Spectacular mountain peaks, ice fields, glaciers, canyons, alpine meadows, cerulean lakes, waterfalls, karst-cave systems and thermal springs. These are just some of the natural features make the Canadian Rockies a globally acclaimed adventure hub.
Rightfully recognized as one of the best places to travel in 2023, the Canadian Rockies are a destination you won’t regret exploring. Check out the beauty of Banff National Park in Alberta, and cross into British Columbia to discover Yoho National Park. Finally, end your journey by heli-hiking the rugged Bugaboos.
The Best of Banff and Yoho National Parks
Banff National Park
Sculpted by glaciers that gouged deep valleys during successive ice ages, the Canadian Rockies are among the most awe-inspiring mountains on Earth. These landscapes hold uniquely formed lakes and valleys, some of which are iconic enough to grace the Canadian $20 bill. A short hike can take you to the vista known as the “Twenty Dollar View,” one of Canada’s natural wonders. This vista of Moraine Lake from the top of the Rockpile Trail in Banff National Park is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada.
Located inside Banff National Park, Moraine Lake has crystalline, emerald-hued waters. The lake’s vivid blue-green color is the result of light refracting off fine particles of silt in the glacier run-off that feeds it. The glacier melt lends this lake, nestled amongst the icy Rocky Mountains, a breathtakingly surreal shade of turquoise.
Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park, teems with lush forests and limestone canyons carved over the course of thousands of years. Lake Louise, another exquisite turquoise lake, is continuously fed by the Victoria Glacier and surrounded by grand mountains that rise into the clouds. The area also houses the third-highest mountain range in the Rockies, the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The view is even more spectacular when you consider that you usually only see a single peak or two within a valley. But in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, ten jagged, snowy mountain summits make this region a sight to see.
Yoho National Park
On the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies lies Yoho National Park. Renowned for its vertical rock walls, cascading waterfalls and dizzying peaks, the park got its name from the Cree word meaning “awe” or “wonder.” Yoho’s boundaries include the second tallest waterfall in Canada, Takakkaw Falls, which translates to “magnificent” in Cree. The glacial water flows from the Waputik Icefields, plunging 1,224 feet in a silvery ribbon.
Yoho also holds the oldest evidence of complex life on Earth. The Burgess Shale fossil beds contain relics of a marine ecosystem that existed 500 million years ago—long before the dinosaurs. The site was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site until 1984, when it became part of the larger Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. This designation includes Banff, Yoho and five other contiguous national and provincial parks.
Heli-Hiking Through Canada’s Bugaboo Provincial Park
Lakes, waterfalls, ancient landscapes and abundant wildlife make Banff and Yoho stand out. But on Nat Hab’s Remote Peaks & Meadows of the Canadian Rockies trip, our expert naturalist guides take you even farther afield. Private helicopter flights whisk you over alpine meadows and valleys to view some of the grandest scenery on Earth: the Bugaboos. Millions of travelers visit the Canadian Rockies, but only a few get to explore these landscapes from such tantalizing heights.
Bugaboo Provincial Park is situated in the Purcell Mountains of southeast British Columbia. World-renowned for their airy, glacier-sculpted granite spires, the Bugaboos offer awe-inspiring mountain and glacier terrain. With many peaks reaching nearly 10,000 feet, these summits have been shaped by mountain weather and glacial ice over generations.
Fly deep into the jagged Bugaboos Range to spend three days on wilderness trails amid some of the continent’s most dramatic alpine terrain on a heli-hiking trip you’ll never forget. This exhilarating experience begins with a helicopter flight, sweeping you over some of the world’s most stunning mountain scenery. Then, you’re dropped off in a high alpine meadow, far from other hikers or signs of civilization. From here, you begin your trek through the wilderness.
Why Fly (and Hike) the Bugaboos With Nat Hab?
Sound daunting? Not to worry! We make what may seem like an activity only suited for extreme adventurers and alpine athletes accessible to Nat Hab travelers by offering guided hikes of varying lengths and ability levels.
By traveling with two Expedition Leaders, we can divide the group to offer both easy nature walks and more challenging hikes to rewarding vistas. You’ll also get double the attention and information as you travel with two expert naturalist guides. These smaller groups give every traveler the chance to be immersed in the dazzling scenery of Bugaboo Provincial Park. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like marmots, ground squirrels, pikas, mountain goats, golden eagles, moose and grizzly bears.
After a day of hiking, you’ll want a comfortable place to rest and relax. Our private lodging at the deluxe Bugaboo Lodge, located at 5,000 feet elevation, offers a prime location in view of glaciers and granite spires. It’s a warm and comfortable base from which to explore the raw mountain terrain beyond. The area is inaccessible to anyone except lodge guests, giving you unprecedented time alone to explore untouched nature in its most pristine form.
When you’re not out hiking, enjoy lodge amenities including a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, massage therapy and games room. Guests who crave some extra thrills can tackle the climbing wall or zip line. Return each day to relax on the deck, soak in the hot tub or rejuvenate in the sauna. End your evenings with hearty dinners accompanied by unparalleled views of the glaciers beyond.
Learn more about Nat Hab’s Remote Peaks & Meadows of the Canadian Rockies tour.