Guide to Parks Canada: Prairie Provinces and the Rockies

National Geographic’s Guide to the National Parks of Canada is the official guide to Canada’s 42 national parks. Here’s a peek inside two of the parks profiled in the book.

Prairie Provinces

Riding Mountain National Park

Great Wildlife

Riding Mountain National Park encompasses a rich, diverse biosystem where you’ll spot everything from beavers to bison. The park’s unique blend of wilderness areas– aspen parkland, grasslands, marshes, small lakes, and deciduous and boreal forests– offers great wildlife viewing opportunities.

When to Go: The park is busiest in summer which means hotel and campsite reservations should be made far in advance. For optimum wildlife-watching try late spring (late April/early May) and early autumn (late September/early October). Once you’re at the park, predawn and dusk are the times when the wildlife roams.

What to Do: Try a guided hike led by local wildlife experts who are knowledgeable about daily animal movement patterns. Cycling, horseback riding, and horse-drawn wagon rides are additional ways to explore the park.


Banff National Park

Established in 1885, Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park and one of the country’s premiere travel destinations. Within the park you’ll discover unparalleled majestic landscapes from waterfalls and hanging glaciers to mountains and sparkling lakes.

When to Go: Banff is open year-round and offers great sightseeing and wildlife viewing at any time of year. If hiking, paddling, mountain biking, or cycling are your forte, try summer. In the winter, visitors can strap on skis to take on downhill slopes or cross-country trails.

What to Do: Opportunities at Banff are endless. Try skiing, boating, cycling, mountain climbing, trekking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, swimming, or fishing (just to name a few.)

Leave a comment and win a free copy of the book! We’re giving away a copy of the guide to another lucky commenter who tells us about their favorite Canadian park or describes a memorable Parks Canada experience.

Comment by 11:59 p.m. EST tonight (July 7) to be eligible. Plus, stay tuned to Intelligent Travel again tomorrow for one last opportunity to win.

Congrats to yesterday’s winner Deborah J. of Ottawa. Read about her favorite park here.


  1. Danny
    July 10, 2011, 3:18 pm

    I’ve been lucky enough to stay at the Banff springs twice travelled from Banff all the way to Edmonton, ski dood dog sleds on Christmas eve it’s a magical magical place. I was on holiday and I was up at 5am every morning to watch the sun rise over the Rockies wish I could afford to go back and do more!!!!! X

  2. Renee B
    Malaga, Spain
    July 8, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Thanks to National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler the world is a handkerchief! I have so many special memories of being a kid and going on excursions to Waterton National Park. One of my favorite things that the town means to me is knowing that it is the place that my Grandparents went on their honeymoon and every anniversary they would go there for the day for an icecream and a stroll. If you ever have a chance to go, it is well worth the trip. Take the boat trip across to the head of the lakes as it is an International Peace Park that is shared with the USA. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  3. holly b
    Minneapolis, MN
    July 8, 2011, 12:49 pm

    Time to plan a vacation!

  4. Daniel
    July 7, 2011, 9:57 pm

    Gros Morne! What a fabulous park. My wife, Kathryn, and I honeymooned there!

  5. Kerry Dexter
    July 7, 2011, 5:18 pm

    Banff is beautiful in winter even if you do not ski. quiet walks in the snow…

  6. Savannah Hayes e'Silva
    July 7, 2011, 4:05 pm

    My family and I used to go camping in Eastern Canada every summer when I was a child (I don’t recall the exact park). I will never forget when my older brother Joey, about 10 at the time, and our springer spaniel Bubba caught a spawning salmon in the river with nothing but their bare hands (teeth, in Bubba’s case)! Our family of 7 ate that fish for a days!

  7. dying1980
    July 7, 2011, 2:23 pm

    My most memorable experience is hiking to Crypt Lake in Waterton Lake National Park.

  8. David Jones
    July 7, 2011, 2:12 pm

    I’ve only been to Canada once, for a brief day, but Banff is on my dream list. I’m hoping to make that trip next year.

  9. may delory
    July 7, 2011, 2:06 pm

    Do you think this cute guy would ask me out on a Canada Park date?

  10. Gavo
    July 7, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Canada is beautiful. It’s too bad that i’m always stuck in Toronto.

  11. Susan Mika
    July 7, 2011, 12:41 pm

    My gosh – the Canadian Rockies look so wonderful! I want to go to Banff National Park. The photos that I’ve seen of this area are so beautiful and other-worldly!

  12. Shweta
    Mumbai, India
    July 7, 2011, 12:38 pm

    Well have not travelled to Canada as my visa got rejected ;( but yes had my tickets booked for Canada for 17th July which now stand cancelled. Was going to do a road trip from Edmonton to Vancouver via Banff and Jasper

  13. jkiel
    SLC UT
    July 7, 2011, 12:27 pm

    The highway from Banff to Jasper is incredibly beautiful – stop at Athabasca Falls too!