A school group walking the pathways at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump with an Indigenous guide.

Sustainable Travel

Looking to reduce the impact of your travel plans, but still want to experience something new? Alberta is your destination for low impact travel, with easy options for busing to the mountains, bike and walking paths throughout our major cities, and defined “slow seasons” where you are less likely to add to traffic and congestion.

See this place through the eyes of the land’s first caretakers by booking an experience with an Indigenous guide or outfitter, many of which focus on sustainable practices. You will also find plenty of eco-friendly experiences through locally-owned and operated accommodations and restaurants.

How to get around Banff National Park with no car.
Snowshoe your way into the wilderness for nighttime stargazing.
Two people cycling across the Prince's Island Bridge in Calgary.

Low impact travel

Minimal footprint, maximum fun

Minimizing the impact of your travel can be as simple and fun as you want to make it. Alberta’s cities and towns increasingly have shops offering rental bicycles, while rentable electric scooters turn short jaunts into competitive zips around town. 

Bringing your own water bottles, vacuum bottles for hot beverages, soaps and other re-usable supplies will not only make you feel a little more at home, but help reduce your impacts as well.

Couple walking hand in hand down the street in downtown Edmonton.

Ditch the car and get to know the city

Pack your walking shoes, because there’s no better way to get intimately familiar with a new place than to walk it. Calgary and Edmonton’s downtown, shopping and eating districts are perfect for exploring on foot, saving you the stress of parking or the learning curve of driving in a new city. Transit systems are in place in both cities to take you further afield if you desire.  

Five Ways to Explore Edmonton on Foot

Endless bike paths to explore

Get pedaling, because Alberta’s cities, towns and parks are filled with thousands of kilometers of bike-friendly pathways, lanes, trails and roads. Pedal a rental bike around town between meals, tour the mountains or explore quiet backroads.

Explore Biking

See cities and parks from a two-wheeled view.

Off-peak travel

Want to ensure your trip has the least impact possible? Consider booking a spring or fall experience, when there is less traffic, fewer people on the trails, and the mountain towns and attractions are blissfully quiet.

Go zero-waste

Bringing your own reusable supplies will help reduce the impact of your vacation. Water bottles, coffee cups, utensils, soaps and bathroom supplies can all lighten the load on the local environment and landfills.

Keep nature pristine

One of the most important things you can do to protect this incredible place is work to keep the land in the most natural state possible. Take nothing and leave nothing behind when in nature, and practice responsible wildlife viewing.

Get to know Alberta Parks

Protecting and preserving Alberta’s wild spaces

Alberta’s parks were first established in 1932. In the time since, the parks system has become a comprehensive system that strives to conserve landscapes, offer chances for people to learn about nature and provide sustainable recreation and tourism opportunities.

Alberta Parks Regulations

The land’s first caretakers

Discover this place from an Indigenous perspective

Indigenous people, including First Nations and Métis, have traditionally inhabited these lands for generations, where they lived with the land. The Indigenous tourism sector provides incredible opportunities to experience these ways of life while exploring Alberta. 

The Lodge at Métis Crossing is both steeped in culture and a shining example of how to move forward sustainably. This 40-room lodge located on historic Métis river lots is even moving towards a fully solar operation in the near future.

Explore Indigenous Experiences

Nurture your relationship with nature

Discover Alberta through an Indigenous lens, learning about the natural and cultural history of the land through educational adventures, medicine walks, wildlife viewing, fishing trips and more.

Indigenous Tourism Alberta

Eco-friendly experiences

Make your trip count for even more with eco-friendly experiences

Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean limiting your travel, but broadening your horizons as you seek out locally-owned accommodations, experiences and dining to help put money back into the community and eco-friendly businesses. 

Alberta is flush with environmentally conscious businesses that make it easy to book a trip you can feel good about.

Hiker standing on the tip of a rock at the top of their hike overlooking a lake and mountain view.

Did you know?

There are around 1,600 km (994 mi) of trails to hike in Banff National Park, so you can explore stunning landscapes without extended travel.

Frequently asked questions

While out exploring, keeping the seven Leave No Trace principles in mind are a great way to reduce your impacts. 

A great way to minimize your impacts is being thoughtful about how you move around once you get here. Shuttles from airports to the National Parks provide a simple, stress-free way to get to your destination, and walking or biking are great ways to get to know your destination that much better. 

Alberta is an epic hiking destination, which is a low-impact way to see the sights. Biking around your destination city, canoe or kayak touring, or sightseeing via bus are also all great ways to reduce your reliance on a single car while here. Many of our more famous lakes, mountains and towns will have shuttle or transit options to get you where you need to go. 

  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: Situated in Banff National Park, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a luxury hotel that actively promotes environmental sustainability. They have implemented several initiatives, such as waste reduction, energy conservation, and water-saving measures. They are also engaged in local community initiatives and support environmental organizations.
  • Canmore Cave Tours: Canmore Cave Tours provides guided cave exploration experiences in the Canadian Rockies. They are dedicated to minimizing their environmental impact and promoting conservation. They use sustainable practices in their operations, including responsible waste management and educating visitors about the importance of protecting caves and their fragile ecosystems.
  • Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary: The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization located near Cochrane, Alberta. They rescue and provide lifelong care for displaced wolfdogs while educating visitors about the importance of preserving wolves and their habitat. The sanctuary promotes sustainable practices and environmental awareness through its educational programs and animal welfare initiatives.
  • Discover Banff Tours: They have created a sustainability plan.
  • Forest Fix: Located in Canmore, they are pretty much all about sustainability and renewal both physically and mentally. 
  • Warrior Women: Offer indigenous performances, workshops, tour shows, guided experiences, training and much more in Jasper.. and are fully committed to sustainability.

In general, it’s good practice to camp and hike on durable surfaces. If at a campground, that means placing your tent or trailer on hard ground, not grass or other soft surfaces. 

Fire bans regularly come into effect in summer, meaning it’s a good idea to check with the park you are staying in for the latest regulations, and remember not to collect deadfall for your campfires.

That’s an easy one! You’ve already completed the first step, checking out this page! By supporting locally-owned and operated sustainability-focused businesses, you will support our local communities and their commitments to the environment and sustainable travel.