Renowned for their scenic splendor, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are comprised of Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho national parks and Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber provincial parks.
Renowned for their scenic splendor, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are comprised of Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho national parks and Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber provincial parks. Together, they exemplify the outstanding physical features of the Rocky Mountain Biogeographical Province. Classic illustrations of glacial geological processes — including icefields, remnant valley glaciers, canyons and exceptional examples of erosion and deposition — are found throughout the area. The Burgess Shale Cambrian and nearby Precambrian sites contain important information about the earth’s evolution.
The seven parks of the Canadian Rockies form a striking mountain landscape. With rugged mountain peaks, icefields and glaciers, alpine meadows, lakes, waterfalls, extensive karst cave systems and deeply incised canyons, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks possess exceptional natural beauty, attracting millions of visitors annually.
The Burgess Shale is one of the most significant fossil areas in the world. Exquisitely preserved fossils record a diverse, abundant marine community dominated by soft-bodied organisms. Originating soon after the rapid unfolding of animal life about 540 million years ago, the Burgess Shale fossils provide key evidence of the history and early evolution of most animal groups known today, and yield a more complete view of life in the sea than any other site for that t
ime period. The seven parks of the Canadian Rockies are a classic representation of significant and on-going glacial processes along the continental divide on highly faulted, folded and uplifted sedimentary rocks.
Banff National Park is Canada’s first and most heavily visited National Park. The park is situated in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, 111 kilometres east of Calgary and adjacent to Jasper National Park in the north. The mix of towering mountains, glittering glaciers and icefields, lush alpine meadows, and natural mineral hot springs makes up one of Canada’s most exciting recreational areas.
Yoho National Park is located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains along the western slope of the Continental Divide in southeastern British Columbia. Yoho NP is bordered by Kootenay National Park on the southern side and Banff National Park on the eastern side. The name Yoho comes from a Cree word expressing amazement.
Kootenay National Park is located in southeastern British Columbia Canada covering 1,406 km2 (543 sq mi) in the Canadian Rockies and forms part of a World Heritage Site. The park ranges in elevation from 918 m (3,012 ft) at the south-west park entrance to 3,424 m (11,234 ft) at Deltaform Mountain. Kootenay forms one of the four contiguous mountain parks in the Canadian Rockies; the other three being Banff National Park directly to the east, Yoho National Park directly to the north and Jasper National Park which does not share a boundary with Kootenay National Park. Initially called "Kootenay Dominion Park", the park was created in 1920 as part of an agreement between the province of British Columbia and the Canadian federal government to build a highway in exchange for title (property) to a strip of land on either side of the route. A strip of land 8 km (5.0 mi) wide on each side of the newly constructed 94 km. Banff-Windermere Highway was set aside as a national park.
While the park is open all year, the major tourist season lasts from June to September. Most campgrounds are open from early May to late September while limited winter camping is available only at the Dolly Varden campground.
The park takes its name from the Kootenay River, one of the two major rivers which flow through the park, the other being the Vermillion River. While the Vermillion River is completely contained within the park, the Kootenay River has its headwaters just outside of the park boundary, flows through the park into the Rocky Mountain Trench, eventually joining the Columbia River. The Banff-Windermere Highway, #93 follows the path of both rivers through the park.
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km² (4200 mi²). It is located in the province of Alberta, north of Banff National Park and west of the City of Edmonton. The park includes the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and, of course, mountains.
Wildlife in the park includes elk, caribou, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goat, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear, black bear, beaver, Rocky Mountain pika, hoary marmot, gray wolf, mountain lion, and wolverine.