Travel to Southern Alberta – Episode 404

categories: canada travel

Hear about travel to Southern Alberta as the Amateur Traveler talks to Karl Anders from Calgary about travel to his home province.

Karl recommends we take a couple of weeks to see the area and that we spend one of those weeks seeing the Canadian Rockies which we did cover in an earlier episode on Alberta as well. The Canadian Rockies as a whole is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Banff and Lake Louise, while filled with tourists, are definitely worth seeing. “It’s a beautiful place, the rugged mountains, the hanging glaciers, the dense pine forests, and of course the beautiful waters with all the glacial silt, those turquoise water in the Summer is just remarkable.”

Locals, Karl tells us, might skip the busy Banff and head to Canmore and to the area just south of it instead. Canmore is an old mining town but it has developed into an area for local tourism. It is a little less expensive and a little less touristed. Kananaskis Country is a huge swath of the Rockies extending down to the U.S. border. Some beautiful lakes, wonderful hikes but relatively few people. For a short easy hike, Karl recommends Johnson Lake. For a moderate hike, he recommends the Plain of 6 Glaciers by Lake Louise. For a long hike, he suggests Sunshine Meadows which is a ski slope in the winter but a lovely alpine meadow in the Summer. You are also more likely to see wildlife while driving in Kananaskis Country.

There is a big ski season in the Winter with skiing at Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Norquist to name a few areas. The snow tends to be dry powder.

Waterton is a Canadian National Park just across the U.S. border from Glacier National Park. Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites. “It’s a smaller park but it is very interesting. It shows well how the prairies meet the mountains. You are at the end of the great prairies and the mountains are jutting up there. They have a bison herd that is interesting to see.”

For interesting named national parks it is hard to beat Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump which is another UNESCO site and tells the story of the native people of the region who used this area for hunting bison.

Karl recommends a stop at the Bar U Ranch and a visit to Calgary during the world-famous Calgary Stampede to connect with the cowboy culture of Alberta. Three of the four founders of the Stampede were owners of the Bar U Ranch.

Also in Alberta is the world’s largest collection of dinosaur bones in the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. Yoho National Park also has some unique aquatic fossils. To complete our dinosaur pilgrimage Karl recommends a visit out to Dinosaur Provincial Park as well.

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Show Notes

Travel Gumbo
Canadian Rockies
Cascade Mountain
Lake Louise
Sunshine Meadows
Highwood Pass
Waterton National Park
Glacier National Park
Crowsnest Pass
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Bar U Ranch
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Yoho National Park
World’s Largest Dinosaur
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Calgary Stampede
Bow River
Canada Olympic Park
Dr. Fumblefinger


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Jim wrote about Travel to New Jersey – Episode 398

I confess to being surprised when New Jersey appeared as a topic. I grew up in NYC but spent little time in New Jersey. My extended family rented a house in Keansburg one summer when I was little, but the area was hit by a hurricane. Great fun for a kid, playing in the puddles and in the debris all around, until my Mom figured out what I was doing. One thing my Dad told me when he was teaching me to drive (in NY) was to be very careful of anyone with New Jersey plates. Because they were probably lost and were highly unpredictable. Imagine my chagrin when I went back home for a high school reunion and my rental car from La Guardia had, you guessed it, Jersey plates. I got no respect. They must still be teaching New Yorkers that. But it is true that once you get away from the shadow of the big city, there are lots of pretty places to see in New Jersey. And the pizza is way better than Chicago.”

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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