08/15/2017 06:38 EDT | Updated 08/15/2017 06:40 EDT

Canadian Rockies: From rugged hikes to upscale resorts

CANMORE, Alta. — Locals and visitors alike turn out in droves to take in the beauty of Canada's stretch of the Rocky Mountains.

Straddling the border of British Columbia and Alberta, this outdoor paradise offers upscale resorts surrounded by jagged mountains, isolated hikes and crystal-blue water.

Banff is the most popular of the area's cluster of national parks — which also includes Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay. Banff's crown jewel is the glacial-fed Lake Louise. The lake is exquisite, as evidenced by selfies snapped along its shoreline walking paths, capturing smiling families with snow-covered mountains in the background.

Crowds are likely to be bigger than usual this year, because admission to Canada's national parks is free in observance of the nation's 150th birthday.