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Take a walk on the wild west side of North America

Red canoes! Majestic elk! Rocky peaks! Western Canada is a natural place to start for any outdoor enthusiast. The people are friendly, the desert is great and the mountain scenery is a marvel to behold. Or you can head right south and a whole new frontier of adventure opens up in the American West with its vast gorges and towering sequoias. Can you faint from too much fresh air? Who knows! So far, all you have to do is mentally lace up your most comfortable hiking boots while we explore eight ways to connect with these stunning landscapes.

1: Express yourself in the Canadian Rockies

Are you ready to say ‘wow’ at every turn of your journey? It’s easy when you stare at turquoise blue water surrounded by soaring snow-capped peaks in villages like Lake Louise. Whether you’re walking to a lakeside tea house or hovering above in a gondola in Banff, you can ‘oh and ah’ while scanning your surroundings for Canada’s famous furry inhabitants such as moose, wolves and bears.

See for yourself: Canadian Rockies Express

2: Coast from camping to zodiac signs and canoes

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After starting with the ferry, you can sunbathe in the lush scent of ancient forests and coastal waters of Vancouver Island. Camp under the stars, watch surfers brave the waves, and sail around Clayoquot Sound with the zodiac boat looking for orcas, sea lions and seals. Back on the mainland, you can go deep into the interior of BC and switch to a canoe with a paddle in Wells Gray Provincial Park. It is a waterfall-filled wonderland including Helmcken Falls that is three times higher than Niagara.

See for yourself: Canadian Rockies: National Parks – Eastbound

3: Flow through Jasper’s natural history

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What if you could learn about the history of a UNESCO World Heritage Site as you lazily float down a calm river? You can float along the historic Athabasca River, used by fur traders in the 19th century, on natural history wildlife. Expert guides row and tell stories while enjoying the beauty of Jasper National Park and keeping an eye on eagles, bears, moose, mountain sheep and wolves. Wild!

See for yourself: Experience the Canadian Rockies – eastbound

4: Go at a glacier pace at Columbia Icefields

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Start with a breathtaking scenic drive along Columbia Icefields Parkway as it winds its way past jagged mountain peaks and glaciers living into light blue lakes. At the Athabasca Glacier, a trained guide can guide you and your own two feet up on one of the Rockies’ largest and most accessible sheets of moving ice.

See for yourself: Experience the Canadian Rockies – westbound

5: Say hello (at a safe distance) to woolly bison

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Spectacular peaks and abundant wildlife make their home in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. You can shuttle boat across Jenny Lake, hike Cascade Canyon and head to Hidden Falls to reach Inspiration Point. At Yellowstone, one of the largest national parks in the United States, you can admire active geyser fields, vast gorges, and magnificent beasts like roaming bison.

See for yourself: The best of Yellowstone & Grand Teton

6: Consider Capitol Reefs arches and petroglyphs

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Discover the cliffs, gorges, and pillars that make up this stunning and surreal Utah National Park. Among the spiers of sandstone you will find etchings dating back to 1300 AD, when natives of the Fremont culture lived at the Capitol Reef. At night you can look straight up and be fascinated by a designated Dark Sky Park in gold.

See for yourself: Hiking in Utah’s Big 5

7: Slip through rainbow-colored castle gorges

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Wake up to a beautiful sunrise in Bryce Canyon, then head to Page, Arizona – the gateway to the iconic Antelope Canyon. There, a local Navajo guide can guide you through a natural sandstone cathedral created by lightning floods, wind and rain. Admire the blue sky high up, while rays of light create a dazzling view of the smooth multicolored walls.

See for yourself: Road Trippin ‘American West

8: Stand next to stone and wooden giants in Yosemite

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Did you know that there are 16 types of granite in this famous national park? That’s true, and you can get really close with massive granite monoliths like El Capitan and Half Dome. In order not to be surpassed by its rock cousins, the park is filled with giant sequoias that reach out for the stars. You can spend days among chasing mighty waterfalls, seeing wildlife and hiking on famous trails.

See for yourself: USA Road Trip – Yosemite Hiking, Cali Surfing

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