Imagine a wilderness of wild rivers rushing down the slopes of pine forested mountains where wildlife roam free, and snow-capped peaks, with lakes so blue they look almost unreal. This is the reality of the Canadian Rockies. This is Alberta and British Columbia.
Alberta has the highest mountains. Calgary is likely to be your gateway city and is ultra modern, with glass adorned skyscrapers and high-class shopping and dining. Those man-made towers, however, cannot compete with the natural wonders that await you as you head west to the high peaks of Banff, Jasper & Yoho National Parks. This is touring country, whether by rail or by road, you’ll be thrilled by the incredible sights around every bend. Jasper and Banff towns have stunning mountain backdrops, as does majestic Lake Louise, one of Canada’s most photographed locations, and the Columbia Glacier adds to the drama of the landscape.
British Columbia doesn’t have peaks as high as it’s neighbouring province, but here the scenery is equally as dramatic, especially along the coast, including the famed Inside Passage – a strait which separates Vancouver Island from the mainland. Add to this, the rainforests and beaches of Vancouver Island, the plains of the Cariboo, and the orchards and vineyards of the sheltered Okanagan Valley and the Kootenay Rockies with their bears, elk and eagles. You get the picture.. scenery which is both mesmerising and thrilling in equal measure. Then there is Vancouver, voted one of the best places to live, and the gateway for those who traverse this region in an Easterly direction.
At Millington Travel, we love tailor making trips around Western Canada. We’ve been doing it for decades and many of us have visited the region to give you first-hand knowledge and expertise.
Our favourite places to see and things to do in The Rockies and British Columbia
- The Rocky Mountaineer. One of the world’s classic rail journeys through tunnels, across vast gorges, along river valleys and around corniches.
- Lake Louise. Gaze in wonder at incredible views of the bright blue glacial water, reflecting like a mirror the snow capped peaks beyond.
- Whale Watching. Vancouver Island is the best place to take an excursion to watch these majestic mammals.
- Horse riding. Accomplished or novice riders will enjoy trails heading out from Banff or Jasper.
- Sulphur Mountain. Take the cable car to the summit for stunning views of the Bow River Valley and Banff below.
- The Inside Passage. The ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy is a boat trip to remember. Have your binoculars and camera at the ready!
- Bear Viewing. These shy creatures are best viewed with a guide from a dedicated wilderness lodge.
- Columbia Icefields. Stop along the Icefields Parkway and board the coach for a ride on a glacier.
- Victoria Harbour. At the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is just so pretty.. and very British!
- Capilano Suspension Bridge. A footbridge, 460ft long and 230ft above the valley floor. Look down if you dare!
When to go?
Simple.. if you want to go skiing, go in the winter, but for anyone else, there is a short season from the snow melt of late April & May, to the very beginning of October, when the weather is good for making the most of the area. In fact earlier than May, and later than October and you’ll find that a lot of the tours and cruises are not operating.