Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta
Set inside the borders of the vast Banff National Park, the area that surrounds these two towns is a Rocky Mountain wonder, a place of electric blue glacial lakes, waterfalls, abundant wildlife (from elk to bighorn sheep to grizzly bears) and breathtaking grandeur. Stay either in Banff, the busy hub of the area and home to classic hotels like the Fairmont Banff Springs, or pursue some solitude up at Lake Louise, where hiking trails up into the mountains-and beautiful silence-are just steps away.
Kluane National Park, Yukon
Home to Canada’s tallest peak (Mount Logan, altitude 19,551 feet), this giant national park in the western Yukon-22,000 square kilometres of blue glaciers, lush valleys and untamed territory-can be seen from the sky, aboard a helicopter or an airplane equipped with skis (which allow high-altitude snow landings). Or, even better, hike it using the park’s vast network of trails-you could walk for days without seeing another person.
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Sitting on the coast of western Newfoundland, this is a truly unique park, a place that packs an astounding amount of geological diversity (coastal lowland, soaring peaks, precipitous cliffs, untouched lakes, waterfalls and even a former fjord, now cut off from the ocean) into a place that you can visit in just a couple days. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne is also a geological wonder, an area where the earth’s mantle is exposed, clearly displaying the process of continental drift.