Alberta is one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces, featuring some of the nation’s most iconic scenery and must-visit destinations. While summer is the most popular time to visit, Alberta is great at all times of the year, so travellers shouldn’t disregard the winter, spring, and autumn as each season has something unique to offer.

With amazing wildlife-viewing opportunities, towering mountain peaks, and vibrant cities, there are plenty of reasons to visit Alberta on a holiday to Canada. To get you excited about all that’s possible, we’ve put together this guide, highlighting some of the things you can see and do in Alberta’s top locations outside of the peak summer months.

Banff & Lake Louise

Visiting Banff and Lake Louise during the winter offers plenty of options amidst snow-capped peaks and frozen landscapes. Winter enthusiasts can traverse the stunning Boom Lake Trail through forests and mountainous backdrops for a serene snowshoeing adventure. The Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, near Lake Louise, is an incredibly scenic and rewarding winter hike leading to breathtaking glacier views.

If you fancy some skiing and snowboarding, look forward to hitting the slopes at the SkiBig3 (Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Mt Norquay) while fat biking enthusiasts can explore the scenic Bow Valley Loop.

For a bird’s-eye view of the Rockies, the Banff Gondola is one of the best winter activities in Alberta, ascending Sulphur Mountain for an unforgettable panoramic experience. For a more chilled-out activity, Banff town features cosy shops, diverse restaurants, and lively bars. You can also visit the Banff Upper Hot Springs for a rejuvenating soak amidst snowy peaks.

Renee, from the travel blog Renee Roaming, loves visiting Banff and paints a lovely picture of what to expect: “Banff in winter is pure magic! Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting Banff during summer and autumn… but there is just something so special about experiencing it during the winter months. I think it’s all the pretty snow, cosy atmosphere, comfort food, and fun winter activities!”

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Jasper is one of the best places to visit in Alberta at any time of the year. Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, it offers an exciting outdoor experience. In winter, Marmot Basin is one of the premier destinations for skiing and snowboarding. As the seasons shift, hiking, walking, and biking become popular, with the Pyramid Lake Loop offering a picturesque trail for those visiting Alberta during the spring and autumn.

Jasper National Park, the second-largest Dark Sky Preserve globally, is the perfect spot for stargazers to witness the brilliance of an Alberta night sky. Wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty to get excited by, from bears and elk to big-horned sheep and mountain goats calling this area home. Jasper town exudes charm with lovely shops and eateries against a backdrop of towering mountains. The Jasper Skytram is a must-try, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Rhonda and Mike from the travel blog Travel? Yes please! are a Canadian couple who have visited Jasper on numerous occasions. They share the following tip for those new to the area: “For first-time winter visitors to Jasper, we definitely recommend doing the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk. It’s quite spectacular to wander through a frozen canyon, its deep walls draped in a curtain of ice.”

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Located on the banks of the Bow River, Canmore is a picturesque mountain town in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, known for its famous mountain range, the Three Sisters Peaks. Canmore consists of a charming town that is a great spot for experiencing local culture at the likes of the Canmore Museum, as well as a tasty meal after a day of exploring the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park.

The Three Sisters peaks provide some incredible scenery to enjoy during your time in Canmore, and there are plenty of outdoor activities available. Visitors can look forward to hiking the picturesque Grassi Lakes Trail, featuring easy routes to a spectacular lake or a more challenging wooded trail of waterfalls and views of the Bow Valley. Canmore is also an excellent climbing location, thanks to the numerous crags available in the Bow Valley.

Josanne, from the Canadian travel blog Adventuresome Jo, shares a couple of great tips when it comes to hiking in Canmore: “Three Sisters Viewpoint is a short, easy hike on the Cougar Creek bed through a wooded area. The trail comes to the Policeman’s Creek within a few hundred metres. In the winter, hikers can walk around the frozen pond and fully enjoy the view of Three Sisters Peak, Ha Ling Peak and Mount Lawrence Grassi.”


Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and is known as the ‘Gateway to the Rockies’. As a result, it’s the perfect base for an Alberta holiday, allowing visitors to combine top city sights with the spectacular nature available on your doorstep. You could spend a day exploring famous attractions like the 626ft Calgary Tower with its panoramic observation deck. Or enjoy exploring Calgary Zoo and the pretty Devonian Gardens.

On another day, you easily find yourself in the wild, exploring the delights of the nearby Rockies. From skiing in Banff to hiking around Jasper, it’s all possible before a return to Calgary for more sightseeing. Calgary is also a place to discover Canada’s Western heritage. The Heritage Park Historical Village depicts life in pre-1914 Alberta, featuring a working historic steam train and paddle steamer, as well as replica buildings. Calgary also boasts a great culinary scene, thanks to a wide array of top restaurants and flavours from around the world.

Maya and Michal from the travel blog Travel with the Smile, enjoy Calgary themselves and recommend checking out a unique winter experience at Calgary Zoo: “The Penguin walk is a unique event that deserves mention; it’s one of the best things to do in Calgary in winter. Every year, from January to mid-March, the Calgary Zoo staff takes king penguins on walks around the zoo.”

READ ALSO: Reasons to visit Calgary in the autumn and winter


Edmonton is Alberta’s capital city, known for its natural scenery, history, and amenities. It is, therefore, the perfect place to combine city exploration with time spent admiring Canada’s wildlife. For example, Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley contains the longest stretch of urban parkland in North America, featuring fully serviced urban parks and campsite-like areas. Edmonton is also just 35 minutes away from the rolling hills and glassy lakes of Elk Island National Park.

Edmonton is home to plenty of museums and galleries, such as the Royal Alberta Museum and the Art Gallery of Alberta, allowing visitors to understand the city’s heritage and artistic legacy. There is premier shopping available at the West Edmonton Mall, containing over 800 stores and restaurants, as well as 12 world-class attractions. Finally, the impressive Alberta Legislature Building is free to visit, with fascinating guided tours available.

Giselle and Stephen, travel bloggers from The Lovers Passport, have been to Elk Island National Park and loved the experience: “If you are into seeing wildlife or exploring great stargazing and Aurora watching spots, this a great place to add to your Edmonton itinerary. We have never seen so many bison in one area before, and would definitely recommend driving the Bison Loop for your best bet on seeing them in their natural habitat.”

An Alberta holiday to never forget

As you can see, visiting Alberta in winter, spring or autumn is a gateway to endless possibilities. From skiing to sightseeing, there is plenty on offer across its stunning national parks and exciting cities.

If you like the sound of Alberta, visit our Alberta holidays page and discover the amazing itineraries that are available. We are the Canada travel experts and can tailor-make a holiday experience to include all you want to see and do.

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