Mount Assiniboine, Hamber, and Mount Robson Provincial Parks are described under World Heritage Sites. Parks are grouped according to the mountain range where they are located. The easternmost areas along the Alberta-British Columbia boundary are in the Continental Divide ranges. Sites in the Rocky Mountain Trench area also included in this area. Between the Columbia headwaters and Kootenay Lake-Duncan River trench are the Purcell Mountains. Between Kootenay Lake and Columbia River are the Selkirk Mountains, and west of the Columbia are the Monashee Mountains. Parks between the North Thompson River and the Fraser River are in the Cariboo Mountains
1. Sites of the Rocky Mountain Front (Alberta) south of Banff
Beehive Natural Area, Alberta (south end N50°0′ W114°38′, north end N50°7′ W114°43′), is 16,640 acres of alpine tundra, cliffs, and old growth spruce. The Oldman River is the north and eastern boundary.
Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park is 12,720 ha in the transition zone between the North Central Rockies forests and Alberta-British Columbia Foothills forests. The park surrounds the Sheep River Provincial Park, which maintains the trailheads of the Sheep River trails system and Sandy McNab trails system. The easternmost point is on the Sheep River at Long Prairie Creek (N50°38′ W114°28′), the southernmost point is near Junction Mountain (N50°33′ W114°41′), the westernmost point is at Bluerock Mountain (N50°41′ W114°50′), and the northernmost point is on Death Valley Creek (N50°42′ W114°33′). Major park trails are the Bluerock Creek Trail, Gorge Creek Trail, Mount McNabb Trail, Price Camp trail, and Death Valley Trail.
Bob Creek Wildland Provincial Park extends from the Oldman River in the south (N49°51′ W114°21′) to Chaffen Ridge in the north (N50°5′ W114°19′). Whaleback Ridge is the eastern boundary. The montane and subalpine ranges provide elk range. There are OHV trails crossing the area.
Bow Valley Provincial Park includes campgrounds, picnic areas and hiking trails along the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1), Route 1A, and Route 40, all east of Canmore. Areas along Route 1 include, from west to east, Bow River Campground (N51°4′ W115°19′), Three Sisters, Lac Des Arcs, Whitefish, Middle Lake, and Willow Rock Campground (N51°5′ W115°4′). Along Route 1A, areas from west to east are Old Camp (N51°4′ W115°17′), Gap Lake (N51°3′ W115°14′), and Grotto Mountain (N51°4′ W115°12′). Areas along Route 40 include, from south to north, Mount Lorette Ponds (N50°58′ W115°7′), Barrier Lake and Dam (N51° 2′ W115°3′), and Canoe Meadows (N51°3′ W115°1′). The Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre is also along Route 40.
Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park includes four separate areas with a total area of 37,370 ha, three to the north of the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1), and one to the south. The park includes lands in the Alberta Mountain forests and North-Central Rockies forests ecoregions. The south unit includes Mount Butler (N50°55′ W115°15′) in the south, Mount Rundle (N51°8′ W115°27′) in the northwest, and Jewell Pass (N51°3′ W115°6′) in the northeast. It is bordered by Banff National Park and Spray Valley Provincial Park on the west, Evan-Thomas Provincial Recreation Area, Valley Provincial Park, and Bow Valley Provincial Park on the east, and Bow Valley Provincial Park and Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park on the north. Trails include Prairie View, Jewell Pass, Heart Mountain, Skogan Pass, and Mount Allen. Other notable features in the North-Central Rockies forests portion include Heart Creek Trailhead (N51°3′ W115°9′), Wind Valley trailhead and Spray Falls (N51°2′ W115°15′), and Quaite Valley (N51°3′ W115°7′). The northeastern unit consists of the former Yamnuska Natural Area (N51°6′ W115°7′) including Mount Laurie, and is on Route 1A. The north-central unit is the Bow Valley area along Route 1 (N51°3′ W115°17′), and the northwestern unit (N51°8′ W115°20′) is to the north of Canmore centered on Mount Lady McDonald. It borders Banff National Park and Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park.
Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park is 480 ha in the town of Canmore on the Bow River at the site of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The main ski trails and summer mountain biking trails are at the visitor center site (N51°5′ W115°23′). An additional park site with hiking trails is at Grassi Lake (N51°5′ W115°24′). There are five small tracts along the Bow River extending from Canmore downstream to Route 1 (N51°4′ W115°20′) which are also included in the park.
Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park is 79,998 ha of diverse Rocky Mountain landscapes south of Kananaskis along the Kananaskis River and in the Highwood Valley. The peaks of the Fisher and Opal Ranges dominate the northern portion of the park, which is mostly trail-less. The Elk, Highwood and Misty Ranges are in the southern portions of the park. The southernmost point is at the Lineham Provincial Recreation Area (N50°27′ W114°46′) on Route 40 and the northernmost point is at Barrier Lake (N51°1′ W115°4′), also on Route 40. The park adjoins Bow Valley Provincial Park, Evan-Thomas Provincial Recreation Area, Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, Spray Valley Provincial Park, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park, Lantern Creek Provincial Recreation Area, and Lineham Provincial Recreation Area. Lantern Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°29′ W114°48′) on Route 40 provides a trailhead for Picklejar Lakes in the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park. Mist Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°31′ W114°50′) on Route 40 is the trailhead for access to the Sheep River watershed and trails network. Other trailheads are at Junction Creek on the Sheep River in Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park (N50°36′ W114°44′) on Route 546, Elbow Pass (N50°38′ W115°1′) on Route 40 in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, which provides access to Tombstone backcountry campground, and Little Elbow Provincial Recreation Area (N50°48′ W114°51′) on Route 66, which provides access to Mount Romulus and Tombstone backcountry campgrounds. In the northern portion of the park, the Baldy Pass Trail (N50°59′ W115°1′) climbs from the Kananaskis Valley at Wasootch Creek.
Elbow Valley Provincial Park includes 10 sites along Route 66 west of Calgary in the Rocky Mountain front. Five sites are in the North-Central Rockies forests and five are in Alberta-British Columbia Foothills forests. The visitor center for the park is at Gooseberry.
- Cobble Flats Provincial Recreation Area (N50°49′ W114°50′) is 91 ha on Route 66 adjoining the Elbow River and Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park.
- Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area (N50°52′ W114°47′) is 96 ha on Route 66 and the Elbow River. It is a trailhead for the Powderface Creek and Prairie Creek trails in the Elbow Valley trail system.
- Little Elbow Provincial Recreation Area (N50°48′ W114°51′) is 215 ha at the terminus of Route 66 and at the confluence of the Elbow and Little Elbow Rivers. It serves as a campground and trailhead for Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park, Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park (Forget-Me-Not Mountain) and other trails in the Elbow Valley trail system.
- Ings’ Mine Provincial Recreation Area (N50°54′ W114°48′) is 27 ha on Canyon Creek near Prairie Mountain and provides access to the Elbow Valley trail system.
- Moose Mountain Trailhead Provincial Recreation Area (N50°54′ W114°47′) is 15 ha providing a trailhead for the 7-km Moose Mountain trail within the Elbow Valley trail system.
Evan-Thomas Provincial Recreation Area (N50°56′ W115°8′) is a 2,570-ha developed park in the Kananaskis River Valley along Route 40. Included in the park are Mount Kidd and Mount Allan. The park is bordered on the west and north by Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park and on the south and southwest by Spray Valley Provincial Park. There are hotels, campgrounds, a ski area, and golf course, along with 60 km of bicycle and hiking trails.
Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park is 62,775 ha in 12 units along the Rocky Mountain front, nine of which are in the North Central Rockies forests ecoregion. The remaining three units are in the Alberta Mountain forests ecoregion. The park is known for blockfields, large, sheet-like expanses of weathered blocks covering bedrock on mountain plateaus and ridges.
- The westernmost unit stretches along the High Rock and Elk Range at the British Columbia border, between the Oldman River (N50°7′ W114°43′) and Mount Odlum (N50°29′ W114°55′). It includes the trail over Fording River Pass into British Columbia and a trail to Carnarvan Lake accessible from Cat Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°25′ W114°43′) on Route 40.
- Unit south of Mount Livingstone Provincial Park (N50°7′ W114°23′)
- Unit north of Mount Livingstone Provincial Park surrounding Windy Peak (N50°10′ W114°23′)
- The unit (N50°19′ W114°34′) surrounding Cataract Creek between Route 940 and the confluence with the Highwood River. A trail leads to Cataract Falls.
- East of Route 40 and north of Route 541 at Eyrie Gap, a unit includes the southern Highwood Range, Patterson’s Peak, Pyriform Mountain, Mount Head, and Holy Cross Mountain (N50°28′ W114°40′). It adjoins the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park on the north.
- The unit including Junction Mountain (N50°33′ W114°39′) is east of Elbow-Sheep Provincial Park and adjoins Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park on its north edge.
- Unit east of Big Elbow River (N50°46′ W114°48′) adjoins Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park and Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park on its south edge. A trail leads to Forget-Me-Not Ridge, with the deepest known caves in Alberta. Access is from the east at the end of Route 66. The Big Elbow Provincial Recreation Area (N50°43′ W114°52′) is in the southern portion of this section of the park and the Big Elbow Trail continues to Tombstone campground in the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park.
- Unit south of Little Elbow River (N50°45′ W114°54′), including Mount Glasgow and surrounded by Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial park on three sides to west.
- Unit in east Fisher Range and Canyon Creek area (N50°53′ W114°57′); adjoins Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park on its west side.
Ghost/Waiparous Provincial Recreation Area group includes eight sites north of Ghost Lake along Route 40. The sites are in the North Central Rockies forest and Alberta-British Columbia Foothills forest ecoregions. There are two sites in the North Central Rockies forest ecoregion.
- Ghost Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area (N51°13′ W114°43′) is 24 ha on Route 1A at the Ghost River crossing. It provides lakeside camping and day-use reservoir activities.
- South Ghost Provincial Recreation Area (N51°19′ W114°57′) is a 7-ha day-use site providing access to off-road vehicle and snowmobile trails.
Highwood Provincial Recreation Area Group consists of 13 sites along Routes 40, 541, and 940 between Cataract Creek and Mist Creek. Most sites offer camping, picnicking, and hiking, with equestrian uses also at selected sites. One site (Greenford) is described in the Canadian Aspen Forests and Parklands ecoregion.
- Cat Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°25′ W114°43′) is on Route 40 north of Highwood Junction and offers a trail to a waterfall to the east or Carnarvan Lake in the Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park to the west.
- Cataract Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°17′ W114°35′) is 53 ha offering a trailhead for Cataract Falls in the Tom Getty Wildland Provincial Park and for Mount Burke south of the park. It is off Route 941 at the Cataract Creek crossing.
- Etherington Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°20′ W114°38′) includes a trailhead for travel to points west. It is on Route 94 south of Highwood Junction.
- Fitzsimmons Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°23′ W114°41′) is 2 ha on Route 40 north of Highwood Junction along the Highwood River.
- Highwood Provincial Recreation Area (N50°24′ W114°32′) is 30 ha on Route 541 east of Highwood Junction, on the Highwood River.
- Highwood Junction Provincial Recreation Area (N50°23′ W114°39′) is 6 ha at the junction of Routes 40, 940, and 541 on the Highwood River.
- Lantern Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°29′ W114°48′) is on Route 40 and the Highwood River and provides a trailhead for Picklejar Lakes in the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park.
- Lineham Provincial Recreation Area (N50°27′ W114°46′) is on Route 40 and the Highwood River at the southernmost extension of Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park.
- Mist Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°31′ W114°50′) is on Route 40 and the Highwood River adjacent to Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park. A trail along Mist Creek provides access to the Sheep River watershed and trails network.
- Picklejar Provincial Recreation Area (N50°31′ W114°49′) is 8 ha on Route 40 and Picklejar Creek north of Highwood Junction.
- Sentinel Provincial Recreation Area (N50°23′ W114°35′) is 15 ha and the trailhead for Grass Pass trail, an area with extensive bunchgrass meadows north of Route 541.
- Strawberry Provincial Recreation Area (N50°24′ W114°42′) is 46 ha on Route 40 north of Highwood Junction on the Highwood River.
- Trout Pond Provincial Recreation Area (N50°30′ W114°49′) is 2 ha adjacent to Route 40 and the Highwood River north of Highwood Junction.
Honeymoon Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N50°2′ W114°33′) is an 18-acre equestrian campground on the Oldman River.
Indian Graves Provincial Recreation Area (N50°14′ W114°22′) is on Willow Creek at Route 532 west of Route 22 at Chain Lakes Reservoir.
Jumpingpound Provincial Recreation Area group is a collection of nine sites along Route 68 east of the Kananaskis Valley. There are four sites in the North-Central Rockies forest ecoregion.
- Old Baldy Pass Trail Provincial Recreation Area consists of a 28-ha right-of-way for Old Baldy Pass Trail, which begins east of Barrier Dam in Bow Valley Provincial Park (N51°2′ W115°1′) and ends at Old Baldy Pass (N50°59′ W115°2′). The trail continues west from Old Baldy Pass to Route 40 at Porcupine Recreation Area (N50°59′ W115°4′), crossing the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park and providing a 20-km circuit.
- Lusk Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N51°2′ W115°1′) is a 14-ha recreation site and trailhead. The Kananaskis Integrated Forest Interpretive Trail and Lusk Pass trail begin here.
- Sibbald Meadows Pond Provincial Recreation Area (N51°3′ W114°57′) is a 10-ha day-use area on Route 68.
- Stoney Creek Provincial Recreation Area (N51°2′ W115°1′) is a 13-ha campground and trailhead on Route 68 just east of Route 40.
Livingstone Falls Provincial Recreation Area (N50°6′ W114°26′) is a scenic area on the Livingstone River in southern Alberta.
Mount Livingstone Natural Area (N50°8′ W114°24′) is an unusual 535-ha high elevation grassland located south of Calgary and west of Route 22.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park is 50,142 ha along Routes 40 and 742 south of Banff National Park. The park is located in both the Alberta Mountain forests and North-Central Rockies forests ecoregions. There are 23 glaciers and numerous U-shaped valleys. Upper Kananaskis Lake (N50°37′ W115°7′) and Lower Kananaskis Lake (N50°41′ W115°8′), used for hydroelectric purposes, are prominent features. The park is bordered by Elk Lake Provincial Park and Height of the Rockies Provincial Parks of British Columbia on the south, Banff National Park on the west, Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park on the east, and Spray Valley Provincial Park on the north. Features of the park in the North Central Rockies forests are a visitor centre on the Kananaskis Lakes Road (N50°40′ W115°7′), Highwood Pass and Ptarmigan Cirque (N50°36,W114°59′), Elbow Lake (N50°38′ W115°0′), Kananaskis Canyon (N50°42′ W115°7′), and Black Prince Cirque (N50°42′ W115°13′). Above Ptarmigan Cirque, Mount Rae is noted for its abundance of horn coral fossils of Mississippian age.
Plateau Mountain Ecological Reserve (N50°13′ W114°32′) is 2,325 ha in the Livingstone Range south of Calgary, featuring a flat plateau with unique ice cave crystals and other phenomena. The reserve is known for blockfields, large, sheet-like expanses of weathered blocks covering bedrock on mountain plateaus and ridges.
Sheep River Provincial Park consists of 6,192 ha along the Sheep River in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Access is from Route 546 west from Turner Valley. The main section of the park provides bighorn sheep habitat along the river gorge. Several outlying sections provide recreational campgrounds and trailheads for the Sheep Valley Trail system. The park is surrounded on all sides by the Bluerock Wildland Provincial Park. Major sites in the North-Central Rockies forest portion are the Junction Creek Trailhead (N50°36′ W114°44′), Sheep River Falls (N50°37′ W114°42′), and Threepoint Backcountry campsite (N50°42′ W114°47′).
Spray Valley Provincial Park is 27,472 ha on Route 742 south of Canmore and Route 40 south of Kananaskis Village. The park is located in both the Alberta Mountain forests and North-Central Rockies forests ecoregions. The Spray Lakes Reservoir, a hydroelectric development, is included in the park. It is bordered by the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park on the south, Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park on the east, Evan Thomas Provincial Recreation Area and Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park on the north, and Banff National Park on the west. Features in the Alberta Mountain forests ecoregion include Goat Creek on Route 742 (N51°4′ W115°25′), Spray Lakes Reservoir (N51°0′ W115°22′), and Ribbon Lake (N50°53′ W115°15′).
Wildcat Island Natural Area (N51°13′ W114°38′) is an 8-ha island in the Bow River downstream from Ghost Reservoir. It is known as a bird-watching site for cliff swallows and fish-eating birds.
2. Sites of the Continental Divide Ranges in British Columbia (outside of the Rocky Mountain parks world heritage site).
Cummins Lakes Provincial Park is 21,700 ha and includes the Cummins River from the Clemenceau Icefields of Jasper National Park (N52°10′ W117°59′) downstream to Kinbasket Lake (N52°3′ W118°13′). Wildlife includes grizzly bear and caribou. It is a park for wilderness mountaineering, with two glacial lakes and three waterfalls.
East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area (N50°14′ W115°49′) is 6,900 ha, providing winter range for ungulates and habitat for grizzly bear and waterfowl. The area stretches from Canal Flats (the source of the Columbia River) in the south to Fairmont Hot Springs in the north.
Columbia Lake Ecological Reserve (N50°12′ W115°49′) is a 32-ha tract designated to protect limestone-loving plants found in wet seeps and springs. These habitats are unique ones for the Columbia Valley. It also has interior Douglas-fir forests. The site is surrounded by the East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area.
Mount Sabine Ecological Reserve (N50°11′ W115°48′) is an 8-ha site protecting a representative montane spruce forest north of Canal Flats. It is surrounded by the East Side Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area.
Columbia Lake Provincial Park (N50°18′ W115°51′), is 257 ha and bordered by the East Columbia Lake Wildlife Management Area on the east and west. It provides lakeside recreation across from the Riverside Gold Resort and south of Fairmont Hot Springs.
Cranberry Marsh/Starrett Wildlife Management Area (N52°49′ W119°15′) is 319 ha west of Route 5, south of Valemount in the Rocky Mountain trench. The site is noted as a staging area for swans and geese and is also used by the American bittern.
Dry Gulch Provincial Park (N50°35′ W116°2′), is a 29-ha campground park adjacent to Kootenay National Park south of Radium Hot Springs on Routes 93-95.
Elk Lakes Provincial Park is 17,240 ha reached by driving 100 km north from Sparwood (Route 3) on the Elk River Road. The north extent of the park is Elk Pass (N50°35′ W115°4′) and the south end is near Wolverine Lake (N50°22′ W115°4′). Features in the north end accessed by trail are Upper Elk Lake (N50°33′ W115°7′) and in the south end Abruzzi Lake (N50°27′ W115°5′). The Alpine Club of Canada operates a lodge in the park. Vegetation is alpine vegetation as well as alpine fir, Engelmann spruce, and lodgepole pine at lower elevations. The park is bordered by Peter Lougheed Provincial Park of Alberta on the north and Height of the Rockies Provincial Park on the west.
Mount Terry Fox Provincial Park (N52°56′ W119°16′) is 1,930 ha and a memorial to a bone cancer victim who publicized the need to fund cancer research. A trailhead to reach the mountain is on Route 5 north of Valemont.
Burges James Gadsden Provincial Park is described under the Columbia Wetlands Ramsar site.
Height of the Rockies Provincial Park is 54,170 ha of wilderness used for hiking and maintained for grizzly habitat. It adjoins Banff National Park on the north and Elk Lakes Provincial Park on the east. Access is from the Elk River on the east and Palliser River and White Rivers on the east. Trailheads for the park are located along the roads along these rivers. The north end is at Mount Sir Douglas (N50°43′ W115°20′), the west end is at Ralph Lake (N50°39′ W115°29′), the south end is south of Forsyth Creek (N50°14′ W115°5′), and the east end is at Mount Bleasdell (N50°21′ W114°57′).
Holliday Creek Arch Protected Area (N53°13′ W119°52′), is 395 ha surrounding an 80-m-wide and 18-m-high natural stone arch. Mountain goats are often seen. The site is accessible via an 8-km trail from Route 16 between Dunster and McBride.
Kakwa Provincial Park is 170,890 ha in size, at the junction of three ecoregions (Alberta Mountain forests, Central British Columbia Mountain forests, and North Central Rockies forests) 70 km north of McBride. Access is by foot from the end of Walker Creek Forest Service Road, 85 km from Route 16. A continuous chain of national and provincial parks begins at Kakwa and extends southward to Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park in Alberta. The park is also the northern terminus of the Great Divide Trail, which extends 1,200 km south to Waterton Lakes National Park and continues in the United States as the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail to Mexico. The park includes two peaks over 10,000 feet, Narraway waterfall, caves, Triassic fish fossils, and dinosaur track sites. Forests are sub-boreal. The headquarters is at Kakwa Lake (N54°0′ W120°11′). The northern extent is along the Narraway River (N54°16′ W120°15′), the western extent is at McGregor River at Jarvis Creek (N53°59′ W120°42′), and the southeastern extent is at Intersection Mountain (N53°49′ W120°0′).
Marl Creek Provincial Park (N51°31′ W117°12′) is 169 ha on the Columbia River about 25 north of Golden. The park includes the last remaining natural reaches of the Columbia River, as well as old growth forest. It is not accessible to the public.
Ram Creek Ecological Reserve (N50°2′ W115°36′) is 122 ha protecting natural hot springs. The rare vivid dancer damselfly (Argia vivida) is found at the hot springs, along with a rare plant, Crawe’s sedge. The reserve is in the Kootenay Range east of Routes 93-95.
Rearguard Falls Provincial Park (N52°58′ W119°22′) is 48 ha on Route 16 just west of Mount Robson Provincial Park. It is noted as an observation point to observe salmon on the Fraser River.
Skookumchuck Prairie (N49°51′ W115°44′) is an Important Bird Area for a breeding population of long-billed curlew. The area is along Routes 93-95 in the Upper Kootenay River area.
Small River Caves Provincial Park (N53°10′ W119°30′), is 1,800 ha and protects a series of caves partially overlain by a glacier. It is accessible by logging road from Route 16 north of Valemount.
Sunbeam Creek Ecological Reserve (N53°21′ W120°7′), is 510 ha on the northeastern side of the Rocky Mountain trench, off Route 16 at McBride. The area includes the glaciated McBride Peak and protects alpine communities on the peak.
Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia (N50°7′ W115°33′) is 1,900 ha in a Douglas-fir forest with two natural lakes and the Lussier Hot Springs along the park entrance road. A hiking trail is on the north shore of Whiteswan Lake. The site is east of Routes 93-95 on the Whiteswan Forest Service Road, which is south of Canal Flats.