Sprawled along the Alberta-British Columbia border, the Rockies are barely contained within two gigantic national parks - Banff to the South and Jasper to the north. Banff was Canada's first official wildlife sanctuary and these days the town that lent its name to the park is the nation's number one resort spot year round. But Jasper National Park has a larger, wilder and less explored landscape on show.
Banff's glorious turquoise Moraine Lake, while in danger of suffering cliche overload, is one of Canada's most idyllic natural attractions. Connecting Banff and Jasper parks is the Columbia Icefield, a vast bowl of ice made up of about 30 glaciers and a remnant of the last Ice Age. For those not glacially inclined, the Rockies offer wildlife walks, swimming, caving, camping, hiking, canoeing, hot-spring soaking, mountain climbing and plenty of places to stay. Accommodation costs are generally lower at the Jasper end of this quintessential Canadian mountain playground.