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Six Small Alberta Towns You Need To Visit If You Love The Outdoors

COOL WINTER GUIDE: Stories and information for all things winter in Alberta. Looking for an unforgettable outdoor adventure in Alberta? You’re in luck. Here are six amazing Alberta towns that you need to visit if you love the outdoors.
Municipality of Jasper | Facebook

So, you love the outdoors? You’ve certainly landed in the ideal province. Alberta’s landscapes are vast and diverse. From rolling foothills to grand Rocky Mountains, Lakeland to prairies, this province has it all. Of course, some places are more blessed than others. Many of Alberta’s most inviting towns are goldmines for outdoor enthusiasts and folks who love to get out and enjoy nature. Whether you’re into water sports, winter adventures, or anything that gets you outside and takes advantage of the local terrain, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Alberta. Because there’s a bit too much when it comes to options, we’ve done the tough part for you and rounded up a list of awesome Alberta towns that deserve a visit if you’re a lover of the great outdoors. Here’s what you need to know and where you need to go for unforgettable experiences in nature.

Town of Sundre

Nestled in Alberta's enchanting foothills, Sundre, with its year-round population of 2,700, transforms into a bustling summer haven for over 12,000 nature enthusiasts. Boasting 27 kilometres of in-town nature trails and pathways, Sundre opens the door to an outdoor paradise. The nearby mountains and countryside offer hundreds of kilometres of trails, creating an expansive playground for hikers and bikers.

This idyllic town serves as a gateway to nature with 2000+ campsites within a ten-minute radius, complemented by countless spots in the surrounding Crown Lands. Sundre's charm extends to the presence of wild horses roaming the nearby mountainous countryside, adding a touch of untamed beauty to the outdoor experience. Additionally, the Bergen Rocks International Sculpture Park, just a short drive away, showcases 3 acres of monumental stone sculptures in the breathtaking foothills of west-central Alberta. For those seeking a harmonious blend of community warmth and untamed wilderness, Sundre stands as a quintessential destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Sundre | Facebook | Town of Sundre

Town of Cochrane

Cochrane is a haven that seamlessly blends small-town charm with an abundance of outdoor adventures. With over 80 km of interconnected pathways, trails, and public sidewalks, the town invites exploration and leisure amid its picturesque surroundings.

Nature enthusiasts can revel in diverse wildlife encounters, from majestic bears to elusive coyotes, adding an exciting element to outdoor activities. The proximity of Cochrane to the Foothills and Rocky Mountains ensures stunning vistas that accompany every outdoor pursuit.

Beyond its natural wonders, Cochrane exudes Western heritage charm, with the historic Cochrane Ranche offering a glimpse into the town's rich history. Against the backdrop of the majestic mountains, visitors can immerse themselves in the region's cultural tapestry.

Town of Cochrane | Facebook

Town of Canmore

Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Canmore is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, the town is a haven for rock climbers, mountain bikers, hikers, and cross-country skiers, offering a diverse range of outdoor activities.

Canmore's allure extends to the scenic Bow River, meandering through the town and providing opportunities for rafting, paddleboarding, and canoeing against the stunning mountain backdrop. The river not only enhances the town's natural beauty but also adds an aquatic dimension to the outdoor experience.

With its proximity to the iconic Banff National Park and the rugged wilderness of Kananaskis Country, Canmore serves as a gateway to unparalleled exploration. The town's vibrant community and charming downtown, framed by the majestic Rockies, create a welcoming atmosphere for residents and visitors alike.

Town of Canmore | Facebook

Town of Lake Louise

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism | Facebook

Lake Louise is a postcard-perfect destination, enchanting visitors with its crystalline turquoise waters and majestic mountain vistas. Home to a population of around 1,000, this charming village is a serene retreat, offering a unique blend of natural wonders and alpine grandeur.

Lake Louise is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting world-class opportunities for hiking, skiing, and snowboarding. In the winter, the village transforms into a winter wonderland, with the iconic Lake Louise Ski Resort drawing snow enthusiasts from around the globe.

The jewel of Lake Louise is undoubtedly its namesake lake, a stunning glacial-fed gem surrounded by towering peaks. Visitors can partake in canoeing during the summer months, gliding across the pristine waters with the awe-inspiring Victoria Glacier as a backdrop.

The village's proximity to Banff National Park enhances its allure, providing access to an extensive network of trails, wildlife encounters, and the renowned Icefields Parkway.

Town of Jasper

Next up, Jasper, a rugged and untamed gem, captivating visitors with its untouched wilderness and small-town charm. Home to approximately 5,000 residents, this mountain town offers a genuine escape into nature, where the breathtaking beauty of the landscape takes center stage.

Jasper's appeal lies in its vast outdoor playground, attracting adventurers with opportunities for hiking, backcountry exploration, and wildlife encounters. The town serves as a gateway to Jasper National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its diverse ecosystems, glaciers, and iconic mountain peaks.

As the sun sets, the night sky over Jasper unveils a celestial spectacle. Designated as a Dark Sky Preserve, the town provides unparalleled stargazing experiences, making it a haven for astronomy enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Jasper is not just a destination; it's an immersive experience. The picturesque Maligne Lake, with its stunning Spirit Island, offers a tranquil escape, while the historic Jasper SkyTram provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

Waterton Village

Waterton Tourism | Facebook

Waterton is a tranquil village enveloped by the breathtaking landscapes of Waterton Lakes National Park. This hidden gem offers a unique blend of unspoiled wilderness and a peaceful village setting.

Waterton offers diverse natural scenery, featuring pristine lakes, rolling prairies, and rugged mountains. Visitors can embark on iconic trails like Crypt Lake or take in the beauty of Waterton Lake through leisurely boat tours.

Dominating the skyline is the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, a landmark that adds character to the village. Waterton's boutiques, galleries, and eateries contribute to its quaint charm, creating a delightful atmosphere for exploration.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, Waterton boasts ecological significance, attracting wildlife enthusiasts with the chance to spot bighorn sheep, bears, and various bird species in its untouched wilderness.

With stunning sunsets casting a magical glow, Waterton promises a serene retreat in the heart of the Rockies.

Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023/24 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

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