WHEN you gaze across thousands of miles of snow-covered mountain tops, it’s hard to forget how beautiful the world is.
From the peak of Sulphur Mountain — 8,000ft high into the sky — I’m standing on cloud nine as I stare out at the frosted pine trees of Banff National Park.
This is one of five National Parks in Alberta, where I’ve come on a whistlestop tour of Canada’s rugged forests, glacial lakes and rich wildlife.
But our trip begins in the bustling city of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
From here you can dip out of city life and into the beating heart of Canada’s wildlife in a couple of hours.
In the middle of the city is Studio Bell, a museum dedicated to Canada’s fascinating music history and a must-see for Rolling Stones fans who can visit the band’s mobile recording studio from 1968.
You’ll never be short of restaurant options in the city, either. Make sure to visit Una Pizza & Wine restaurant on 17th Avenue, which serves up San Francisco-inspired grub with a Canadian twist.
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We tried the Beltline — a double-smoked bacon, fennel sausage and smoked mozzarella pizza drizzled with maple syrup.
Wash it all down with a bottle of orange wine or, if you’re after a stronger tipple, venture 40 miles up the road to the Eau Claire distillery.
Tucked away in Turner Valley, it is Alberta’s first independent distillery and produces a delicious array of flavoured gins as well as vodkas and whiskies.
The real fun begins when you venture out of the city, though.
Making our way toward the Rocky Mountains, we pass the Unesco World Heritage Site of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (yes, that is its actual name).
It’s one of several “buffalo jumps” nearby, so named because the cliffs were once used by the indigenous population to hunt buffalo or bison.
This is not a place for history enthusiasts to miss as our guide takes us back 9,000 years in time to teach us the unique way the Blackfoot tribe hunted the beasts by luring them off the cliff edge.
There are not a vast number of buffalo roaming the land now, but the rocky landscape is still an incredible sight.
As you head deeper into the Rocky Mountains, there’s plenty to keep nature-lovers happy, including mountain bike trails through the woodland, horse-rides in the snow and long strolls around Waterton Lakes.
Wild deer stroll past window
And when you’ve had your fill of adventuring in the wilderness, there’s no better way to recharge your batteries than at the outdoor spa at Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, which has unbeatable views of the alpine mountain tops.
Our home for the rest of the trip is the Bayshore Inn, which keeps us in the thick of the action.
Wildlife sightings are common in this fairytale escape — and in just a few days, we encounter elk, mountain sheep, cougars and a moose.
While you’re here, book a table at the hotel’s lakeside restaurant where you can tuck into steak and garlicky mash as wild deer stroll past the window.
The final destination — and a definite highlight — on our 11-day journey is Banff, home to the remarkable Lake Louise where you can dine at The Fairview Bar and cast your eyes over nature’s true beauty.
Making my way up to the top of Sulphur Mountain, I take in the snowy cliffs which surround it, staring out at the unspoilt parkland and steaming hot springs.
It isn’t until I’m standing back on my balcony at home — where the only view is of my neighbour’s flat — that I come crashing back down to earth.
But, luckily, the sight of never-ending mountain tops and snow-covered trees is something that will stay with me forever.
In the middle of the city is Studio Bell, a museum dedicated to Canada’s fascinating music history[/caption]