Alberta is a province in Western Canada. Its landscape encompasses mountains, prairies, desert badlands and vast coniferous forests. It has more than 600 lakes, and rich mineral deposits. In the west, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks have glaciers, the largest being the Columbia Icefields visible from the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. The Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is a biosphere reserve that straddles the southern border with the USA.

Population: 4.371 million (2019) StatCan

Capital: Edmonton.   Mountain Time Zone: (GMT-7) MST

Provincial Hiking Organization: 

Most of the long distance hiking opportunities in Alberta are in the mountains and public lands in the west of the province. However there are many other hiking opportunities by the rivers in the big cities, near some of the smaller towns and in the provincial parks which showcase the great variety of landscapes, flora and fauna in the province.

Some examples of the hiking possibilities in Alberta are:

“The Great Divide Trail traverses the continental divide between Alberta and British Columbia, wandering through the vast wilderness of the Canadian Rocky Mountains for more than 1100 kilometres. It is one of the most spectacular and challenging long‐distance trails on the planet.

The Great Divide Trail is wild and not always even an actual trail, sometimes merely a wilderness route, inspiring modern-day adventurers to walk the same paths of the original Indigenous people and explorers to the area. A journey on the Great Divide Trail promises to be demanding but on the GDT you’ll discover a superlative wilderness experience in one of the most magnificent settings on Earth.”

This is a quote from (the website of the Great Divide Trail Association) which has maps and much more information about this trail.

Northover Ridge Trail: This 40-kilometer (25-mile) loop trail Starts at Upper Kanaskis Lake in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. It is known for its stunning alpine landscapes, including panoramic views of glaciers, peaks, and lakes. Some people hike this in a day but taking 3 days allows hikers to fully appreciate the area.

Located in Jasper National Park, the Skyline Trail is a very popular multi-day hike that covers around 44 kilometers (27 miles) through the stunning Canadian Rockies. Hikers are rewarded with sweeping views of mountains, glaciers, and turquoise-coloured lakes. Some people do this hike in a day.

The North Boundary Trail in Jasper National Park Jasper is 159 kms long and goes through some one the more remote parts of the park and ends in Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC. The eastern part of the route is mostly in the trees. Snake Indian Pass is the high point of the route before the trail descends west to the Smoky River.

Willmore Wilderness Park, located between the town of Grande Cache and Jasper National Park, covers over 4,600 square kilometers (1,776 square miles) of untouched wilderness. Equestrians and outfitters use this park a lot but it offers many long-distance hiking options. One can thru hike from Rock Lake to Grand Cache by at least 2 routes or do loop trips of various distances and spend non travelling days on the fine open ridges. Willow underbrush is a “feature” of this park.

Much of the terrain in Banff and Jasper National Parks retains snow into June but the Foothills east of the mountains generally receive less snow so the hiking season is longer. The eastern parts of the Bighorn Wildland and Kananaskis Country and the eastern slopes south to the US border offer great hiking opportunities for day hikes and mostly shorter multi day trips.

There are hiking opportunities east of the mountains and many of these are in Provincial Parks. Cypress Hills, Writing-On-Stone, William Switzer and Lakeland are some examples.

These are just a few examples of long-distance hiking trails and other hiking opportunities in Alberta. It’s important to research and plan your hikes carefully, considering factors such as trail conditions, weather, and safety precautions. Additionally, always ensure you have the necessary permits – National Parks and areas join the Eastern Slopes of the mountains require permits – and follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the  areas for other hikers and future generations.