Everyone has his or her vision of what makes the Canadian Rockies a spectacular experience.
For some it is the unparalleled opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. There are more than a dozen ski resorts and ski areas within driving distance of each other. Resorts like Kicking Horse Resort with its 4,133 foot/ 1,260 meter vertical drop, Revelstoke Mountain with its dramatic heliskiing and catskiing; and Fernie, which garners some of the deepest powder in the region have made the Rockies a household name.
For others it is the sheer expanse and breathtaking beauty of the region’s many parks that give the region its legendary status. Six national parks span the region, offering thousands of miles of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, camping access and wildlife viewing. Revelstoke Mountain, Mount Robson and Hamber Provincial Parks add to B.C.’s notoriety for outstanding ecological beauty. Alberta’s spectacular resorts, their meticulously preserved Banff and Jasper landmarks and awe-inspiring parks are among the most visited destinations in North America.
And for many travellers, it is the breadth of recreational opportunities both inside and outside its many small towns that draws them to the Rockies. Ever wanted to experience a naturally created hot springs? Canada’s Rockies has an entire driving tour designed around its many mineral baths. Want to learn about First Nations history and culture? The Rockies’ first inhabitants are an integral part of this region’s cultural legacy and its magnificent accomplishments. Want to follow the trail of the gold rush? Pick a town, pick a route. Gold rush history exists not just along the rocky shores of the Fraser River and the distant Yukon, but right here along B.C.’s most dramatic landscape.
For me, the magic of the Rockies is captured in undaunted spirit of its pioneers. They include the ancestral First Nations
and the 19th century gold miners; the rail workers who made this region accessible and the enterprising Swiss mountain guides who inspired and educated its visitors. It is symbolized by the amazing spirit of the many pioneers who have made – and continue to make – this region their home. Through their experiences we gain our greatest appreciation of the Canadian Rockies’ beauty, ecology and timeless gifts.