The Rocky Mountains aren’t called rocky for nothing. A 3, 000-mile stretch of soaring peaks made up of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock created millions of years ago by tectonic movement and later shaped by the movement of huge glaciers and the flow of powerful rivers.
From the 500ft depths of Upper Waterton Lake to the 14, 440ft heights of Mount Elbert, the geology of the Rockies offers not only a range of a spectacular vistas but endless possibilities for exploring and adventure.
Take in the views at Sulphur Mountain
While diving to the depths isn’t really an option, you can certainly hit the heights in the Rockies to enjoy wonderful views.
One such example is a trip to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, which can be reached by a spectacular gondola ride from the town of Banff in the Canadian Rockies.
However, purists can take the trek up the track from the car park of the Hot Springs – which gave the mountain its name – to the summit and then enjoy a well-deserved soak in the thermal waters on their return to the town.
Banff itself is a great place for a stopover in the Rockies, as for a town of just 7, 500 people it punches above its weight in terms of nightlife. Live music and good restaurants will keep you entertained once the sun has gone down over Sulphur Mountain.
Gaze at glaciers on the Icefields Parkway
Get up close and personal with those aforementioned glaciers during a drive along the Icefields Parkway – a 140-mile scenic stretch of tarmac linking Lake Louise, just north of Banff, with Jasper.
North America is famous for its incredible road journeys and Highway 93, as it is officially known, is certainly up there with the best – affording travellers great views of the Columbia Icefield, with soaring peaks and sweeping valleys adding to the spectacle.
Stop off at the Athabasca Glacier, the most-visited in North America, for a trek across the ice and grab a photo at the beautiful turquoise-hued Peyto Lake on your way to the Jasper National Park.
Get active in the Jasper National Park
Once at Jasper, get on your bike to enjoy some of the most scenic cycling anywhere on earth. From bombing down rocky off-road trails to freewheeling along forest tracks and cruising along lake shores, Jasper provides endless fun for peddle hounds.
If two wheels aren’t your thing, ditch the bike and hike your way up to scenic lookout points where you’ll enjoy views of snow-capped peaks, thick green forests and blue lakes.
Take to the water in Yoho National Park
Activities in the Rockies aren’t just limited to the mountain trails. Jump in an inflatable to experience the power of Kicking Horse River – although the name actually comes from an equestrian accident – or take a canoe for a more serene aquatic adventure.
Yoho itself comes from the Cree word for ‘awe and wonder’ and this is a rather apt description for the state in which most visitors to the Rockies end up.
And this introduction to the Rockies hasn’t even covered the opportunities for helicopter flights above the mountains and horseback riding along the trails.
With so much to see and do on Canada holidays in the mountains, your trip along the Rocky road will be one you won’t forget in a hurry.