National parks and sites

Many of the best places to appreciate Alberta's unique and diverse natural environment or historic past are protected as national parks or historic sites by Parks Canada.

National parks

National parks showcase and preserve Canada's significant natural areas. There are five national parks in Alberta, four of which are designated UNESCO world heritage sites.

  • Waterton Lakes National Park – mountains rise abruptly out of prairie in this national park that sits on the border with Montana in the United States.
  • Banff National Park – Canada’s first national park built around the discovery of hot springs in the Rocky Mountains, two hours’ drive from Calgary.
  • Jasper National Park – the largest and most northerly Canadian Rocky Mountain national park four hours west of Edmonton.
  • Elk Island National Park – this wilderness of aspen parkland provides homes to herds to bison, moose, deer, elk and more than 250 species of birds less than one hour’s drive east of Edmonton.
  • Wood Buffalo National Park – larger in area than Switzerland, this park provides a home to the largest herd of free-roaming bison and protects nesting sites for the endangered whooping crane as well as preserving an example of Canada’s northern boreal plains. It is located at the northeast tip of Alberta.

National historic sites

National historic sites are places of profound importance to Canada. There are 14 national historic sites in Alberta.