Three Must Explore Towns in Canada’s Rocky Mountains

Category:  

Bucket List Worthy  

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Photo Credit: Troy V. Lee

If you like accessible backcountry, mountain views, lush green forests and winding trails then pack your mountain bike or hiking boots and head to McBride, British Columbia, Jasper National Park and Canmore, Alberta. These three Rocky Mountain communities are the sweet spot for outdoor adventure.

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Photo Credit: Troy V. Lee

McBride, BC lies within the scenic Robson Valley and is only four hours east of Prince George via Highway 16 East. This community is surrounded by easily accessed mountains and alpine parkland. McBride mountain lies on the north side of town and its alpine meadows can be accessed by a 13 kilometer gravel road and trail. If you’re an adventure mountain biker, ride up to the six kilometer bench and set up camp at the cozy cabin, then complete the grueling 7 kilometer climb to the fire lookout. If you’re less adventuress, drive the 11 kilometer gravel road and park at the beginning of the alpine, then follow the winding trail to the top.

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Photo Credit: Susan Lee

Jasper National Park is only two hours east of McBride and has some fantastic valley bottom and lower slope singletrack mountain biking and hiking. Many of Jasper’s trails are accessible right from your hotel doorstep; so park your car and head out for some adventure. You can ride the 22 km Athabaska River trail  or climb stunning single-track to the bizarre rock formations of Maligne Canyon. Given the vast trail network, a good hiking guide is a must. Rob Bryce’s guidebook, Hiking Jasper and Mount Robson, is the go-to resource for this park.

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Photo Credit: Troy V. Lee

If you want to explore the heart of the Rockies, head southeast from Jasper on the world famous Icefields Parkway (HWY 93). This stellar route follows the Athabasca river and winds into a landscape carved by ancient glaciers. Stop at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center and ride or walk to the base of the Columbia Icesheet and explore this surreal  landscape.

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Photo Credit: Troy V. Lee

Take your time along the parkway. Enjoy the scenery. Stop at the pullouts and take photos. The final must explore  mountain community in the Rockies is Canmore, Alberta: perhaps Canada’s greatest outdoor adventure community. Only a few hours drive from Jasper, this small community is surrounded by mountains and has almost limitless outdoor opportunities. Ride the Legacy Trail to Banff National Park or hike the trails along the base of the Three Sisters mountain. Almost every trail provides stunning views of the grey craggy mountaintops. Stop in at the Canmore Bicycle Cafe to check out the latest in bikes and gear or to have a locally roasted double espresso.

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Photo Credit: Troy V. Lee

McBride, BC, Jasper National Park and Canmore, Alberta should be on your outdoor adventure bucket list. Check out Flight Network for great savings on flights, hotels, rental cars and more. Pack your outdoor gear, camera and a good map: adventure awaits you!   

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About the Author: Lee

Troy Lee is a Coordinator at the University of Northern British Columbia and a passionate explorer of British Columbia's backroads, backcountry and history.

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