30 Outdoor Destinations in Alberta
Awash in natural beauty, from the prairies to the mountains, Alberta has got plenty of outdoor opportunities. No matter where you stay, each region of this province is home to parks, lakes, and mountains, perfect for families and vacationers, and those looking to get away from the city.
Experience some of Canada's greatest outdoor recreational playground and some of its best-kept secrets with these 30 suggestions.
Calgary & Southern Alberta
Calgary, Alberta's largest city, makes for an ideal jumping point to explore the surrounding southern Alberta region and the north end of the Great Plains, numerous rivers, the Cypress Hills, and the start of the Rockies to the west. Plenty of options await you with a trip to Calgary, Medicine Hat, Innisfail, and Red Deer.
Walking through the nature centre
3. Catch a dose of history when visiting the 127 acres of Heritage Park Historical Village near Calgary. See more than 100 exhibits of outdoor living history, including structures, antiques, and period costumes.
4. Experience famous horse jumping competitions at Spruce Meadows near Calgary, including the National, Canada One, North American, and Masters tournaments. Round out your visit by touring the grounds, enjoying a picnic, or taking part in the International Christmas Market.
5. Train for some of Canada's famous winter sports like cross-country skiing, bobsledding, ice-skating and hockey at Calgary's WinSport Winter Sport Institute. It's not limited to just the winter, though. Summer activities include mountain biking, zip lining, and bungee jumping.
6. Lose yourself in the landscapes of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan and southeast of Medicine Hat. Explore the 1,468 meter plateaus, fishing at Spruce Coulee Reservoir, Elkwater Lake, and Ressor Lake, or mountain biking through 50 kilometers of trails.
7. Take on the mazes of the Jungle Farm near Innisfail. Explore mazes, visit a petting farm, try the pumpkin slingshot, and let the kids take a wagon ride before retiring to the General Store, which features farm fresh fruit.
8. Relax at Medicine Hat's Echo Dale Regional Park. Enjoy walking along the park's trails, swimming and boating at Echo Dale Swim Lake, or tour the local historic farm site.
9. Capture snapshots of the picturesque countryside when taking a horseback ride with Medicine Hat's Sage Brush Trail Rides. Choose from numerous different trails and don't forget to enjoy sleigh rides in the winter and horse-drawn carriage rides in the summer.
10. Go rafting, fishing, canoeing, or boating on the South Saskatchewan River, which conveniently snakes through downtown Medicine Hat.
11. Go tubing at the Discovery Canyon site in Red Deer. Splash through this natural-fed water park and be sure to bring your tube or rent one for a small fee. Afterwards, enjoy picnicking on the riverbanks.
12. Experience the Red Rock Coulee near Medicine Hat. The area features unique red rock boulder formations and include some of the world's largest. View them up close or take a panoramic snapshot of the boulders from the road.
Red Rock Coulee
Edmonton & Northern Alberta
Home to Edmonton, the capital, the northern Alberta region mix the capital's prairies and mountain foothills with plenty of recreational living. Visit rivers, forests, and city attractions with a stay near Edmonton, Camrose, Lloydminster, and Rocky Mountain House.
14. Combine city life with outdoor recreation at Edmonton's Edmonton River Valley Parks, located along the North Saskatchewan River and home to varying park terrain and amenities. Choose from hiking and ice skating to catching concerts under the stars at the Heritage Amphitheatre.
15. Experience berry picking at Horse Hill Berry Farm near Edmonton. Pick raspberries to your heart's content in these eight acres near the North Saskatchewan River.
16. See exhibits at Canada's oldest nature center at Edmonton's John Janzen Nature Centre. Explore interpretative trails and lose yourself at the Tegler Discovery Zone and Prairie Pond.
Horse drawn carriage rides
17. Head out for the day to the hills of the Sunridge Ski Area, on the outskirts of Edmonton. The area offers 12 runs, varying from beginner to difficult courses.
18. Take a day off for leisure at Bud Miller All Seasons Park in Lloydminster. Enjoy fishing, paddle boating, and mini-golfing. Explore the park's gardens, go swimming in the summer, and take on cross-country trails in the winter.
19. Visit Crescent Falls Provincial Recreation Area, which features the spectacular 25-meter Crescent Falls amongst fishing, horseback riding, and outdoor exploring opportunities near Rocky Mountain House.
20. Stop by the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site near the town of Rocky Mountain House. The site features hiking paths near the Chimney Trail, guided walks through the Fur Trade Pharmacy, and more.
The Rocky Mountains
Situated in the western part of the province, the Canadian Rockies' mix of glacier lakes, stunning peaks, and mountain forests are home to the Yellowhead scenic drive and some of the most popular national parks in the country. Experience the natural beauty for yourself with a stay in Banff, Canmore, and Jasper.
Canoes on Lake Louise
21. Visit the town of Banff, home to many of Alberta's postcard worthy shots. Explore the beauty of Banff National Park through the alpine views of the Banff Gondola and driving on the Bow Valley Parkway.
22. Hike up to the Johnston Canyon and Ink Pots, which features waterfalls and viewing platforms of Banff National Park near Banff.
25. Go deep into the underground of the Rocky Mountains with a visit to the Wild Cave Tours near Canmore. Enjoy caving course, team-building activities, and the sight and numerous stalagmites and stalactites.
26. Head out the awe-inspiring sights of Jasper National Park near Jasper. Take photos of Athabasca Falls, go for an Ice Walk on the Columbia Icefield, and take the scenic Icefields Parkway, which runs parallel to the continental divide.
Hiking near Moraine Lake
27. See the views the easy way with a trip on the Jasper Tramway, known as the highest tramway in Canada. Enjoy views, restaurant meals, and a gift shop at the top near Jasper.
28. Make your way up to well-photographed Maligne Lake, located near Jasper. Take a scenic boat tour across the lake or explore the waters on your own with canoe and kayak rentals.
29. Hike to Cavell Meadows to take pictures of Mount Edith Cavell and the Angel Glacier. For the more adventurous, this mountain near Jasper offers numerous rock climbing routes.
30. Visit one of the best ski resorts in the world. The Lake Louise Ski Area near Banff offers more than 139 ski runs among the high peaks of Banff National Park.