It's not just the stunning views of the Rockies or the pristine turquoise lakes that will take your breath away on the winding mountain roads of the Bow Valley. This rugged, gorgeous area just west of Calgary is also home to charming small towns, award-winning dining, breweries for all tastes and adventures to thrill even the most daring. But if having a facial is as active as you get on vacation, there are plenty of spas, yoga studios and cafés to nestle in, too.
As for getting to this high-altitude nirvana, it's simple: Jump on Highway 1 from Calgary and head west. If you're here for the Stampede's centennial celebrations, this is the perfect road trip to let the fresh air whistle away any cobwebs left over from the hoedown and take in Alberta's striking scenery. You'll know you've arrived when the mountains—which seem like a distant painting at first—suddenly rise up to greet you.