10 Unexpected Ways to Explore the Rockies

10 Unexpected Ways to Explore the Rockies on Where Rockies

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The Rocky Mountains offer more than just snow-capped peaks and alpine adventures. Within this iconic range lies a spectrum of experiences that surprise and delight. From the tranquillity of museums to the exhilaration of suspension bridges and the serenity of hot springs, the Rockies are a canvas of diverse landscapes and activities. This exploration unveils ten unique ways to immerse oneself in the heart of the mountains, revealing the beauty and excitement hidden within its vast expanses. Come explore the Rockies.

1. Explore Mountain History

Located in Banff, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is dedicated to sharing the rich cultural and natural history of the region. The museum boasts a significant collection of archival photographs that capture the essence of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the diverse peoples who inhabit them. Through exhibitions that feature the history and stories of the Indigenous nations of the Bow Valley, the museum provides insights into the profound connection these communities have with the land.

In Jasper, the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum & Archives promotes understanding and appreciation of the region’s heritage. It serves as a dynamic cultural hub, enriching visitors’ knowledge about Jasper’s past and its cultural significance, making both museums key to understanding the Rockies’ historical depth.

2. Thrilling Heights at the Golden Skybridge

Adventure seekers will find their thrill at the Golden Skybridge, located in Golden, BC, home to Canada’s highest suspension bridges. Suspended 130 m/426 ft above the ground, these bridges offer breathtaking views of the Columbia Valley, framed by the Rocky and Purcell mountain ranges. But the adventure doesn’t stop there. The Skybridge also features more adventures including a mountain coaster, zipline, rock wall, and even axe throwing. It’s a place where the beauty of the Rockies meets adrenaline-pumping excitement, making it a must-visit for those looking to add a little thrill to their
mountain exploration.

 

Golfing with mountain views in the BC Rockies

BC Golf | Chris Wheeler

 

3. Teeing off in the Rockies

Golfing in the Rockies enhances the typical experience by blending breathtaking natural scenery with a storied history and a variety of courses suitable for all skill levels. Among the standout golfing destinations, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, Coy’s Par 3, and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club each offer unique encounters with the sport.

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is celebrated for the natural healing powers of the hot springs and a history dating back over 7,000 years to the Ktunaxa and Shuswap First Nations. The resort also boasts spectacular golf courses like Mountainside and Riverside, offering breathtaking views and challenging terrains.

Coy’s Par 3 caters to families and those seeking a less intense but equally rewarding round of golf. Its picturesque layout is a testament to the Rockies’ serene beauty, making it an ideal spot for improving your short game or introducing the sport to newcomers.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club, designed by Canada’s master architect Stanley Thompson, features elevated tee boxes and dramatic bunkering aligned with distant mountain vistas, offering a majestic backdrop for golfers.

Together, these venues encapsulate the essence of mountain golfing, blending sport with the area’s rich cultural heritage and
stunning landscapes.

4. A Year-Round Celebration at The Spirit of Christmas

In the heart of Banff lies a magical place where Christmas is celebrated every day. The Spirit of Christmas is a wonderland of festive cheer, offering an impressive selection of ornaments, collectibles, and gifts. Beyond Christmas, the store celebrates various holidays and Canadian seasons, making it a unique stop in your Rockies adventure. Personalizing over 10,000 ornaments annually, this store creates keepsakes that capture the essence of your visit, from memorable trips to special moments celebrated in the majestic setting of Banff.

5. Glamping in the Wild

Dive into the cozy embrace of luxury amidst the wild at Mount Engadine Lodge with  unique glamping tents, where adventure meets comfort in the heart of Kananaskis Country. Just a stone’s throw from Canmore and Banff, these tents offer the perfect setting for a storybook escape – whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat, a memorable family adventure, or a chill hangout with friends. Imagine waking up to a panoramic vista of mountains, meadows, and forests, all from the comfort of a king-size bed, warmed by a quaint gas fireplace. Forget about the hassle of pitching tents and sleeping on the ground; here, enjoy gourmet meals, a private bathroom with a hot shower, and the plushness of Rocky Mountain Soap Company toiletries. And though your tent plays coy with technology – no TVs, cell service, or WiFi – it whispers promises of undisturbed connection with nature and each other. Venture to the lodge for a hint of WiFi and a taste of luxury, lounging on the vast patio or cozying up by the fire pit. With complimentary bikes at your disposal, every day promises a new adventure. At Mount Engadine Lodge, glamping is an indulgence in the wild, redefined.

6. Exotic Flavours at Grizzly House

Dive into the heart of Banff at Grizzly House, an institution in exotic dining. Here, fondue and hot rock cuisine take centre stage, featuring not only Alberta beef but also exotic meats like rattlesnake and shark. It’s a culinary journey wrapped in a unique atmosphere full of rustic décor and a soundtrack of 70s hits. Dining at Grizzly House, whether on the patio with its iconic mountain vistas or inside amidst the fondues, becomes a vivid memory of taste and ambiance, crafted to leave a lasting impression on all who visit. Grizzly House also offers a glimpse into its colourful past, beginning as a disco in 1967 with live bands and transitioning into a renowned fondue destination due to liquor laws requiring food service. This storied spot has maintained its flair, keeping alive the traditions that make it a true destination in Banff.

 

A couple getting married in the backcountry on a mountaintop with a helicopter in the background

Jasper Hinton Air

7. Soaring Adventures with Jasper Hinton Air

Experience the Rockies from an unparalleled vantage point with Jasper Hinton Air. This company specializes in tailored flying adventures for groups and invites you to witness Jasper’s majestic landscapes from the sky. Meticulous about safety and passionate about their scenic backyard, the pilots offer an aerial adventure that marries adrenaline with awe-inspiring views. It’s an invitation to gaze upon the Rockies’ grandeur, providing a unique perspective that etches the mountain’s rugged beauty into your memories.

8. Hot Springs Relaxation

Experience the therapeutic warmth of the Rockies at three iconic hot springs, each offering a unique setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Miette Hot Springs, located in Jasper National Park, boasts the hottest mineral waters in the Canadian Rockies. Enjoy a scenic drive through the Fiddle Valley before unwinding in four spectacular mountain-view pools. Further south, Banff Upper Hot Springs invites you to soak in its historic outdoor pool, where mineral-rich waters are framed by the dramatic peaks of the Rundle and Cascade Mountains – a cherished tradition since 1886. Additionally, Radium Hot Springs offers a tranquil experience in mineral-rich waters, complemented by views of the surrounding rugged landscapes. Together, these hot springs provide a perfect retreat for those seeking solace in nature.

9. Connecting with Nature at Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

At Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, near Cochrane, Alberta, visitors embark on an educational journey into the world of wolfdogs. This sanctuary not only serves as a refuge for these majestic creatures but also as a center for learning about wolfdog behaviour, the intricacies of breeding, and the importance of conservation for wolves in the wild. It’s a place of connection where the bonds between humans and wolfdogs illuminate the importance of understanding and preserving wildlife, offering a profound experience that deepens our appreciation for the natural world around us.

A person on a paddleboard at Kinsman Beach in BC

Kootenay Rockies Tourism | Mitch Winton | Kinsmen Beach

10. Beachside Leisure in the Columbia Valley

Discover a side of the Rockies beyond the peaks with a visit to the pristine beaches of the Columbia Valley, where the sun sparkles on the waters of Lake Windermere, and the surrounding mountains offer a breathtaking backdrop. James Chabot Provincial Park Beach is your go-to for a day filled with swimming, paddling, and lounging on the sand, complete with an adventure playground and volleyball court for added fun. Kinsmen Beach and Rotary Splash Park Beach invite families to enjoy their lush green spaces, picnic areas, and a splash park that promises laughter and joy. Windermere Beach, with its tranquil shores and floating dock, offers a serene escape. Beyond the beach, Travel Columbia Valley opens up a world of activities, including disc golfing, golfing, and hiking, ensuring every visit is packed with discovery and delight, making the Columbia Valley an unparalleled destination for those seeking to blend leisure with the beauty of the Rockies.

Discover the diverse experiences waiting to be explored in the Canadian Rockies, from museums to suspension bridges and hot springs. This journey reveals ten unique ways to explore, promising unforgettable memories amidst the stunning backdrop of the mountains.

Naureen Othi