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In the Milk River Valley, less than 40 miles northeast of the Sweetgrass-Coutts border crossing, you will find North America's greatest concentration of aboriginal rock art - petroglyphs and pictographs - carved and painted on sandstone cliff faces at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. Visit the excellent interpretive center and take a guided tour of a place sacred to the Plains Indians for thousands of years.
Fifteen minutes northwest of Fort Macleod, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved sites of its kind. For nearly 6,000 years, the Plains Indians drove the buffalo over the 36-foot high cliffs to their deaths. In the camps below, the animals were processed to supply meat for food, hides for clothing and shelter, and sinew, bone and horn for tools.
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Explore this exciting urban landscape filled with attractions, arts and culture and first-rate local cuisine. Home to the world famous Calgary Stampede, the city buzzes with entrepreneurial energy while embracing its rich western heritage.
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Just 90 minutes west of Calgary, Banff National Park showcases the unparalleled beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. In the picturesque town of Banff, enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, take a gondola ride to a mountain top, then visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Explore the shops along Banff Avenue for unique Canadiana gifts. Try a bison burger or a tender elk steak.
Thirty minutes from Banff townsite, Lake Louise is known as the hiking capital of Canada, with dozens of marked trailheads nearby. Trails range from short, easy, scenic loops to more ambitious climbs. Take a comfortable stroll around the lake and you’ll see why it’s called the Jewel of the Rockies. Hike to an old-fashioned tea house or ride a gondola and watch for grizzly bears far below.
Linking Banff and Jasper national parks is the Icefields Parkway, named by National Geographic as one of the most stunning drives in the world. Wind past some of the tallest peaks in the Rockies with more than 100 glaciers you can see from the road. As you descend into Jasper National Park and the Columbia Icefield, watch for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, grizzly and black bears.
Stop at the Glacier Discovery Centre off the Icefields Parkway and board a massive Ice Explorer with giant rubber wheels that takes you right up onto the Athabasca Glacier. Five minutes away, opening in May 2014, is the graceful, glass-floored observation platform known as the Glacier Skywalk. Perched 900 feet above the Sunwapta Valley, the attraction is fully accessible and provides a breathtaking perspective on the park’s glaciology. The town of Jasper is 90 minutes to the north.
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