RV travelers from the U.S. are probably already very well acquainted with many of America's national parks, but if they only stick with visiting national parks in the Lower 48 or Alaska, they're missing out.
Canada has its own national park system with natural treasures galore, and they're every bit as worth a visit as the ones in the USA. In particular, Alberta, Canada has several national parks that you absolutely need to consider when making plans to visit North American national parks.
Alberta is located west of British Columbia, east of Saskatchewan, south of the Northwest Territories, and north of the U.S. state of Montana. The prairie province definitely has an incredible variety of landscapes, wildlife, and cultural treasures within its landlocked borders.
Alberta's national parks are amongst the oldest in Canada, and some are amongst the country's smallest. Read on to learn about all the different national parks in Alberta that everyone should see at some point in their lives!
An Intro To Alberta’s National Parks
North American RV travelers looking for national parks in Alberta, Canada will find five: Banff, Jasper, Waterton Lakes, Wood Bison, and Elk Island. All of these national parks have a purpose and storied history within the Parks Canada system, and are worth a visit both for their sheer beauty and their importance in preserving wildlife.
Banff National Park
Surrounded by mountains and glaciers in western Alberta, the 2,564-square-mile Banff National Park was Canada’s first national park (established in 1885), and today holds the honor of being the country’s most famous and best-loved national park.
Known for its exquisite natural beauty, the teal waters of Banff’s lakes (Moraine and Louise) offer shutterbugs interested in seeking out opportunities at national parks near Calgary the chance for breathtaking pictures. Meanwhile, the varied wildlife of this most beautiful of national parks in Alberta means that on a visit you'll get the chance to see bighorn sheep, elk, deer, and possibly even moose!
Jasper National Park
Home to the fifth highest peak in the Canadian Rockies (Mount Edith Cavell, which also happens to be the most prominent Rockies peak located entirely in Alberta), the 4,200-square -mile Jasper National Park is the largest of Canada's national parks in Alberta.
A fun fact is that while there are over 1,700 lakes in Jasper National Park, only just over 100 of them actually have names. One of the park's main attractions is the Athabasca Glacier, the most-visited glacier in North America. Other popular activities include hiking, as well as kayaking and fishing Jasper's lakes.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Canada's fourth oldest national park (established in 1895), Waterton Lakes National Park is known for its chain of lakes (Upper and Lower Waterton, as well as Cameron Lake, Bertha Lake, Lonesome Lake, and Summit Lake).
Waterton Lakes National Park borders Glacier National Park in Montana, and joined together with the latter to form the "Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park" in 1932 (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985). If you're up for a bit of a treasure hunt, seek out the four sets of red Adirondack chairs placed at various points in the park.
Wood Buffalo National Park
At 17,300 square miles, Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, but it is not the largest solely in Alberta (as parts of Wood Buffalo National Park also extend into the Northwest Territories). It is also one of the largest national parks in the world, established in 1922 mainly to protect the world's largest herd of free-roaming wood bison.
In addition to wood bison spotting, visitors to Wood Buffalo National Park can go hiking and mountain biking, or go explore the Peace-Athabasca Delta, which sees millions of birds pass through each year as well as hosting several different kinds of mammals.
Elk Island National Park
Located 35 minutes east of Edmonton, Elk Island National Park is (at 75 square miles) the eighth-smallest of Canada's national parks. That being said, it is also the largest of any fully-enclosed national parks in Alberta or Canada.
While Elk Island National Park serves as a refuge for more than 250 bird species, you can also find bison and (unsurprisingly, given the name) elk there. Winter activities, such as snowshoeing, are especially popular. Elk Island National Park is located within the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, making it a prime location for stargazing and checking out the northern lights!
Visit National Parks in Alberta, Canada With Cruise America!
Some of Canada's largest, most beautiful, and most famous national parks are located within Alberta, and you can visit them all in a Cruise America RV rental. You'll need a reliable vehicle to get you to all of the national parks in Alberta, Canada, and Cruise has RVs that'll get you to them in comfort, style, and safety.
Check out Cruise America's website today and get in touch to jumpstart your next adventure in the Canadian Rockies or wherever your travels may take you!