Choosing Canada‘s best national parks is kind of like choosing the best kind of cheese – every single one has its own unique flavour, texture and appearance. (But for the record, the best kind of cheese is the kind you sprinkle over french fries with gravy.)[related_articles]38666,21382,6122,21556[/related_articles]
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the country’s most spectacular national parks.[listicle]
Banff National Park, Alberta
Possibly the most well known National Park in all of Canada, what Banff lacks in anonymity it makes up for in jaw-dropping beauty.
Opened in 1885, Banff is Canada’s first national park, and is located in the province of Alberta. With 6641 square kilometres of mountainous terrain, visitors will find everything from glaciers and ice fields to dense forests and alpine landscapes. It’s home to IRL screensavers Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, two majestic blue-hued reservoirs of ancient glacial water that you’ve no doubt scrolled past on social media.
Image: Lake Louise
Kluane National Park And Reserve, Yukon
It’s in Kulane that you’ll find Canada’s highest peak – Mount Logan, at 5959m – and the world’s largest non-polar ice field. The majority of the park is dominated by mountains and glaciers, with only 17 percent occupied by forest and tundra.
If you’re into hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, boating or fishing, this place is for you.
Image: Bruce Barrett / Flickr
Jasper National Park, Alberta
The largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park is located just north of Banff and comprises of much of the same terrain, including the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and mountains.
For a truly spectacular sight, visit the Athabasca Glacier, one of the six principal “toes” of the Columbia Icefield, and the picturesque and powerful Athabasca Falls waterfall.
Image: JD Hascup / Flickr
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
The island of Newfoundland, located on Canada’s east coast, is where you’ll find Gros Morne National Park, an expansive and eery patch of land. Its French meaning is “large mountain standing alone”, or, more literally, “great sombre”, and if that isn’t the most epic name for a National Park ever, I don’t know what is.
The park’s famed Tablelands are the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago – as a result we see rocks from the earth’s mantle and deep ocean crust come to the surface, thanks to the process of continental drift. It’s very cool.
Image: VisitGrosMorne / Flickr
Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan
Grasslands sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the other national parks on this list. While it lacks the mountainous skyline, Saskatchewan gem Grasslands National Park leads more of a prairie lifestyle as one of the world’s largest Dark Sky Reserves, an area that’s kept free of artificial light pollution (read: an excellent place to stargaze).
Image: Marshall Drummond / Flickr
Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Yoho National Park sits along the western slope of America’s continental divide. Fittingly, the name “Yoho” comes from the Cree word for “awe and wonder”, and once you spy the turquoise waters, thunderous waterfalls and soaring mountainous peaks, you’ll get it.