Alberta, is a swimmable body of water surrounded by grassy fields and the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. This is the perfect place to cool off, spend the day with friends, or even tie the knot with that special someone.

A short skip and hop away from the parking lot sits many grassy areas to relax on, a swimmable lake to enjoy, and a stunning landscape to view.

Lake Louise

 

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This glacier-fed lake nestled into the towering Rocky Mountains is a perfect illustration of the beauty that Alberta has to offer. Lake Louise also hosts the beautiful Chateau Lake Louise on its eastern shore, which offers amazing views of the lake and surrounding wilderness.

Lake Louise is also host to a multitude of trails that circle the water and scale the surrounding mountains.

Moraine Lake

 

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Moraine lake offers a breathtaking view, with its turquoise water surrounded by towering, snow-covered mountain peaks. The best time to visit the magnificent lake is between the months of late-June and August when the glaciers have melted.

Take a dip in the glacial waters or grab a kayak and a paddle — we’re sure it will be a memorable outing.

Castle Falls

 

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If you are looking for an off-the-grid area in Alberta to get away with your partner or a group of friends, this is the place. The falls are crisp, clear blue, and ready for you to take them on during a scorching summer day.

The falls are lined with smooth layered rocks that make for perfect lounging material.

Drumheller

 

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Oh, Drumheller, the place that is just far enough away from Calgary that it has to compete with Banff as a day trip destination. Well, it’s about time you take a break from those mountains (they’re way too steep, anyway) and head east, and just a little north.

Between the natural landscape and the not-so-natural sculptures, Drumheller is a must-visit for any Calgarian with a day to spare and the slightest interest in dinosaurs.

Athabasca Falls

 

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If you’re looking for adventure, take a look no further than the gorgeous province you live in —  Alberta is clearly filled to the brim with beautiful places to visit, and Athabasca Falls is at the top of the list.

Once you get there, there are plenty of hikes around the falls that will provide you with many different angles of the same beautiful oasis. Enjoy finding the various plants growing in the canyon and around the falls.

Banff Legacy Trail

 

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Calling all bikers, hikers, and avid adventurers. We’ve found the perfect day trip for you to take on some time this summer, though it isn’t really any single solid destination — it’s more of a journey in itself. The trip will take you from Banff all the way over to Canmore, so you can spend your downtime checking out all the excitement that either town offers.

The full roundtrip will take you about two to three hours by bike, though probably longer as you’ll want to stop on more than a few occasions.

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

 

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Shake up your summer and head out to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park (we know what you’re going to ask and yes, we’ll explain it). The writing on the stones are actually petroglyphs that date back to 7000 BC.

It depicts what life was like for the Áísínai’pi (Blackfoot) people who lived there as far back as 10,000 years ago. Interesting name aside, this desert-like park is a great way to spend your hot summer days and cool summer nights.

Waterton Lakes

 

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With its beautiful blue waters and deep roots in Canadian history, Waterton Lakes National Park makes for the perfect place to brush up on your high-school history while relaxing and taking in the scenic views.

Nature will welcome you into its arms, with an abundance of greenery, wildlife, and scenic beauty. Hop on board Watertons’ historic boat — the “International,” built in 1927 — for a tour of the lakes.

Tunnel Mountain

 

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Banff’s Tunnel Mountain, a small peak encircled by the Town of Banff and the Banff hot springs, features a mere 2.3-kilometre trail to get to the very top, and once you’re there you’re treated to a stunning view of the town and surrounding mountains.

Tunnel Mountain offers both a trail to get to the peak and another trail that snakes around the base of the mountain.

Cameron Falls

 

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Cameron Falls is just a stone’s throw away from Waterton Village and is well worth the trip. Just a short hike from the Prince of Wales Hotel, these natural mountain falls are a spectacular must-see. Cameron Falls offers a spectacular background to relax, re-energize, and revitalize your body for some GORGEOUS hikes.

Fun fact: Due to heavy rainfall, the water that flows down can aggressively mix with sediment called Argolite, which gives off a pink colour, turning the falls into an even more stunning sight on the rare occasion.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

 

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The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is a lot more than just a pretty pool — though the pool is quite pretty — as it is known as the birthplace of national parks in Canada.

The hot springs are now an official historic site in Alberta, which means that while you can’t go soaking in the underground hot tubs like the early settlers, you will be able to check them out on a guided tour. The site features a discovery tour that takes you on a guided journey through the caves, right to the very spot that those three railway workers first discovered the mineral water.

You can also choose to go on a lantern tour through the caves, taking a trip into the dark after the sun has gone behind the mountain. This tour is only available on Saturday nights from May to August.

Lake Minnewanka

 

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Lake Minnewanka is probably one of Alberta’s most beautiful lakes. It might not have the turquoise waters you can find in the upper reaches of the Rockies, but it more than makes up for it with its beautiful skies and picture perfect surroundings.

Visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and even ice diving, in and around its expansive waters. With lots of trail options, you can hike or bike along the rocky shoreline. Go for a boat cruise, rent a boat, or, if you prefer, paddle your way through the lake while canoeing or kayaking.

Elk National Park

 

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Elk Island National Park is definitely a premier camping destination in Alberta. The island gives you a wide range of options, from the classic camping style of “roughing it” to a spacious A-frame cabin style tent with beds, furniture, and a raised floor.

This region isn’t mountainous like the parks in the Rockies, so trails have few steep inclines. The trails do, however, have varying lengths through the different environments and have lots of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

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