Explore Calgary’s Stunning Natural Beauty Through Outdoor Adventures
Calgary is a beautiful city in Alberta, surrounded by stunning natural beauty. It offers a wealth of outdoor adventure, taking enthusiasts to the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the challenging Bow River. Calgary is an adventure hub for people of all ages and abilities. The range of parks and natural areas in and around the city boasts endless opportunities. Whether you are looking to surf down river rapids, hike through pristine wilderness, climb a mountain, or explore snow, the adventure options in Calgary are truly endless.
Places like Banff National Park, Kananaskis Country, and Fish Creek Provincial Park boast a lot of outdoor recreation options in Calgary. Some of the top outdoor adventure options here include Hiking, Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Wildlife Watching, etc. If you are planning to visit Calgary and are in the mood for some action, you must try at least a few. Join us as we discover the many outdoor adventures that await you in this stunning Canadian city.
Explore Calgary’s Stunning Natural Beauty Through Outdoor Adventures
We will explore all the recreational opportunities in Calgary and the best places to try them. Let’s start.
1. Rediscover Your Path By Hiking In Calgary
Calgary is a hiker’s paradise and one of Canada’s best places to hike. With numerous trails, it caters to hikers of all skill levels. Calgary has a range of trails, including easy, family-friendly, and challenging mountain summits hikes. The most popular hiking destination in and around Calgary is the Banff National Park. The park is home to more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails meandering through a range of landscapes. Some of the most popular hiking trails in Calgary’s Banff are the challenging Plain of Six Glaciers, the iconic Banff Gondola summit hike, and the stunningly beautiful Johnston Canyon.
Besides that, Calgary also boasts landmarks, including Kananaskis Country, Fish Creek Provincial Park, and Nose Hill Park, some happening hiking places. These areas have multiple hiking options, be it multi-day backpacking adventures or leisurely nature strolls. Some other famous hiking trails in Calgary include Ha Ling Peak, Grassi Lakes, Prairie View Trail, and Sulphur Mountain Trail, a very challenging one. Advance hikers should also add Grotto Canyon, a unique hike featuring ancient rock art and frozen waterfalls in the winter, into their itinerary.
2. Explore Calgary’s Biking Paths
Besides hiking, Calgary’s extensive network of biking paths offers cyclists opportunities to explore the city and its surrounding natural beauty. Calgary boasts more than 1,000 km of biking paths and trails, making it among North America’s most extensive urban biking systems. The biking trails here wind through scenic parks alongside the sparkling Bow and Elbow Rivers. Cyclists and Bikers can enjoy stunning views of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Or, bikers can even choose to explore the downtown core by cycling upon the designated bike lanes and bike-friendly streets.
Calgary also boasts a pathway system offering flat, easy terrain for a leisurely ride where cyclists can relaxingly pedal. On the contrary, the city also has some challenging routes, like steep hills and technical trails in the surrounding parks and mountains. Bikers can visit the bike rentals at various locations throughout the city. Or contact the tour companies and enjoy guided biking tours of Calgary and the surrounding area. No matter whether you cycle just for one or are a seasoned cyclist, Calgary’s biking paths are a must-see. Some fun city bike places include Bow River Pathway, Nose Hill Park, Fish Creek Provincial Park, Canmore Nordic Centre, and West Bragg Creek.
3. Enjoy Unforgettable Paddling and Kayaking in Calgary
Calgary boasts some exciting paddling and kayaking opportunity and thus attract enthusiasts from all across the country. The Bow River flowing through Calgary’s heart boast the majority of its water-based recreational fun. It allows kayakers to explore the city from a unique perspective. The Bow River Float kayaking route takes enthusiasts right from the center of the city.
It will make you paddle or kayak through Calgary Tower, Prince’s Island Park, and some other iconic landmarks of the city. Or, as you will flow forward, the stunning views of the city skyline will make you mesmerized.
Bow River also has Whitewater rafting sections for experienced kayaking which are looking for a more challenging paddle. Especially the section between Horseshoe Falls and Harvie Passage is a popular spot for adrenaline seekers. Or, for a peaceful paddling experience, explore spots like Glenmore Reservoir and Sikome Lake in Calgary. The calm waters and stunning views of the surrounding mountains here are a treat. No matter your skill level, there are plenty of opportunities for paddling and kayaking in Calgary. Simply grab your paddle and hit the water, and experience the best.
4. Camping in Calgary
Camping in Calgary is an excellent way to soak in its stunning natural beauty up close. The city and its surroundings boast numerous campgrounds ranging from primitive tent sites to full-service RV parks. Individuals who are ready to drive a little away from the city foundry can access Banff town for its Tunnel Mountain Campground. The campground has plenty of space for both tents and RVs. It is extremely family-friendly and is known for offering nightly theatre shows. Another excellent option is the Ribbon Falls Backcountry Campground in Kananaskis Country. It is ideal for those who want to experience backcountry camping and hiking.
Besides camping, Calgary is also an excellent destination for RVing. The Spring Hill RV Park offers some excellent RVing opportunities. In addition to the usual, Mountain View Calgary Camping offers convenient access to Calgary and its surroundings. Or an excellent choice for families is the Calaway Park Campground, which also offers easy access to Western Canada’s Largest Outdoor Family Amusement Park. Besides that, the Aspen Crossing and Dinosaur Provincial Park allow for some unique glamping experiences. The Caboose Cabins and Canvas Wall Tents here are a must-try. Glamping enthusiasts can also reach the Good Knights Medieval Encampment for some medieval-themed glamping experience.
5. Experience River Surfing In Calgary
You may have heard of Kayaking, Canoeing, and Paddling commonly in most of the cities around. However, adventure junkies who crave river surfing opportunities often fail to find places for the same. However, this exciting and challenging water sport has gained popularity in Calgary. This Canadian city is blessed with beautiful rivers and rapids. Harvie Passage is the most exciting and probably the best spot for river surfing in Calgary. It offers two passages for experienced surfers to catch some waves.
The Harvie Passage is located on the Bow River. It is nestled in a man-made whitewater park that features a series of drops, waves, and standing waves. Features like these create adventure and thus attract river surfers from all over the world. However, before heading out into the Harvie Passage, it is important to know that river surfing can be dangerous. Only experienced surfers with the proper gear and knowledge of the river must attempt such craft. In addition, it is crucial to respect the river and its surroundings and follow all safety guidelines to avoid any mishappening.
6. Cross-Country Skiing in Calgary
Cross-country skiing is a popular winter sport in Calgary. The city has several trails that are ideal for cross-country skiing. Some of the very popular ones include the Canmore Nordic Centre and the West Bragg Creek Trail System. The former is nestled just outside of Calgary and is known for hosting the Nordic events for the 1988 Winter Olympics. It boasts over 65 kilometers of groomed trails and still manages to operate as one of the best in the city. In contrast, the West Bragg Creek Trail System in Kananaskis Country boasts over 150 kilometers of groomed trails.
Cross-country skiing isn’t just a recreational opportunity but also a low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout. Indulging in the same is an excellent way to stay active during the harsh winter months of Calgary. Cross-country skiing in Calgary is suitable for all ages and skill levels, from beginners to experienced skiers. The city has a range of ski rental shops well equipped with equipment for rent.
7. Ice Climbing in Calgary
Another winter adventure spot you can try in Calgary is Ice climbing. This city in Alberta offers some of the world’s most exciting ice climbing opportunities, attracting climbers from worldwide. In addition, the cold winters and nearby mountain ranges make it a happening place for adventure junkies. One of the popular spots for ice climbing in Calgary includes the impressive frozen waterfalls of Johnston Canyon. It is just an hour’s drive from the city but worth reaching. Another popular spot is Grotto Canyon, a frozen creek bed that climbers can ascend.
Calgary has many local companies that offer ice climbing lessons and guided tours which are new to the craft. Joining these tours and lessons are a great way to learn the basics and gain confidence on the ice. However, ice climbing is a dangerous sport, and climbers should always use proper safety equipment and techniques. Besides that, climbers should be aware of weather conditions and potential hazards, especially avalanches.
8. Dog Sledding in Calgary
Dog sledding is another exhilarating winter activity for outdoor lovers in Calgary. The activity involves gliding through the snow-covered landscapes of Calgary while a team of huskies pulls you. Several dog sledding tours are available in and around Calgary, including Canmore, Banff, and Kananaskis. As the tour leads, participants can learn how to steer the sled and work with the dogs to navigate through the snow. These tours generally last for a few hours taking participants through scenic routes with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
Most dog sledding tours in Calgary are equipped with all the necessary gear and equipment. The tour operator even provides warm winter clothing and boots. It’s an ideal activity for families, friends, or couples alike who are looking for a unique winter adventure.
9. Skiing, Snowboarding, and Ice Skating in Calgary
Winter adventure in Calgary knows no end, and the list extends toward activities like Skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. The city and its surroundings boast several ski resorts in areas like Banff, Canmore, and Kananaskis. Besides Skiing, these resorts also have snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails. Within the boundary of Calgary are several outdoor skatings rinks like the Olympic Plaza, Prince’s Island Park, and Bowness Park.
In addition to these traditional winter sports, Calgary also offers a unique experience, Fat biking. Fat biking is similar to mountain biking, but the bikes have wider tires to handle snow and ice. There are many parks and trails in Calgary that are open for fat biking in winter. Some of the popular ones are Nose Hill Park, Fish Creek Provincial Park, and West Bragg Creek. Additionally, many organized tours and groups are available for fat biking enthusiasts.