By Plane

The Calgary International Airport (airport code YYC; tel. 877/254-7427 or 403/735-1200; www.calgaryairport.com) and the Edmonton International Airport (airport code YEG; tel. 800/268-7134; www.flyeia.com) are the main air hubs to access much of Alberta.

If you are heading anywhere in the south, including Banff National Park, fly to Calgary. To get to Banff, take either the Banff Airporter (tel. 888/449-2901 or 403/762-3330; www.banffairporter.com; C$53 one-way), or Sundog Tours (tel. 888/786-3641 or 403/762-2711; www.sundogtours.com) airport shuttle, which is the only one that will take you to Lake Louise or Jasper from the Calgary Airport in both summer and winter. (Banff is 129km/80 miles west of Calgary. It's about 90 min. by car from the airport.)

advertisement

If you want to visit Jasper National Park or the north, fly to Edmonton (363km/225 miles east of Jasper; a 4-hr. trip by car).

To inquire about flights into Calgary and Edmonton, contact Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262; www.aircanada.ca), Continental Airlines (tel. 800/231-0856; www.flycontinental.com), Delta (tel. 800/221-1212; www.delta.com), Northwest (tel. 800/225-2525; www.nwa.com), or WestJet (tel. 888/937-8538; www.westjet.com).

Many airlines from Europe and the United Kingdom fly to Calgary and Edmonton as well. Note: International visitors arriving by air should cultivate patience before arriving. Canada has not been immune to the massive security beef-up since 9/11, and clearing Customs can be a lengthy process, particularly for overseas visitors.

advertisement

By Train

Not an easy prospect for visitors arriving from the U.S. -- while the closest passenger rail entry point is on the British Columbia coast, you can nonetheless use Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL; www.amtrak.com) to link up with Canada's VIA Rail (tel. 888/VIA-RAIL; www.viarail.com) in Vancouver and make the day-long journey through the mountains to Edmonton, via Jasper (a 16-hour journey, total). VIA has no Calgary or Banff routes, but the privately owned Rocky Mountaineer Vacations (tel. 877/460-3200; www.rockymountaineer.com) has a stunning overnight trip that departs from Vancouver and stops in either Banff or Jasper (you select your destination at the changeover in Kamloops, BC).

Royal Canadian Pacific Luxury Rail Tours (tel. 877/665-3044; www.royalcanadianpacific.com) has a 6-day tour on a luxury heritage rail car that leaves Calgary, passes through the Canadian Rockies south of Banff, and loops back through Golden and Banff to Calgary.

advertisement

BY BUS -- Greyhound (tel. 800/661-8747; www.greyhound.ca) and Brewster (tel. 877/791-5500; www.brewster.ca) have daily trips from Vancouver to Edmonton and Jasper, including a 2-day drive with an overnight stay midway. Their routes from Vancouver to Calgary stop in Canmore, Banff, Field, and Golden.

By Car

There are scores of border crossings between Canada and the U.S.; however, not all of them keep the same hours and some are closed at night. Be sure to double-check the hours of your border crossing before you set out.

advertisement

In addition to having the proper ID to cross into Canada, drivers may be asked to provide proof of insurance and ownership for their vehicle. If you're going hunting, remember that firearms are allowed into Canada only under special circumstances.

If you fly in and want to rent a car to explore the province, the options are plentiful. All the major car rental companies operate throughout the province, most of them with offices in all but the small towns.

Car rental agencies at the Calgary and Edmonton international airports include Budget (tel. 800/268-8900; www.budget.ca), Hertz (tel. 800/654-3131; www.hertz.ca), National (tel. 800/227-7368; www.nationalcar.ca), and Thrifty (tel. 800/847-4389; ww.thrifty.com). They also have offices in the towns of Banff and Jasper, as well as Fort McMurray and Lethbridge.

advertisement

As in the U.S., credit cards that offer insurance benefits are honored in Canada; check with your credit card company if you wish to choose this option.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.