Easy sell: Alberta's Great North West
DAY 1/2: Arrive Edmonton
DAY 3: Drive to Whitecourt
DAY 4: Drive to Grande Prairie
DAY 5: Drive to Grande Cache and Jasper
DAY 6/7: Explore Jasper
DAY 8: Drive Edson to Edmonton
DAY 9: Depart Edmonton
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Looking for itinerary inspiration? Look no further. This circular tour starts and finishes in Alberta’s capital Edmonton with plenty of things to see and do en route.
This itinerary will see your clients walking on a glacier, climbing down into mountain canyons, riding river valley trails by bike or Segway and digging deep for ancient dinosaur fossil. Here are the highlights to recommend…
With more than 30 annual festivals, the largest shopping and entertainment complex on the continent and lots of green space, Edmonton is a popular cultural destination and a great place to start a tour. Recommend Kitchen by Brad: A private culinary experience with one of Edmonton’s top chefs or Edmonton Food Tours for the inside story on the city’s foodie scene; plus time at the Art Gallery of Alberta or a drive out to Elk Island National Park to see the free roaming plains bison. A guided Segway Tour alongside the city’s North Saskatchewan River will be memorable too.
Known as the snowmobile capital of Alberta, Whitecourt boats 465 kms (289mi) of groomed winter trails and in the summer, amazing hiking trails. Culinary experiences await at Mountain Pizza or Original Joe’s and Violet Mae’s Bakery is the town’s delicious hidden gem for hand-baked goodies and sandwiches on the go. Fishing is big here and the Upstream Drift Co. helps visitors experience the magic of the Eastern Slopes and world class wildlife sightings with a drift boat experience on the Berland River and the chance to try fly fishing or, for old hands, refine their techniques in beautiful surroundings.
Six hours drive from Edmonton, the route crosses the peaceful prairie and can include stops at the photogenic Rochfort Bridge – one of North America’s longest train trestle bridges; and the Fort Assiniboine Friendship Museum which showcases the fur-trading, pioneer days and gold rush heritage of the region. Once in town there’s local art at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie; craft beers to sample at the GP Brewing Company and the Phillip J Currie Dinosaur Museum (Canada’s newest dinosaur museum) to check out. Nitehawk Adventure Park offers a chair lift to the mountain bike park for adrenalin rush; or more tranquil activities at the Mirage Holistic Spa.
2 hours 5 minutes from Grande Prairie, this mountain town sits on a plateau surrounded by turquoise lakes, rushing rivers, mountain peaks and lots of wilderness hiking trails. A photo-op must is at the confluence of two powerful rivers where the spinning whirlpools deposit swirls of blue-green minerals into the water.
An easy two hours 30 minutes on is Jasper. This authentic mountain town welcomes visitors with luxury lodges and charming cabins. Top stops are the Jasper SkyTram, the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada for stunning views; the Maligne Canyon for a great hike past waterfalls, wildlife and streams; and a trip to the Athabasca Glacier Skywalk Experience. There are also motorcyle tours, lake cruises and great star-gazing opportunities.
Set in a river valley among vast boreal forest, cool lakes and sand hills, Edson is a small town two hours drive from Jasper. Halfway between Jasper and Edmonton it’s a great stop for time to explore the Bench Creek Brewing Company and the Galloway Station Museum which tells the story of the town's bootlegging past. Once back in Edmonton, there should be just enough time to explore the independent boutiques in historic Old Strathcona and the fine art galleries on 124th Street. Flag up the fact that with no provincial sales tax in Alberta your client’s money should go that bit further.