YOU CAN STILL HAVE INSANE LANDSCAPES AND AVOID THE CROWDS
Now, we all know Alberta is beautiful… I mean… just look at it…
BUT Alberta is mostly known for Banff National Park. And well, understandably so… just look at it…
So when people think about eloping in the mountains- their hearts and minds are mostly likely, already thinking Banff.
However, I’m here to tell you, that there are TONS of places not only in Banff, but other areas of the Rockies that are close by, and even other areas of Alberta that people don’t even know about! Keep reading if you wanna learn about some not-so-crowded areas to get married in!
A NOTE: before considering any of these places for your wedding or elopement, please consider Leave No Trace Principles when planning, so we can continue to be allowed to have these amazing experiences in natural spaces!
A SECOND NOTE: before you decide where to elope, even in Banff, please make sure that you are getting the proper permits, and that your vendors have the proper permits for working in these landscapes. You do need a permit to hold a ceremony in most provincial and national parks!
With Jasper being connected to Banff National Park through the Icefields Parkway, it is a HUGE SPAN of natural area that tends to see a fraction of the tourists that Banff seems to get! This is partly due to the fact that Jasper is further north than Banff, and requires a bit of driving to get to (4 hours from Edmonton, 5 ½ from Calgary!) It also isn’t as developed tourist-wise, compared to Banff. But you can use this to your advantage! With so many unique landscapes and nature features through the park, Jasper helps you embrace nature, without the crowds.
Kananaskis has grown in popularity greatly over the last few years, but still see’s a limited amount of tourists compared to Banff. There isn’t as many features when it comes to hotels, places to eat, and attractions, but the nature and views are out of this world. The amount of hiking trails throughout the Kananaskis area is insane, and not to mention there are TONS of camping (both front and back country) that are easier to reserve! The nice thing about the landscape in Kananaskis, is that you can find so many different options, all while following the same highway.
Spray Valley, Alberta
Close enough to Banff where you can still stay and explore there, but far enough away to give you privacy & space from other travellers! Again, the area is growing in popularity, due to the amazing hiking and unique viewpoints of Spray Lakes Resevoir. However because the area is a little harder to get to than Banff, the area is mostly explored by those who really value the outdoors, and are there to experience it, rather than a bunch of people holding selfie sticks trying to get the exact same picture as everyone else. There are so many unique options that can really help tell your story!
If you want to see an example of a hiking elopement in the Kananaskis/Spray Lakes area, check out one from last summer here!
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
A completely underrated national park in my honest opinion. The saying goes ‘Waterton is for the newlyweds and nearly deads’ (I know… kinda dark) BUT after getting to experience this little town and HUGELY AMAZING national park, I get it. The vibe is very similar to Banff and Jasper, but it’s almost like everyone is local. Everyone there is just simply, enjoying themselves. Driving around, walking downtown, experiencing the wildlife and nature. The town is very small, and has some limiting options compared to other better-known national parks. But, Waterton makes up for it by having some of the most unique ‘lakeside’ views I’ve ever seen. Not to mention, it’s just a hop and a skip over to the US border in Montana, so this is a great option if you’re looking to travel across either for your elopement or down south for your honeymoon- but don’t want a huge trip ahead of you!
Now I knowwwww when you think Banff you’re obviously thinking of the mountains and forests and insanely blue lakes. But did you know Alberta has its own badlands where the dino’s used to roam? ANNDD, you can elope there? Drumheller is on the eastern side of the province, but still close to Calgary enough to make a day trip out of it. The canyons and hoodoos found in Drumheller give one of THE MOST unique looks and vibes to any session or elopement I’ve done in the badlands. Not to mention that the history of the dinosaurs can be found all throughout the area. Considering Alberta is known for the mountains, the badlands are an area that get overlooked too often!
If you want you can check out a western elopement that I shot here!
Kootenay or Yoho National Parks, AB BC Border
Now this is more of an honourable mention considering it isn’t *technically* in Alberta, but they’re close enough and right on the border! Yoho National Park, and Kootenay National Park both border Banff, but still in the heart of the rockies. These areas are known for its open spaces, insane road trip views, and those glacier lakes we all love. Kootenay and Yoho are perfect places to be completely secluded. Not to mention it’s worth it just for the drive!
Now of course, Banff holds a special place in my heart. And it will never be overrated because theres always something new to find. But don’t overlook these other areas just because Banff is what you see all over social media and the internet. Alberta is FULL of unique areas that can definitely fix your travel bug, but also give you those insane wanderlust feelings that Banff is famous for.
If you want to see more blogs and galleries from elopements and weddings and adventure sessions all around Alberta, click here!
If you want to learn more about where to elope in Alberta, you can check out my instagram that features more specific places, or contact me here where we can start talking about your adventure !