UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES
What do mountains, dinosaurs, 6,000 years of buffalo hunting and a park that's bigger than Switzerland have in common? UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Alberta has five of Canada's 16 designated sites.
Here's your UNESCO World Heritage Site checklist.
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
Along our western border, Banff and Jasper national parks are two of the seven contiguous Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks designated by UNESCO in 1984. Spectacular scenery includes dazzling mountain ranges, alpine valleys with turquoise lakes and rushing rivers, deep rock canyons, dense forest and ancient glaciers. Home to abundant wildlife, these parks are heaven for outdoor enthusiasts with thousands of kilometres of paved trails to explore - on foot, by horseback or on mountain bikes.
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
In the southwest corner of the province is Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. In 1932 our Waterton Lakes National Park joined with Montana's Glacier National Park to form the first International Peace Park. It was awarded the UNESCO designation because of its distinctive climate, mountain-prairie topography and wide variety of plants and wildlife, some not found elsewhere in North America. Hiking and paddling here is bucket list material.
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
In the Porcupine Hills, just north and slightly east of Waterton is Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. One of the most extensive and best preserved hunting sites in North America, it is a testimonial to the way of life of the Plains Indians who for thousands of years drove the buffalo off the high cliffs to sustain their tribes. Learn about their culture through the stories of the elders, stay for the drumming and watch the colourful swirl of the hoop dancers who follow the powwow trail.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park is situated in the heart of the Canadian Badlands in south eastern Alberta. In this dramatic arid landscape of eroded sandstone and layered canyons, rich bone beds dating back 75 million years have yielded some of the world's most important dinosaur finds. Interactive activities abound. Sign up for a tour or take a day hike and hunt for fossils.
Wood Buffalo National Park
In the far north is Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest of its kind in North America and second largest in the world. Covering almost 45,000 sq km (~17,000 sq mi) in Alberta and the Northwest Territories, it contains the world's largest inland delta where three major rivers converge. Mostly untouched by the modern world, it is a haven for a wide variety of wildlife - watch for moose, black bear, wolf, lynx, brown bear, beaver, snowshoe hare, sandhill crane and ruffled grouse. It is also home to the biggest herd of free roaming bison on the planet and contains the nesting grounds for the endangered whooping crane.