Top 5: Alberta road trip destinations

Trying to plan a summer road trip? Check out these destinations!

The highways have thawed and many Albertans are excited to set out on summer road trips. While Banff and Canmore are the obvious options, the crowds of tourists can get tiresome. If you are looking for some destination inspiration away from the crowds, look no further!

5. Trochu/Torrington

If you are looking for a fun, easy day trip, the small towns of Torrington and Trochu are an excellent option. Located only twenty minutes apart, hitting both of these towns is a great — albeit quirky — way to spend a Saturday. First, visit Henry’s Shoes in Trochu. Boasting over 60 years of serving Central Alberta, Henry’s is filled to the brim with shoes of all shapes and sizes. 

After Henry’s, you could enjoy the Trochu Arboretum, the locally-run botanical garden, or you could move on to Torrington. While the town may seem small and unassuming, it possesses one hidden gem, the Torrington Gopher Hole Museum. Made up of only one room, the museum contains over 40 different scenes of stuffed, anthropomorphic gophers. While it may seem bizarre, the museum is charming and the gophers are hilarious. 

This outing is a great opportunity to go off the beaten path, and to appreciate some of the hidden gems in the small towns of our province. 

4. Kananaskis

Located just off the highway on the way to Canmore, Kananaskis is a beautiful region of the Rocky Mountains that often goes ignored. While it is more isolated than Banff, the lack of crowds is part of the appeal. 

Kananaskis allows you to enjoy the beauty of the Rockies without the tourist traps. There are plenty of campgrounds to choose from. If you prefer something fancier, the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is in a great location and has a beautiful Nordic spa. Kananaskis has hiking trails galore, and most of them are conveniently located right off of the highway. There are also plenty of bike trails and lakes for canoeing and kayaking. If you love the mountains and are willing to give up the commercial aspects of Banff and Canmore for some peace and quiet, Kananaskis is a great option for you. 

3. Drumheller 

Yes, I know you all know Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, but it’s such a popular destination for a good reason. The museum is spectacular, and the town of Drumheller has a lot to offer. 

Firstly, the hoodoos surrounding the town are extremely cool. The Badlands is a part of Alberta that is usually snubbed because of the mountains, but the unique landscape is beautiful in its own way. It’s definitely worth it to explore the hoodoos on one of the many hikes in and around the town while you’re visiting.

The Dinosaur Trail RV Resort is a great campground for families or anyone who likes a good dinosaur statue. Plus, right across the street you can climb the world’s largest dinosaur for only five dollars! If you’re hungry, you can visit WHIFS Flapjack House — a favourite of mine — for a delicious stack of pancakes. 

2. Waterton

Located in Waterton Lakes National Park, this treasure of a town boasts crystal clear lakes and gorgeous scenery. The town itself is small, and has a quaintly endearing charm. You can explore the town by renting a surrey, or rent a regular bike and enjoy the trails. The beautiful lakes make Waterton a great place to paddleboard or kayak, but don’t count on swimming in the frigid waters. If you get hungry, stop at Wieners of Waterton for a life-changing hot dog. 

If you’re looking for an indoor activity, high tea at the Prince of Wales hotel is a great, albeit slightly pricey, option. This historic hotel sits on a cliff overlooking Waterton Lake, and the large windows make for a gorgeous view as you enjoy your tea and pastries. Even if you’re not interested in the tea, it’s worth it to drive up to the hotel to explore the lobby and see the view. Waterton is a gorgeous town that would probably have cracked the number one spot had the drive not been so long. 

1. Jasper

Another great alternative to Banff, Jasper is a beautiful mountain town. Although the drive is longer, it is beautiful and well worth it. 

In addition to great hikes and bike trails, Jasper has an adorable downtown full of shops and restaurants. If you want to eat the best sandwich of your life, drive to Jasper and visit the Patricia Street Deli

And if you’re sick of all the hiking and biking I keep suggesting, try white water rafting. Experience the mountains in a whole new way on a thrilling adventure down the river. With the direction of an experienced guide, bump and race down the river while enjoying the scenic views. 

An overall great mountain town, Jasper has so much to offer. Brimming with beautiful hikes like Maligne Canyon, and delicious food, Jasper is a spot you won’t want to miss. 

Anna Rudge

Anna is a volunteer writer for the Gateway. She is in her second year majoring in English. In her free time she can be found reading, skiing, or doing a crossword.

Related Articles

Back to top button