This landlocked Canadian province bordering Montana has a grandeur that outstrips its inconspicuous profile. Its six geographic regions contain a multitude of attractions. The central prairieland is replete with rolling hills and lakes; the raw wilderness of the north is a migratory bird hot spot and a naturalist's and outdoorsman's playground; in the south, the stark Canadian Badlands were featured as the set of “Brokeback Mountain.” Calgary, in the southwest, is an oil and gas powerhouse and home to a burgeoning art and theater scene; on the western border, the Canadian Rockies region offers world-class skiing and hiking. Alberta's capital, Edmonton, is known as the “Festival City,” and its folk music and fringe theater festivals are widely renowned.
Alberta is a repository of natural treasures: The province is home to five UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks and Dinosaur Provincial Park, which contains monumental fossil discoveries and stunning scenery. But there are noteworthy gems of civilization here, too, neatly integrated into the wild: the Post Hotel Lake Louise, north of Calgary, features handsomely refurbished guest quarters in Banff National Park; the Jasper Park Lodge, amid the stunning peaks of Jasper National Park, is a classic mountain sanctuary in a lovely setting.
Cathedral Mountain Lodge
Impressive 30-room retreat among huge pine trees backdropped by dramatic Cathedral Mountain in Yoho National Park, 15 minutes from Lake Louise.
Emerald Lake Lodge
Historic enclave set on a forested peninsula overlooking a glacial lake in Yoho National Park (45 minutes west of Lake Louise).