Dubbed "Canada's Rocky Mountain Playground," Alberta has spectacular views from ski slopes, hiking trails and waterways. Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, with its clear green water, views of the aurora borealis and four United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Natural World Heritage Sites offer Alberta visitors awe inspiring sights throughout the province. The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, one of the four UNESCO sites, includes the playgrounds of Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho. Wood Buffalo National Park, another Heritage Site, boasts the largest inland delta in the world, a nesting ground for the whooping crane, and the largest population of wild bison in North America. Waterton Glacier International Peace Park combined with Montana's Glacier National Park in 1932 to create the first International Peace Park; Alberta's third UNESCO site, it is home to an extraordinary variety of plant and animal species.
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Perhaps the most fascinating of Alberta's sites is Dinosaur Provincial Park. The fourth UNESCO site in the province, it is in this park that more than 300 dinosaur skeletons have been recovered—some dating back as far as 75 million years and representing 35 species. Many of the pieces found in the park are on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, roughly a two hour drive from the park.
Anyone looking for a truly off-the-beaten path experience should take in the Cariboo Chilicotin Coast, where the region's grasslands, forests, mountains, glacier-fed lakes and valleys have remained virtually unspoiled. This area is home to Tweedsmuir, British Columbia's largest provincial park at 2.4 million acres and comprising pine forests, waterfalls and the volcanic Rainbow Mountains.
British Columbia shares the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO site with neighboring Alberta, but with 54 provincial, national, and regional parks within its borders, BC has plenty of offer nature lovers—living up to its nickname, "Super, Natural"—including quite a few hot springs. The Kootenay Rockies' hot springs are renowned for their high mineral content and picturesque surroundings. Northern BC's springs include both the Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, which is considered one of Canada's largest hot springs systems and features two pools with temperatures ranging from 107 to 125 degrees, and the Mount Layton Hot Springs, a natural, non-sulphur spring that has been developed into a family-friendly destination. The Harrison Hot Springs, outside of Vancouver, have been popular since the 1800s and are now cooled with fresh water to make them more bearable for guests. For a secluded hot springs experience, try Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Provincial Park, which is accessible only by boat or float plane.
Home to an extensive park system of its own, one of Manitoba's unique projects is the Alonsa Conservation District, which includes an extensive fish hatchery project, a variety of walking trails, a water management program as well as tree planting and maintenance projects.
Pisew Falls Provincial Park affords views of Pisew Falls, where the Grass River falls nearly 43 feet, then changes direction and shoots through a gorge. An observation platform overlooks the falls and a short trail leads to the Rotary Bridge, which overlooks the Grass River, and to a walk leading to Mantiboba's highest fall, Kwasitchewan Falls.
The Alfred Hole Goose Sanctuary and Visitor Centre teaches guests about four species of Canada geese through exhibits, an interpretive program and, during the summer, observation of up to 150 birds.
New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy gives visitors a plethora of fantastic views. At Cape Enrage, the view from the top of 150-foot cliffs has been called the best in Canada, but don't miss the Reversing Falls where, twice a day because of a tidal oddity, the St. John River flows backwards. Two restaurants overlook the water and a visitor information center explains more about the Reversing Falls.
In Lamèque, the Ecological Park of the Acadian Peninsula includes an arboretum with thirty native species, an Interpretive Centre that explores the fragility of the ecosystem and a boardwalk leading to a nature trail. A telescope on the boardwalk gives guests a chance to take a closer look at the wildlife.
Newfoundland and Labrador
With a significant amount of open space housing bears, moose and caribou, waters home to dolphins and 22 species of whales and bald eagles soaring overhead, the whole of Newfoundland and Labrador is something of a nature preserve.