Canada is the second largest country in the world, and that size means it delivers on a grand scale in terms of landscapes, scenery, history and culture. From a rail journey through the Rockies to kayaking in search of wild orcas, Canada is unforgettable at any time of the year, but to experience it in winter is something truly magical.
An overnight rail journey from Vancouver to Jasper will take you through the high peaks and vertical canyons of the Rocky Mountains. As you pass dramatically-named points of interest such as Hell’s Gate and Suicide Rapids, be sure to stay on the look-out for moose, elk, bears, mountain goats and other wildlife that are often easier to spot against the stark background of all that pillowy snow.
Jasper is a true mountain town: originally a railway town that just happens to sit in the heart of the eleven thousand square kilometres that make up Jasper National Park. The more adventurous can try their hand at any number of winter sports, including skiing or ice-climbing, or you can let someone else do the driving while you sit back and soak up the winter scenery, tucked up and cosy on a horse-drawn sleigh or dog-sled ride.
Lake Louise is considered the ‘Jewel of the Rockies’, thanks to its turquoise, glacier-fed waters, and surrounding high peaks. Be sure to give snow-shoeing a try while you’re here – it’s surprisingly easy and one of many memorable ways to experience the beauty and tranquillity of this region.
The stunning Icefields Parkway is a 232-kilometre stretch of highway that links Jasper with idyllic Lake Louise. The soaring, rocky peaks of the Continental Divide line your route as you pass more than 100 ancient glaciers, cascading waterfalls and vast, sweeping valleys.
Roughly halfway between Lake Louise and Calgary, the town of Banff is the second highest in the province of Alberta, and its location amid mountains and hot springs makes it a wonderful winter destination. Ride the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain for amazing 360-degree views of the valley, take a walk around the stunning Vermillion Lakes and finish your day with a rewarding soak beneath the stars at the Upper Banff Hot Springs – you make even be rewarded with a display of the Northern Lights.
These are the main highlights of one of Canada’s most popular winter itineraries, but your personal travel manager can recommend others that take you a little further off the beaten track: from a tranquil retreat in the Yukon in search of the Aurora Borealis to a week-long wilderness adventure where you’ll learn to drive your own sled dog team.