Do you want to take a great adventure tourism trip near the Canadian Rockies, but be away from all the commercial tourism, as well keep down your costs and have access to a wide array of wilderness activities? If the answer is yes, then you should take in the area around Hinton, Alberta.
The area is only a short distance from Jasper National Park and the northern beginning of the world famous Icefields Parkway, but still has spectacular views of the mountains. It is also home to the Foothills Model Forest, which also has an impressive interpretive trail, on the west end of the town, and operates interpretive and environmental preservation programs in Jasper National Park, William Switzer Provincial Park and areas around Hinton during the summer months.
Hinton also offers fine accommodations, at a fraction of the costs of Jasper. As well William Switzer Provincial Park has abundant camping facilities. There are also several outdoors lodges, ranches and guiding services.
For those seeking more rugged and isolated areas, Willmore Wilderness Area and further north, Kakwa Wildland Provincial Park. Both of these areas are accessed from the Yellowhead Trans-Canada Highway, via Highway 40 (The Ram Highway), that runs north, just west of Hinton. Known as the “Scenic Route to Alaska”, the highway goes on to Grande Cache, Grande Prairie and west to British Columbia.
A word of caution…If you take this highway, fill your gas tank at Hinton. It can also be an interesting cycle trip (but be prepared for bears on the road). There are also many guided horse trips through the area, as well as trips for experienced paddlers.
South of the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway in the Whitehorse Wildland, that provides excellent opportunities for camping, hiking. backpacking and trail riding (horses and mountain bikes.
Travelers into the above areas must be aware that this is wild country. Back country trails and campgrounds are much more rustic. Maps and compass use, proper gear, clothing, food storage/disposal and experience and bear avoidance skills are mandatory! For those that are prepared…a fabulous trip is in order.
The area is also accessible via bus, as well as rail to the Jasper, where travelers can make their way back to Hinton. For railroad enthusiasts, the original Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Station House, has been re-located, a short distance east, on the south side of the Yellowhead highway. Hinton is also the home of the Alberta Forest Service Museum.
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