Known for their spectacular flora and fauna, Canada and Alaska continue to attract an ever-increasing number of Australian travellers each year.
Webjet Exclusives CEO Brendan Sawyers, said “The Canadian and Alaskan national parks are proving the biggest drawcard for Australian travellers as they cater for our outdoorsy and adventurous nature and provide a fascinating contrast to what we find at home.”
Inspired by Australia’s love of the two popular destinations, the team at Webjet Exclusives has compiled a list of the Top 5 National Parks in Canada and Alaska, and the must-see attractions in each.
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Must see: Lake Louise
Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is home to the diamond in the Rockies’ exquisite rough: Lake Louise. The world-famous pure turquoise waters are framed by jaw dropping mountains that are up to 120 million years old.
There are over 1,600 kilometres of maintained trails to choose from however the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail is the most popular for walking, cycling and even in-line skating. The paved trail runs alongside the Trans-Canada highway and connects Canmore to Banff, incorporating numerous lookouts and stunning scenic views.
Jasper National Park, Canada
Must See: Columbia Icefield
Made up of six glaciers and stretching over 25 kilometres, the Columbia Icefield is the largest mass of ice in the Rocky Mountains. The dramatic destination is one of only two places in the world that is atop a triple continental divide (located north to the Artic Ocean, east to the Atlantic Ocean and west to the Pacific Ocean).
Luckily for travellers, it is also one of the most accessible glaciers in the world that can be seen up close with the Ice Explorer. These imposing six-wheeled passenger vehicles have been specifically designed to go over snow and ice and will have you feeling small in comparison.
Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Must See: Emerald Lake
Yoho is a Cree expression of awe that gives Yoho National Park its unusual name. Established in 1886, Yoho National Park is spectacular and unique in natural beauty with 28 mountain peaks and several waterfalls including Takakkaw Falls, one of Canada’s highest at 254 m. Silt carried by streams from melting glaciers leads to the largest lake in the park, Emerald Lake, and is the reason for its deep and rich turquoise colour.
Travellers can walk, paddle, or cross-country ski across the lake depending on the season. For those who want to unwind, there are plenty if spots to picnic on the lakeshore or dine in luxury at one of two restaurants nearby.
Tongass National Forest, Alaska
Must see: Tracy Arm Fjord
The Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska is the largest intact temperate rainforest on earth. Nearly 17 million acres in size, it supports an abundance of fish and wildlife including all five species of Pacific salmon, Brown bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, Bald Eagles and Marbled Murrelets.
The 43-kilometre long Tracy Arm Fjord is the biggest and most dramatic natural gem within the National Forest. Best viewed by cruise ship, the inlet is very narrow, with cliffs that rise more than 900 m on either side with waterfalls cascading down. The ice in Tracy Arm interferes with the sonar sounds of whales, making it a perfect place for hundreds of harbour seals to have their pups here in the summer months.
Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada
Must see: Grinnell Glacier
With exceptional alpine scenery and infamous snowfall, Glacier National Park is a year-round paradise attracting hikers and ski-touring enthusiasts from around the world.
One of the most popular routes, the 16-kilometre Grinnell Glacier trail keeps getting better as you climb with elevated views over Grinnell Falls, Angel Wing, Mt. Gould, the Continental Divide and Grinnell Lake. Keep an eye out as visitors regularly spot wildlife such as mountain goats or the American Dipper, a robin-sized bird that resides year-round in many of the streams.